Monmouth College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Monmouth College
A private, residential liberal arts college in western Illinois, Monmouth is committed to providing...

Monmouth College

Monmouth, Illinois

From its founding in 1853 as an academy for high school and college students on the Illinois prairie, Monmouth College has grown into a nationally recognized liberal arts college. It is fully dedicated to educating young men and women to become critical thinkers, engaged citizens, and creative leaders capable of addressing the complex challenges of contemporary society.


As one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges, Monmouth College offers a traditional curriculum in the humanities, arts, social sciences and natural sciences, with programs also in the pre-professional fields of business, education and kinesiology. Monmouth’s science, business, classics, and accounting programs are especially strong: Monmouth firmly believes that liberal arts colleges are responsible for advancing the public good by implementing interdisciplinary studies that deepen the understanding of every area of study.


Monmouth prepares science students for graduate study and careers in pure and applied research. Approximately one-third of Monmouth graduates enter graduate or professional schools within two years of graduation, and two-thirds pursue graduate or professional study within 10 years of graduation. Monmouth develops its graduates to contribute to a robust and creative global economy and to lead meaningful, fulfilling lives.


Monmouth offers many opportunities for engaged and interdisciplinary learning in and out of the classroom through team-based research projects, mentored independent study, small classes, study abroad programs, community service projects, and career-oriented internships.



Student Profile

Fall 2014 Enrollment
1,300 undergraduate students
98% of undergrad students are full time
46% male — 54% female
11% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2014-2015 Academic Year
88 full-time faculty
41 part-time faculty
12 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Monmouth is a highly residential campus, with 93% of students living in college housing, all of which is unusually comfortable, and either recently constructed or extremely well maintained. Three new residence halls and a completely renovated student apartment complex have been constructed on campus since 2002. Amenities of the new buildings include suite-style living with private baths, elegant lounges, elevators, and well-appointed recreation rooms.

There are 10 residence halls, each with a distinctive history and community tradition. One of the newer halls has its own small movie theater, while the oldest hall features individual lavatories in each room.

Greek life is extremely active and well supported, with five fraternities for men and three for women, each of which has its own house. The newest—a $2 million 6,000-square-foot neo-colonial residence—is under construction and will be dedicated in 2016. Monmouth was the birthplace of the women’s Greek movement, with Pi Beta Phi, the first secret society for women based on the Greek letter organizations for men, founded at the college in 1867. Kappa Kappa Gamma, another very early women’s fraternity, was founded at Monmouth in 1870.

Since 2002, more than $120 million has been invested in improvements to the Monmouth College physical plant, making it one of the most modern, attractive and comfortable college campuses in the country. Among the recent additions are the $22 million Huff Athletic Center, the $42 million Center for Science and Business, the beautiful Peacock Athletic Park, which houses baseball and soccer, and the adjoining LeSuer Nature Preserve and walking trail. The main campus is located within walking distance of the picturesque town square in the safe and friendly community of Monmouth, Illinois. The 112-acre campus also includes facilities maintenance and alumni/development offices on the north edge of the city.

School Location

Monmouth, Illinois

retention fall 2014

74% of students began in Fall 2013 and returned in Fall 2014 (full time, first time freshmen)


56% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 4%
Hispanic/Latino 13%
Black or African American 11%
White 64%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 1%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 5%


Recipient of the Midwest Conference All-Sports Trophy – Men (2009); Women (2011)

24 NCAA Division III athletic programs and 10 Intramural sports
Men’s Varsity sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, track and field (indoor and outdoor), swimming and diving, water polo, lacrosse (2017) and tennis
NCAA Women’s Varsity sports: basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, water polo, lacrosse (2017), tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball

Intramural sports: badminton, basketball, bags, flag football, floor hockey, Frisbee golf, ultimate Frisbee, sand volleyball, softball, table tennis, volleyball, and wrestling

Mascot: Big Red, a “friendly” Scottish warrior.
Colors: Red and White


Monmouth College is a nationally-ranked, coeducational liberal arts college founded in 1853 and affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Academic Programs

Accounting, Art, Arts Management, Atmospheric Science, Biochemistry, Biology, Biopsychology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Classics, Communication, Computer Science, Economics, Educational Studies (Elementary or Secondary), English, Environmental Studies, Exercise Science, French, Greek, History, International Business, International Studies, Journalism, Latin, Mathematics, Media, Music, Nineteenth-Century Studies, Philosophy, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Physical Education, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Public Relations, Religious Studies, Sociology and Anthropology/Human Services, Spanish, Theatre, Wellness Administration and Women’s Studies. Pre-professional study, preparing students for graduate study at other institutions, is offered in the fields of Accounting, Architecture, Atmospheric Science, Medical Laboratory Sciences, Dentistry, Engineering, Law, Library Science, Medicine, Military Science, Ministry, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Veterinary Medicine.

More Distinctions

  • U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges: National Liberal Arts College

  • Princeton Review: 2012 “Best in the Midwest” College

  • Forbes: America’s Top Colleges

  • 2013 Military Friendly School

Integrating Leadership and Learning

Monmouth students find many opportunities to study abroad, pursue research with faculty mentors, join student organizations, and learn-by-doing to be leaders in the Monmouth College community.

