Mary Baldwin University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Mary Baldwin University
"Mary Baldwin is where tomorrow’s leaders are empowered to connect ideas with action, becoming...

Mary Baldwin University

Staunton, Virginia

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 – home to about 700 undergraduate students – 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.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
1,265 undergraduate students
71% of undergrad students are full time
4% male — 96% female
51% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
95 full-time faculty
118 part-time faculty
11 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
96% of first year students live on campus
65% of all students live on campus

School Location

Staunton, Virginia — Located on 54 beautiful (and hilly) acres overlooking downtown; 45 minutes from Charlottesville Regional Airport.

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

Retention Fall 2015

64% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2015

37% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 1%
Hispanic/Latino 6%
Black or African American 23%
White 58%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 4%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 5%


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 dance, fencing, field hockey, riding, swimming, cheerleading, and others can be organized at students’ request.

Other Information

Mary Baldwin is a small, co-educational university with a residential women’s college at its core (the Mary Baldwin College for Women). Founded in 1842 as Augusta Female Seminary, the institution officially changed its name to Mary Baldwin University on August 31 to reflect its growing range of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral offerings.

Academic Programs

Majors: Bachelor of Arts (BA): American Studies, Anthropology/Sociology, Applied Mathematics, Art History, Arts Management, Asian Studies, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Clinical Laboratory Science, Criminal Justice, Economics, English, Health Care Administration, History, Independent (Individually Designed), International Economics and Business, International Affairs, International Economics and Business, Latin American Literatures and Cultures, Liberal Arts and Educational Studies, Marketing and Communication, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Physics, Policy Analysis, Political Science, Psychology, Psychology/Sociology, Renaissance Studies, Social Work, Sociology, Studio Art, Theatre.

Bachelor of Science (BS): Applied Mathematics, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Economics, Mathematics, Physics, Policy Analysis, , Psychology.

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW): Social Work.

Concentrations/Emphasis: Acting/Directing, American Ethnicity, Culture, and Race, American Studies for Educators, Arts Management/Theater, Arts Management/Art, Arts Management/Music, Business/Accounting , Business/Human Resource Management, Business/Management, Business/Marketing, Business/Sustainability, Business/Women’s Leadership, Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Business/Entrepreneurship, Child Psychology, Drawing, Early Education, Elder Care, Environmental Chemistry, Extended Media, Film, Film Production, Film Studies, Forensic Psychology, Graphic Design, Leadership/Community and Social Change, Leadership/Business, Materials Chemistry, Mental Health Work, Middle Education, Military Leadership, Music Education, Music Literature and History, Music Performance, Personnel Work, Painting, Piano, Printmaking, Photography, Physical/Occupational Therapy, Public Health, Science Education, Theatre History/Literature, Theatre Practice, Voice

Dual-Degree Programs: BA/MAT (Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Teaching), BA/MEd (Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education), BA/MLitt (BA in Theater and Master of Letters in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance).

Professional School Preparation: Pre-Occupational Therapy, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Physician Assistant, Pre-Law, Pre-Medicine.

Certificates: American Studies, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Entrepreneurship, Environment-Based Learning, Health Care Management, Human Resource Management, Leadership Studies, Long-Term Care Administration, Marketing Communication, Sustainable Business Management.

More Distinctions

  • Virginia Women's Institute for Leadership is the only all-female corps of cadets in the country.

  • The school's Program for the Exceptionally Gifted is a residential program for girls as young as 13.

  • Accredited by Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

  • Accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

  • Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

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.

Common Intellectual Experiences

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. The theme for 2016–17 is Identity. Students in all undergraduate and graduate programs are invited to write an essay or produce a creative piece (e.g. original musical composition, drawing, sculpture, video, poem, performance) that addresses the theme and its relation to civic engagement in a global context. Essays and creative works range from academic inquiry to personal reflections to advocacy positions.

Diversity/Global Learning

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.

undergraduate research

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.

Activities Offered

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

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.

An 11:1 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.

Outstanding Programs

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.

