Messiah University is nationally recognized for bringing together top-tier academics and Christian faith. The University’s motto, “Christ Preeminent,” shapes every experience its students have at school. Lifelong friendships. Support from faculty mentors. Outstanding preparation for life and career. Championship athletics. Celebrated arts programs. Transformational service and ministry. Eye-opening study abroad. At Messiah, one’s life, faith, world, and possibilities open up. Students come to see anew.
Messiah University is a liberal arts and applied sciences University founded in 1909 by the Brethren in Christ Church. Though it is no longer legally owned by the Brethren in Christ Church, the University continues to emphasize its Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan theological heritage. Now the University’s faith base is broadly evangelical and includes students and employees from a variety of denominations and Christian faith traditions.
Get to know Messiah University
- Campus Ministries
- Choral groups
- Concert band
- International Student Organization
- Jazz band
- Literary magazine
- Music ensembles
- Musical theatre
- Pep band
- Radio station
- Student government
- Student newspaper
- Student-run film society
- Symphony orchestra
- Television station
- 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
- Career Services
- Writing Center
- Academic Advisors
- Library Services
- Disability Services
- Multicultural Engagement Center
- Health Services
- Academic Tutors
- Financial Aid Advisors
- Student Success Initiative
- Peer Mentors
“I love Messiah because it has a warm and friendly Christ-centered community. It is a great place to learn and create strong and lasting relationships.” – Clara Haubold ’21
COMMON INTELLECTUAL EXPERIENCES
Messiah University’s core general education program helps fit together various coordinates along a four-year journey. Challenging experiences and courses help students foster their ability to apply learning and discernment to new and complex situations. The result: a transformative education that emphasizes big-picture thinking, values diversity, and embraces the application of responsive solutions to real-life challenges. Messiah’s core curriculum is broken down into four segments:
- Abilities of the Liberal Arts (first-year seminar, oral communications, and Created and Called for Community)
- Liberal Arts (mathematics and natural sciences; social sciences and history; humanities and arts; languages and culture; and non-western studies)
- Christian Faith
- Social Responsibility
COLLABORATIVE ASSIGNMENTS AND PROJECTS
One of the best examples of Messiah University’s collaborative assignments is the Collaboratory for Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research. It is a center for service, scholarship, and project-based learning, all of which enables participants to apply academic knowledge while living out their Christian faith through hands-on problem solving with non-profit organizations, governments, and business partners in both the local region and around the world.
Partners of the Collaboratory invest in the educational mission of the University through their interactions with students, producing professional and sustainable results for them by leveraging long-term partnerships and volunteerism. Collaboratory projects enable students to engage classroom fundamentals in a real, client-centered environment. Students lead and manage the Collaboratory in partnership with the educators and volunteer professionals who mentor them.
Research experiences, which are often connected to local and global clients, are embedded throughout the undergraduate curriculum in science, engineering, and health. Students in the nutrition major connect research to work with local community partners, including designing interventions and writing grant proposals. Applied health science majors design and complete small research projects in their first- and second-year introductory research courses, often acting as springboards for larger related projects in the junior and senior years. In the natural sciences, strong students are invited as early as the first year to work alongside faculty mentors on research. All students have the opportunity to learn how to design a research plan in a research methods course and complete a research project in a subsequent semester.
The engineering curriculum at Messiah is crafted around an innovative ‘integrated projects curriculum’ in which all students, starting in the first year, work on projects with their professors and peers to meet the needs of real-world nonprofits. Engineering project teams even make long-term commitments to clients; often, a project will last much longer than a student’s time enrolled at Messiah, enabling them to be part of something much bigger than a classroom exercise. Messiah University takes seriously its role of developing confident and competent professionals.
Every spring, seniors in each of the health and science fields present their research results at a spring Symposium. And each summer, 8-12 Messiah University students earn competitive internal Steinbrecher research fellowships, living on campus and working one on one with faculty for 4-10 weeks in laboratory research. A significant number of Steinbrecher students are rising sophomores and juniors. On the national stage, Messiah students are selected each year in multiple disciplines for competitive research experiences for undergraduates (REUs) in universities across the country and, in some cases, internationally.
Messiah University’s off-campus programs provide students with transformative, safe, and quality semester-long and short-term cultural learning experiences that assist them in navigating the complexities being global citizens, encouraging them to deepen their understanding of and appreciation for the world and their place in it. Students may choose from more than 30 semester-long off-campus programs in more than 40 countries, or they may take a shorter-term trip during J-Term or May-Term.
The number of sections of each class size.