The unique core of the Monmouth experience is an interdisciplinary, linked series of courses known as the Integrated Studies program. Beginning with Introduction to Liberal Arts in the first year, students complete courses in Global Perspectives (sophomore year), Reflections (junior year), and the capstone, Citizenship (senior year). Each course builds upon the preceding course. The first-year and sophomore courses orient students to their college experience in the context of the liberal arts as well as to their position as young adults in a complex, interconnected world. The junior- and senior-level courses provide opportunities for students to reflect upon priorities, values, and life goals. They learn to make “real-world” connections through a combination of theoretical analysis and practical problem-solving, implementing what they’ve learned to real-world issues.

Student and Faculty Research

Many Monmouth students participate in collaborative research projects with faculty mentors. Monmouth’s signature summer research/new-student bridge program brings together advanced students, incoming first-year students, and a faculty research sponsor for collaborative projects in the three weeks preceding the fall semester. Some research teams are science focused; other teams pursue humanities and social-science projects. A number of teams even complete creative projects in music and the arts. In addition, endowed funds in the sciences enable student researchers to work with faculty members on projects that are often presented at national conferences and in published works.

Study Abroad

Study abroad at Monmouth takes many forms, including summer research trips, in which students join faculty members in travel to such destinations as Yellowstone National Park, Hawaii, the Galapagos Islands, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. Short-term travel/study courses have recently occurred in countries such as Turkey, Greece, Spain, and Bulgaria. Semester programs are available through Monmouth’s partnerships with the University of Highlands and Islands in Scotland, the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), and other exchange affiliations. Semester courses are taught in India, Italy, the U.K., Costa Rica, Tanzania, and more.

Greek Life

One in four Monmouth students is active in one of the college’s Greek organizations. Each of the eight chapters prides itself on academic performance, maintaining an average GPA consistently higher than that of the campus at large. All chapters have their own residential housing and distinctive identities, but they are all ultimately dedicated to community service and the cultivation of leadership skills. Together, they work to serve the world with a commitment to the active Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils. Fraternal alumni networks are actively involved in career mentoring and advising of current students.

Esteemed Professors

Monmouth College is distinctive for its commitment to undergraduate research, small and interactive classrooms (the average class size is 13, with a student-faculty ratio of 11:1), and personalized academic advising. The strength and vitality of the academic program is a direct result of the commitment of Monmouth’s outstanding faculty.  Monmouth’s faculty members are great teachers because they are active scholars: they present papers, publish books and articles, perform in nationally recognized ensembles, and exhibit work in leading galleries. Some faculty—particularly in the areas of business and communication—come from successful careers in industry, bringing business experiences and perspectives to their teaching. Other faculty members who are nationally recognized scholars share their knowledge through innovative teaching, shared research findings, and collaborative projects.

Collaborative Research

Faculty members at Monmouth seek out opportunities to partner with students in research teams, often inviting first-year students to engage in substantive projects in the summer before their sophomore year. This opportunity for first-year and sophomore students to become involved in genuine research is an outstanding and unusual feature of Monmouth’s academic program. At Monmouth, research teams often advance a particular project over a series of years, enabling students to develop laboratory or field experience within an ongoing research context. Advanced students help to mentor new students in the team.

Collaborative Performances

The fine and performing arts faculty members welcome students from all majors into performance groups, including the orchestra and music ensembles, choir and chorale, pipe band and marching band, and theatre group. Some of the ensembles require auditions, while others welcome all dedicated participants. The arts faculty highlight the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration across the arts, opening up outstanding senior-year opportunities for arts majors to visit arts venues in major urban centers across the United States. Recent senior art trips have included gallery and theatre visits to Chicago and New York (with private meetings with artists and gallery owners, actors, and directors).

Academic Programs

Monmouth’s academic program is experiential, interdisciplinary, and integrative. Courses for first-year and sophomore students focus on the development of the critical and analytical skills that essential for success in both college and the real world. These amazing courses introduce students to the breadth and complexity of collective human knowledge. Major programs bring students to gain an in-depth understanding of the languages, methods, and theoretical perspectives of their fields. As seniors, Monmouth students test and refine their abilities to engage in work as chemists, artists, philosophers, physicists, etc.

Senior Capstone

Monmouth College has always been dedicated to the connection between the liberal arts, citizenship, professional fulfillment, and meaningful lives. A capstone requirement for all students is an interdisciplinary, thematically-focused course entitled “Citizenship.” This senior-year course engages students in community partnerships to tackle “real-world” issues. Opportunities for research often have an actual impact on policies and community decision-making.

From the Classroom to the Community – Living What One Learns

Connections with the larger community are supported through the Wackerle Career and Leadership Center. Its professional staff members assist students in identifying internship possibilities, making career decisions, and preparing for graduate and professional study. The center offers workshops in resume writing, interviewing, professional dress, and etiquette. Staff members support volunteerism and community engagement through leadership workshops, promoting a very active network of alumni who are eager to assist new graduates with career advice.

