University of Dubuque - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
University of Dubuque
The University of Dubuque is the perfect setting for academic success. Students experience an...

University of Dubuque

Dubuque, Iowa

The University of Dubuque is a private University affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It was founded in 1852 by Dutch immigrant Adrian Van Vliet to educate German-speaking ministers who could communicate with incoming immigrants. In 1902, new programs emerged to form what is now the University of Dubuque.


The University is continually expanding in order to adapt to the world’s ever-changing social, economic, and academic challenges. In line with its new, strategic mission, the University of Dubuque has kickstarted a variety of initiatives to help increase enrollment, improve academic programs, and beautify the campus with contemporary building projects. Over the past 20 years, the University has invested over $250 million in new campus construction and renovations. During this period, UD’s enrollment has grown by over 400% from about 550 students to nearly 2,300. Representing 43 states and 22 countries, its student population puts UD on the map as one of the most diverse private colleges in Iowa.

Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
1,921 undergraduate students
87% of undergrad students are full time
62% male — 38% female
57% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-2017 Academic Year
94 full-time faculty
283 part-time faculty
15 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2016
84% of first year students live on campus
48% of all students live on campus

School Location

UD is located in Iowa’s oldest city, Dubuque, which is located along the scenic Mississippi River at the intersection of the Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin borders. This central location puts UD students within easy driving distance of cities such as Chicago, IL; Des Moines, IA; Madison, WI; and Rochester, MN.


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


65% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full time, first time freshmen)


42% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 6%
Hispanic/Latino 8%
Black or African American 10%
White 67%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 4%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 1%


The University of Dubuque is a member of NCAA Division III, a prestigious bracket of more than 180,000 student-athletes from 450 institutions. Today, the University supports 23 teams and numerous intramural sports. Sparty the Spartan is UD’s mascot.  

Academic Programs

Undergraduate Academic Majors · Accounting* · Applied Aviation Technology · Aviation Management* · Biology* · Business* · Chemistry* · Christian Studies* · Communication* · Computer Forensics and Security · Computer Graphics/Interactive Media · Computer Information Systems* · Computer Information Technology* · Criminal Justice* · Elementary Education · English* · Environmental Science* · Fine and Performing Arts · Flight Operations (Professional Aeronautics)* · Health Care Administration – LIFE Program only · Health, Wellness, and Sport* · Human Health Science · Human Resource Management* · Liberal Studies · Marketing* · Mathematics* · Nursing · Philosophy* · Physical Education Teaching, K-12 · Psychology* · Secondary Education (Biology, English, Environmental Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, General Science) · Sport Marketing and Management · Sociology* · Wellness and Exercise Science * Indicates minor offered as well. Additional Undergraduate Academic Minors · Computer Security · Gender Studies · History · Military Science · Music · Natural Resource Management · Philosophy

The University of Dubuque offers 31 areas of study as well as graduate programs in business, communication, physician assistant, and theology. The most popular programs at the University include Aviation, Natural and Applied Sciences, Business Administration and Marketing, Education, and Health Wellness and Sport Marketing Management.

Research Fellowships

The Joseph and Linda Chlapaty Summer Research Fellowship and Butler Fellowship are two examples of the research opportunities available to UD students. These fellowships help prepare undergraduate students for their postgraduate pursuits, no matter their discipline of study. Each year, over 30 upperclassmen are awarded a fellowship to conduct research over the course of a summer. The University of Dubuque works hard to ensure that these awards cover the costs of research supplies and travel, giving students free reign to explore and inquire within their area of study.

World View Seminar

The University’s World View Seminars (WVS) are a series of four courses that challenge students to better understand a world of various cultures.  Students work together to discuss what is means to live lives of purpose, analyzing how faith and values contribute to today’s diverse society.

Other Services

The University of Dubuque commits to helping each student, regardless of need, feel comfortable and at home. For example, Disability Services provides the necessary accommodations to differently abled students so that they may live comfortably throughout UD’s campus. Additionally, the TRIO/Student Support Services facility brings students from disadvantaged backgrounds in touch with federal programs that provide multiple services and opportunities to help them thrive.

Activities Offered

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

The Diamond Education Model.

The University of Dubuque developed Diamond—an education model that focuses all classroom learning around four key principles: Academics, Stewardship, Vocation, and Community and Character. These features of Diamond set the standards for committed faculty and staff involvement, exciting and relevant course content, and inspirational spiritual guidance. Diamond helps students reach their full potential by promoting an environment that is student centered and individually focused. Students are prepared to manage change by building confidence, developing flexibility, and encouraging critical thinking.  

