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Houghton College
Houghton College is a nationally ranked, Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences...

Houghton College

Houghton, New York

Houghton College provides an experiential and transformative learning experience within a close-knit, highly-relational Christian community. Named one of the safest college campuses in the country, Houghton enrolls 1000+ diverse and deeply curious students from 39 states, 31 countries, and 30 different Christian denominations. Located in rural Western NY, Houghton’s scenic location fosters deep reflection, close connections with people and with nature; and is an ideal environment for focusing on what truly matters. With over 40 majors and programs and a newly designed general education curriculum, a Houghton education prepares students to meet the challenges of the 21st century. As a Christian learning community in the Wesleyan tradition, Houghton equips students to lead and labor as scholar-servants in a changing world.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
1,007 undergraduate students
99% of undergrad students are full time
35% male — 65% female
38.21% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
75 full-time faculty
53 part-time faculty
11 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
90% of first year students live on campus
85% of all students live on campus

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 X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X


87% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)


Nonresident aliens 9%
Hispanic/Latino 2%
Black or African American 2%
White 79%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 4%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 3%


Since 1967, the Houghton College Highlanders have had a proud tradition of excellence in intercollegiate athletics. As a member of the NCAA Division III, Houghton competes in the Empire 8 Conference and offers 18 intercollegiate teams:

  • Basketball (M/W)
  • Soccer (M/W)
  • Indoor Track and Field (M/W)
  • Outdoor Track and Field (M/W)
  • Tennis (M/W)
  • Lacrosse (M/W)
  • Cross Country (M/W)
  • Baseball (M)
  • Softball (W)
  • Field Hockey (W)
  • Volleyball (W)


The Houghton College mascot is a rampant lion, and school colors are purple and gold.

More Distinctions

  • Houghton’s Summer Research Institute was named one of the top 50 Best College Summer Programs in the nation by Best College Reviews in 2016 with a ranking of 39, joining Ivy League schools such as Columbia and Yale.

General Education

Houghton’s recently updated and innovative general education curriculum was designed around the college’s mission statement: to provide an academically challenging, Christ-centered education in the liberal arts and sciences to students from diverse traditions and economic backgrounds and equips them to lead and labor as scholar-servants in a changing world.

Students’ overall experience in college is a blend of general education courses and more specialized training in their majors. Houghton’s general education curriculum requires:

  1. Christ-centered education: foundational coursework and ongoing exploration in Biblical and Theological studies.
  2. Academic rigor: core courses in mathematics, the natural sciences, and the humanities as well as an exploration in the social sciences and the arts.
  3. Equipping to lead and labor as scholar-servants: training in how to work together in a learning community and preparation for lifelong wellness.
  4. Preparation to engage a changing world: courses and experiences that teach skills for cross-cultural interaction and understanding.

Summer Research Institute

Houghton College is well-known for providing quality education in science and math. The Summer Research Institute brings together motivated physics, chemistry, biology, math and computer science students into a more intense research environment. The Institute allows students to interact with faculty in a much more collaborative sense than a typical classroom setting.

Off campus studies

50% of Houghton students experience real-world learning by studying off campus before they graduate. With so many options available, here is just a small sampling of some of Houghton’s most recent offerings:

  • Live in Rwanda, Africa, for a semester, learning about community development and reconciliation in the wake of the 1993 genocide.
  • Experience Thailand for a semester in Southeast Asia to learn about social justice issues like human trafficking.
  • See the beautiful wildlife and diverse cultures of Tanzania for a semester while learning about the history, anthropology, and environment of the region.
  • Take a 3-week mayterm class abroad in Central America, South America, or Europe.
  • Spend a semester in Alaska studying ecosystems, global climate change, land management of natural resources, and wilderness recreation


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  
Model UN  
Music ensembles X
Musical theater X
Opera X
Pep band  
Radio station  
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society X
Symphony orchestra X
Television station  
Yearbook X

Center for Faith, Justice, and Global Engagement

The Center for Faith, Justice, and Global Engagement is the face of Houghton’s long-standing commitment to address social and economic needs, both locally and globally. The Center’s annual symposium provides a forum for students to interact with world-renowned speakers, all of whom travel to Houghton to introduce different perspectives around a single, core issue. Together, students and speakers use their areas of expertise to collaborate and discuss such issues as hunger and extreme poverty, human trafficking, and climate change.

