Illinois Wesleyan University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Illinois Wesleyan University
"With impressive new facilities like The Ames Library and innovative academic programs like the...

Illinois Wesleyan University

Bloomington, Illinois

Where the multitalented go to learn.

This is a true renaissance university at which students are encouraged to explore all of their interests. Double majors in diverse subjects like physics and music are common. Students have a host of compelling opportunities to enrich their education with off-campus experiences that might involve spending a year at Pembroke College/Oxford University or perhaps a semester in Washington D.C. through American University.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
1,842 undergraduate students
99% of undergrad students are full time
44% male — 56% female
14% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
159 full-time faculty
63 part-time faculty
11 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

72% of students live on campus.

School Location

The twin cities of Bloomington/Normal, which have a combined population of over 125,000, and are about 130 miles from Chicago, 165 miles from Indianapolis, and 160 miles from St. Louis.

Retention Fall 2015

93% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

83% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 9%
Hispanic/Latino 7%
Black or African American 4%
White 71%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 4%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 3%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 2%


NCAA Division III CCIW Conference; 18 varsity sports teams (9 men’s; baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, and track & field; 9 women’s; basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field, and volleyball).

Other Information

Illinois Wesleyan University is an independent, co-educational, undergraduate university.

Academic Programs

Accounting, Anthropology, Art, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Educational Studies (elementary and secondary), English (literature or writing), Environmental Studies, French, German, Hispanic Studies, History, International Business, International Studies, Mathematics, Music, Music Theatre, Nursing, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Risk Management, Sociology, Theatre Arts (performance and design technology), Women’s Studies.

More Distinctions

  • President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll annually since 2006 -  the only liberal arts college in Illinois to be honored each year the award has been presented.

  • 2012 Washington Monthly ranked Illinois College fifth in the nation for number of hours per student spent in service. Illinois College was also named a top 100 liberal arts school in the nation in the same year.

  • Named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.

  • Ten NCAA Division III track and field national championships in the last four years.

Students are encouraged to actively explore all that the University has to offer both in terms of academics and extracurricular activities. Students in a portfolio management class actually manage part of the University’s endowment, and student research is celebrated every year at a student research conference…

A place where you can do it all

IWU offers a balanced liberal arts education, which fosters the success of its multitalented student population and provides students with the diverse experiences needed to prepare them for a global society.

Undergraduate Research

As a solely undergraduate community, IWU dedicates all of its resources and unique opportunities to its 2,100 undergraduate students. Many students choose to conduct research in their fields and are supported by the annual John Wesley Powell Research Conference held on campus. 2011, over 130 students participated in the conference. Presentations traditionally deal in a wide range of subjects, from the natural and social sciences to areas such as music composition, international studies, history, and more.

Study Abroad

IWU students often complement their education with a study abroad experience. Students can take advantage of nearly 300 semester- and year-long programs in over 75 countries or participate in month-long study abroad courses offered during the distinctive May Term portion of the 4-4-1 academic calendar. IWU is also one of 12 schools nationwide to have an exchange program with Oxford University.

Off-Campus Study

The community surrounding Illinois Wesleyan offers distinctive opportunities for students who look to supplement their classroom experiences with off-campus learning experiences. The best example of this is the Action Research Center, which coordinates research projects undertaken by Illinois Wesleyan University students, faculty, and staff in partnership with groups in the larger central Illinois community. Current projects include work on McLean County’s ten-year plan to end homelessness, a tutoring and mentoring program, and work with the Ecology Action Center to reduce pesticide use.

The University encourages academic innovation by allowing faculty members to experiment with new material and techniques, by teaching experimental courses, and by providing highly flexible, topical courses…

Active and Innovative

All of Illinois Wesleyan’s courses are taught by professors, and 92 percent of the faculty members hold terminal degrees in their fields. Through the faculty advising program, every student has a faculty advisor during their entire four-year college career. With a student to faculty ratio of eleven to one and an average class size of 17, faculty members are drawn to IWU by the one-on-one interaction that students themselves are seeking.

Gateway Colloquium Course

Relationships with professors are developed early with the help of the distinctive Gateway colloquium course, a small, discussion-oriented course designed to develop first-year students’ proficiency in writing academic and public discourse. This course is capped at 15 students.

Small Communities

Every professor holds at least five office hours each week, but this is just one example of the accessibility of faculty. Faculty members actively seek out students for participation in independent studies and research projects. While the traditional semesters afford opportunities for these types of endeavors, the May Term is often utilized for these experiences as well.