Campus Facilities

The Monmouth College campus is one of the most beautiful residential campuses in the United States. It is full of outstanding academic buildings and residence halls, first-class athletic facilities (including natatorium and sauna, weight room, climbing wall, soccer field and baseball fields, newly renovated all-weather track and football field, and new football stadium), and an acoustically superb performance auditorium and theatre. The Monmouth Educational Garden and Le Suer Nature Preserve serve as beautiful (and highly functional) outdoor laboratories and classrooms.

The most recent addition to the campus, the $42 million Center for Science and Business, contains an astronomical observatory, nuclear physics lab, cadaver lab. and a greenhouse. It houses all of the science departments as well as mathematics, business/economics, and accounting. The 138,000-square-foot building is designed to promote interdisciplinary teaching and collaborative research across the sciences and business. It provides seminar rooms, lecture halls, dedicated labs and adjacent classrooms and equipment rooms, and gathering spaces for group study.

Everyone is Involved

Students at Monmouth combine engagement in academic study with richly varied and rewarding social lives. Monmouth’s lively campus community offers many opportunities for students to become involved in clubs and organizations, Greek Life, student governance, and community service and volunteer projects. Organizations include groups centered upon shared interests (in gaming and computers, for example), the performing arts, faith-affiliations and common spiritual interests, identity, service, and academic disciplines.

A third of the student body is active in varsity athletics, and many more participate in club sports, intramurals, cheerleading, and dance squad. A 100-member marching band and the award-winning bagpipe band perform at football games and other College occasions. Monmouth offers a dynamic competitive speech program and a popular, well-run campus television station in which students take leadership roles. Many student organizations travel widely for competition or performance. The Chorale, for example, completed a tour of Spain in the summer of 2012, and the water polo club often competes at the national tournament.

Alumni Achievements

Monmouth College achieved a 99% placement rate for the Class of 2012, 2013, and 2014 (in jobs or graduate school within six months of graduation). Of the 99% of students placed, 79% were employed and 21% were enrolled in graduate/professional school. Over 60% of Monmouth graduates go on to graduate school within five years of graduation.

Some notable Monmouth College alumni:

  • Matt Fotis ’01, award-winning playwright
  • Hiroyuki Fujita ’92, founder and CEO of Quality Electrodynamics
  • Joan Rezner Gundersen ’68, historian/pioneer in women’s studies
  • Kunal Kapoor ’97, President of Individual Investor Software, Morningstar, Inc.
  • Hamzah Kassim ’78, co-founder of the iA Group, international consultants
  • Chad Simpson ’98, Micro Award-winning short fiction author
  • Kevin Goodwin ’80, president & CEO of Sonosite, Inc.
  • Lon Helton ’72, nationally syndicated country music radio host
  • Jane Kurtz ’73, bestselling children’s author
  • Betty Oberstar ’43, cosmetics research chemist



2,851 Total Applicants
1,969 Total Admissions
396 Total Freshmen Enrollment

69.06% of applicants admitted


  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 480 570
SAT Math 510 630
SAT Writing 420 550
ACT Composite 19 25
ACT Math 19 25
ACT English 19 25
ACT Writing    


Students interested in applying to Monmouth College may do so (without an application fee) at The Common App or at  Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis beginning in September of each year and continuing until the class has been filled. Students are encouraged to apply early in order take full advantage of opportunities for available scholarships.

Students are encouraged to submit the following items when applying for admission to Monmouth College:

  • Required: Online or paper application.
  • Required: An official high school transcript displaying no less than six completed semesters.
  • Required: SAT or ACT test scores either reported directly by the test center or visible on your official high school transcript.
  • Recommended: Two references (personal and academic).
  • Recommended: A writing sample (perhaps a paper you have already prepared for your English/Writing class).


Net Price Calculator 


Tuition $33,200
Room and Board (on campus) $8,010
Room Only $4,400
Board Only $3,610
Estimated Total On Campus $41,210


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

100% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving any financial aid
77% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving student loan aid

$24,332 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid received
$7,625 Average amount of student loan aid received by full-time first-time undergraduates

Scholarship Information

Monmouth College Achievement Awards are offered to students based on a combination of their high school academic achievements (ACT, GPA and Class Rank). Awards range in value up to about $20,000 per year and are announced soon after being admitted to MC.  These are renewable in future years.

The most prestigious award is the Midwest Scholars Award.  High achieving recipients are selected through competition including essay writing, interview and academic profile. Awards have ranged from $25,000 to full-tuition. Highly qualified students are encouraged to apply early in order to participate in the competition for the Midwest Scholar Award.

The Monmouth College Scots Leadership Award is also selected through competition and is focused on high achieving students who are also recognized for their leadership and service skills among peers and in their communities. Awards range up to $2,500.

Talent Awards are available to students who wish to audition or provide portfolio in the areas of Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Theatre, Art, Bagpiping/Drumming, Speech/Debate, and Latin. Awards range in value.

A complete list of the many scholarship opportunities at Monmouth College is available at:

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Alumni Profile: Alicia Pence, Class of 2010

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