McPherson College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
McPherson College
McPherson College is a diverse liberal arts community that inspires students through an entrepreneurial...

McPherson College

McPherson, Kansas

At McPherson College, students learn by doing. McPherson College applies an entrepreneurial mindset to education through initiatives like its entrepreneurial minor; design your own major; and its Horizon Fund Grants, micro-grants that support student ideas to solve problems in the world around them. Partnerships across campus, across the community, and across the country also make it possible for 90 percent of all McPherson College graduates to participate in at least one internship before graduation. Landing that first job often starts with a college internship, and 98 percent of McPherson College graduates find a job or post-grad placement within six months of graduation.


Developing the whole person through scholarship, participation, and service is the mission of McPherson College. It is accomplished by a team of faculty and staff members that have the time to engage each student. In the classroom, through advising, or attending the many student activities on campus, faculty and staff welcome students into a nurturing community. One of the best things about McPherson College is the remarkable ability for its students to get involved. Whether that be through campus organizations, activities, or career-focused experiences, McPherson College knows that being active in the community will lead to success after college.

Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
678 undergraduate students
97% of undergrad students are full time
66% male — 34% female
56.4% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-2017 Academic Year
44 full-time faculty
29 part-time faculty
13 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2016
96% of first-year students live on campus
75% of all students live on campus

School Location

McPherson College is located in McPherson, a community of 14,000 in central Kansas. It is less than one hour from Wichita, the state’s second largest city and where Eisenhower National Airport is located, and it is three hours from Kansas City.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences  
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


70% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2016

37% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 2%
Hispanic/Latino 12%
Black or African American 11%
White 68%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 3%


National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

15 Varsity Sports
Men: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Soccer, Tennis, Track & Field
Women: Basketball, Cheer & Dance, Cross Country, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball

Mascot: Bulldogs
Colors: Red

Other Information

McPherson College, founded in 1887, is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with the Church of the Brethren.

Academic Programs

Art* (Graphic Design, Graphic Design Photography, Graphic Design Marketing, Studio Art) Auto Restoration (Historic Automotive Technology, Automotive Restoration Management, Automotive Communication, Automotive Restoration Design, Automotive Restoration Technology) Biochemistry Biology* Business Administration (Accounting, Financial, Management, Marketing) Chemistry* Communication Elementary Education (Licensure in K-6, 6-12, PK-12, ESOL K-6, ESOL 6-12, Special Ed) English* Environmental Stewardship (Environmental Science minor) Digital Media (Communication, Visual Design) Health & Physical Education* (Sports Management) Health Science History* Politics and History Mathematics* Performing Arts* (Music, Theatre) Philosophy & Religion (Peace Studies minor) Psychology (Child Development, Health & Human Services) Sociology (Criminal Justice, Health & Human Services) Spanish* Transformative Entrepreneurship minor Pre-Professional Programs Law, Medicine/Osteopathy/ Dentistry, Physical Therapy/Physician Assistant, Nursing, Optometry/Podiatry, Pharmacy, Social Work, Veterinary Medicine * Teaching licensure available in these programs.

More Distinctions

  • 98 percent of McPherson College graduates are employed or attending graduate/professional school within six months of graduation. The national average is 80 percent.

  • McPherson College draws students from 41 different states and 39 different countries. In 2016 the college began a partnership with students from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  • Offers the only four-year bachelor degree in Automotive Restoration in the nation.

  • 90 percent of McPherson College graduates will have at least one internship experience before graduating.

  • In 2016-17, McPherson College celebrated 4 KCAC championships. Additionally, 97 student-athletes received KCAC Scholar-Athlete honors, 27 NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors, and 14 of 15 programs earned NAIA Scholar Team honors.

  • McPherson College has been continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1921. The Teacher Education program is certified by the Kansas State Department of Education and accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

  • The Automotive Restoration Program is the winner of the prestigious International Historic Motoring Award.

  • Top KCAC school in the U.S. News & World Report’s list of “Best Colleges – Regional, Midwest.”

  • Money Magazine listed McPherson College on its “Best Colleges for Your Money.”

  • For three years, McPherson College has been recognized by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of its “Great Colleges to Work For."


McPherson College believes that the classic concept of liberal arts is intimately tied to the modern idea of entrepreneurship, as concepts of entrepreneurship appear across curriculum, faculty practices, and student life. Students can choose the entrepreneurship minor to accompany any major, or apply for the Horizon Fund grants awarded two times throughout the year. The Horizon Fund awards mini-grants to help students explore or carry out an original entrepreneurial idea.


Internships play an integral role in a student’s development and learning experience. The Career Services office works closely with faculty and students to find opportunities that meet students’ needs and career ambitions. Ninety percent of all McPherson College students will have at least one internship experience before they graduate and many times their internships lead to full-time jobs. In recent years, McPherson College students have interned at the Peterson Automotive Museum in California, Koch Industries, with physicians and hospitals, at top graphic design firms, and nonprofit organizations.


