Radford University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Radford University
Radford University provides limitless opportunities for learning, growth and collaboration. The University is committed...

Radford University

Radford, Virginia

Founded in 1910, Radford University is a comprehensive, mid-sized university located in the heart of Virginia’s New River Valley. With small class sizes, rigorous academics, a strong emphasis on service to others, and a beautiful, 204-acre campus, Radford University provides an education that is focused on developing the student both inside and outside of the classroom. Radford University’s Honors Academy, LEAD Scholars Program, Service Learning, Scholar-Citizen Initiative, and International Education provide further opportunities for motivated students to pursue additional academic engagement, community engagement, and leadership opportunities.


Radford University features a student body of more than 9,400. Known for successful student-faculty collaborations, the university provides limitless opportunities for learning, growth, and collaboration. The university is committed to the development of mature, responsible, well-educated citizens who succeed in a complex, multicultural, and ever-changing world. The university’s size enables it to provide its students with the broad opportunities and advantages often associated with a larger university. Radford University provides unique opportunities for students and faculty members to develop highly personalized relationships that enrich the educational experience. Radford University has been nationally recognized for being a “best value” college, providing a high-quality education at affordable price.



Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
8,426 undergraduate students
96% of undergrad students are full time
43% male — 57% female
7% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
469 full-time faculty
266 part-time faculty
16 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
96% of first year students live on campus
35% of all students live on campus

School Location

Radford University is located in the city of Radford (population 15,859) in southwestern Virginia, adjacent to the historic New River and near the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices 

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences X
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


75% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)


59% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 1%
Hispanic/Latino 7%
Black or African American 15%
White 69%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 5%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 1%


Competing in the Big South Conference, Radford University operates an outstanding NCAA Division I athletic program of 16 men’s and women’s sports. The university’s athletics complex includes an array of modern fields, courts, and stadiums. A comprehensive intramural program provides the entire student body with opportunities to participate in recreational and competitive sports.

Mascot: The Highlander
Colors: Red and white

More Distinctions

  • "Best Colleges and Universities in the Southeast" – The Princeton Review, 2008 - 2017

  • "Best Regional Universities" in the South – U.S. News & World Report, 2013 - 2017

  • "Best Bang for the Buck" Universities – Washington Monthly Magazine, 2013 - 2016

  • "Best Colleges for Veterans - South" – U.S. News & World Report, 2016 - 2017

  • "Best for Vets" – Military Times, 2015

  • "Best 295 Business Schools" – The Princeton Review, 2012 - 2017

  • "Best Dorms" Ranked #3 in Virginia and among the top 100 nationwide – Niche Rankings, 2015

  • "President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll" – Corporation for National and Community Service, 2009, 2013 - 2015

  • “Top Green Colleges in the Nation" – The Princeton Review, 2010 - 2016

The Core Curriculum is a foundational learning experience with which students improve their ability to think—both critically and analytically—and begin to take possession of the learning process. With few exceptions, Core Curriculum courses introduce students to a broad academic discipline or field of study, teaching them how scholars discover and create knowledge in that area. This curriculum places a clear emphasis on the proficiencies central to a liberal arts education for the modern world.  

Collaborative Assignments and Projects

Radford University offers academic engagement opportunities both inside and beyond the classroom through undergraduate research, community engagement, study abroad, learning communities, and the Honors Academy. In addition to these support offices and programs, Radford offers several signature experiences.

Scholar-Citizen Initiative

The Radford University Scholar-Citizen Initiative (SCI) offers students from all majors the opportunity to apply academic skills and disciplinary knowledge to the challenges facing local, national, and global communities. The diversity of experiences in which students can immerse themselves provides them with career skills—like problem-solving, adaptability, and interpersonal communication—that are useful in every work environment. SCI experiences prepare students for their lives after college by integrating classroom and co-curricular activities. Students put their intellectual skills to work for the public good while emphasizing collaborative problem-solving, intercultural awareness, and self-reflection.


Radford University’s SELU Conservancy is located along the Little River, just minutes from campus. It is primarily used as an outdoor classroom and research site. The Barn houses a science lab for field work on the lower level, and the attached silo is home to the observatory. The Farm at SELU is a 1930s homestead replica used for teaching and community outreach. Similarly, the SELU Teams Course is used for education and outreach.


The Radford Amazonian Research Expedition (RARE) project aligns with the university’s commitment to providing undergraduates of all majors with transformative academic experiences. RARE gives students unique opportunities to explore the world and their place in it. As participants in RARE, students enjoy an experience that is equal parts education and exploration. Students encounter rare and endangered species, visit local markets, see the impact of deforestation first hand, and hike and study in a truly one-of-a-kind place.

Making and Innovation Movement

Radford University seeks to empower students and faculty to create the objects of their imagination by fostering a culture of innovation and Making. Several programs and many courses engage students through innovation, creativity, project-based learning, and Making skills. Beyond the classroom, students at Radford University engage in Making through a variety of challenges, charrettes, competitions, workshops, and events sponsored by student clubs and others. In addition to the disciplinary specific makerspaces, Radford University is home to campus-wide makerspaces, offering equipment and expertise in digital and physical Making.

