Eastern Connecticut State University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Eastern Connecticut State University
Eastern Connecticut State University is a public liberal arts university located in the Victorian...

Eastern Connecticut State University

Willimantic, Connecticut

Eastern Connecticut State University is the state’s designated public liberal arts university. A predominantly undergraduate institution, Eastern attracts and welcomes a diverse community of learners who are supported by a teaching faculty, staff, administrators, and a residential campus that promotes intellectual curiosity, integrity and social responsibility.


Independent of their majors and career aspirations, all Eastern students take a common Liberal Arts core curriculum. This curriculum is sequenced and interdisciplinary, offering students a broad range of theoretical approaches in a variety of active learning settings to cultivate knowledge, skills, and broadened perspectives. Eastern’s programs prepare students for careers or advanced study while also providing them with the lifelong skills and confidence needed to succeed in a world of constant economic, social, and technological change.



Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
4,818 undergraduate students
89% of undergrad students are full-time
44% male — 56% female
11.8% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-2017 Academic Year
199 full-time faculty
304 part-time faculty
15.6 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2016
85% of first-year students live on campus
52% of all students live on campus

School Location

Eastern’s 182-acre campus is located in historic Willimantic, CT, a multicultural community with a growing arts scene, nestled in the rural northeast corner of Connecticut. Main Street is a short walk from campus and host to eateries, art galleries, and vibrant community events.
The campus is 30 minutes from Hartford, 45 minutes from Providence, RI, and midway between Boston and New York. The beaches of Rhode Island are less than an hour away, and the mountains of Vermont are less than a three-hour drive away, with ample outdoor recreation and cultural attractions in between.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

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


76% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full-time, first-time freshmen)


54.4% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 1%
Hispanic/Latino 11%
Black or African American 8%
White 66%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 3%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 8%


Eastern is home to the Warriors, an NCAA Division III athletic program within the Little East Conference (LEC). The Warriors have won nine national championships: four in baseball and five in softball. There are 17 varsity sports:

Men’s basketball; cross-country; lacrosse; soccer; indoor and outdoor track and field; and baseball.
Women’s basketball; cross-country; lacrosse; soccer; indoor and outdoor track and field; swimming; softball; field hockey; and volleyball.

Eastern also has numerous intramural and club teams, including competitive teams for football, rugby and hockey, all of which have recently won New England championships.


Eastern was founded in 1889 as a normal school, becoming a four-year, degree-granting teacher’s college in 1938. Since then, Eastern has grown to offer 39 majors and 58 minors spanning the arts and sciences, annually graduating 1,200 students who succeed in every industry and career field.

Eastern recently celebrated its 125th anniversary and in 2016 opened its long-awaited Fine Arts Instructional Center. With several performance venues, workshops, and galleries, the 118,000-square foot facility marks a new era for the fine arts at Eastern.

Academic Programs

Accounting, Biochemistry, Biology, Business Administration, Business Information Systems, Cognitive Neuroscience, Communication, Computer Science, Early Childhood Education, Economics, Elementary Education, English, English/American Studies, Environmental Earth Science, General Studies, History, History with American Studies, History and Social Sciences, Individualized Major, Labor Relations and Human Resource Management, Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Psychology, Political Science, Secondary Education, Social Work, Sociology, Spanish, Sport and Leisure Management, Theatre, and Visual Arts.

More Distinctions

  • Eastern was ranked the 26th Best Public University in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2017 edition of “Best Colleges.” Eastern ranked highest among the four Connecticut state universities and jumped seven places overall in the rankings. The North region contains colleges and universities in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

  • Eastern was ranked one of the “Best Colleges in the Northeast” in the Princeton Review’s 2016 edition of “Best Colleges.”

  • Eastern is repeatedly named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, a distinction administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

  • The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching included Eastern in its 2015 Community Engagement Classification.

  • Eastern is listed as one of the nation’s most environmentally friendly colleges, making it into the Princeton Review’s 2016 “Guide to 361 Green Colleges” for the seventh year in a row.

  • Eastern is one of the nation’s “Great Colleges to Work For” according to the Chronicle for Higher Education’s 2017 survey—making it on the list every year since the survey started in 2009. Eastern was the only public four-year institution recognized in New England.

