The University of Charleston, a private, regionally-accredited liberal arts institution, was founded in 1888 as the Barboursville Seminary. Originally a Methodist Episcopal Church institution, the school was designed to prepare students for the ministry. The school was known as Morris Harvey College for many years, in honor of the coal operator who donated money to pay off the school’s debt in 1901; in the 1940s, Morris Harvey College moved to the capital city of Charleston and became independent from the Methodist Church, finally changing its name to the University of Charleston in 1978. Through it all, UC has remained focused on the needs of West Virginia’s people, ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 100 regional colleges in the South.
Academic ProgramsLocated in West Virginia’s capital, the University of Charleston serves a wide and diverse population with very different needs, and has developed a curriculum that works as well for the traditional-aged high school graduate as the working adult. It starts with a model First Year Experience program, one which has been cited for excellence. Freshman students work through a comprehensive plan combining classroom, co-curricular, and residence life to solidify their understanding of UC’s values: productive work, enlightened living, and community involvement. Students then enter their majors, choosing from more than two dozen offered, along with pre-professional programs in pre-med, pre-law, pre-pharmacy, and more.
Under the innovative, outcome-based Learning Your Way curriculum, all of UC’s programs are built around six core competencies, the Liberal Learning Outcomes: Citizenship, Communication, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Ethical Practice, and Inquiry. UC offers several master’s degrees, as well as their first doctoral degree in pharmacy. With a 14:1 student:faculty ratio, UC is known for their excellent student support, as well as a high level of student engagement. UC has been ranked one of the best institutions in the South for veterans, and for working adults, due to their generous acceptance of transfer credits and their willingness to award credits for work, life experience, and military service.
Student LifeWith a student body of just over 2400, 1500 of them undergraduates, the University of Charleston offers a rich and vibrant student life. With its home in West Virginia’s preeminent city, UC students have access to more urban life – from arts and culture to internships and networking – than many West Virginia colleges, a major benefit for both traditional and nontraditional students. Students are highly encouraged to commit to community service projects, many of which are done as part of student organizations; there are more than 35 student-led organizations and clubs, including service groups, recreational clubs, hobbies and special events, and professional development and networking.
The Charleston Golden Eagles compete in 20 NCAA Division II sports as part of the Mountain East Conference. Formerly part of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, UC was one of the 12 charter members to leave the WVIAC to form the MEC. With its small student body, over a third of the population plays some sport, from basketball, soccer, and cross-country for men and women, to gender-specific sports like baseball and lacrosse.