Emporia State University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Emporia State University
Founded in 1863, Emporia State University has a long tradition of excellence offering a...

Emporia State University

Emporia, Kansas

Founded in 1863, Emporia State University has a long tradition of excellence. ESU is home to 5,900 students and more than 250 faculty members.


Emporia State offers a wide-range of degrees from 185 programs—several of which are nationally recognized—across liberal arts and sciences, business, education, and library and information management. Focused on the mission of “preparing students for lifelong learning, rewarding careers, and adaptive leadership,” Emporia State provides high-impact, real-world learning opportunities, internships, and research projects for students with faculty mentors. This approach provides graduates with a competitive advantage as a result of the experience gained and tangible outputs to include on resumes and in portfolios.


ESU offers a tremendous student life experience with more than 130 recognized student organizations including fraternity & sorority life, Associated Student Government, 15 NCAA Division II athletics teams, and a welcoming city of Emporia.

Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
3,578 undergraduate students
94% of undergrad students are full time
38% male — 62% female
10% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-2017 Academic Year
252 full-time faculty
23 part-time faculty
18 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2016
83% of first year students live on campus
29% of all students live on campus

School Location

Located in the heart of the United States, the city of Emporia boasts a vibrant main street just steps away from Emporia State University offering restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. Emporia is the front door to the Flint Hills, which provide a number of outdoor activities like cycling, hiking, hunting, and fishing. Host to the world’s largest disc golf tournament, residents enjoy five of the best professional 18-hole disc golf courses in the country. The campus is also in close proximity to major metropolitan areas of Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City.

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


71% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full time, first time freshmen)


44% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 4%
Hispanic/Latino 6%
Black or African American 7%
White 72%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 8%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 1%


Emporia State University student-athletes compete in 15 men’s and women’s sports at the Division II level in the MIAA or Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. In 2016-17, five of the 15 sports programs placed nationally in NCAA post-season competition, putting ESU Athletics in the top one-third of over 300 NCAA Division II schools in the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup standings for the 15th straight year. In the NCAA Division II Preseason, Hornet Football is ranked No. 4 in the nation!   

Mascot: Corky the Hornet
Colors: Black and Gold

Academic Programs

Arts & Sciences: art, biochemistry & molecular biology, biology, chemistry, communication, crime & delinquency studies, earth science, economics, English, history, interdisciplinary studies, mathematics, modern languages & literature, music, nursing, physics, political science, social science, sociology, speech communication, theatre. Business: accounting, business administration, computer science, information systems, management, marketing. Pre-Professional Programs: pre-agriculture, pre-dental, pre-engineering, pre-law, pre-medical technology, pre-medicine, pre-optometry, pre-pharmacy, pre-physical therapy, pre-veterinary medicine. The Teachers College: athletic training, business education, elementary education, health education, health promotion, music education, physical education, psychology, recreation, rehabilitation services education.

More Distinctions

  • 98% of ESU students found jobs in their field of study or were enrolled in postgraduate studies within six months of graduation.

  • ESU School of Business is AASCB-accredited, longest, most-esteemed accreditation and also means every professor in the school of business has earned the highest degree possible.

  • The William Allen White Children’s Book Award is directed by Emporia State University.

  • For two years in a row, 100% of ESU nursing graduates were placed in jobs, and 96% passed the NCLEX test the first time, both achievements above state and national benchmarks.

  • ESU’s The Teachers College has the reputation as one of the nation’s foremost Teachers Colleges. Many institutions strive to replicate ESU’s intensive training for teacher candidates.

  • Sigma Tau Delta is the International English Honors Society for accredited colleges and universities. Sigma Tau Delta has two publications, The Review and The Rectangle, and both are published at Emporia State University.

  • The Poet Laureate of Kansas, 2017-2019, is Dr. Kevin Rabas, chair of Emporia State’s Department of English, Modern Languages and Journalism.

  • Emporia State has the only master’s in Forensic Science in Kansas.

  • Emporia State has the only bachelor’s in Engraving program in the world and the only bachelor’s in glass-blowing in Kansas.

  • No. 1 bestselling-author James Patterson funds 16 full-ride scholarships for Emporia State elementary and secondary education majors.

  • ESU was named a Bike Friendly Campus by the League of American Bicyclists.

  • Emporia State has the longest-running Summer Theatre program in the state of Kansas.

  • Over the past 10 years, ESU students have won a total of 46 awards at the Kansas Academy of Sciences—more than any other university in Kansas.