Undergraduates enroll in either the residential Mary Baldwin College for Women or the coed, non-residential Baldwin Online and Adult Programs, which offers 11 majors through online or hybrid delivery. A new major designed specifically for future educators, liberal arts and educational studies, was introduced in 2014 to complement the college’s most popular minor, education, which often leads to teacher licensure.

Mary Baldwin’s 5-year advanced degree tracks highlight the practical benefits of the institution’s programmatic innovation and connections with other prestigious universities. Students can combine a Bachelor of Arts degree with a Master of Arts in Teaching (BA/MAT) or with a Master of Education (BA/MEd), or a Bachelor of Arts in theatre with a Master of Letters in Shakespeare and Performance in the BA/MLitt program. A Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Mary Baldwin can be combined with a Master of Science from nearby University of Virginia in engineering or applied mathematics.

Mary Baldwin also offers the only fully endowed undergraduate Health Care Administration (HCA) program in the country. In addition to five generous scholarships for HCA students, the endowment supports a speaker series open to the campus and community.

First-Year Seminars and Experiences

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.

Common Core

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


Other: civic engagement

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 53 91 54 16 0 1 0 215

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.

Learning Communities

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.

Campus Housing Options for Undergraduates

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


Other: Living/learning communities for students who are ethnic minorities and those who support them; special housing for students who are sexual minorities and those who support them

The Mary Baldwin family is filled with people who take risks, care for the world, and create solutions. Mary Baldwin alumni 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.

Service Learning, Community-Based Learning

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 non-profits 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.

Capstone Projects

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 alumni 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 alumni 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.”


Admissions Fall 2015

5,407 Total Applicants
2,693 Total Admissions
176 Total Freshmen Enrollment

49.81% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling admission? Yes 

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores

Application Essay
Character/personal qualities

Rigor of secondary school record
Class rank
Extracurricular Activites
First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Volunteer work
Work experience
Level of applicant’s interest

Freshmen Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 440 600
SAT Math 420 540
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 19 25
ACT Math    
ACT English    
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator 


Tuition $29,940
Fees $391
Total $30,331
Room and Board (on campus) $9,000
Estimated Total On Campus $39,331


Average Financial Aid Packages 2015-16: Estimated

$25,054 First year students
$17,990 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2015-16: Estimated

70% on average, the percentage of need that was met
13% of financial need students that had need fully met

$17,990 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,196 Average need-based loan

Financial Aid Continued

More than 95 percent of Mary Baldwin College for Women students receive financial aid packages including scholarships, grants, loans, and work study. Financial aid experts will create an aid package that may include:

Scholarships: Merit awards of up to $20,000 are available to new students.

Federal Grants: Grants are based on need — more students are eligible for assistance than ever before.

State Grants: If you are a Virginia resident you may be eligible for a grant of approximately $3,000. The state will advise colleges of the exact amount during the academic year.

ROTC scholarships: If you are in the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL), one of Mary Baldwin’s leadership gateways, you may apply for a ROTC scholarship as a high school senior or after your enrollment at MBC.

Work-study: Jobs at Mary Baldwin College are designed to help you build your career while earning additional money. The college’s “Changemakers” initiative offers gratifying community service jobs.

Loans: A variety of low-interest loans are available. MBC’s financial aid office will help determine which are right for you.

Nurses Join Pioneering Health Sciences Program

Just two months into the new academic year at Mary Baldwin’s Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, the school is welcoming a new group of students — nurses seeking bachelor’s degrees — into the charter...

Board of Trustees Votes Yes on University

The Mary Baldwin College Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to change the name of the institution to Mary Baldwin University starting August 31, 2016. In addition, the component of the institution currently known as...

Alum to Graduates: Keep ‘Eyes Wide Open’

The threat of rain did not dampen the joy of graduates at Mary Baldwin College’s 173rd Commencement exercises Sunday morning on Page Terrace. In fact, the sun made an appearance during the ceremony, mimicking the...

Health Care Course in Haiti Taking Shape

It will still be another year before Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences professor Kai Kennedy takes graduate students to Haiti, but her new elective course is coming to fruition. “It was important for me...

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