Pacific Union College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Pacific Union College
For more than 125 years, Pacific Union College has provided an environment in which...

Pacific Union College

Angwin, California

Pacific Union College, located in California’s Napa Valley, is a four-year liberal arts college accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Founded in 1882 by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, PUC offers a Christian approach to comprehensive undergraduate education. PUC’s reputation for academic excellence is highlighted by consistent rankings among the top baccalaureate colleges in the West.


A destination campus in the world-famous Napa Valley, PUC is a hidden gem in the hills of Northern California. With over 1,500 undergraduate students, PUC offers a strong academic program in the liberal arts tradition, emphasizes academic excellence, fosters an authentic spiritual experience, and provides opportunities for service to local and worldwide communities. PUC’s small class sizes and personal interactions with faculty lead students into the nation’s best graduate programs.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
1,508 undergraduate students
90% of undergrad students are full time
43% male — 57% female
13% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
97 full-time faculty
46 part-time faculty
13 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
96% of first year students live on campus
71% of all students live on campus

School Location

Angwin, California

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences X
Learning Communities  
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

76% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2015

44% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 3%
Hispanic/Latino 28%
Black or African American 9%
White 26%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 19%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 2%
Two or more races 7%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 5%


PUC competes in six varsity sports in the NAIA CalPac Conference: Men’s Basketball, Men’s Soccer, Men’s Cross Country, Women’s Basketball, Women’s Volleyball, Women’s Cross Country

Mascot: Pioneers
Colors: Green and Gold

Other Information

Pacific Union College is a four-year Christian college with a strong liberal arts tradition, founded in 1882 and affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Academic Programs

Aviation (Aviation – A.S., Aviation – B.S., Minor in Aviation), Biology (Biology – B.A., Biology – B.S., Natural Science – B.S., Environmental Studies – B.S., Minor in Biology, Minor in Environmental Science), Business Administration (B.B.A. – Accounting Emphasis, B.B.A. – Finance Emphasis, B.B.A. – General Business Emphasis, B.B.A. – Information Systems Emphasis, B.B.A. – International Business Emphasis, B.B.A. – Management Emphasis, B.B.A. – Marketing Emphasis, Business Administration – B.A., Business Administration – B.S., Business Administration – A.S., Minor in Business Administration) Chemistry (Chemistry – B.A., Chemistry – B.S., Chemistry, Biochemistry Emphasis – B.S., Natural Science, Chemistry Emphasis – B.S., Minor in Chemistry) Communication (Communication – B.A., Communication, Communication Studies Emphasis – B.S., Communication, Journalism Emphasis – B.S., Communication, Public Relations Emphasis – B.S., International Communication, French Emphasis – B.A., International Communication, German Emphasis – B.A., International Communication, Italian Emphasis – B.A., International Communication, Spanish Emphasis – B.A., Minor in Communication, Minor in PR/Journalism), Computer Science (Computer Science – B.A., Computer Science – B.S., Minor in Computer Science), Education (Liberal Studies – B.S., Teacher Education Program, Master of Education – M.Ed., Early Childhood Education – A.S., Early Childhood Education – B.S.), Emergency Services Program (Emergency Services – A.S.), English (English, British and American Literature Emphasis – B.A., English, Writing Emphasis – B.A., English, Drama Emphasis – B.A., English, Teaching English as Second Language Emphasis – B.A., English, English Education Emphasis – B.A., Film and Theater Studies – A.S., Minor in Drama, Minor in English, Minor in Writing), Exercise Science, Health and Nutrition (Physical Education, Teacher Education Emphasis – B.S., Exercise Science – B.S., Minor in Physical Education), History (History, American History Emphasis – B.A., History, European History Emphasis – B.A., Social Studies – B.S., Minor in History), Mathematics (Mathematics – B.S., Biomathematics – B.S., Minor in Mathematics), Modern Languages (Spanish – B.A., Minor in French, Minor in German, Minor in Italian, Minor in Spanish), Music (Music – A.S., Music – B.S., Music, Education Emphasis – B.Mus., Music, Performance Emphasis – B.Mus., Music, Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Requirements – B.S.), Nursing (Pre-Nursing for Admission to PUC Nursing Program, Nursing – A.S. and B.S.N. [2-Step Program], Nursing – B.S.N. [For Registered Nurses]), Physics (Biophysics – B.S., Physics – B.S., Engineering – B.S. in Affiliation with Walla Walla University, Natural Science, Physics Emphasis – B.S., Minor in Physics), Pre-Professional (Pre-Art Therapy, Pre-Dental Hygiene, Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Law, Pre-Medicine, Pre- Optometry, Pre- Osteopathy, Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Public Health, Pre-Veterinary Medicine, Pre-Clinical Laboratory Science, Pre-Speech Pathology, Pre-Cytotechnology, Pre-Health Information Administration, Pre-Medical Radiography (A.S.), Pre-Nutrition & Dietetics, Pre-Occupational Therapy, Pre-Physical Therapy Assisting, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Physician Assistant, Pre-Radiation Sciences, Pre-Respiratory Care), Psychology and Social Work (Psychology – B.A., Psychology – B.S., Social Work – B.S.W., Minor in Psychology), Religion (Theology – B.A., Religion, Biblical Studies Emphasis – B.A., Religion – Health Professions Emphasis – B.A., Religion – Theology and Christian History Emphasis – B.A., Minor in Biblical Languages, Minor in Religion), Visual Arts (Graphic Design, A.S., Graphic Design, Design Emphasis – B.S., Graphic Design, Illustration Emphasis – B.S., Graphic Design, Web Emphasis – B.S., Fine Art – B.A., Fine Art – B.S., Photography – A.S., Photography – B.S., Film and Television – B.S., Film and Theater Studies – A.S., Minor in Art, Minor in Art History)


