Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College was founded by Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and five other sisters in 1840. The six sisters journeyed from their convent in Ruille-sur-Loir, France, to what was then the Indiana wilderness in order to create an academy for young women. Their journey took 40 days across the stormy ocean.

While traveling across the sea to America, they were robbed of a significant amount of the money they were to use to establish the school. They arrived in New York and then had to travel by train, canal, stagecoach and ferry, barely able to speak the language. They crossed the Wabash River on October 22, 1840, more than three months after leaving their native country.

In her journal, Saint Mother Theodore did not lament that the sisters had no home when they arrived, but that she was concerned that they would be unable to find students. However, before the first building was erected, students came to the location, seeking an education.

In 1846, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College was granted the first charter to educate women in Indiana and the first Bachelor of Arts degree was awarded in 1899. It was the first college to offer journalism courses and in secondary education, home economics as well as secretarial science. The Women’s External Degree Program, established in 1973, was the first independent study program in the country.

Men were admitted to the college in 2005 for online courses and, in 2015, men were permitted to attend traditional classes as well. The college is a liberal arts institution that pledges faithfulness to Catholic values and excellence of academics. Undergraduate students who began taking courses after 2013 must pass one theology course and two additional courses that are the hallmark of the Woods Core. Students are encouraged to deepen their spiritual beliefs through reflection and are provided many areas for spiritual growth, including the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Blessed Sacrament church, the labyrinth, Chapel in Le Fer Hall and the secluded outdoor Grotto.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Accreditation Details

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Additional accrediting agencies include:

  • American Art Therapy Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Music Therapy Association
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
  • Institute for the Certification of Computer Professionals
  • National Association of Schools of Music
  • Society for Human Resource Management

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Application Requirements

Residential undergraduate students must provide official transcripts as well as official ACT or SAT scores. There is a writing sample required and students must also provide a letter of recommendation or guidance counselor report. Online students must provide a personal essay of at least 500 words describing why they want to enroll in distance education at the college as well as a professional resume. Students who have not earned at least 15 college credits must submit high school transcripts, GED records if applicable, official college transcripts, a letter of recommendation and SAT or ACT scores. Students who have completed 15 credits or more need only submit college transcripts. Graduate students must submit official college transcripts and there may be additional admission requirements for certain programs of study. Graduate students are encouraged to contact an admissions counselor before applying for any programs.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Tuition and Financial Aid

Undergraduate tuition for students who will be living on campus is $28,932 per year. Woods Online tuition is $496 per credit hour. Graduate tuition ranges from $555 to $703 per credit hour depending on the program chosen. Financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships and student loans are available as well. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to qualify for any financial aid.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Online Degree(s) Available

The Woods Online program offers several undergraduate degrees that are available in a completely online format. Programs are offered in 8- or 16-week formats, depending on the program selected.


The bachelor’s degree in Accounting is available in both 8- and 16-week formats. Students are prepared for careers in business, government, industry and the non-profit sector. Students are provided a solid foundation rooted in liberal arts as well as general core business course that prepare students for entry-level positions in the accounting field. Although the general program does not meet the 150-credit hour requirements needed to sit for the CPA examination in many states, students are able to add courses to the program in order to meet the requirement.

Business Administration

Businesses need individuals with an understanding of marketing, accounting and management. The Business Administration undergraduate degree at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods provides that background for graduates. Offered in both 8- and 16-week formats, the program provides graduates with the ability to pay attention to detail while also providing them with the skills to analyze the bigger picture. The program is especially beneficial for those who may want to start their own business.

Human Resource Management

The SHRM certified Human Resource Management undergraduate degree at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary for the critical role of human resource managers. Human resource managers help companies meet the challenges of a rapidly changing business world. Graduates of the program have extensive knowledge of the legal requirements regarding the human resources necessary to run a company as well as analyzing the organization to determine human resources needs. The program is offered in both 8- and 16-week formats.


Offered in both 8- and 16-week formats, the undergraduate Marketing degree at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods focuses on one of the fastest growing professions. Students are provided information regarding rapidly evolving economies and skills in communicating, planning and innovating marketing messages. Students are prepared for entry-level positions in marketing and are prepared for a wide variety of careers. Students learn to design, promote, distribute and price goods or services as well as how a company can meet the needs of consumers.


The RN to BSN program is designed for licensed registered nurses who wish to advance their education. This prepares nurses for leadership roles in many healthcare settings. Students enhance their knowledge, skills and abilities, providing a positive impact on patients in their care. The program focuses on critical thinking and writing skills as well as teamwork and management. For more information, see Top 10 Most Affordable Online RN-BSN Programs.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College began as a higher education institution for women with a curriculum based in Catholic values. Today, men and women are provided a high-quality education whether they attend a traditional classroom setting or learn through the Woods Online program. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods continues to offer higher education that is entrenched in Catholic values.