Fast Facts

Western Michigan University 

Established: 1903
Main campus: Kalamazoo
Enrollment: 23,556 (fall 2015)
Nickname: Broncos
Mascot: Buster Bronco
Colors: Brown and gold

Top national institution

WMU is a globally engaged, national research university that promotes success for learners at all levels and stands out among America’s 4,700 degree-granting colleges and universities.

  • The Carnegie Foundation classifies WMU as a higher-research doctoral university.
  • Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious honor society, has selected WMU and just 102 other public institutions to shelter one of its chapters.
  • U.S. News & World Report has designated WMU one of America’s best national universities for 25 consecutive years and has placed it in the top-tier of those universities since 2011.
  • Washington Monthly categorizes WMU as both a top-100 national university and a Best Bang for the Buck school.
  • Military Times EDGE magazine ranks WMU among the best U.S. institutions for military veterans, and WMU is the only Michigan school to appear on all six years of its annual Best for Vets list.
  • The Sustainable Endowments Institute named WMU one of the country’s six winners of 2015 Best of GRITS—Green Revolving Investment Tracking System—awards, honoring the University as the large institution with the most carbon emissions saved to date.

Campuses and facilities

Photo of WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at sunset.

Western Michigan University’s campuses encompass 1,289 acres and 170 buildings (including utilities structures) and feature some of the finest facilities in the Midwest.

Campuses

  • Aviation facilities—Located at the W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek, these facilities and their sophisticated fleet of aircraft constitute WMU’s aviation campus.
  • Main campus—Located in Kalamazoo just west of the downtown, the main campus is home to most of WMU’s academic programs, campus services, residence halls and other facilities. It consists of three formally named campuses, all adjoining: the East, Oakland Drive and West campuses.
  • Parkview Campus—Located in Kalamazoo three miles south of the main campus, the Parkview Campus is home to the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and WMU’s Business Technology and Research Park.

Facilities

Photo of person walking down hallway in WMU's Sangren Hall.State-of-the-art buildings are available in areas such as business, chemistry, education, health and human services, science research, and the visual and performing arts.

  • On-campus residence halls and apartments are able to house 6,400 students.
  • Land holdings include two nature preserves that are open to the public as well as used for education and research.

Regional locations and online education

Extended University Programs offers academic, professional and enrichment programs close to home through its online and lifelong education units as well as its eight regional locations in seven Michigan cities.

Academic colleges

Affiliated Professional Schools

  • WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine—(269) 337-4400.
  • WMU Thomas M. Cooley Law School, (campuses in Lansing (main), Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Tampa Bay, Florida)—(517) 371-5140.

Number of programs and degrees awarded

WMU offers numerous degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It ranks second among Michigan’s 15 public universities in the number of bachelor’s programs offered.

 Degree programs offered
2015-16
Degrees awarded
F.Y. 2014-15
Degrees awarded
since 1918
Totals 254 5,272 283,092
Bachelor’s 148 3,768 212,712
Master’s 74 1,387 65,488
Specialist 1 0 558
Doctoral 31 117 2,947

Enrollment (fall 2015)

WMU attracts a diverse, culturally rich student body from around the state, country and globe.

  • Total students: 23,556.
  • Men: 11,561, or 49 percent.
  • Women: 11,995, or 51 percent.
  • Minorities: 5,043, or 21 percent.
  • Michigan: 19,898, or 84.5 percent.
  • Other states: 1,799, or 7.6 percent.
  • Other countries: 1,859, or 7.9 percent.
  • Undergraduate: 18,567, or 79 percent.
  • Graduate: 4,989, or 21 percent.

Entering freshman profile (fall 2015)

  • Average GPA: 3.39.
  • ACT composite score: 22.8 percent

Student costs

Although one of the five Michigan universities to have received the Carnegie Foundation’s top research designation, WMU ranks ninth in tuition and fees among the state’s 15 public universities. 

Information about tuition and fees is available online and covers differential tuition charged to students in the Haworth College of Business, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and College of Fine Arts. Information about on-campus housing and dining costs also is available online.

Financial aid and scholarships (fiscal year 2014-15)

WMU awarded more than $269 million in financial assistance to 18,979 students. Nearly $52 million of this total went to some 3,273 graduate students.

Photo of WMU's Stewart Tower, which connects Waldo Library and the University Computing Center.Worldwide information resources

Computing facilities are available in classrooms, laboratories and residence halls across the campus. Meanwhile, WMU operates Michigan’s fourth largest university library system and one of the top 100 such systems in the country. Its holdings encompass some 5 million items, including 2.6 million print and nonprint titles and more than 309,000 electronic books and 107,000 electronic subscriptions. In addition, patrons have access to 477 online databases and the holdings of 70,000 libraries worldwide.

Libraries

  • WMU Archives and Regional History Collections—(269) 387-8490.
  • Swain Education Library—(269) 387-5223.
  • Maybee Music and Dance Library—(269) 387-5237.
  • Waldo Library (main)—(269) 387-5155.

Graduate education

More than one-fifth of WMU’s students are enrolled in one of the University’s 106 graduate programs  They are welcomed into faculty labs and studios, and participate in groundbreaking work being done in partnership with business, industry and government across Michigan and around the world.