Most classes at IWU are small, personal, and discussion-based. In fact, only six students need to register for a course in order for the course to be taught. There are exceptions to this rule, and courses with as few as two students have taken place.

Research Grants

Dr. Narendra Jaggi, professor of physics, was recently named Illinois Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. IWU faculty members consistently receive grants to help them continue and expand upon their work and research. Recently, grants have been awarded in areas such as music composition, green chemistry, and nursing.

Majors in the College of Liberal Arts

Accounting, Anthropology, Art, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Educational Studies (elementary and secondary), English (literature or writing), Environmental Studies, French, German, Hispanic Studies, History, International Business, International Studies, Mathematics, Music, Music Theatre, Nursing, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Risk Management, Sociology, Theatre Arts (performance and design technology), Women’s Studies.

Pre-Professional Programs

Pre-Dental, Pre-Engineering, Pre-Forestry, Pre-Law, Pre-Medical, Pre-Occupational Therapy, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Veterinarian.

Big-name speakers and performers, great sports, 165 student clubs and organizations, fantastic facilities, and a host of other activities and opportunities make for a thriving campus community…

Something for Everyone

IWU has an 80-acre campus located in suburban Bloomington-Normal, Illinois about two hours south of Chicago and within three hours of St. Louis and Indianapolis. Bloomington-Normal is one of the fastest-growing communities in Illinois, with a population of 125,000 permanent residents. With Illinois State University located eight blocks north of IWU’s campus, there are roughly 24,000 college students in town nine months of the year. With two universities so closely situated, Bloomington-Normal thrives as a college town, replete with numerous restaurants, coffee shops, an indoor and outdoor mall, movie theaters, and a diversity of entertainment. The local media pay close attention to IWU sports and campus events, and the University is a centerpiece of this central Illinois community.

Greek Life

On campus, the school’s 10 Greek fraternities and sororities account for 30 percent of the campus population, providing a balance between Greek life and independent life. With a diverse student body, professional schools of music and theatre, 18 successful NCAA Division III sports teams, an active and engaged Student Senate, and a residential campus with over 75 percent of the students living on campus, students are never lacking for things to do beyond academics.

Guest Speakers

In recent years, entertainers and guest lecturers have included Maya Angelou, Ben Folds, Kurt Vonnegut, Cornell West, Gavin DeGraw, Angela Davis, Dr. James Watson, John Updike, Magic Johnson, Mat Kearney, Dmitri Martin, and many others.

The Career Center works with students throughout their time at IWU to help them find a rewarding career and enriching internships that match their academic interests…

Education for a Changing World

In a typical year, about 35 percent of IWU graduates will pursue an advanced degree, whether at graduate school, medical school, law school, or other type of institution. Recently, IWU graduates have attended institutions such as: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, Georgetown, Duke, Oxford, Stanford, and Emory universities.

IWU graduates benefit from the school’s diverse, flexible liberal arts curricula, and about 20 percent of each year’s graduates complete a double major. Students also benefit from a diverse student body—IWU’s diversity enrollment has increased by 50 percent over the last ten years.

IWU boasts a medical school acceptance rate nearly twice the national average—the acceptance rate typically hovers around 90 percent. Challenging, fast-paced courses, research and internship/externship opportunities, and small classes and labs all play a role in preparing students for the MCAT and medical school.

Overall, IWU has a 92 percent employment placement rate. IWU’s School of Nursing has a 100 percent employment placement rate, and the Music Education program has placed all of its graduates into the teaching profession over the last eight years. Also, in two of the past three years, IWU accounting students had the highest CPA pass rate in the state of Illinois.

Famous Illinois Wesleyan alumni include:

  • Executive assistant director of the FBI Mike Mason;
  • Former vice president Adlai Stevenson
  • Three-time Grammy winner Dawn Upshaw;
  • Seven-time NBA All-Star Jack Sikma
  • State Farm CEO Ed Rust


Admissions Fall 2015

3,744 Total Applicants 
2,318 Total Admissions 
450 Total Freshman Enrollment

61.91% of applicants admitted

Freshman Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 540 640
SAT Math 640 730
SAT Writing 540 670
ACT Composite 25 30
ACT Math 25 29
ACT English 25 32
ACT Writing    




Tuition $42,290
Fees $200
Total $42,490
Room and Board (on campus) $9,796
Room Only $6,134
Board Only $3,662
Estimated Total On Campus $52,286


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

100% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
61% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$21,149 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$7,805 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates