Mary Baldwin University
Experience the big rewards of a small university. At Mary Baldwin University, students find the skills and the inspiration to become the architects of their lives. Resilient. Confident in their strengths. Ready for a lifetime of taking charge. Mary Baldwin students experience the proven advantages of a close-knit women’s college combined with the opportunities and access of a multifaceted, coed university, preparing them to lead both on the job and around the world.
A belief in student potential and in the transformative power of the liberal arts and sciences has guided the school since its founding as Augusta Female Seminary in 1842. The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes Mary Baldwin as one of the top service-oriented institutions in the nation.
The Mary Baldwin College for Women operates on the historic main campus in Staunton, Virginia, where the co-educational graduate program in Shakespeare studies also resides. The College of Education and Baldwin Online and Adult Programs serve men and women online, on campus, and at locations throughout the state. Master’s and doctoral programs in the health sciences debuted in 2014 in a state-of-the-art facility on a branch campus in nearby Fishersville, Virginia.
Get to know Mary Baldwin University
- Choral groups
- International Student Organization
- Literary magazine
- Marching band
- Music ensembles
- Musical theatre
- Student government
- First-Year Seminars and Experiences
- Common Intellectual Experiences
- Learning Communities
- Writing-Intensive Courses
- Collaborative Assignments and Projects
- Undergraduate Research
- Diversity/Global Learning
- Service-Learning, Community-Based Learning
- Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience
- Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership
- Career Services
- Writing Center
- Library Services
- Multicultural Engagement Center
- Academic Tutors
- Financial Aid Advisors
- Student Success Initiative
- Peer Mentors
- Gender & Sexuality Center
Learning and doing go hand in hand at Mary Baldwin—a combination that develops engaged citizens of the world. Never has experiential learning been more important for young women looking to make their mark. Mary Baldwin students are empowered to be the architects of their lives with the broad foundation of a core liberal arts education and the in-depth knowledge of an academic major of their choice.
With nearly 570 leadership positions available on campus—from the 80-year-old Student Government Association to Amnesty International to the Mary Baldwin Performing Dance Group—every student can find a role that fits her personality and ambition.
“My piece of advice to you when you first come here to Mary Baldwin is to know that you have power. I immediately got involved. I joined Quest, I went to Senate every week, I even created an advocacy group with one of my friends. Whatever you envision you can put into fruition here at Mary Baldwin.” – Qadira Muhammad ‘20, SGA president
Each year, a theme is chosen to unite the Mary Baldwin community around a central idea that fosters civic and global engagement. The theme gives definition to the academic year and provides a way to link together the work of students, faculty, and staff from all disciplines and programs. Past years’ themes have included Courage, Place, Power, Heart, Maps, and Moment. And in 2016-17, the theme was Identity. Students in all undergraduate and graduate programs were invited to write an essay or produce a creative piece (e.g. original musical composition, drawing, sculpture, video, poem, performance) that addressed the theme and its relation to civic engagement in a global context. Essays and creative works ranged from academic inquiry to personal reflections to advocacy positions.
Mary Baldwin is committed to providing international experiences as a vital part of a personally transforming education. All students—regardless of their academic major or language ability—are encouraged to travel, study, or volunteer overseas. College is the ideal time for students to gain the cross-cultural competence they need to become active participants in our increasingly interdependent world. Short-term trips organized and led by full-time Mary Baldwin faculty during May Term are open to all students. Or, students can study or volunteer abroad for a summer, a semester, or a year.
The Mary Baldwin College for Women offers an exceptionally diverse and welcoming learning community, providing proven educational benefits to all while providing an optimal learning environment for non-majority students.
Mary Baldwin’s emphasis on undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activity represents its commitment to developing students who not only know, but, more importantly, do. From field to studio, from library to laboratory, from far-away places to right next door, Mary Baldwin students know there are multiple ways to find the answer. Whether investigating medieval frescos in an Italian cathedral or collecting feather and blood samples from songbirds to quantify differences in parasite loads, excellence in research, scholarship, and creative activity is their goal. The university’s distinctive major programs allow seniors to carry out original research or creative projects in collaboration with faculty mentors, ensuring the chance for hands-on experience that provides substance to their curiosity.
The number of sections of each class size.
2-9: 67 | 10-19: 92 | 20-29: 55
30-39: 27 | 40-49: 4 | 50-99: 2 | 100+: 0
ENROLLMENT BY ETHNICITY
Nonresident aliens: 1%
Black or African American, non-Hispanic: 24%
White, non-Hispanic: 53%
American Indian or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic: 1%
Asian, non-Hispanic: 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic: 1%
Two or more races, non-Hispanic: 5%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown: 5%
“My experience at MBU prepared me for my career and taught me the meaning of community. Starting with the first conversation I had with MBU, I felt like a valued member. My professors and advisors listened to my story and supported me along the path to achieving my goals. They believed in me from the beginning.” – Donté Montague ’15, award-winning teacher
Academic life at Mary Baldwin connects small, lively classes with hands-on learning in internships, service projects, original research, trips abroad, on-campus jobs, and more.
A 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio means that students have real conversations with professors who are experts in their fields and, often, active researchers. MBU also boasts small class sizes (the average is 17 students) with plenty of personal attention. Guidance from a faculty advisor ensures an individual plan for each student that not only meets graduation requirements, but also builds important skills in preparation for life and career goals.
Distinctive majors and a network of peer, faculty, and staff mentors are trademarks of the Mary Baldwin academic experience. Undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs are organized into four colleges: the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Business & Professional Studies, the College of Education, and the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences.
All first-year residential students get to be involved in a Leadership Gateway, which proves to be the key to unlocking the full potential of their student experience. Each gateway includes a focus in career preparation as well as the exploration of a topic of interest such as leadership, healthy lifestyles, cultural identity, and academic achievement. Gateways help new students make connections with students, faculty, and staff who share their interests and passions.
SPECIAL STUDY OPTIONS
Programs available at this institution.
Exchange student program (domestic)
Teacher certification program
Most Mary Baldwin students live, eat, work, and play right on the beautiful 54-acre campus overlooking Staunton, Virginia’s vibrant downtown. On campus, students are involved in more than 40 student-led clubs and organizations, including student government, theater, athletics, and academic honor societies. Just a few steps away, the city brims with eclectic personality and plenty of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
More than half of MBU’s residential undergraduates are ethnic minorities, which means that holiday celebrations include not only Christmas, but also Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Hanukkah, and other events. Students of all backgrounds take part in Caribbean Carnival festivities, participate in Black History Month activities, and engage in student groups such as Black Student Alliance, Latinas Unidas, and Anointed Voices of Praise. The Office of Inclusive Excellence gives holistic support to students of color: monitoring their progress, advising minority student organizations, promoting positive community relations, and representing their concerns.
The Quest program advances spiritual growth through community service, academic course work, discussion, and co-curricular activities. Quest connects people of different backgrounds and faiths in an open, honest, and respectful environment known as the Interfaith Village.
As a multiple-year winner of the USA South Atlantic Conference sportsmanship trophy with nearly two dozen athletes named to the conference all-academic team in 2015-16, Mary Baldwin emphasizes excelling as a well-rounded athlete. The college offers NCAA Division III teams in basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball, as well as myriad club and intramural teams.
Established in 1985, the unique Program for the Exceptionally Gifted (PEG) offers girls as young as 13 the opportunity to bypass all or some of their high school grades to pursue an undergraduate degree. PEG students attend classes, hold leadership positions on campus, and participate in college events with traditional-age students.
The Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL) is another one-of-a-kind program at Mary Baldwin. Through rigorous academics, physical training, military leadership training, and broad-based leadership development, VWIL students become part of the corps of cadets, the only all-female cadet corps in the nation. VWIL students take additional courses and participate in extra co-curricular activities and wear their signature green and white uniform three or four days a week. This program is affiliated with the nearby Virginia Military Institute, and women in the program earn a minor in leadership studies.
New special living/learning opportunities include the Education Leaders and Murphy Deming Scholars programs, which offer fast-track degrees in education and health sciences, respectively. Each program includes academic and co-curricular components designed to offer a unique, holistic experience. More targeted student cohorts are in development.
A COLLEGE WITHIN A COMMUNITY
Downtown Staunton—just a short walk from campus—offers students live music, a movie theater, art galleries, coffee houses, restaurants for all budgets, and retail shopping. Staunton is also home to the world’s only recreation of Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Playhouse and the birthplace and library of former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. Five historic districts combine with modern facilities to make Staunton a destination for filmmakers, festivals, conferences, and visitors from around the world.
Located between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains in western Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley is filled with opportunities for camping, backpacking, hiking, skiing, whitewater kayaking, and biking (both on- and off-road). It’s also a perfect setting for studying birds, wildflowers, stream biology, and ecology.
Staunton, Virginia—Located on 54 beautiful (and hilly) acres overlooking downtown; 45 minutes from Charlottesville Regional Airport.
NCAA Division III, USA South Atlantic Conference. Seven varsity sports: basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Club and intramural sports include baseball (to be a varsity sport in 2021), dance, fencing, field hockey, riding, swimming, cheerleading, and others can be organized at students’ request.
Percent of students living on campus.
First-time, first-year (freshman) students: 93%
Campus housing options.
Special housing for international students
“The courses at MBU challenged me to think critically and apply the material that I learned to my everyday work. I have gained knowledge and confidence that will not only help me in my field, but also in my life.” – Tatiana A. Bryant ’19, Behavior Support Clinician
The Mary Baldwin family is filled with people who take risks, care for the world, and create solutions. Mary Baldwin alumnAE have gone on to become high-ranking officials in the military, work in the White House, and establish international humanitarian organizations. A few Program for the Exceptionally Gifted graduates have set records as the youngest students at the nation’s most prestigious graduate schools.
Mary Baldwin is consistently recognized by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll as one of the top service-oriented institutions in the nation for its commitment to connecting with local and global communities. MBU students volunteer at schools, churches, food banks, homeless shelters, child care centers, and many other local nonprofits and social service organizations. Internationally, they have worked in schools, assisted underprivileged children, and helped rebuild communities in India, Nepal, El Salvador, and Belgium, just to name a few.
In their senior year, all undergraduate students complete a capstone project—a research project or creative work that is a culmination of their studies. For studio art majors, this could mean exhibiting paintings the campus gallery. For science majors, the project may involve investigating endocrine-disrupting compounds in waterways. Students and faculty often present their capstone projects at conferences around the country and sometimes even abroad, a rare opportunity for undergraduates.
Throughout their tenure, students are encouraged to take on meaningful campus jobs and internships in the surrounding community help build their resumés while continuing to learn.
Says one alumna, “My social work internship ended up being the answer to my questions about the future. I am reminded of the value of my education every time I meet with a patient or family. I am confident in my ability to serve them.”
The innovative offerings at Mary Baldwin provide graduates with many paths to achievement as well as preparation for the real world. Through the College to Career model, students begin integrating life and career planning into their education right away. They focus on networking and preparing for work or post-graduate education in their sophomore, junior, and senior years. The Rosemarie Sena Center for Career Development is dedicated to helping students transition successfully from college to career. Staff members provide career-related assessment, occupational/vocational exploration, decision-making skills development, and job search and/or graduate school assistance. The Vantage Point will soon provide a centrally located home for student life offices, vocational and graduate school planning, civic and global engagement services, and professional development resources.
BEYOND THE PAYCHECK
An overwhelming majority of alumnae are employed or enrolled in graduate school within one year of graduation; over the long term, 33% earn graduate degrees, more than half engage in volunteer service, and nearly 50% hold work or volunteer leadership positions.
Ninety-four percent of Mary Baldwin alumnae rate the quality of their education as excellent or good, and the majority report that they were better prepared for challenges after college than their peers who went to coeducational schools.Graduates have made their mark on career fields from education to advertising, from laboratory research to international banking, and from politics to art.
One alumna says, “I would never have been appointed by the president to work in the West Wing of the White House at age of 23 if it had not been for Mary Baldwin. My political science professors were always challenging me to do better, while still praising me for the accomplishments I had achieved.”
Another explains, “I have come to realize just how rigorous the instruction I received was. I am thankful daily not only for the personal lessons and support I received as a student, but also for the high expectations that faculty and staff set for me.”
Rigor of secondary school record | Academic GPA
Standardized test scores | Character/personal qualities
Class rank | Application Essay | Recommendation(s) | Interview
Extracurricular activities | Talent/ability | First generation | Alumni/ae relation
Volunteer work | Work experience | Level of applicant’s interest
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
25th Percentile: 490 | 75th Percentile: 590
25th Percentile: 460 | 75th Percentile: 540
25th Percentile: 18 | 75th Percentile: 24
25th Percentile: 17 | 75th Percentile: 23
25th Percentile: 17 | 75th Percentile: 25
What Others are Saying
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