Providence College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Providence College
"The only college in the nation founded and administrated by the Dominican Friars. Providence...

Providence College

Providence, Rhode Island

Transform Yourself. Transform Society.

That’s the invitation and the promise Providence College offers to 3,900 undergraduate students each year – challenging them to engage in a life-changing educational experience. A Catholic, liberal arts college – the only one in the United States administered by the Dominican Friars – Providence has earned a national reputation for providing a distinctive education in a stimulating intellectual, spiritual and social environment.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
4,028 undergraduate students
93% of undergrad students are full time
45% male — 55% female
88% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
305 full-time faculty
170 part-time faculty
12 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

77% of students live on campus.

School Location

Providence, RI

Retention Fall 2015

90% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

85% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 2%
Hispanic/Latino 8%
Black or African American 4%
White 76%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 5%


NCAA Division I, Big East Conference.  19 varsity sports (8 men’s: basketball, cross-country, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming/diving, track; 11 women’s: basketball, cross-country, field hockey, ice hockey, soccer, softball, swimming/diving, tennis, track, volleyball), 9 club sports and 13 intramurals.

Other Information

Providence College, founded in 1917, is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with the Dominican Order of the Roman Catholic Church.

Academic Programs

SCHOOL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES:  American Studies, Art (Studio), Art History, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics (Business), Economics (Quantitative), |English – Creative Writing, English, Literature, French, Global Studies, History, Humanities, Italian, Mathematics, Music, Music Education (K-12), Philosophy, Physics, Applied, Political Science, Pre-Engineering (3+2 Combined Program), Psychology, Public & Community Service Studies, Social Science, Sociology, Spanish, Theatre Arts, Theology Women’s Studies. SCHOOL OF BUSINESS:  Accountancy, Finance, Management, Marketing.  SCHOOL OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES:  Health Policy & Management, Social Work, Elemantary/Special Education, Secondary Education.

More Distinctions

  • In the U.S. News America's Best Colleges

  • PC has consistenly been ranked among the top Master's level universities in the North region every year since 1997.

Providence College invites students to be deeply involved in the process by which they become – in the words of the College’s Mission Statement – “responsible and productive citizens to serve in their own society and in the greater world community.” Students develop skills to live, learn, serve and lead through diverse experiences in the classroom, on the campus and out in the world…

Service Learning and Community Involvement

Providence College provides both curricular and cocurricular service-learning outreach to the community. Through the Feinstein Institute for Public Service, Providence College students currently provide outreach to many different community organizations. Service learning has also been incorporated into academic disciplines, including education, military science, social work, and political science. In 1996, Providence College became the first institution to offer an undergraduate degree in public and community-service studies.

Over two thousand Providence College students engage in a vast array of voluntary community-service activities each year through campus ministry and numerous other campus groups, including service in local affiliates of Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics, as well as visiting the elderly, cheering hospitalized children, and tutoring in Providence schools.

Students also teach literacy and English as a second language to adults, work in area soup kitchens and with Meals on Wheels, prepare Thanksgiving food baskets, support HIV/AIDS ministries, beautify the neighborhood, work to improve race relations, protest domestic violence, and work to protect the environment.

Study Abroad

The study-abroad options are designed to augment the liberal arts perspective of Providence College and are an integral component of the undergraduate academic experience. 197 various year-long, semester-long and short-term study abroad programs are offered across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Central and South America, and Europe. Featured is the new Center for Theology & Religious Studies in Rome that includes a Providence College faculty resident director. The Washington, DC Semester Program combines academic study and experiential learning in a one-semester program spent at American University in Washington, DC. In any one of a dozen areas of study, the program consists of a two-course seminar that features academic professors and professional policy makers; a one-course research project served by the excellent libraries of Washington, DC; and practical work experience in a one-course, two-day-per-week internship. Internships range from positions at the Office of the Vice President of the United States to work with the director of the National Smithsonian Museums Network.


Providence has a gifted faculty with a passion for teaching. Every class is taught by a faculty member; there are no graduate assistants. Students engage with teacher-mentors in small classes; participate in intense seminar discussions; and benefit from many out-of-class faculty-student interactions, including a nationally-recognized student advising program and diverse internship offerings…

Student-Teacher Research and Scholarship Projects

Teaching is the primary focus of Providence College faculty—the school does not have any teaching assistants or graduate students teaching classes. Providence College students engage in original research and scholarship projects with the faculty in fields ranging from political science to bioinformatics. The results are often published in academic journals or presented at national conferences.

