Bethel University is a top ranked, evangelical Christian university based out of Saint Paul, Minnesota. Established in 1871 by John Alexis Edgren as the Baptist Union Theological Seminary, the school’s original purpose was to train pastors to serve Swedish Baptist immigrants who had fled the religious persecution they had faced in Europe. In 1914 the Baptist General Conference (now Converge Worldwide) took on the support of the seminary and, following a move from Chicago to Saint Paul, the seminary merged with a Christian high school. Following World War II, four-year degree programs were added and the school became Bethel College and Seminary. By 2004 Bethel was already being classified as a “master’s level university” and decided to adopt its current in order to better reflect the broad scope of programs offered.
Academic ProgramsBethel University’s mission is to be “boldly informed and motivated by the Christian faith,” and to educate and energize “men and women for excellence in leadership, scholarship, and service.” The University seeks to “prepare graduates to serve in strategic capacities to renew minds, live out biblical truth, transform culture, and advance the gospel.” Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1959, Bethel University offers well over 80 undergraduate majors through its College of Arts & Sciences including in the areas of environmental studies, business, journalism, international relations, art, biochemistry/microbiology, athletic training, and engineering science. Nearly a dozen pre-professional programs are also offered in areas such as medicine, law, dentistry, veterinary science, physical therapy, pharmacy, and more.
Bethel University’s Graduate School offers several master’s degrees and a number of graduate certificate and license programs while Bethel Seminary offers graduate programs in dozens of theological, pastoral, and leadership concentrations. The Seminary’s InMinistry distance learning program is one of the most successful seminary distance learning programs in the United States. In addition to all of this, Bethel’s College of Adult & Professional Studies also offers several bachelor degree programs including business management, communication studies, nursing, and organizational leadership.
Student LifeBethel University has a total enrollment figure of nearly 4,000 students, including more than 3,000 undergraduates. Students hail from nearly all fifty states in the Union and more than 20 foreign countries and represent over 60 Christian denominations. Bethel University itself is situated on a 245 acre lakeside campus in the suburban area of Arden Hills, Minnesota, about 20 miles away from downtown St. Paul. The 110,000 square foot Brushaber Commons is the latest addition to Bethel University’s campus, the structure is a spacious, modern structure which houses a two-story dining center, a restaurant, coffee shop, an expanded campus store, offices for student organizations and a green roof.
Bethel University boasts highly respected musical, theatre, and visual arts programs and the University puts on several musical performances – including jazz, choir, symphony, orchestra, and hand-bells – which are held in the expansive Benson Great Hall. Bethe University’s theatre students also stage several plays annually, either in the Hall or in the intimate Black Box Theatre. An NCAA Division III school, Bethel University’s varsity teams compete in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Varsity sports include, basketball, cross country, golf, hockey, soccer, tennis, track and field, men’s baseball, football, and women’s softball, and volleyball.