Western Michigan University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Western Michigan University
As a major research institution, Western Michigan University stands as a leader in experiential...

Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Midway between Chicago and Detroit, the city of Kalamazoo thrives with both urban resources and rural landscapes, enriched with numerous cultural festivals, arts venues, and major science and research centers. Most notably, it is the proud home of Western Michigan University, a top-notch public research institution that supports active learners across 149 undergraduate, 75 master’s, and 32 doctoral programs. Its diverse population brings life to its academics, always collaborating with a mix of cultural viewpoints and a broad span of disciplinary perspectives.


As a major research institution, Western Michigan University stands as a leader in experiential learning opportunities. Its professors make a point to form strong relationships with their students, all while giving them the tools and experiences they need to thrive as future professionals.

Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
17,984 undergraduate students
83% of undergrad students are full time
51% male — 49% female
8.1% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-2017 Academic Year
934 full-time faculty
512 part-time faculty
17 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2016
13.1% of first year students live on campus
8.1% of all students live on campus

School Location

Kalamazoo, the home of WMU’s main campus, is the fifth largest city in Michigan, with a county population of more than 220,000 residents. The city is located midway between Chicago and Detroit, 140 miles from each.

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

Retention Fall 2016

78.6% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2016

52.7% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 4%
Hispanic/Latino 6%
Black or African American 13%
White 71%
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%


NCAA Division I, Mid-American Conference (Football Bowl Subdivision), National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

In the interest of gender equity, the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics adds to the vitality of campus life with an offering 15 varsity sports.

Other Information

WMU hosts 1,859 international students from about 100 countries and provides a fully accredited intensive English language program for international students. In addition, the University operates more than 90 study abroad programs in some 40 countries and offers access to countless more through worldwide linkages with other universities and organizations.

At WMU, students may enroll in a variety of international-related academic programs, including majors or minors that focus on global and international studies, business, politics, select world regions, and languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish. Faculty members routinely engage in scholarly activities around the globe, while nearly 600 of WMU’s domestic student annually study overseas.

Western Michigan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

More Distinctions

  • Named a Best Bang for the Buck and top-100 national university in Washington Monthly.

  • The Sustainable Endowments Institute named WMU one of the country’s six winners of 2015 Best of GRITS—Green Revolving Investment Tracking System—awards, honoring the University as the largest institution with the most carbon emissions saved to date.

  • Ranked among the Best for Vets list by Military Times EDGE magazine. WMU is the only Michigan school to appear on this annual list every year since its first publication.


WMU is proud to provide the resources and financial support for its faculty to conduct research and pursue innovative technologies. And because faculty are so greatly focused on creating a fulfilling environment for their students, they commonly seek out undergraduates for help. Regardless of their academic focus, students have outlets to pursue creative projects and research in the lab or out in the field. Some academic departments offer courses designated for research, and the Undergraduate Research Conference opens up the space for students to share their experiences and findings with one another.

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 X
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 X
Television station  


The Western Michigan Community is sparked to life at the beginning of each year at Bronco Bash, an annual festival that riles students up for a great semester with their friends and faculty. Bronco Bash is loaded with performances by local musicians, fun activities, and food. It is a great way for returning students to reunite with their friends, and perfect for first-year students to meet their new peers and get acquainted with the student clubs that they can join while at school.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy  
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 416 696 788 356 206 196 92 2750


Diversity is embraced as an important feature of WMU’s forward-thinking college environment. In fact, WMU was the first American university to require all students to study the non-Western world, incorporating global awareness into its general education curriculum. The University commits to inclusion, providing a safe outlet for students of all backgrounds to share their experiences and explore new cultures. The “Get Globally Engaged This Week!” newsletter keeps students in the know about all cultural events on campus, maintaining a weekly schedule of activities, lectures, and discussions that explore issues and communities from all around the world. Students are also invited to study, intern, or volunteer abroad to themselves firsthand to communities beyond WMU’s walls. Across over 40 countries, they can enact service and gain professional experience while earning academic credit and growing inspired for a lifetime of globally conscious citizenship.


The Office of Sustainability strives to engage each WMU student in initiatives that enact positive change to the environment. Campus-wide projects include a Bike Stable to promote clean methods of transportation, a waste reduction program that conducts research and promotes recycling, and the Gibbs House, which is a new laboratory within a historic campus building that provides space for students to design new technology for sustainable living.


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 X
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing X
Wellness housing  
Other housing options X


Western Michigan University recognizes that internships are one of the most valuable experiences students can have to prepare for their postgraduate careers. With the help of Career and Student Employment Services, anyone in any field of study can find an opportunity that best utilizes their skills and trains them for their individual goals. Resources like the Career Zone and BroncoJOBS help students craft their résumés, prepare for interviews, and seek out employers through a career catalog that is full of opportunities for all areas of work.


Admissions Fall 2016

13,612 Total Applicants
11,205 Total Admissions
2,930 Total Freshmen Enrollment

82.32% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2017-18 Admission

Rolling Admission? Yes

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores

Rigor of secondary school record

Application Essay
Extracurricular activities

Freshmen Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading    
SAT Math    
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 19 25
ACT Math 17 25
ACT English 18 25
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator



Expenses In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $12,528  $15,420
Room and Board (on campus) $9,420 $9,420
Estimated Total On Campus $21,948 $24,840 


Average Financial Aid Packages 2016-2017 Estimated

$14,347 First year students
$5,295 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2016-2017 Estimated

71% on average, the percentage of need that was met
17% of financial need students that had need fully met

$5,295 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,098 Average need-based loan