Concordia University Chicago - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Concordia University Chicago
CUC students develop the knowledge and skills to meet the demands of the 21st...

Concordia University Chicago

River Forest, Illinois

Founded in 1864 as a college for teachers, today Concordia University Chicago is a comprehensive liberal arts-based Christian university affiliated with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, College of Graduate Studies and College of Innovation and Professional Programs, CUC offers more than 100 areas of undergraduate and graduate study in small classes taught by professors who are passionate about teaching and student success. Students choose Concordia University Chicago to open up their world and be inspired throughout their collegiate career and beyond.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
1,603 undergraduate students
94% of undergrad students are full time
42% male — 58% female
36.05% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
265 full-time faculty
164 part-time faculty
15 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
70% of first year students live on campus
36% of all students live on campus

School Location

Concordia–Chicago occupies 40 tree-lined acres approximately 10 miles west of downtown Chicago in beautiful, upscale, suburban River Forest, IL. The University’s close proximity to the city provides students with opportunities to access Fortune 500 employers, myriad internship opportunities, world-class museums and arts, and championship sports teams.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices 

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences X
Learning Communities  
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research  
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X

Retention Fall 2015

62% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 year graduation rate 2015

49.44% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 0%
Hispanic/Latino 25%
Black or African American 12%
White 52%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 3%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 3%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 5%


The Concordia-Chicago Cougars compete in NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports; Concordia University Chicago is a member of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC). CUC’s mascot is Charlie T. Cougar, and the school colors are maroon and gold.

Men’s and women’s teams compete in 19 sports including baseball (men), basketball, cross country, football (men), lacrosse, softball (women), soccer, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, volleyball (women), and dance/cheer. Additionally, CUC offers countless intramural opportunities for students to enjoy.

Other Information

Founded in 1864, Concordia University Chicago is a private, four-year, coeducational, liberal arts-based university, affiliated with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. CUC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and the National Association of Schools of Music.

Academic Programs

College of Arts and Sciences

Bachelor of Arts:Bachelor of Arts, Biology, Chemistry, Christian Ministry, Communication, Computer Information Systems, Criminal Justice, English, Exercise Science, Graphic Arts, History, Interdisciplinary Studies, Journalism, Mathematics, Media Arts Administration, Music, Music with Business Emphasis, Natural Science, Natural Science: Pre-Occupational Therapy, Natural Science: Pre-Nursing, Philosophy, Political Science, Pre-Art Therapy, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, Spanish, Theatre, Theatre Administration, Theological Languages, Theology – Christian Studies, Theology – Professional Studies, Visual Arts Administration, Women’s & Gender Studies

Bachelor of Science:Applied Microscopy, Biology, Chemistry, Emergency Medical Service, Environmental Science, Health & Information Management – Joint degree with Resurrection University*, Mathematics – Actuarial Science Specialization, Mathematics – Computer Science Specialization, Mathematics – Natural Science Specialization, Mathematics – Pure Math Specialization, Nursing – Joint Degree with Resurrection University*

Pre-Professional Programs:Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Law, Pre-Medicine, Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Veterinary Medicine,

* Program not available to transfer or international students.

College of Education: BA Director of Christian Education (DCE), BA Director of Christian Education Certification with Elementary Education Licensure, BA Visual Arts Education grades K-12, BME Music Education grades K-12, BS Early Childhood Education, BS Elementary Education, BS Physical Education grades K-12, BS Secondary Education – English/Language Arts, BS Secondary Education – Mathematics, BS Secondary Education – Physical Education, BS Secondary Education – Science: Biology, BS Secondary Education – Science: Chemistry, BS Secondary Education – Social Science: History, BS Secondary Education – Visual Arts, BS Spanish Education grades K-12, BS Special Education ages 3-21

Bachelor of Music Education:Music Education (grades K–12)

College of Business: BA Accounting, BA Business Communications, BA Management, BA Marketing, BA Sports Management, BS Accounting, BS Management, BS Management with Music Emphasis, BS Marketing, BS Media Arts Administration, BS Not-For-Profit/Church Management, BS Sports Management, BS Theatre Administration, BS Visual Arts Administration

Church Professional Programs: Deaconess, Director of Christian Education, Director of Parish Music, Lutheran Teacher, Pre-Seminary

More Distinctions

  • Named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor roll six times since 2006.