  • Eastern was listed as a “Top Workplace in Connecticut” in the Hartford Courant’s 2016 list—the only college recognized among 61 organizations in five of Connecticut’s eight counties.

With an average class size of 23 and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15:1, students engage in lively discussions with their peers and benefit from close relationships with professors. They have access to Eastern’s wealth of technology and facilities as they participate in a curriculum that emphasizes hands-on learning experiences. Students garner further real-world experience as they engage with the local community through service learning and volunteerism.

Undergraduate Research

At Eastern, students of all majors and class levels conduct research. As undergraduates, their high-quality work is published in academic journals and presented at local and national conferences—from Eastern’s own CREATE conference to the respected Posters on the Hill and National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Students’ research earns them awards, helps them obtain competitive internships, and admits them into prestigious graduate schools. With fellowships, project grants, faculty mentorships, connections to research conferences, and extensive laboratory space on campus, Eastern is a comprehensive school for undergraduate research.

Global Field Courses and Study Abroad

Every year, students take department-sponsored “global field courses” (GFC), which are culturally and academically immersive study abroad experiences led by Eastern faculty. All corners of the globe have been visited ever since the first GFC program in biology went to the Caribbean in the late 1960s. Most recently, the biology students went to Costa Rica; communication students studied throughout Eastern Europe; health sciences students went to Ghana; environmental earth science students went to Iceland; psychology students went to Ireland, and English students went to Italy.

Students enjoy traditional, semester-long study abroad trips, too, with programs that bring them as nearby as Canada and Puerto Rico or as far away as Japan and Australia.

Service Learning and Community Engagement

Professors across campus engage their students in community-based learning, recognizing the impactful educational experience of working with community members and organizations. In 2015-16, the town of Willimantic served as a laboratory for 236 students who participated in 23 service-learning courses with 13 faculty members from 10 departments. In that same year, 1,169 students volunteered 20,025 hours in a variety of community service efforts.

On-Campus Learning Venues

Among other locales on campus, students experience learning in the 19-acre nature preserve known as the Arboretum, the planetarium, radio station, television studio, the Center for Early Childhood Education, the venues of the new 118,000-square foot Fine Arts Instructional Center, and the high-tech labs of the 174,000-square foot Science Building.

Customized Education

Students can design their own major through Eastern’s Individualized Major option. Students have designed majors such as Digital Multimedia, Psychology and Business Administration, Law and Society, Philosophical Methodology, Multimedia Writing/Production for the Deaf, Behavioral Biology, and French Women’s Studies.


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

Eastern’s faculty is dedicated to the teaching profession. Mentoring and facilitating their students’ learning is their primary focus. Students at Eastern have the opportunity to get to know and learn from their professors one-on-one. At the same time, 97 percent of the faculty possess terminal degrees and frequently win awards, grants, and fellowships for their own scholarship and research.

A Liberal Education. Practically Applied

The liberal arts core curriculum uses innovative, interdisciplinary courses to expose students to a broad range of subjects while developing valuable skills in critical thinking and problem solving, writing and communication, and collaboration and independent research.

Professional Professors

Eastern’s professors are experts in their fields—they’re acclaimed artists, they publish poetry, conduct important scientific studies, write textbooks and novels, and travel to teach throughout the world.

Psychology Professor James Diller was recognized by the Connecticut State University System with the System-wide Teaching Award in 2016; Psychology Professor Kristalyn Salters-Pednault was recognized the previous year with the Faculty Research Award. Biology Professors Barbara Murdoch has garnered attention recently for mentoring students in important antibiotic-resistance research. Biology Professor Elizabeth Cowles has been named the president of the National Association of Biology Teachers, a 3,500-member organization dedicated to teacher development. Three other professors were featured in nationally televised documentary programs in 2015 for their independent research. Many more have recently published books.

Honors Program

Some of Eastern’s highest-achieving students go through the Honors Program. Founded in 1973 and recognized both regionally and nationally, it is among the most active honors programs in New England. It offers full in-state tuition scholarships to incoming freshmen. In addition to taking honors-level courses and maintaining a high GPA, students admitted to the competitive Honors Program must complete an honors thesis—an in-depth, original work of scholarship.