Capstone experiences are available in every major, and senior research is a part of all science-related majors at McPherson College. The student research program was originally funded in 1981 by the National Science Foundation, and 100 percent of all science majors have completed a senior research project since 1983, distinguishing McPherson College’s program as one of the few and longest-running undergraduate research requirements in the country. Student research papers are published each year in an in-house scientific journal, “Cantaurus.”

Activities Offered

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

Hands-On Experiences

Entrepreneurial Faculty provide opportunities for real, hands-on participation and career-oriented experiences in and outside of the classroom. For example, investment classes get the chance to manage $300,000 of the college’s endowment. Students research trends and make decisions on how to invest these funds and then compare their results to those of the professional fund managers.

The unique automotive restoration program also delivers engaging curriculum to its students by expert craftsmen with an aim of competing to win at Pebble Beach.

Off-Campus Study

ETCH is a student-run marketing and graphic design firm created for students to work with clients on marketing projects. The agency is located in the downtown business district and provides valuable professional experience while also awarding class credit.

Study abroad opportunities exist across programs such as a three-week Interterm international business class in Australia, a May session class that will take students to South America to explore ecosystems of the Amazon River basin, or the Introduction to Performing Arts class that immerses students for a full week in the Broadway and New York City arts scene.

Students in the digital media major can also take classes taught by a professor with more than 20 years’ experience in London’s largest television production studio.


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


Other: Global/Intercultural Experience, Oral Communication, Health and Fitness


Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 82 66 23 14 0 1 0 186

Performing Arts

The talented students, faculty, and staff at McPherson College contribute regularly to the vibrant performing arts scene on campus. Whether it be one of the many theatre performances throughout the year, the annual Jazz Festival, band concerts, choir concerts, or art exhibitions, there is almost always some kind of arts event taking place. The Fern Lingenfelter Artist Series, for example, consists of two annual music performance events with special emphasis on piano.

Lecture series

From business leaders, like a top executive from Amazon, to the author of “Dead Man Walking,” McPherson College brings speakers to campus that address a wide variety of interests and topics. Lecture series include:

  • Harter Lecture in Business
  • Flory Public Policy Lectures
  • Mohler Lectures
  • Religious Heritage Lectures

Student Life

There’s never a lack of activities for McPherson College students. Regular social events on campus are organized by the Student Activities Board, including a weekly movie night, cosmic bowling, campus bingo, intramurals, and the popular Campus Blowout.

Clubs & Organizations

Student clubs and organizations add a wide variety of events and activities on campus. From awareness campaigns like the annual color run to a car show organized by CARS Club, a student-organized annual car show held each year in May, the event attracts hundreds of classic automobiles and motorcycles to the quad from around the country.

Spiritual Life

The Spiritual Life & Service Office is dedicated to providing diverse opportunities that allow spiritual growth and reflection as well as a commitment to social justice and service to the campus community. A variety of groups meet regularly and offer a wide variety of activities and service opportunities.


The McPherson College Bulldogs are part of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) and a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Bulldog teams attract fans from campus and the community that share in the fun and spirit of competition.

Local community

McPherson County All Schools Day has been a tradition for more than 100 years. It began as a way to celebrate the graduation of McPherson County eighth graders. Today, it is a celebration held annually in May to honor graduates from eighth grade, high school, and college. All Schools Day features a variety of activities, including a week-long carnival, a talent show, kids activities, and a parade. McPherson College celebrates with Campus Blowout, one of the biggest and most anticipated events each year in which students organize teams and compete in a variety of fun games.

Campus Housing Options for Undergraduates

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


Other: Off-campus housing for married students

Career Services

The office of Career Services at McPherson College connects students with resources, offers support in career exploration and placement, and provides the necessary tools for student success in landing that first job. Through a network of employers, the Career Services office can assist students in finding valuable, career-focused activities like internships, field experience, work-study, or off-campus employment. Ninety-eight percent of McPherson College graduates find employment or are accepted into a post-graduate program within six months of graduation.



922 total applicants 
922 total applicants 
485 total admissions 
196 total freshman enrollment

52.60% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2017-18 Admission

Rolling admission? Yes

Priority date: Feb 1

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores

Rigor of secondary school record
Class rank
Character/personal qualities

Extracurricular activities
Volunteer work
Work experience

Freshman Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 420 490
SAT Math 450 500
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 19 24
ACT Math 18 24
ACT English 18 23
ACT Writing    



Tuition $27,077
Fees $746
Total $27,823
Room and Board (on campus) $8,311
Estimated Total On Campus $36,134


Average Financial Aid Packages 2016-2017

$25,862 first-year students
$5,722 all undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2016-2017

82% on average, the percentage of need that was met
22% of financial need students that had need fully met

$5,722 average need-based scholarship or grant award
$8,592 average need-based loan