Faculty Mentorship

Faculty mentorship often lasts for years, and can be seen in the hundreds of letters of recommendation faculty write each year to prestigious graduate and professional schools and prospective employers.

The Center for Teaching Excellence

The Center for Teaching Excellence was established in 1992 to advance the cause of college teaching. The life of the mind is enhanced through innovative programs and resources through which faculty colleagues and guest scholars explore important issues related to undergraduate teaching, research, publications, and scholarship. The office of academic affairs sponsors a wide range of programs and services to support faculty in teaching, research, and scholarship.

The Civ

The Development of Western Civilization Program, or Civ, is the cornerstone of the Providence College core curriculum. Students take the required two-year interdisciplinary program during their freshman and sophomore years.

Western Civilization covers the areas of history, philosophy, literature, theology, and the fine arts from ancient Mesopotamia to modern times. It is team taught by four faculty members from each of these disciplines, who share their thoughts and perspective on the events, art, literature, philosophy, and religious ideals of the time. The program provides the foundation for undergraduate study and each student’s pursuit of one of the college’s forty-nine majors.

The Liberal Arts Honors Program

The Liberal Arts Honors program offers students with exceptional academic achievement and initiative a more in-depth and rigorous version of the Providence College core curriculum. Students are required to take a minimum of six honors courses throughout their stay, with a capstone colloquium in the senior year.  Full, three quarter and one half tuition scholarships are awarded to students who are invited to study in the Liberal Arts Honors Program.


With over 100 clubs, organizations, and intramural sports, PC students have abundant opportunities to get involved, lead and serve. PC’s 19 highly competitive men’s and women’s NCAA Division I athletics teams boast a student fan base second to none. Spirituality, the arts, service to others – all have a place in campus life…


Providence College’s 105-acre campus is located within two miles of the heart of Rhode Island’s capital city. The intimacy of the campus—with everything and everyone just a short walk away—enables students to enjoy a private, tranquil oasis for living and learning, with a vibrant city just minutes away.

Providence is home to an engaging blend of arts, culture, entertainment, and shopping—a city that has been nationally recognized for its urban renaissance. One of America’s first cities, Providence is rich in history, culture, and tradition, and today enjoys a reputation as one of America’s most desirable cities. Students can ride the RIPTA buses or trolleys for free to any location in Rhode Island.

Enhancing Infrastructure

In the last decade, the college has focused campus infrastructure improvements on enhancing its academic, residential, and spiritual facilities through the addition of buildings such as the Smith Center for the Arts, Suites Hall, St. Dominic Chapel, and the Concannon Fitness Center. On-campus living includes nine traditional halls, five apartment buildings, and a suite-style residence building.

The Office of Student Activities Involvement Leadership (SAIL Office)

The Office of Student Activities Involvement Leadership—known as the SAIL Office—works closely with the Board of Programmers, the student organization that plans activities to meet the social, cultural, educational, and recreational interests of students. It also sponsors the college’s leadership program, provides support to over sixty recognized student organizations, and coordinates the New Student Orientation Program for all new students. SAIL manages McPhail’s entertainment facility, which is open seven days a week and hosts events throughout the academic year. In addition, the SAIL staff oversees operations in the newly  renovated Slavin Center, the College’s student union.


Providence College also competes in nineteen Division I sports and supports student participation in intramural and club sports.


One of the best measures of a liberal arts college is the way graduates choose to live their lives. PC has a proud history of graduates entering prestigious graduate schools and pursuing successful careers with well-known corporations and organizations nationwide. PC alumni also are committed to influencing their communities through leadership and service…

Notable Alumni

Typically, over 90 percent of graduates are employed or pursuing graduate studies within six months of graduation. Providence College has many successful alumni, including Arthur F. Ryan, CEO of the Prudential Insurance Company of America; Robert C. Gallo, MD, founder and director of the Institute of Human Virology; Senator Christopher Dodd and NBA Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens, former coach of the New York Knicks.

Connected Alumni Network

More than forty-nine thousand Providence College alumni extend the reach of the college community to every corner of the nation and to many countries throughout the world. The ongoing support and involvement of alumni is strong, and the donor participation rate is among the highest in the country.