  • Rated as a “Best Value School” by Money Magazine in its ranking of colleges for 2016

  • Ranked as #41 Best Bang for the Buck of all Midwestern colleges by Washington Monthly (2015)


Concordia–Chicago students find their path to career success. Professors provide personalized guidance and support as they help students identify career interests and master the knowledge and skills required to succeed in their chosen field. Through the First Year Experience at CUC, incoming freshmen begin to develop personal connections with professors and other staff right from the start of their first semester.


Students expand their opportunities through diverse experiences. They learn within a variety of dynamic, academic disciplines grounded in Christian faith. They learn by doing, as they engage in service activities, internships, applied research, leadership, and off-campus opportunities throughout the world. And they learn in a community with students from various backgrounds and cultures from across the globe. Such experiences widen students’ perspectives, versatility, and future prospects.


Concordia–Chicago students get an education for the whole person, with far-reaching impact. Rich in the Lutheran tradition of education, CUC provides an impactful experience that includes faith enrichment and guidance toward ethical lives of integrity. The spirit of community inspires students to meet the needs of the world in which they live, serve, and work.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band X
Dance X
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band  
Literary magazine X
Marching band  
Model UN  
Music ensembles X
Musical theateR X
Opera X
Pep band X
Radio station X
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society  
Symphony orchestra X
Television station X


Concordia University Chicago specializes in combining 21st-century knowledge and skills development with opportunities for a values-based education focused on each individual. It’s why CUC students thrive not only during their four years of college, but also far beyond for the entirety of their successful careers, vocations, and purposeful lives. Offering more than 70 areas of undergraduate study in the arts & sciences, business, education, and healthcare, Concordia–Chicago effectively combines the benefits of experiential learning, personalized mentoring and ethical leadership development.


With an average undergraduate class size of 15, CUC faculty and staff are devoted to giving students individualized attention, creating a genuine and caring atmosphere where strong student-faculty relationships facilitate each student’s learning and leadership development. With approximately 130 full-time faculty members, CUC provides the expertise and education that today’s demanding careers require. This creates a genuine and caring atmosphere where strong student-faculty relationships facilitate each CUC student’s learning and leadership development. With approximately 130 full-time faculty members, CUC provides the expertise and education that today’s demanding careers require.


Inspired learning, whether in or out of the classroom, is a key component in connecting to students. Access to the amazing resources and culture of the cosmopolitan city of Chicago enables students to open up their world. Students have wide-ranging experiences as they learn alongside peers from various backgrounds and cultures from across the globe.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages  
History X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X


Other: Theology, Health/Fitness, Communication, Global Studies

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 213 176 92 28 1 1 0 511


Concordia-Chicago’s 40-acre suburban campus in upscale River Forest is like a small town with a big backyard. The diverse resources of downtown Chicago are only 10 miles away—just a 20-minute ride on the ‘L.’ CUC is big enough to offer exceptionally diverse opportunities yet small enough to provide genuine access to those opportunities. Students also consider downtown Oak Park-River Forest an extension of campus. Within a few blocks, students have a variety of options to shop, see movies, sample food from around the world, or take part in cultural performances of art, music, and theater.


Concordia University Chicago’s faith community reflects the Lutheran tradition and is welcoming of other Christian denominations as well. Within a Christian framework, students seek greater meaning in their spiritual and work lives—discovering ways to serve the greater good and mature in their faith. Growing in faith, students have opportunities to participate in a variety of service activities as well as daily chapel services, spiritual life campus ministries and mission trips.


CUC encourages all students to participate in extracurricular activities in order to develop leadership skills, form lifelong friendships, make a difference, and just to have fun. With 11 musical groups, more than 45 student clubs and organizations, and 200 programs sponsored yearly through Residential Life, there is always something to do on campus.

Intercollegiate athletics provide students with opportunities to enhance their educational experience. With a commitment to overall well-being, sportsmanship, and best effort, the Athletics Department at CUC and its student-athletes bring pride and enthusiasm to the Concordia–Chicago community.