Graduate degrees are offered in a wide range of disciplines. Many of these offerings are nationally or internationally recognized, such as counseling psychology, creative writing, engineering management, evaluation, medieval studies, occupational therapy, physician assistant, and speech pathology and audiology.

Photo of international students holding flags.

International education

WMU hosts 1,859 international students from about 100 countries and provides a fully accredited intensive English language program for international students. In addition, the University operates more than 90 study abroad programs in some 40 countries and offers access to countless more through worldwide linkages with other universities and organizations.

At WMU, students may enroll in a variety of international-related academic programs, including majors or minors that focus on global and international studies, business, politics, select world regions, and languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish. Faculty members routinely engage in scholarly activities around the globe, while nearly 600 of WMU’s domestic student annually study overseas.

Student life

Photo of WMU students at a football game.The student affairs division supports WMU’s academic mission, engages students in learning and personal development, and helps the University maintain its inclusive campus climate. Among its many responsibilities are overseeing the housing and dining system, Career and Student Employment Services, and an accredited health center complete with counselors and psychologists who are dedicated to helping students manage educational, career and personal issues.

In terms of arts and entertainment, students can choose from scores of cultural events; more than 1,400 plays, concerts and exhibitions staged by the fine arts college; and performances by comedians, musicians and other popular entertainers sponsored by student groups such as the Campus Activities Board. WMU also is home to Miller Auditorium, the third largest theatre in Michigan, which presents everything from high-profile concerts and multimedia extravaganzas to Broadway shows and internationally acclaimed performances of ballet, opera, music and dance.

In addition, some 400 student organizations provide a wealth of extracurricular educational, professional, social, spiritual and recreational options and opportunities. Meanwhile, WMU is an NCAA Division I school in the Mid-American Conference (Football Bowl Subdivision) and National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Committed to gender equity, the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics adds to the vitality of campus life by offering 15 varsity sports.

Men’s varsity sports

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Soccer
  • Tennis

Women’s varsity sports

  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Track and field (indoor and outdoor)
  • Volleyball

Alumni

WMU has 185,000 alumni worldwide, living in all 50 U.S. states and more than 140 other countries. While the alumni population has grown significantly during the past 20 years, the geographic distribution has remained fairly constant.

  • Ninety-six percent of all alumni live in the United States. The top five other countries where alumni live, in descending order, are Malaysia, India, Japan, China, and Canada and Thailand (tie).
  • Ninety percent of all alumni live in the southern half of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
  • Sixty-seven percent of all alumni live in Michigan. The top five other states where alumni live, in descending order, are Illinois, Florida, California, Indiana and Ohio.
  • The largest concentrations of alumni are in the metropolitan areas of Kalamazoo, Detroit, Chicago and Grand Rapids.

Human resources (fall 2015)

This section does not include every employee category.

  • Total: 4,186.
  • Regular staff: 1,893.
  • Full-time faculty: 895.
  • Faculty chairs: 51.
  • Part-time faculty: 494.
  • Graduate assistants: 853.

Financial operations (fiscal year 2014-15)

CategoryDollars awarded
Total current funds $528,584,255
General fund $325,397,865
Auxiliary enterprises $92,631,485
Other activities $110,554,905

Research and sponsored programs

Fiscal YearDollars awarded
2014-15 $35,166,491
2013-14 $27,179,910
2012-13 $24,180,349
2011-12 $22,748,380
2010-11 $35,715,764

Private support*

*Includes highly liquid assets, gift pledges, in-kind gifts, deferred
gifts and unmatured bequests received by the WMU Foundation
**Includes unrestricted funds for support of the medical school

Area F.Y. 2014-15
Total $85,266,198
Paper Technology Foundation $656,375
WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine $754,811
WMU** $83,855,012

Economic impact (2010)

Jobs created 9,539
Total spending impact $819,700,000
Student spending $242,600,000
Visitor spending $16,600,000
University spending $535,000,000

Major milestones in WMU history

  • May 27, 1903—WMU is established by act of the Michigan Legislature as a preparatory school for teachers and named Western State Normal School.
  • 1904—The first classes are offered, with 117 students enrolled.
  • 1905—Two-year teaching certificates are awarded at the first commencement.
  • 1909—The first regional location opens in Grand Rapids.
  • 1920—The first bachelor’s degrees are awarded.
  • 1939—The school nickname is changed from the Hilltoppers to the Broncos.
  • 1953—The first master’s degrees are awarded.
  • Feb. 26, 1957—WMU becomes the state’s fourth public university and receives its fifth and final name.
  • 1968—The first doctoral degrees are awarded.
  • 1997—A chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, America’s premier honor society, is established at WMU.
  • 2000—WMU is classified as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
  • 2012—A private nonprofit medical school is launched by WMU, Kalamazoo’s two world-class teaching hospitals and community philanthropists. Two years later, the newly named WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine enrolls its first class of students.
  • 2014—WMU affiliates with the nation’s most diverse private nonprofit law school, forming the WMU Thomas M. Cooley Law School.