The largest religious university in the US, Brigham Young University, in Provo, UT, has long been recognized as one of the premiere private research institutions in the nation. Founded in 1875 by Mormon prophet and leader Brigham Young himself, BYU was originally an academy intended for the education of Latter-Day Saints youth in the rapidly-developing wilderness of Utah. The academy was officially bought by the LDS church in 1896, and named a university in an act of optimism and ambition even before it was large enough to warrant the title. Of course, over the next century BYU would more than prove its worth, becoming one of the leading institutions in the West, and in the US in general.
Academic ProgramsBYU is a top-tier research university, well known nationally for engineering, business, and the performing arts. The Marriot School of Management, in particular, is ranked as one of the top business schools in the nation, with a number of top U.S. News & World Report-ranked individual programs including accounting, MBA, and entrepreneurship. Business and accounting are also among BYU’s most popular majors, along with communication, psychology, and counseling.
BYU is a comprehensive university, with undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs – more than 200 majors and minors, 68 master’s programs, and 26 doctorates. BYU has also made deep forays into adult and online education, primarily in professional areas like business, nursing, public health, and computer-related fields. Despite its size, BYU takes pride in creating opportunities for close mentorship between faculty and students, and incorporating undergraduates into cutting-edge research that will increase their advantage on the job market.
Student LifeBYU’s nearly 30,000 undergraduate students (which does not even included its copious online and graduate student body) is 98% LDS members, for good reason – Mormon students get a considerable discount, paid for the the support of the Latter-Day Saints Church, which makes BYU far and away the most affordable major private research university in its class. BYU is thus the leading university for LDS students, drawing Mormon believers from all over the US and the world; 12% of the student body is from a minority background. BYU is also widely cited as one of the best values in higher education.
Brigham Young University, as an LDS-operated institution, places faith and service at the heart of student life. Nearly all male students, and a third of female students, take two years from their education to serve as LDS missionaries, a long-standing tradition that dates back to the earliest days of the church. The vast majority of students attend religious services regularly on campus, and adhere to a strict honor code banning alcohol, smoking, and other activities the church considers unacceptable. In turn, the Mormon cultural standards of optimism and cheerfulness are on full display; BYU has been named by the Princeton Review as one of the happiest schools in the US.