Student life at CUC is never dull with activities like these:

  • Fill (the Chapel), Grill, & Chill
  • Homecoming
  • Amazing Race: Chicago
  • Campus Christmas tree lighting
  • Lessons and Carols at Christmas
  • Spring Formal
  • Midnight breakfast during finals week


Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms X
Women’s dorms X
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students  
Special housing for disabled students  
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing  
Wellness housing  
Other housing options  


Concordia connects students to professors and academic support staff who are accessible and interested in student success throughout college and beyond. All around campus, students find mentors genuinely vested in their success. CUC students have access to the Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising, the Academic Center for Excellence, the Writing Center, the Office of Student Leadership and Involvement, the Schmieding Counseling Center, the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement, and more.


CUC’s Career Services staff serves students beginning their first year on campus, connecting them to major exploration exercises, career self-assessments, workshops, internship planning assistance, preparation for job interviews, support with résumé writing, and career planning. Students can even access the center’s comprehensive online services 24/7.

The Chicago area is home to more than 30 Fortune 500 company headquarters that connect students’ education to real-world opportunities. Internships for unique hands-on learning are highlights of many programs in business, education, healthcare, and much more. Recent internship sites include Allstate Insurance, CBS-2 News Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Loyola University Medical Center, and Chicago’s world-renowned Shedd Aquarium—just to name a few.


Concordia University Chicago prepares students for success in their vocations, careers, and lives. That’s why, at CUC, learning, faith, and leadership are interwoven. With that focus, CUC alumni make a difference locally, nationally, and globally.

Among the long list of education graduates are 14 CUC alumni in the teaching profession who have been recognized by the Golden Apple Foundation for outstanding teaching.

Approximately 90 percent of CUC’s undergraduate students are employed or enrolled in graduate programs in their fields within six months of graduation. Employers of recent graduates include Advocate Fitness, Chase Bank, Chicago Public Schools, Hewlett-Packard, Kraft Foods, Lutheran World Relief, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The McCrone Group, Metropolitan Family Services, NFL Media, Northwestern Mutual, Schaumburg Boomers (baseball), State Farm, and Teach for America.

CUC alumni have been successful in gaining entrance to graduate schools around the nation, including The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Columbia University School of Social Work, Concordia Seminaries, Loyola University Chicago, Michigan State University College of Law, University of Illinois at Chicago Medical School, and University of Notre Dame, among many others.


Admissions Fall 2015

4,448 Total Applicants
2,238 Total Admissions
297 Total Freshmen Enrollment

50.31% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling admission? No

Closing date: Aug 15
Priority date: Feb 1

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Academic GPA

Rigor of secondary school record
Standardized test scores

Class rank
Application Essay
Extracurricular activities
Character/personal qualities
Alumni/ae relation
Geographical residence
State residency
Religious affiliation/commitment
Racial/ethnic status
Volunteer work
Work experience
Level of applicant’s interest

Freshmen Profile fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 450 550
SAT Math 470 590
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 20 25
ACT Math 18 25
ACT English 20 25
ACT Writing    


Undergraduate admission applications for Concordia University Chicago are accepted on a rolling basis, with students receiving an admission decision within two weeks of receipt of all required documents. There is no application fee.

Each admission file is evaluated individually on a case-by-case basis. In general, CUC requires the following admission documentation for incoming freshmen:

  • Application for admission (CUC application or Common Application)
  • Official ACT or SAT test scores (minimum 20 ACT composite or 1020 SAT combined verbal and mathematics)
  • Official high school transcript (minimum 2.0 high school GPA)




Tuition $30,640
Room and Board (on campus) $9,172
Estimated Total On Campus $39,812


Average Financial Aid Packages 2014-2015 final

$22,982 First year students
$15,829 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015 final

76% on average, the percentage of need that was met
17% of financial need students that had need fully met

$15,829 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,268 Average need-based loan


CUC offers a high-quality education that is affordable, and the University offers generous financial assistance from the time students are admitted to the time they celebrate their graduation.

At Concordia–Chicago, 100 percent of full-time traditional undergraduate students receive financial aid, and every admitted freshman receives a merit scholarship of up to $20,000 provided by the University. Additional awards, including music scholarships, alumni grants, and church professional grants, are available. Up to five full-tuition scholarships are awarded each year to academically outstanding freshmen.