New Majors and Minors

In the past two years, Eastern has added six new majors—Criminology, Health Sciences, Finance, New Media Studies, Liberal Studies, Philosophy—to its selection of academic programs. Recent minors include Bioinformatics, Environmental Health Science, Insurance, and Fashion and Costume Design. Students can now choose from 39 majors, 58 minors, and master’s programs in Accounting, Education, and Organizational Management.

Academic Services Center

Eastern’s Academic Services Center (ASC) is dedicated to providing educational support to any and all students. Located in the library, the ASC is comprised of the Advising Center, Mathematics Achievement Center, Writing Center, Tutoring and Learning Strategies, and the Summer Transition at Eastern Program/Contract Admissions Program (STEP/CAP).


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


Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 41 258 338 166 54 1 1 859

Eastern’s close-knit campus community is enriched by more than 75 student clubs and organizations; 17 varsity intercollegiate athletic teams and numerous intramural activities; and hundreds of guest lectures, artist performances, and other cultural and intellectual events each year.

Clubs and Organizations

Eastern offers an assortment of clubs and student organizations, including adventure clubs like the Eastern Outdoors Club and Ski-n-Board Club; media clubs like the school newspaper and TV station; service clubs like People Helping People and Habitat for Humanity; academic clubs like the Biochemistry and History Clubs; athletic clubs like the ice hockey team and martial arts club; cultural clubs like the Organization for Latin American Students and the Jewish organization Hillel; professional associations like the Pre-Health and Pre-Law Societies; student government; and clubs for leadership, arts, and much more.

Learning Communities

Students with similar values and hobbies have the opportunity to live together through Eastern’s “Theme Housing” options. Currently, there are 15 housing communities on campus, including themes for transfer students (T3) and first-generation college students (First G); students who value gender inclusivity and social justice; and more. Students in theme housing enjoy the benefits of like-minded neighbors as well as a community budget that allows them to participate in related activities, such as when the Fun and Games theme went to Comic-Con or when the Green Theme went to a conference on sustainability.

The Warrior Cup

The Warrior Cup is an annual competition among all 13 residence halls, giving each hall the opportunity to display their commitment to personal and academic success along with hall and school spirit. Students and their residence halls earn points by participating in university events and organizing activities in effort of winning the coveted Warrior Cup. Mead Hall won the cup in 2016, but the Low-Rise Apartments are coming in strong this year, having recently earned many points for organizing the Poverty Awareness Marathon, a popular awareness-raising event on campus.

Athletics and Intramurals

Eastern’s NCAA athletes are smart, earning Eastern the President’s Cup three times in the seven-year history of the award. The cup is given to the top-performing academic institution in the Little East Conference. In 2016, the average GPA for Eastern student athletes was 3.18. The Warriors also won the cup in 2015 and 2010.

Students can also participate in a number of competitive or casual intramural sports, such as basketball, volleyball, and soccer.

Center for Community Engagement

Eastern and the town of Willimantic maintain a mutually beneficial relationship that continues to strengthen due to the Center for Community Engagement (CCE). The CCE organizes numerous special events, such as the annual Day of Giving holiday meal, as well as semester-long service programs that affect long-term change, such as tutor programs with Willimantic Public Schools. In the 2015-16 academic year, 1,169 of Eastern’s 5,300 students volunteered 20,025 hours. The CCE also coordinates community-based learning opportunities with professors (service learning).


Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms  
Women’s dorms  
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 X
Wellness housing  
Other housing options  

Eastern graduates are prepared for a variety of careers, equipped with the life skills needed to adapt to today’s constantly changing world. They are award-winning authors, scientists, and educators. They are leaders of business and government. They are top accountants, media specialists, and more. Something they all have in common is their liberal arts background and strong critical thinking and communication skills.

Graduate School Placement

Eastern graduates attend some of the finest graduate programs in the nation. Graduate programs accepting Eastern graduates include Harvard University, Yale University, Boston University, Wesleyan University, Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine, Georgetown School of Law, and Columbia University, to name a few.

Career Services

The Center for Internships and Career Development offers comprehensive career counseling and job assistance to Eastern students and alumni. The office reviews resumes, conducts mock interviews, and connects students with internships, co-ops, and full-time employment opportunities.

