Westminster

Westminster College was born in 1852 as one of the nation’s earliest co-educational higher learning institutions. Promoting the values of Christianity, Westminster is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and maintains a covenant with the Synod of the Trinity. Endowed for $114 million, Westminster is an independent, nonprofit liberal arts college devoted to providing a “platform for spiritual freedom.” Westminster College is nestled on a charming 300-acre rural campus in New Wilmington just 57 miles north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Each two-semester academic year, over 1,100 undergraduate and 250 post-graduate students enroll. Former Titans include Tim Kaiser, Andrew McKelvey, Deborah Platt Majoras, and Wes Craven.

According to the U.S. News, Westminster College is the 125th best liberal arts school nationwide with an 85 percent retention rate. Given a financial grade of B, Westminster is crowned America’s 167th top liberal arts university and 294th best private college by Forbes. Westminster was also ranked #1 for the country’s “Best Colleges for Women and Minorities in STEM.” Washington Monthly recognized Westminster as the Northeast’s 62nd best bang for the buck. Westminster landed at 106th among the publication’s best liberal arts colleges for social mobility, service, and research. For nine straight years, Westminster College was honored on the CNCS President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Westminster College Accreditation Details

Continuously since 1921, Westminster College has achieved 10-year regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). This agency is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for reviewing colleges in six Mid-Atlantic states, including Pennsylvania. Other discipline-specific accreditations include:

• American Chemical Society (ACS)
• National Association for Schools of Music (NASM)
• Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)
• Accreditation Review Commission on Education for Physician Assistants (ARC-PA)

Westminster College Application Requirements

Don’t let the acceptance rate of 93.7 percent fool you because Westminster College has a selective admissions process. Freshmen must be graduating from an accredited secondary school or receiving the GED equivalent. Completing a challenging college-prep curriculum with four units of English and four units of math is suggested. On average, admitted students maintain a grade point average of 3.5. Westminster typically accepts freshmen scoring at least 20 on the ACT and 1100 on the SAT (out of 1600). The Honors Program requires a minimum high school GPA of 3.75 and ACT score above 29.

Undergraduates holding 12 to 64 credits from other colleges with regional accreditation could qualify for transfer. Transferred classes could satisfy Westminster’s Intellectual Perspective core requirements. Each credit must be earned with a “C-” or better to count. Satisfactory academic performance with a minimum 2.0 college GPA is required. Campus involvement, talents, and hobbies are also considered. For international students from non-English speaking countries, scoring at least 79 (internet-based) or 550 (paper-based) on the TOEFL is necessary. Graduate applicants should hold an accredited bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher. The Master’s in Education program will require passing PRAXIS scores and valid teaching certification.

At Westminster College, the Early Action deadline is on November 15th and the Rolling Admission process begins on December 15th. Interested students should send the Westminster or Common Application form with the following:

• Check or money order for $35 application fee
• Official, sealed academic transcripts
• Results from the SAT or ACT examinations
• Two professional letters of recommendation
• Personal statement of purpose (250-500 words)

Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time undergraduates at Westminster College are charged flat-rate tuition at $16,905 each semester or $33,810 annually. Part-time students taking less than 12 hours are billed $1,090 per credit hour. Mandatory fees include the $460 activity fee and $240 InfoTech fee every semester. Students may be charged the $75 lab fee, $250 student teaching fee, or $250 internship fee too. Residential undergraduates must afford $5,760 and $4,930 for standard room and board each year. Total annual cost of attendance is estimated to be $46,725. Master’s students generally pay $8,172 for tuition and $1,413 for extra fees annually.

The NCES reports that 100 percent of beginning, full-time Titans earn assistance. The average financial aid package is worth $24,228. Institutional awards, such as the Presidential Scholarship, Vance Scholarship, Lemmon Family Scholarship, Music Talent Scholarship, and Young Presbyterian Scholarship, are abundant. Top-achieving Westminster Scholars are awarded at least $17,000 per year. Based on their FAFSA form, students could receive the Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, or TEACH Grant. Pennsylvanians may earn the PHEAA Grant, NETS Scholarship, or Chafee Education and Training Grant. The IQ:STEM Noyce Scholars Program grants over $15,000 for aspiring K-12 teachers. Students could earn Federal Work-Study (FWS) with campus employment. Borrowing Federal Perkins, Stafford, or PLUS loans is another option.

Degrees Available

Westminster College offers a rigorous liberal arts curriculum that’s specialized with 41 undergraduate majors and 10 pre-professional tracks. At the graduate level, four master’s degrees are delivered for education disciplines. There’s also a 3+2 Physician Assistant program offered in partnership with Duquesne University. More than 90 percent of professors hold terminal degrees, and the 12:1 student-faculty ratio ensures individualized mentoring. Off-campus study is available through collaborations with Seoul’s Yonsei University and Belfast’s Queens University. Notable degrees conferred are:

B.A. Public Relations

Known for its active PRSSA chapter, the B.A. Public Relations program allows Westminster students to refine their strategic communication skills for forming mutually beneficial business relationships. The 30-credit major includes courses on advertising, journalism, market research, digital media, and public affairs before a PR capstone. Students must work with the Career Center to land an internship for 160+ hours of work experience.

B.S. Computer Information Systems

Westminster’s B.S. Computer Information Systems program takes a project-oriented approach to train students with the fundamental skills to design IT systems that support and secure organizational data. Requiring 120 total credits, the curriculum infuses liberal arts with database theory, algorithm structure, artificial intelligence, software engineering, human-computer interaction, C++ programming, and more. CIS majors must complete a 160-hour senior internship at sites like Lucas Systems Inc. and National Energy Technology.

M.Ed. School Counselor

Approved for Pennsylvania certification, the M.Ed. School Counselor program spans 36 credits to prepare graduates for providing professional counseling services in K-12 school districts. Offering on-campus and off-campus cohorts, master’s courses delve into career development, group dynamics, child development, counseling theory, and child abuse. Students must secure a 300-clock hour internship with a certified school counselor and pass a comprehensive exam.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Colleges for Online Education Degrees

Other unique offerings at Westminster College include the B.A. Sports Management, B.S. Financial Economics, B.S. Molecular Biology, and M.Ed. School Principal program.