Emporia State takes student learning a giant leap further with high-impact learning experiences. Every student participates in activities that will provide tangible outputs for their future resume and career. Students find numerous opportunities to learn outside the Emporia State campus. A few examples include a trip in Wyoming throughout winter break to tag mule deer for research, a summer month working in an orphanage in Uganda, and winter break studying marine biology in the Bahamas. No matter the program, there’s a high-impact, immersive experience for every student.


At Emporia State, students don’t have to wait to perform research alongside a professor. One example of the research opportunities available as Emporia is ESURP, the ESU Summer Undergraduate Research Program. This program supports research projects in all disciplines that pair students with faculty mentors. In 2017, 15 projects were funded in biochemistry/molecular biology, social sciences, earth science, biology, mathematics, business administration, international business, marketing, secondary social science education, Spanish and English, political science, and history. The program, which includes grants up to $7,000, is supported by the Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, the ESU Honors College, ESU Research and Grants Center, Office of the Provost, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, School of Business, and The Teachers College.

Honors College

Emporia State’s Honors College provides unique, high-impact learning opportunities for students that will enrich and changes their lives. Honors College students engage in civic leadership training and community engagement. In addition, Honors College students have learning cohorts, enhanced curriculum, and living and learning spaces. Scholarships also are available to Honors College students.

Study Abroad

Students at Emporia State have many options to study abroad and can choose from over 60 countries in which to study for a semester, year, or in shorter sponsored trips with faculty. Study abroad programs include student teaching opportunities in Paraguay, field study in England, applied sociology and service learning in Uganda, a Japanese Language immerse course, and more!

Research & Creativity Day

Emporia State understands the hard work students put into their research, which is why each year students have the opportunity to showcase their research during Research & Creativity Day. Students present research orally, through poster presentations, or through 3-minute thesis presentations. Winning research can even receive cash prizes!

Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

Emporia State works closely with the Kansas Leadership Center to incorporate leadership practices into the curricula campus-wide. The School of Business takes the mission one step further through the Koch Center for Leadership and Ethics, which has a mission of “engaging students, faculty, and others in an open and ongoing discussion about ethical leadership in the life of an individual, in business and other organizations, and in communities.” Emporia State’s Honors College also provides civic leadership training to students.

Student Tutoring Services

ACES, ESU’s Academic Center for Excellence and Success, provides tutoring in several academic areas, assistance with writing and research, and both individual and group workshops to enhance students’ academic success. All services at ACES are free to ESU students and are located in ESU’s William Allen White Library.


Many students at Emporia State are highly engaged through a program called E-Team. E-Team members are mentors, facilitators, and leaders for the How2ESU, an orientation program.

Student Ambassadors

Emporia State has a dedicated group of Student Ambassadors who direct campus tours, organize Senior Week, and promote and support ESU’s Alumni Association and Foundation. These Ambassadors love represent ESU on campus, in the community, and nationally at a variety of events.

Center for Student Involvement

ESU has over 130 recognized student organizations, and the Center for Student involvement is the starting point for all activities and organizations, fraternity and sorority life, and the Associated Student Government.

Activities Offered

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

At Emporia State, professors deeply care about student success, taking the time to ensure that each student has the tools needed to be successful in their respective programs. Professors are highly accessible to students. In addition, students can participate in undergraduate research alongside professors.


ESU offers a peer-led summer experience for incoming freshmen, giving them an early introduction to college life. During the two-day, one-night experience, students live in the residence halls, explore the campus and the Emporia community and develop relationships with other new students as well as current students serving as E-Team leaders.

First-Year Seminar and Mentoring Program

Emporia State knows the first year in school is critical, and so it helps orient students through two first-year programs: First-year Seminar and First-Year Mentoring Program.

First-year Seminar is a one-credit, eight-week course designed to help students learn to succeed in college. Some seminars are offered in specific majors; others combine students from across campus in sections.

First-year Mentoring provides personalized guidance during the first year through one-on-one peer mentoring with a member of E-Team.

Honors College First-Year Seminar

ESU’s Honors College’s first-year seminar is open to any student, but required for Honors College students. The course enriches students’ first-year experience and sets them up for success in the honors program. The course integrates adaptive leadership principles that give students the skills to mobilize others to take on challenges in relationships, communities, the nation, and the world.

Common Core

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

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 172 162 208 85 47 35 2 711

Residence Life

Freshman live on campus in newly renovated residence halls at Emporia State University. Living on campus has a number of educational benefits provided by living and learning communities. Students also have easy access to all of the benefits provided on campus including classes and resources. Additionally, students are able to forge new relationships that come with living with other first-year students helping create a community and support a successful first year at college.

Learning communities in residence halls

Emporia State has multiple residential learning communities in the residence halls. The learning communities are focused on students’ specific interests and passions. One of many is the residential learning area for the Honors College, which has its own floor in which other students in the Honors College live and share common learning spaces.

