Point Loma Nazarene University

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Scores last updated on January 6, 2024
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Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
Carnegie Classification
Master's Colleges & Universities: Larger Programs
Religious Affiliation
Church of the Nazarene

Along the Pacific coast in San Diego sits Point Loma Nazarene University, a private 4-year school. The campus is set on 90 acres of picturesque landscape and is consistently ranked among the most beautiful college campuses in the country. Founded in 1902 as Pacific Bible College and affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene, the name has been changed/updated several time over the course of its history (Deets Pacific Bible College (1906-1910), Nazarene University (1910-1917), Pasadena University (1917-1949), Pasadena College (1949-1973), Point Loma College: An Institution of the Church of the Nazarene (1973-1983), Point Loma Nazarene College (1983-1998)). Placed on the peninsula across from San Diego, the school enjoys a suburban feel while being close to the city. Notable alumni incude James Dobson and World Vision & Samaritan’s Purse founder Robert Pierce.

Academic Programs

Point Loma Nazarene University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission and offers Bachelor’s Degrees, post-baccalaureate certificates and Master’s Degrees in 60 majors. There are a few online degree programs available also. PLNU is noted for its Nursing, Dietetics, Teacher Education and Music programs; the largest programs on campus are in Healthcare fields and Business. The university is comprised of six schools and colleges: Fermanian School of Business, School of Education, School of Nursing, College of Arts & Humanities, School of Theology & Christian Ministry and College of Natural & Social Sciences. According to the Mission Statement, “Point Loma Nazarene University exists to provide higher education in a vital Christian community where minds are engaged and challenged, character is modeled and formed, and service is an expression of faith. Being of Wesleyan heritage, we strive to be a learning community where grace is foundational, truth is pursued, and holiness is a way of life. [the] Mission Context [is that the school] offers quality liberal arts and professional programs on its main campus in San Diego and select graduate and professional programs throughout the denomination’s southwest educational region.”

Student Life

There are approximately 3000 students enrolled in PLNU; many reside in one of the 9 residence halls on campus. There are many student-run clubs and organizations as well as intramural sports. For the varsity athlete, the green and gold Sea Lions (led by Roary the Sea Lion) field teams in 7 sports and participate in NCAA Division II competition. An interesting and poignant tradition is the Sand Tradition where all incoming students pick up a handful of sand and drop it into a tank at the Greek Amphitheatre. The sand symbolizes students becoming one community. Graduates receive sand back from the tank, now mixed together with sand from fellow students. This underlines PLNU’s vision that the school “will be a nationally prominent Christian university and a leading Wesleyan voice in higher education and the church – known for excellence in academic preparation, wholeness in personal development, and faithfulness to mission” and the stated values of Excellence in teaching and learning, Being an intentionally Christian community, Faithfulness to our Nazarene heritage and a Wesleyan theological, Development of students as whole persons, A global perspective and experience, Ethnic and cultural diversity, Stewardship of resources and Service as an expression of faith.

Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?