More Distinctions

  • U.S. News & World Report has ranked PUC in the top tier of its category in the “Best Colleges” issue for 17 consecutive years.

  • Top Ten in top tier, Baccalaureate Colleges (West), U.S. News & World Report,2011

  • #2 Ethnic Diversity, Baccalaureate Colleges (West), U.S. News & World Report, 2011

  • #3 Most International Students, Baccalaureate Colleges (West), U.S. News & World Report, 2011

  • #3 Best Value, U.S. News & World Report, 2011

  • #1 Ethnic Diversity, Baccalaureate Colleges (West), U.S. News & World Report, 2010

  • #2 Most International Students, Baccalaureate Colleges (West), U.S. News & World Report, 2010

  • Top ten, research category, Baccalaureate Colleges, Washington Monthly, 2010

Pacific Union College offers an excellent Christ-centered education that prepares its students for productive lives of useful human service and uncompromising personal integrity.


PUC provides opportunities for academic research in the fields of biology, psychology, physics, and others, earning PUC students various awards and honors at major national conventions. Recently, students have presented groundbreaking research at the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors; the International Conference on Phototonic, Electronic, and Atomic Collisions; the American Association of Cancer Research; and the Western Psychological Association Convention.

Study Abroad

Each year, a number of PUC students study abroad in countries like Argentina, Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and Thailand through the Adventist Colleges Abroad (ACA) program. While abroad, students complete requirements of their programs at PUC. Study abroad allows students to be immersed in the culture and life of another country while becoming conversant in its language.


PUC students have developed a strong reputation in their commitment to service. Students have volunteered as student missionaries all over the world, in places as diverse as South America, Micronesia, and the Middle East, as well as in their own communities. PUC offers more than a dozen campus ministries that focus on growing students in faith and service. In any given week, community-conscious students can be found making a difference in their local community at a variety of ministry and service opportunities.


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

Great Teaching

Education at Pacific Union College not only means a quality liberal arts degree, but it also means gaining an incomparable appreciation for knowledge and service that continues far beyond a student’s undergraduate years. Professors offer a world-class education in each of their specialized subjects and develop life-long mentorships through which students acquire a passion for their chosen fields.

High-Impact Practices

PUC professors engage students in a broad range of high-impact educational practices. These include first-year seminars and experiences that closely involve students with faculty and staff as well as common intellectual experiences that highlight the “big questions” that matter within and outside of the academic setting. Tight-knit learning communities, writing-intensive classes, and collaborative projects and undergraduate research top off the PUC experience. Students also get exposure to diverse and global perspectives and enjoy an integration of community involvement and service into the learning process.

Talented Faculty

PUC boasts a highly accomplished faculty, in part because the college creates opportunities to develop excellence. The Herber Family Endowment grants $10,000 to faculty members toward their quest to achieve and sustain innovative, quality instruction. These grants finance developmental opportunities from attending workshops to presenting papers all over the world.

Over the years, PUC’s faculty has included Fulbright scholars, published authors, and renowned artists. These professors convert this wealth of experience into unmatched expertise in the classroom.

Common Core

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


Other: Religion

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 155 91 75 32 14 15 0 382

Campus Ministries

As a college built on a foundation of faith, perhaps the most important aspect of PUC is its strong community of Christian believers. The campus offers many official opportunities for worship every week, such as church services, evening vespers, and sacred music programs. In addition, the campus is home to innumerable small groups that meet frequently for prayer, Bible study, worship, and support.

Social Events

PUC’s Student Association offers a constant lineup of social and entertainment programming. Frequent activities include film screenings, music concerts, and game nights, as well as major quarterly and annual events like banquets, seasonal festivals, and talent shows. In addition, events hosted by the college’s over 30 social, cultural, and special interest clubs ensure that there is always something to do at PUC.

The Arts on Campus

The campus is home to Rasmussen Art Gallery, the Alice Holst Theater, and the Paulin Center for the Performing Arts, where students can experience an ever-changing stream of cultural exhibits and performances. These range from student recitals and original plays to performances and exhibitions by world-class and internationally known artists.