Art Forum

During the fall and spring semesters, the art department hosts a visiting artist every two weeks. Artists showcase their work, work with students, and share their career paths and experiences. One example of these visits is the annual weeklong Glass Blowout (ESU offers the only bachelor’s in Glass Blowing in the state of Kansas) in which the visiting artist shows students different techniques throughout the week. The week culminates in a public event, which includes hot glass demonstrations, live music, and a glass auction.

Lecture series

The Bonner and Bonner Diversity Lecture: Civic Leadership for the Common Good was created to honor Drs. Thomas and Mary Bonner, ESU’s first and second African-American faculty members. The Bonner lecture series focuses on diversity, tolerance, and understanding on the ESU campus. ESU’s Honors College organizes the lecture series as part of its civic leadership for the university’s Common Good initiative.

The Sam E. and Jeannene Hayes Lecture Series, established by Dr. Sam Hayes and his wife, Jeannene, highlights alumni success by featuring a distinguished alumnus with a strong set of leadership qualities, skills, and accomplishments.

Both the Bonner and Hayes lectures are open to the university, the CIty of Emporia, and the state of Kansas.

Main Street festivals

ESU has a strong partnership with Emporia Main Street. Each August, Emporia Main Street organizes the Welcome Back Students Block Party. The block party features games, prizes, food, and activities for students and the community. Other festivals occur during the year, including a Cinco De Mayo celebration of Hispanic heritage; The Glass Blown Open, the largest disc golf tournament in the world; and the Dirty Kanza 200, a 200-mile bike gravel race through the Flint Hills of Kansas. Each of these events end in a block party, held only steps from ESU.

Campus Housing Options for Undergraduates

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

Emporia State University operates under the vision of changing lives for the common good by preparing students for lifelong learning, rewarding careers, and adaptive leadership. To ensure that ESU students receive a well-rounded education and valuable experience that prepares them for lifelong success, ESU is committed to:

  • Developing and pursuing distinctive initiatives in curricula and programs that foster vibrant communities.
  • Enriching the student experience with opportunities for leadership development and practice.
  • Creating a culture of adaptive change as the foundation for innovation and growth.
  • Becoming a model for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Philanthropic Spirit

ESU students are serious about giving back to the Emporia community. They donated 17,695 service hours in the recent academic year. Service projects range from packing food bags for schoolchildren in food-insecure homes to painting a mural at a local law enforcement agency.


70% of ESU students participate in internships from Emporia Main Street to the Mayo Clinic, Smithsonian Institution, and Broadway. ESU encourages its students to take part in internships to gain valuable insights and experience in preparation for their future careers. Many times, internships lead to jobs upon graduation. Emporia State ensures students have access to a wide variety of internship opportunities.

Student–Professor Research Projects

From day one at Emporia State, students have the opportunity to work alongside professors to conduct research.

During the 2016-17 winter break, nine students at Emporia State worked with the Wyoming Game & Fish to tag mule deer as a part of ongoing research, providing the students with resume-worthy experiences.

Every other year, students also dip their toes in the water of the Bahamas while conducting research in the Tropical Field Ecology Course. Students conduct research for 10 days at a field station run by the Bahamian government on the San Salvador Islands, all while learning about 200 marine life species, corals, and sea turtles.

During spring break 2017, students experienced the Santa Fe Trail firsthand through a high-impact class called “Footpaths Through Mexico: Immigration Then and Now.” The course took students on a six-day road trip from Council Grove, Kansas, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, giving them a look at living history.

Career Services

ESU’s Career Services department helps students with a variety of aspects of starting a career including internships, employment, applying to graduate or professional school, or deciding on a major.

Job Placement

ESU students graduating from the class of 2016 reported a 98 percent placement rate in either a job or continued education.



1,702 total applicants
1,488 total admissions
665 total freshman enrollment

87.43% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2018-19 Admission

Rolling admission? No

Closing date: May 1

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Class rank
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores


Application Essay
Extracurricular activities

Freshman Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 490 540
SAT Math 420 490
SAT Writing    
ACT Composite 19 25
ACT Math 18 25
ACT English 18 25
ACT Writing    





In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $4,893 $18,106
Fees $1,286 $1,286
Total $6,179 $19,392
Room and Board (on campus) $8,391 $8,391
Room Only $4,836 $4,836
Board Only $3,555 $3,555
Estimated Total On Campus $14,570 $27,783


Scholarship Information

ESU invests in its students by offering many presidential academic and departmental scholarships to students both in the state of Kansas and non-Kansas residents. In fact, No. 1 bestselling author James Patterson funds 16 full-ride scholarships for Emporia State elementary and secondary education majors.