2-9: 92 | 10-19: 222 | 20-29: 168
30-39: 77 | 40-49: 16 | 50-99: 1 | 100+: 1
ENROLLMENT BY ETHNICITY
Non-U.S. Citizen: 3%
Black or African American, non-Hispanic: 4%
White, non-Hispanic: 78%
Native/Indigenous American or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic: 0%
Asian, non-Hispanic: 3%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic: 0%
Two or more races, non-Hispanic: 4%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown: 0%
“One thing I love about Messiah is the student-faculty relationships. My professors are so approachable and eager to help me with my work. They make it easy to come see them and ask questions, and I gain so much from those experiences. The intentionality they show makes me feel cared for and set up for success. The typical college student dreads going to classes, but because I know my professors as more than just professors, I enjoy learning from them.” – George Noble ’19
EDUCATION FOR AN EVOLVING WORLD
Messiah brings together two powerful educational streams: a rich liberal arts experience (rooted in disciplines such as history, English, language, music, and theology, to name a few) and applied professional programs (disciplines such as business, education, engineering, and nursing). Messiah equips students to gain skillful expertise in their area of study while developing their abilities to think critically, communicate effectively, and sharpen their insights across multiple cultures and contexts.
FIRST-YEAR SEMINARS AND EXPERIENCES
When students arrive on Messiah’s campus, they’ll find themselves among a lot of new people from a variety of different schools, cultures, and backgrounds. To help ease the transition to college life, Messiah has created a “First-Year Experience” through which students immediately begin to build community right peers who are going through the exact same transition. Living in the same residence halls, sharing similar classroom experiences, and attending special chapels and social events together all help them get to each other quickly and naturally.
Special first-year courses foster the ability to think, read, write, and speak effectively—a crucial set of skills that make them more flexible and adaptable to the changes of the world across the spectrum of different fields and life experiences. The first-year seminar and small class context provides an effective way to introduce first-year students to the intellectual life of college.
Faculty from a diverse array of disciplines engage students in conversations that focus on issues central to the University’s educational mission: faith, identity, vocation, character, and responsible action. The courses are packed with opportunities to develop skills in effective writing, close reading, critical thinking, identifying and using appropriate sources for research. All these skills foster a discerning mind and the effective communication of ideas, providing an essential foundation upon which one’s learning and intellect develop over their college career.
While writing instruction may have its home in Messiah’s General Education curriculum, it is best achieved on an “across-the-curriculum” basis. That is, early instruction may be provided in the core curriculum, but it is also required, under specific guidelines, in each major program as well.
The writing program at Messiah includes four components: a College Writing Workshop; a First-Year Seminar; Created and Called for Community; and a writing-enriched course developed for the major. Messiah’s writing courses build on the intellectual and writing skills developed during First-Year Seminar in a common-learning context. The major-specific writing-intensive course is taken within the students’ chosen disciplines. There is considerable variation in the kinds of courses into which various majors incorporate the writing emphases; each department is responsible for addressing this requirement as part of the academic major.
SPECIAL STUDY OPTIONS
Programs available at this institution.
English as a Second Language (ESL)
Exchange student program (domestic)
Teacher certification program
Pass/fail option for classes
CULTURAL EVENTS FOR EVERYONE
Messiah University hosts a variety of lectures, symposia, conferences, concerts, film series, and musical and theatre performances open to the public. In 2013, Messiah University opened the Calvin and Janet High Center for Worship and Performing Arts, which is now used to host prominent national speakers and recording artists for the public; host educational workshops and competition for regional students; provide continuing education opportunities for local educators and other professionals; and regularly contribute to the local arts community, including affiliations with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra and the State Street Academy of Music.
Messiah University’s commitment to diversity seeks to build upon the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ signature concept of “inclusive excellence.” This calls for the development of institution-wide policies that promote educational excellence through the pursuit of diversity in the learning environment, curriculum, and teaching. Today, one of the goals of both the University’s Strategic Plan and the Diversity Strategic Plan is to integrate inclusive excellence in all areas of life at Messiah University. Its ultimate goal is to promote cross-cultural understanding, global learning, civic responsibility, social justice, peace, reconciliation, and sustainable spiritual and environmental practices. Implementing “inclusive excellence” aids in preparing students to become agents well equipped to adapt, engage, work, learn, and heal within diverse worlds—both at home and abroad. The responsibility for pursuing inclusive excellence is collective, falling on the shoulders of every individual and office on campus.
In “Created and Called for Community,” one of the four components of Messiah’s writing program, students consider a central question: “What is my vocation as a faithful steward of God’s creation?” They seek answers by engaging biblical themes of creation, forgiveness, compassion, peacemaking, and reconciliation through an examination of literary, historical, artistic, philosophical, and theological works. They use the lens of Messiah University’s distinctive foundational values, focusing on the importance of community and hospitality, as all people are made in the image of God. Students develop the ability to be theologically reflective; to develop an appreciation for their own identity and Christian vocation; and to cultivate their intellect and character in preparation for lives of leadership through service in the world. Thus, in addition to developing intellectual skills of the liberal arts, “Created and Called for Community” also lays a foundation in the outcome of Social Responsibility.
Messiah University is located on 471 acres in the suburban, south-central town of Mechanicsburg, PA. Its campus is enriched with the beautiful Yellow Breeches creek, high-quality academic facilities, and a lively sport complex and student union.
While Messiah may be bursting with natural beauty, it is nevertheless a short drive’s distance from multiple metropolitan areas. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s culturally rich state capital, is only fifteen minutes from campus, while Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and New York City are only a few hours away.