Campus Housing Options for Undergraduates

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

Alumni Achievements

PUC graduates are often accepted into the nation’s best graduate programs, including law programs at Harvard University, Georgetown University, and U.C. Berkeley; business schools like the University of Chicago and Columbia University; and journalism programs at Stanford University. Over the last ten years, more graduates of Loma Linda University’s prestigious schools of medicine and dentistry took their undergrad studies at PUC than at any other college.

Graduates have gone on to work in some of the nation’s most successful companies, including Google, Verizon, and DreamWorks Studios.

PUC is most proud of the fact that so many of its graduates choose to live lives of service after finishing college. A large swath of alumni are doctors, dentists, teachers, nurses, and ministers, and perform these jobs in places where the need is high and the pay is low or non-existent—such as Ghana; Ethiopia; Salta, Argentina; Kenya; and China.

Distinguished alumni

Loree K. Sutton, M.D. United States Brigadier General and founding director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

Patricia Thio. Emmy award winner, Associate Director of PR Video Production at Loma Linda University. 

John Lee, M.D. Named among Southern California’s 2010 “Best Doctors” by Inland Empire Magazine.

Lisa Breckenridge. TV personality and entertainment correspondent, FOX 11 Los Angeles.

Ashley Riveira. Harvard Law School, associate at Crowell & Moring, Washington, D.C. specializing in international dispute resolution

David Pizarro, Ph.D. Yale-educated psychologist, assistant professor at Cornell University.

Jarrod Denton. LEED-accredited architect, designer of California’s first certified Passive House.

Marnie Breckenridge. Internationally-renowned opera singer.

The Honorable Terry Bork. Judge for Los Angeles Superior Court.

Erica Davis. First woman to climb to the summit of Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro.


Admissions Fall 2015

2,041 Total Applicants
923 Total Admissions
251 Total Freshmen Enrollment

45.22% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling admission? No

Closing date: Aug 15
Priority date: Feb 1

ADmissions Factors

Very Important
Academic GPA

Rigor of secondary school record
Standardized test scores
Character/personal qualities
Level of applicant’s interest

Class rank
Extracurricular activities
Alumni/ae relation
Religious affiliation/commitment

Freshmen Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 420 560
SAT Math 430 570
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 18 23
ACT Math 17 25
ACT English 17 22
ACT Writing    

Admissions Process

Students will have regular admission status if they have acceptable recommendations and qualify as having secondary-school graduation, or its equivalent, and GPA of at least 2.3 (C+) in “solid” subjects, and have completed the following:

Minimum Requirements
4 years of English
2 years of Mathematics, including Algebra
1 year of Science
1 year of History

Strongly Recommended
3 years of Mathematics, including Algebra II and Geometry
3 years of Science, including Biology, Physics, and Chemistry 
2 years of History, including U.S. and World History
2 years of Foreign Language
Computer Literacy

Students can apply online at or call the Office of Enrollment at 1-800-862-7080.




Tuition $27,999
Fees $630
Total $28,629
Room and Board (on campus) $5,728
Estimated Total On Campus $34,357


Average Financial Aid Packages 2015-2016 estimated

$24,066 First year students
$22,136 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2015-2016 estimated

57% on average, the percentage of need that was met
2% of financial need students that had need fully met

$14,927 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$3,861 Average need-based loan


In addition to state and federal financial aid, including the Cal Grant, the Pell Grant, and Stafford, Perkins, and PLUS loans, all incoming PUC students will receive a set amount of scholarship funding based on academic performance. These scholarships are guaranteed for all four years of college, and are based on high school GPA for new freshmen or cumulative college GPA for transfer students.

GPA        Scholarship    4-Year Total
3.75-4.00    $7,000        $28,000
3.50-3.74    $6,000        $24,000
3.25-2.49    $5,000        $20,000
3.00-3.24    $4,000        $16,000
2.75-2.99    $3,000        $12,000
2.50-2.74    $2,000        $8,000
3.20-2.49    $1,500        $6,000
2.00-2.29    $1,000        $4,000

Furthermore, PUC offers a variety of specialty scholarships and most are renewable for all four years:

Maxwell Scholarship

$15,000 per year/$60,000 total for new freshmen who have demonstrated academic success, exceptional leadership, and commitment to Christian service.

President’s Scholarship
$9,000 per year/$36,000 total for students with a GPA of 3.75-4.0 and an ACT over 29 or SAT over 1900.

Dean’s Scholarship
$8,000 per year/$32,000 total for students with a GPA of 3.5-4.0 and an ACT over 26 or SAT over 1700.

Adventist Mission Scholarship
$3,000 per year/$12,000 total for students pursuing a career in ministry or teaching.

Arts Scholarship
$3,000 per year/$12,000 total for five art or music majors who exhibit exceptional skill.

Athletic Scholarship
Up to $5,000 per year/$20,000 total for students who show exceptional performance in a Pioneers varsity sport and play on the team—basketball, cross country, men’s soccer, and women’s volleyball.