Undergraduate Research

The Office of Undergraduate Research & Scholarship (OURS) advances a sustainable culture of undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activities. OURS supports student-faculty teams that are tackling big questions facing humanity. This support occurs at all phases of student-faculty projects with a focus on mentoring, funding new projects, and providing internal and external opportunities to disseminate the triumphs of established projects. OURS broadly defines research as anything that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to a discipline. It believes that students of all majors, class standing, and GPA are capable of creating meaningful new knowledge with proper guidance.

Diversity and Global Learning

Radford’s International Education Center serves international students through the process of applying to and attending the university. The Center encourages and enables current students to participate in high-quality study abroad experiences, facilitating innovative international programming on campus.

The Intensive English Program is designed to help adult international students meet their personal, academic, and professional goals through intensive English language study. Through its work, the LCI@RU increases diversity in the university’s student population by enabling outstanding international candidates to meet English-language admission requirements.

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion is a resource to all students, staff, and faculty through a variety of programs, activities, and services. The Center provides a concentrated focus on the progress, success, and concerns of underrepresented populations on Radford University’s campus.

Activities Offered

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

Great teaching has deep roots in the Radford University experience with a long history of dedicated and passionate faculty. Radford University faculty are committed to engaging their students—both inside and outside the classroom—exposing them to “doing” their disciplines, showing them the world, and assisting in their growth to becoming engaged citizens.

The university’s goal is to ensure that all students have access to high-quality experiences in their academic career, gaining the relevant knowledge, skills, and dispositions they need to be career-ready and engaged citizens upon graduation.

First-Year Seminars and Experiences

University 100 is a one-credit, graded course that actively supports students in making a successful transition from high school (or a previous institution) to Radford University while providing a solid foundation on which students can build a successful college career. Each course is supported by a faculty member and peer mentor. Peer mentors represent the very best that Radford has to offer. They teach in the classroom, counsel new students with academic difficulties, reassure and orient new students to the opportunities and expectations of RU, and serve as “role models” for the type of citizens that RU produces. Various sections of the University 100 course are offered and adapted to meet the unique needs of new freshmen, transfer, commuting students, as well as for specific colleges, majors, and programs.

Radford University’s BE S.E.E.N. (Be Seen Through Student Engagement and Education Now) is a program that begins on the first day of classes and continues through mid-October with six-themed weeks of activities. The activities are created to connect academic and campus life to a variety of interests.

Writing-Intensive Courses

Through the university’s core curriculum classes, students are exposed to intensive written and oral communication classes. Students will demonstrate competencies rooted in the principles of grammar, logic, and rhetoric.

Common Core

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

Class size breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 131 348 453 206 117 105 11 1371

Learning Communities

Radford University offers six unique freshman learning communities (Biology Connections, CORE Connections, Accelerated Research Opportunities, Community of Artists, RU Makers, and Environment/Community Connections) that provide students opportunities to deeply engage with faculty, academics, and peers with similar interests.

Learning communities are small groups of students that typically take one or more courses together while focusing on a common theme or discipline. Faculty- and peer- instructor teams work together to assign readings, create assignments, and coordinate activities that connect the courses. Students engaged in learning communities are able to build both intellectual and social relationships with classmates and faculty through shared experiences and increased time together. Students participating in living-learning communities also benefit from the coordination of residence hall teams with their academic partners to create additional programming in their living environment.


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


By combining academic theory with practical, real-life experience, Radford provides students with a broader and deeper understanding of course content.


Radford University recognizes that students with internship or practicum experience as part of their undergraduate career are more likely to receive job offers. Internships are coordinated through academic departments and may take many forms: for credit or not for credit; paid or unpaid, part-time or full-time, and short-term or long-term. The Career Center can help students locate potential internship opportunities.


Capstone project opportunities are offered across all colleges and are required in the Honors Academy. These independent projects are completed in close consultation with faculty mentors and are intended to solidify the academic knowledge and other educational experiences that students have acquired while at Radford University.  


Admissions Fall 2015

 7,447 Total Applicants
6,047 Total Admissions
1,751 Total Freshmen Enrollment

81.20% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling Admission? No

Closing date: Aug 15
Priority Date: Feb 1

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record

Academic GPA

Class rank
Standardized test scores
Application Essay
Extracurricular activities
Character/personal qualities
First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Volunteer work
Work experience
Level of applicant’s interest

Freshmen Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 430 530
SAT Math 430 520
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 17 22
ACT Math 16 22
ACT English 16 23
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator



  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $6,991 $18,626
Fees $3,090 $3,090
Total $10,081 $21,716
Room and Board (on campus) $8,946 $8,946
Room Only $4,962 $4,962
Board Only $3,984 $3,984
Estimated Total On Campus $19,027 $30,662


Average Financial Aid Packages 2016-17 estimated

$10,394 First year students
$8,110 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2016-17 estimated

79.7% on average, the percentage of need that was met
28% of financial need students that had need fully met

$8,110 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,221 Average need-based loan

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