Honors Programs

For over 20 years, Houghton has offered truly innovative and immersive honors programs for top students. These honors experiences are all co-taught, very intense, and complemented by significant experiential components. Houghton’s idea is to take entering students with a lot of ability and curiosity and give them a radically developmental experience—an experience that provides challenges that are only initially beyond them.

London Honors Program: Students accepted into London Honors spend the spring semester of their first year abroad in London reading great texts, studying art and architecture, and interacting with a city that draws from every corner of the globe.

East Meets West Honors: East Meets West Honors traces the roots of the deep cultural divide between the Islamic and Orthodox East and the Protestant and Catholic West. During the program, students explore the eastern Mediterranean and the Balkan Peninsula, a notable area in which these cultures meet and mix.

Science Honors: In Science Honors, students begin their college careers with an integrated, hands-on research experience, focusing on a pressing, real-world problem.

Writing enriched courses

All Houghton, students receive writing instruction through a set of foundational coursework in college-level writing as well as in other designated courses that require at least 20 pages of writing (including shorter papers that collectively add up to 20 pages). Since writing is essential in so many vocations, all students, no matter their majors, have at least three opportunities to receive writing feedback so that they may learn to improve their composition skills.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages X
History X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Philosophy 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 83 127 52 22 9 4 0 297

Spiritual Life on Campus

Houghton students remain refreshed and motivated, uninhibited by the rigorous challenges that come with college. Routine is reinforced by the invigorating rhythms of Christian community.

With grounding, campus-wide chapel services, as well as welcoming prayer services throughout the week, Houghton integrates faith, academics, and community. Spiritual formation is ingrained in the everyday Houghton lifestyle, connecting every interaction to God’s presence.

While much of the college’s Christian rhythms are supported by Houghton’s faculty, spiritual growth is ultimately driven by the active contributions of the students themselves. Students are welcome and encouraged to participate in chapel, lead devotionals, and travel all throughout the world in missionary groups. Other opportunities to nurse Houghton’s spiritual health include the student-led “Mercy Seat” worship service every weeknight and the student-leader “Deacons Program.”

The Kerr-Pegula Athletic Cmplex

The Kerr-Pegula Athletic Complex, opened in October 2014, includes baseball and softball stadiums, a multisport field, and a fieldhouse with indoor track and tennis courts. Initial funding for the complex was provided by Terry and Kim (Kerr ’91) Pegula, owners of the Buffalo Sabres professional hockey team and the Buffalo Bills professional football team.


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

Vocation and Career

A Houghton education is about preparing graduates for the fast-paced and ever-changing world of work. Work is not thought primarily in terms of “career,” but of “calling.” Houghton’s Vocational Opportunities and Career Advising (VOCA) Center provides the resources and guidance that students need to integrate God’s calling with their individual interests and goals. With the help of everything from alumni networking to career assessment, every student is able to find the way they may best serve in this changing world.

More than just a career services office, the VOCA Center provides a unique approach to vocational and career planning by engaging with students throughout their first year of college, walking them through individually customized and comprehensive career development plans that are available beyond graduation. Students benefit from trained mentors and counselors who help them answer important questions like:

  • “How am I uniquely designed?”
  • “What am I deeply passionate about?”
  • “What is my purpose here on earth?”


Once they have identified career areas of interest, VOCA connects them with job shadow and internship opportunities. Students are prepared for their next step after graduation by learning how to network, write resumes, conduct job searches, and effectively market themselves in interviews.



792 Total Applicants
743 Total Admissions
238 Total Freshmen Enrollment

93.81% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling admission? Yes

Priority date: Mar 1

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores
Religious affiliation/commitment

Class rank
Application Essay
Character/personal qualities

Extracurricular activities
First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Racial/ethnic status
Volunteer work
Work experience
Level of applicant’s interest

Freshmen Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 490 640
SAT Math 490 620
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 21.75 27
ACT Math 21 29.25
ACT English 21 28
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator



Tuition $31,040
Fees $200
Total $31,240
Room and Board (on campus) $9,018
Room Only $4,838
Board Only $4,180
Estimated Total On Campus $40,258


Average Financial Aid Packages 2014-15 final

$22,544 First year students
$11,583 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-15 final

52% on average, the percentage of need that was met
10% of financial need students that had need fully met

$11,583 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,558 Average need-based loan