Sewanee: The University of the South - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Sewanee: The University of the South
"Students at Sewanee are surrounded by a rich heritage and tradition of intellectual achievement...

Sewanee: The University of the South

Sewanee, Tennessee

Discover the Mountain


“A place of academic adventure rooted in Southern tradition, Sewanee challenges students to explore the world within and beyond the classroom.” The Mountain at Sewanee is much more than another pretty campus. It’s a place for adventures of the mind, body, and spirit. It’s a place where wilderness and culture intersect to provide answers. It’s a place of deep peace, where students can seek what’s true, real, and beautiful. Most of all, it’s a place of transformation and a home away from home.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
1,710 undergraduate students
99% of undergrad students are full time
48% male — 52% female
75% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
184 full-time faculty
29 part-time faculty
10 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Highly residential: 92% of students live on campus. Options include coed, single-sex, and foreign language housing.

School Location

Sewanee, Tennessee; 50 miles west of Chattanooga and 90 miles southeast of Nashville.

Retention Fall 2015

89% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

78% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 3%
Hispanic/Latino 5%
Black or African American 4%
White 82%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 3%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 0%


NCAA Division III, Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference

21 varsity sports (11 men‘s, 10 women‘s)
12 club sports and 15 intramurals.

Other Information

Sewanee University, founded in 1857, is a four-year liberal arts university affiliated with the Independent Episcopal Church.

Academic Programs

American Studies, Anthropology, Art, Art History, Asian Studies, Biology, Chemistry, Classics, Comparative Literature, Computer Science, Economics, English, Environmental Science, European Studies, Forestry, French, Geology, German, Greek, History, International Relations, Latin, Literature, Mathematics, Medieval Studies, Music, Music History, Natural Resources Management, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, Russian, Russian Studies, Spanish, Theatre Arts/Drama

More Distinctions

  • Ranked 12th among the liberal arts best buys by U.S. News & World Report.

  • Faculty rated 4th in the nation by the Princeton Review’s "The Best 345 Colleges"

  • Selected for "Kaplan’s Unofficial, Unbiased, Insider’s Guide to the 320 Most Interesting Colleges"

  • Rated among the top 35 liberal-arts colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report

  • Included in Jay Matthews "Harvard Schmarvard: Getting Beyond the Ivy League to the College That Is Best for You"

Sewanee instills a love of adventure, both physical and mental, in its students. It’s 10,000 acre campus is filled with activity and excitement, hosting a magnificent environment in which students can pursue their interests and investigate new problems.

First-Year Program

Sewanee’s First Year Program (FYP) allows new students to take an interdisciplinary seminar their first very first semester. Designed to ease their transition to college life, FYP builds communities of learning and friendship both inside and outside of the classroom. All courses are capped at 14 students, so those who participate get to know their professors and fellow classmates while engaging in lively discussions about topics that merge different areas of study. Past seminars have included Good and Evil: Fairy Tales in Literature and Music; Sex and Gender Around the World: Common Issues and Diverse Perspectives; and Philosophy through Film: Jesus, Socrates, and Cowboys.

Global Experiences

Sewanee students strive to expand their horizons and see the world from new perspectives. Foreign study is a particularly popular method; over 40% of Sewanee students study abroad in over 30 different countries. While the University offers some programs through affiliated international universities, a full selection of programs are directly affiliated with Sewanee, including some that are operated by the school’s very own language departments. Some programs even offer interdisciplinary courses that place a special emphasis in a Sewanee major that also expand the scope of its approach. England, Kenya, Japan, Senegal, Australia, and Italy are just a few of the possible destinations for the Sewanee study abroad experience.

Honor Code

Sewanee’s Honor Code, a pledge to lead a life of integrity and truthfulness, provides the basis for everything on campus. Stating simply that students will not commit acts of dishonesty, the Code creates a campus atmosphere characterized by trust and mutual respect.

At Sewanee, learning is exploration. Students are encouraged to think for themselves, kicking off their exploration with invested professors as their guides. They study a variety of disciplinary perspectives relating their major interests to the field of academia at large.

General Education Foundation

Sewanee provides an intense curriculum filled with opportunities. The University believes that a broad education is the best preparation for life, so all students take at least 19 courses outside of their majors, including literature, language, math and natural sciences, art, and social science classes. Students sharpen their communication skills through oral presentations and writing-intensive courses. Class discussions challenge them to think critically and argue persuasively. But such a breadth of knowledge is useless without deep, technical expertise. That’s why each student has an individually shaped, coherent plan of study in their field, using their broad foundation to effectively tackle their specific field of interest.

Interdisciplinary Studies

Sewanee offers a number of programs that are unique in both topic and structure. Chief among them are their interdisciplinary majors, which allow students to study one subject from a wide cross-section of perspectives. A small sample of these majors includes American studies, Asian studies, environmentalism, French studies, and biochemistry. There is also the extraordinary chance for students to design their own majors with a variety of courses. Past examples include wildlife conservation, integrative environmental solutions, and early modern studies.