Messiah University has 22 NCAA Division III sports teams and is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Conference. In addition to NCAA athletics, there are many club sports and recreational leagues on campus. The Messiah Falcons have won 30 NCAA Division III national championships including a DIII-leading 11 titles in men’s soccer. The University colors are navy blue and white, and the mascot is the Falcon.
“The student section is always chanting, and it’s just an exciting environment to be in. The parents of the team and alumni always do a cookout before the game which has definitely been a good way to connect with friends and family. Overall, the atmosphere of these games have been exciting to be a part of for me.” – Aaron Gray ’18
Percent of students living on campus.
First-time, first-year (freshman) students: 91%
Campus housing options.
Apartments for single students
Special housing for disabled students
Special housing for international students
COMMUNITY OF EDUCATORS
Messiah’s Community of Educators model fosters complementary partnerships between curricular and cocurricular educators. This both challenges and supports students to develop meaningful goals for in- and out-of-class educational experiences. In addition, Messiah’s blend of the liberal and applied arts and sciences allows students to develop the transferable skills and competencies that employers seek in today’s graduates. Messiah’s vibrant community, which extends well beyond the bounds of campus, allows students to connect with alumni, parents, and friends of the college to develop meaningful networks for post-graduate success. Because of these features, 100% of 2018 graduates responding to the University’s annual post-graduate survey report that they are either employed or in graduate programs 6-9 months after graduation.
SERVICE-LEARNING, COMMUNITY-BASED LEARNING
Service-learning is an element of Messiah’s curriculum—and has been since 1989. Messiah is committed to providing experiential opportunities for students to learn through service. Courses across the curriculum require educational and community objectives to be met experientially in service.
Messiah intentionally integrates community service into the classroom, offering many opportunities for students not only to receive academic credit for service, but also to apply their education with local and global communities. There are countless other service opportunities outside of the classroom, too.
Community service is institutionalized in the University’s Agape Center for Service and Learning, which administers and coordinates programs of service-learning, community service, and mission. Students, faculty, and staff all work with community-based partners in local, national, and international settings to empower communities and encourage students toward an ethic of civic engagement.
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING INITIATIVE
Messiah University’s nationally recognized Career and Professional Development Center recently led the way in implementing a new college-wide Experiential Learning Initiative. Through the program, Messiah requires all students to complete at least one experiential “hands-on” learning experience, whether that be through internships/practica, service-learning, leadership roles, or off-campus study or research. In these experiences, students are challenged to consider their individual impact on the broader community. Educators guide and help students develop a practical expression of what they’ve learned through media like a résumé, e-portfolio, website, LinkedIn profile, etc.
CAPSTONE COURSES AND PROJECTS/SENIOR EXPERIENCE
Every major at Messiah University is required to have a senior capstone. This ensures that students apply the tools of their major to a number of areas important to the liberally educated person. In this culminating experience, students are expected to act and reflect at a level that indicates proficiency with the content and skills of the discipline. In addition, the senior capstone enables students to enhance their understanding of Christian vocation by understanding philosophical assumptions and ethical issues of their major; articulating how faith connects to their specialized area of study and to potential career options; and reflecting on their studies to assess and cultivate the skills and knowledge relevant for transitioning to employment, voluntary service, apprenticing, and/or graduate study.
“I chose Messiah because I wanted a school that would prepare me personally, spiritually, and professionally. Looking back at the past three years, I can say in full confidence that Messiah has exceeded my expectations in each of the areas. Messiah has specifically taught me how to reconcile my faith with my career path and has empowered me to serve and lead as a Christian in the areas of accounting and finance.” – Regan Hershey ’18
Rigor of secondary school record | Academic GPA | Extracurricular activities
Talent/ability | Character/personal qualities | Religious affiliation/commitment
Class rank | Standardized test scores
Application Essay | Volunteer work
Recommendation(s) | Alumni/ae relation | Racial/ethnic status
Work experience | Level of applicant’s interest
25th Percentile: 1130 | 75th Percentile: 1335
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
25th Percentile: 560 | 75th Percentile: 670
25th Percentile: 540 | 75th Percentile: 670
25th Percentile: 23 | 75th Percentile: 31
25th Percentile: 24 | 75th Percentile: 28
25th Percentile: 21 | 75th Percentile: 34
Messiah University currently has 3,375 undergraduate and graduate students. Each year, close to 650 students choose Messiah for their undergraduate studies. Many students apply to Messiah University just before starting their senior year of high school. Messiah begins releasing decisions on August 15. If applying after August 15, one could expect a decision in approximately three to four weeks after all materials have been received. The application includes standard questions along with a two-part question requiring a short essay response. To learn more about Messiah’s admissions process, feel free to click on the link provided here.
Tuition & Cost
Messiah University’s average aid package for first-year students is $26,333. This amount does not include federal PLUS loans or private/alternative loans and is based on the 2018-2019 academic year. Upon acceptance, students are automatically reviewed for a scholarship which they will be made aware of in their acceptance packet. If students meet the criteria, they will also be invited to interview for our Honors Program and scholarships, as well as our Martin’s Multicultural programs and scholarships. To further understand the criteria and programs, click here. Messiah University also offers scholarships in the arts and humanities.