The most selective, most prestigious private university in Louisiana, Tulane University has a long history of excellence. Founded in 1834, Tulane was originally a public medical school, only the second founded in the South, and that institution was a critical player in preparing qualified doctors for a region that lacked adequate medical care. With the success of the medical college, a law school and undergraduate programs were added, and the first University of Louisiana was created. However, economic depression after the Civil War led the state to give up the university in 1884; it was subsequently renamed Tulane University in honor of benefactor Paul Tulane, who donated New Orleans real estate and financial gifts to the college. Today Tulane is Louisiana’s highest-ranked university, falling in the top 40 nationally in U.S. News & World Report rankings.
Academic ProgramsTulane is one of the most selective universities in the South; less than a quarter of all applicants are accepted, and those represent some of the most accomplished students in the nation. A little more than half of Tulane’s students are traditional undergraduates. After Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and caused more than $650 million in damage to the university, Tulane instituted a new core curriculum for all undergraduates. Dedicated to public service, the Tulane TIDES curriculum makes Tulane the only university in its class to mandate community service for every student. The core requires two courses in public service and a capstone project built around action and research.
A prominent private research university, Tulane has an endowment of over $1 billion and well over $150 in yearly research spending. Many of Tulane’s professional programs and research centers are among the oldest and most respected in the nation, including the School of Medicine (the second-oldest in the south), the School of Law (the first law school to mandate pro bono work as a graduation requirement), and the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (one of the first public health programs, and the first tropical medicine program in the world). With its top-ranked research, Tulane is also one of the most productive universities in the nation for Fulbright, Rhodes, Marshall, and Truman Scholars.
Student LifeSince Hurricane Katrina, student life at Tulane has taken a decidedly civic turn, with community service and development pushed to the forefront for the last decade, not only in curriculum, but in student organizations and activities. More than 780,000 community service hours were logged in just 2016, including rebuilding homes, tutoring students, and nursing in area clinics. Of course, student life at Tulane is not all work; Tulane is in the heart of New Orleans, after all, one of the greatest destinations in the US for food, music, and fun, and Tulane students take full advantage, from Mardi Gras to the legendary Jazz & Heritage Festival.
More than 200 student-led organizations and clubs also help students build relationships and community in a university of nearly 14,000, with honor societies; cultural, ethnic, and religious groups; and recreation. Greek Life is big at Tulane – more than two dozen fraternities and sororities are represented. The Tulane Green Wave – a name originally applied to the football team and their olive uniforms – compete in the NCAA Division I American Athletic Conference, where they have seen a number of women’s conference championships in recent years. Tulane’s mascot is a pelican named Riptide.