Excellent Professors

Sewanee’s professors are scholars at the top of their fields as both educators and researchers. Faculty include Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellows, Rhodes Scholars, novelists and poets, former foreign service officers, United Nations consultants, ordained ministers, National Science Foundation award winners, and recorded musicians. All Sewanee professors prioritize their students’ growth, encouraging and helping them conduct independent research, travel to professional conferences, and co-author published papers in academic journals.

In a community the size of Sewanee, no one remains anonymous; everyone’s contributions are meaningful, needed, and valued.

Involvement, Leadership, and Teamwork

At Sewanee, getting involved is a way of life. Sewanee plays in the highly competitive NCAA Division III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, fielding 21 teams in 13 sports. There are also 27 different club sports and intramural activities, ranging from basketball and football to Tae Kwon Do and fencing. For those who interested in calmer activities, Sewanee provides over 130 student clubs and organizations, including social, activist, professional interest, and hobby groups. The Office of Student Activities, Office of Minority Affairs, Organization for Cross Cultural Understanding (OCCU), and other groups sponsor musical acts, comedians, speakers, and other events throughout the year. Recent guests include Jump Little Children, Jupiter Coyote, From Good Homes, David Wilcox, the Spelman Jazz Ensemble, improv troupe Second City, North Mississippi All Stars, Nickel Creek, Robert Earl Keen, and Gillian Welch.

Greek Life

Going Greek means making 100 new friends in a single night. Nearly 70% of Sewanee students pledge to one of 19 national fraternities and sororities, providing themselves a firm base for service, socialization, and leadership. Despite the strong presence of Greek life, however, there’s no stark division between the community of Greek and non-Greek students. Fraternity and sorority houses are nonresidential, so all students live together in the residence halls. All Greek-sponsored parties and events are also open to everyone on campus, regardless of pledge status.


A Sewanee education provides much more than just technical training; it also prepares students to make positive impacts in the world. The University encourages the connection between mind and heart, establishing numerous service opportunities for the campus at large. The All Saints’ Chapel and the student-run Community Service Council, for example, coordinate and supervise several service programs, including adult literacy work, AIDS awareness, alcohol education, mentoring and tutoring, staffing at homeless shelters, recycling, and providing companionship for senior citizens.

Sewanee establishes much more than just knowledge and career preparation; it also ingrains in students an ethical compass that guides them through all of life’s obstacles.

Pre-Professional Success

Sewanee provides an excellent foundation for pre-professional students. The University’s pre-law program encourages strong oral and written communication skills, a critical understanding of societal institutions and values, and a logical approach to problem solving. The results speak for themselves: 95% of pre-law grads are accepted into law school, and pre-health grads boast acceptance rates to medical, dental, and veterinary schools well above the national average.

Alumni of Honor

Sewanee graduates reap the lion’s share of postgraduate awards. The University has produced 24 Rhodes Scholars, 34 Watson Fellows, and 24 NCAA Postgraduate scholars in addition to a number of other award-recipients.

Sewanee’s rigorous academics are the perfect foundation for advanced study, supporting alumni who greatly appeal to impressive graduate programs. 70% of Sewanee students pursue postgraduate studies at institutions like Vanderbilt University, Duke University, the University of Georgia, Harvard University, Yale University, the University of Tennessee, Stanford University, and many more.

The major employers of graduates include AmSouth; Bank of America; Credit Suisse First Boston; Merrill Lynch; Morgan Keegan; Morgan Stanley; Smith Barney; SunTrust; Coca-Cola; and Vanderbilt University.


Admissions Fall 2015

4,509 Total Applicants 
1,830 Total Admissions 
469 Total Freshman Enrollment

40.59% of applicants admitted


The following coursework is recommended for competitive applicants.

Four Years of English
Two or more years of a foreign language
Three or more years of math including algebra I and II and geometry
Two or more years of laboratory science
Two or more years of social science, including history

The following items should be included with all applications for admissions:
Completed, Two-part Application for Admission
Non-refundable $45 application fee
Merit essay (for those who are applying for a merit scholarship)
Official Transcripts of all completed high school coursework
Mid-Year grade report
Standardized Test Scores from the SAT I and/or ACT tests.
Recommendation letter to be completed by your high school guidance counselor
Recommendation letter to be completed by a teacher

Admission Application Deadline

Early Decision Plan I
Apply by November 15, notification by December 15.  Deposit due by January 15

Early Decision Plan II
Apply by January 2, notification by February 1.  Deposit due by February 15

Regular Decision Deadline February 1.


Net Price Calculator


Tuition $36,410
Fees $272
Total $36,682
Room and Board (on campus) $11,050
Room Only $5,730
Board Only $5,320
Estimated Total On Campus $47,732


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

85% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
37% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$20,461 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$5,823 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates

Scholarships and Awards

In addition to need-based aid, Sewanee provides the following competitive, merit-based scholarships to deserving students:

Benedict Scholars — full cost

Wilkins Scholars — half tuition regardless of need, more is awarded if need exists

Regents’ Scholars — for students of color only, half tuition regardless of need, more is awarded if need exists

Freeman Scholars — half tuition for students interested in Asian studies

President’s Awards — range from $3,000 to $6,000