Distinguished Alumni

Distinguished alumni at Eastern include:

  • Chimamanda Adichie ’01 (communication) is an internationally acclaimed novelist and author of the “Americanah,” a New York Times top-ten book of the year in 2013. Adichie received the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant in 2008 and was listed in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2015.
  • Marc Freeman ’93 (biology) is the director of the Vollum Institute at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OR. The institute, home to more than 200 scientists, researchers, and students, investigates new treatments for neurological and psychiatric diseases.
  • Tracey Boyden ’89 (biology) is a principal scientist at Pfizer who holds several patents. Over the course of 25 years with the pharmaceutical giant, she has contributed to the development of numerous drug therapies that treat a variety of diseases from cancer to neurological disorders.
  • Jeffery Benedict ’91 (history) is a bestselling author and award-winning feature writer for Sports Illustrated. He has authored 12 books, including his most recent, the New York Times bestseller “The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football.”
  • Andrew Gutt ’09 (business administration) is the owner of Cafémantic, an award-winning restaurant in downtown Willimantic, CT.
  • Clayton Pollock ’07 (biology) is a biologist for the National Park Service in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Among his projects, Clayton uses acoustic telemetry to track the habitats and movements of sharks, sea turtles, and important reef fish to determine the effectiveness of national park boundaries.
  • LaToya Smith ’06 (communication) is an award-winning multimedia journalist and CEO of Brass City Media, a New York City-based content marketing agency. LaToya is also a tech correspondent on eTech.tv, an online edutainment show about technology trends.


To see more distinguished alumni, see The People of Eastern.



5,863 Total Applicants 
3,395 Total Admissions 
1,013 Total Freshman Enrollment

57.91% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2017-18 Admission

Rolling admission? Yes

Priority date: May 1

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Class rank
Academic GPA

Application Essay

Rigor of secondary school record
Standardized test scores
Extracurricular activities
Character/personal qualities
First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Volunteer work
Work experience
Level of applicant’s interest

Freshman Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 480 560
SAT Math 470 560
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 20 25
ACT Math 18 25
ACT English 19 25
ACT Writing    


Students admitted for the 2016-17 academic year earned an average GPA of 3.1 (4.0 scale). The middle 50 percent of admitted students scored:

  • Between 1010-1170 on the combined Reading/Writing and Math sections of the New SAT
  • Between 19-24 composite on the ACT
  • Ranked in the top half of their high school class
  • Demonstrated academic success in a solid schedule of college preparatory courses in high school


Test Optional Admissions Policy

  • Students do not have to submit SAT or ACT scores when they apply for admission. Admission is based primarily on a student’s achievement in a strong high school curriculum, which is the best predictor of success at Eastern. See here for details on the Test Optional Policy.


Freshmen Application

  • A completed application for admission, including the non-refundable $50 application fee
  • An official secondary school transcript (including first quarter senior grades) and/or General Education Diploma
  • SAT I or ACT scores (Only if you choose to send them; see Test Optional policy)
  • Two letters of recommendation. One letter must be from a counselor or teacher
  • College transcript(s), if applicable
  • Essay: at least 250 words explaining why Eastern is the right fit (this is a requirement for Eastern’s online application. If applying through the Common App, a student may complete and send one of the Common App essays). Essays can be submitted via email to admissions@easternct.edu.
  • TOEFL (Minimum TOEFL requirement: Score of 550 or 213 on the computer-based test. Required of international applicants only)





Expenses In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $5,424 $16,882
Fees $5,495 $5,495
Total $10,919 $22,377
Room and Board (on campus) $13,050 $13,050
Room Only $7,500 $7,500
Board Only $5,550 $5,550
Estimated Total On Campus $23,969 $35,427


Average Financial Aid Packages 2017-2018 Estimated

$10,848 First-year students
$5,743 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2017-2018 Estimated

61.3% on average, the percentage of need that was met
11% of financial need students that had need fully met

$5,743 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,301 Average need-based loan


Eastern students receive hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from need-based and merit-based scholarships and other forms of financial aid.

New England Regional Student Program (NERSP)

Through NERSP program, students from the New England states have access to Eastern for a fraction of the out-of-state costs.

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