Career Services

The college’s Career Services office actively helps students throughout their time at Providence prepare to join the workforce. The Career Services staff maintains a database of about seven hundred internships, coordinates career shadowing and networking programs, and conducts numerous workshops to prepare students for employment or graduate school.


Admissions Fall 2015

10,215 Total Applicants 
5,800 Total Admissions 
1,034 Total Freshman Enrollment

56.78% of applicants admitted

Completed Application for Admission

  • Providence College Supplemental Form
  • Official High School Transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation, one to be completed by your counselor or college advisor and the second to be completed by a teacher of your choice.
  • A completed personal essay that reveals both your communication skills and something about your character.
  • A completed common application

Test-Optional Policy

Submission of standardized test scores is optional for students applying for admission. The academic review for admission at Providence College has always focused on each student’s high school performance rather than standardized test results. This policy change allows each student to decide whether they wish to have their standardized test results considered as part of their application for admission. Students who choose not to submit SAT or ACT test scores will not be penalized in the review for admission. 

Freshmen Admission Application Deadline
Early Action
Apply by November 1  (Notification by January 1)

Regular Decision
Apply by January 15  (Notification by April 1) 

Transfer Admission Application Deadline
September Term- Apply by April 1 (notification in mid April)
January Term- Apply by December 1 (notification in 2-4 weeks)


Net Price Calculator


Tuition $44,520
Fees $880
Total $45,400
Room and Board (on campus) $13,390
Room Only $7,720
Board Only $5,670
Estimated Total On Campus $58,790


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

80% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
52% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$24,063 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$10,240 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates


Institutional Merit-Based 
Providence College offers three types of merit-based scholarships: Liberal Arts Honors Program Scholarships, Academic Scholarships, and Friar Scholarships

Liberal Arts Honors Program
Merit scholarships are awarded to those students who are invited into Providence College’s highly selective Liberal Arts Honors Program upon admission into the College. Out of a typical freshman class of 1,000 students, there are approximately 145 spaces available in the program.

Liberal Arts Honors Program Scholarships range from 40% of tuition up to full-tuition. It is important to note that there are only ten full-tuition scholarships awarded each year. The majority of the scholarships range from 40% – 60% of tuition.

These scholarships are renewable for up to four years as long as students remain active members of the Liberal Arts Honors Program and maintain the required GPA. Merit scholars are typically at the top of their graduating class and have completed the most rigorous program of study possible during their high school career.

While the review for admission is holistic and considers each student’s academic record as well as their extracurricular accomplishments and personal qualities, the Liberal Arts Honors Program review is most specifically focused on a student’s academic credentials.

Please note, students who excel as freshmen at Providence College may apply directly to the Director of the Liberal Arts Honors Program for entry beginning in the sophomore year. Students who are invited to join the program at that time will not be awarded one of the scholarships noted above.

Academic Scholarships
Academic-based merit scholarships up to $12,000 per year are available to students who have demonstrated superior academic performance during their entire high school career, but were not selected for inclusion in the Liberal Arts Honors Program. Students who have achieved consistent A- to A grades throughout high school in all subjects – and have taken an extremely rigorous program of study – will be considered for these awards. Please note that an A- average is not a guarantee of a scholarship, but suggests the minimum type of performance necessary to be a competitive candidate. All scholarships are renewable for four years provided students meet the GPA requirements.

Providence College Friar Scholarships
The Providence College student body is comprised of students who not only are committed to their studies, but also devote countless hours to extracurricular activities that help to shape their college careers. They manage to balance academics and activities, and many seem to “do it all.” They are the epitome of what it means to be a Friar at Providence College.

Providence College Friar Scholarships are merit awards intended to recognize high school seniors who not only have demonstrated the academic discipline necessary to succeed in the classroom, but display extraordinary commitment, leadership and responsibility in their extracurricular pursuits. While we do not have a prescription for the type of activity that warrants recognition, it is important to note that serious contributors to their pursuits are more attractive than those who have simply been members of a number of organizations. It’s not the length of the list; it’s the depth of involvement that matters.

Students who have academic achievements that earn them admission to Providence College and also demonstrate a true commitment to their out-of-classroom activities will be recognized with awards up to $8,000 annually. Approximately 100 scholarships will be awarded for students enrolling in our freshman class.