First-Year Experience

The University of Dubuque’s First-Year Experience eases students’ transitions into collegiate academics and expectations. The first-year curriculum orients students to the rigor of upper-level coursework, all while building a community of new friends by way of the experiences they share with their peers. With the support of an enthusiastic community, new UD students are challenged to further build upon their gifts through academic inquiry, their social interactions, and spiritual exploration as they discover their place within a diverse campus community. 

To kick off the First-Year Experience, the Bridge Program is designed to assist new students who need additional assistance transitioning to college life. This program bolsters students’ success with study-skills classes, bi-weekly study labs, online tutoring, and peer mentoring.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy X
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages  
Humanities X
Mathematics 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 159 295 96 16 3 2 0 571

Campus Life

The University of Dubuque’s campus is home to approximately 2,300 students from 43 states and 22 countries. Its faculty and staff strive to create a learning environment that is just as welcoming as it is challenging. Students have the opportunity to participate in more than 60 student organizations and clubs, approximately 25 intramural sports, and 23 varsity athletic teams. They may also take on an ample selection of volunteer opportunities and attend multiple Chapel services during the week.

Student Housing and Facilities

Comfortable living is a given at the University of Dubuque. Three modern, ecologically sustainable dorms cater specifically to first-year students, providing an extra platform for new friendships to form twenty-four hours a day. These dorms, among other residence halls, apartments, and townhomes, become bedrocks for community. Each on-campus residence hall acts as a base for close-knit relationships and activities.

UD’s housing options aren’t the only notable buildings on campus; since 1998, the University has invested over $250 million into construction and renovations that integrate contemporary green spaces in with the the city’s historic architecture.

Small Town Setting. Big Town Feel.

Nestled along the scenic Mississippi River, Dubuque is home to the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, the Dubuque Museum of Art, a variety of shops and restaurants, event venues, and more. The city of nearly 60,000 boasts miles of trails for walking, hiking, biking, and many Mississippi waterway and byway activities.


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

Student Services

Through the University’s Academic Support and Success Center, students can work with an Academic Success Coach to help identify and conquer any barriers that may be affecting their academic performance. The Center also provides peer and professional tutors in business, economics, science, math, aviation regulations, and technology through its “Be Smart” tutor program. Additionally, the UD Writing Center is open to equip students at all skill levels with strategies to engage in the most efficient writing processes possible.

Special Programs and Opportunities

UD students are challenged with special programs that enrich, enhance, and extend their academic experiences. A few of the special opportunities students have include single-course, experiential study throughout the abbreviated January Term (J-Term), long- and short-term study abroad, and the prestigious Scholar-Leader Honors Program. Through this Honors Program, driven students are pushed to sharpen their communication, leadership, and critical-thinking skills, training them to develop attributes that are highly valued in the professional world.

Academic Advising

The University provides academic advising services that empower students to make informed decisions about their academic and professional aspirations. Right at the beginning of their first year, each student is assigned a Director of Advising who helps them plan their course schedules and enter the University with a platform for success.

The University’s Center for Vocation and Civic Engagement helps students direct their strengths to real-world experiences outside of the college setting. The Center’s staff guides students to discover their unique strengths and gifts, providing them with insight into their chosen vocation and directing them toward appropriate internships, potential employers, and possible graduate schools.



1,664 Total Applicants
1,258 Total Admissions
443 Total Freshmen Enrollment

75.6% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2017-18 Admission

Rolling admission? Yes


Very Important
Academic GPA

Standardized test scores
Character/personal qualities
Level of applicant’s interest

Rigor of secondary school record
Class rank
Application Essay
Extracurricular activities
First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Volunteer work
Work experience

Freshmen Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 380 510
SAT Math 360 490
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 17 22
ACT Math 16 23
ACT English 15 22
ACT Writing    




Tuition $27,400
Fees $1,300
Total $28,700
Room and Board (on campus) $9,350
Estimated Total On Campus $38,050

Average Financial Aid Packages 2016-2017 estimated

$25,021 First year students
$17,871 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2016-2017 estimated

60.5% on average, the percentage of need that was met
18% of financial need students that had need fully met

$17,871 Average need-based scholarship or grant award

$7,298 Average need-based loan