Fast Facts

Graphic depicting WMU bronco with the tagline "Go West."Western Michigan University 

Established: 1903
Main campus: Kalamazoo
Enrollment: 24,294
Nickname: Broncos
Mascot: Buster Bronco
Colors: brown and gold

Top national institution

Western Michigan University is a dynamic, globally engaged national research university. Founded in 1903, it is committed to promoting success for learners at every level and stands out among America's more than 5,000 colleges and universities.

  • The Carnegie Foundation classifies WMU as one of the nation's 207 research universities.
  • Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's most prestigious honor society, has chosen to grant chapters to WMU and just 99 other public institutions.
  • For 23 years, U.S. News & World Report has classified WMU as one of America's best national universities.
  • The Princeton Review includes WMU on its annual online list of Best Midwestern Colleges.
  • Military Times EDGE names WMU one of the country's best institutions for military veterans, and WMU is the only Michigan school to have appeared on all four years of this annual Best for Vets list.
  • The most recent Sustainable Endowments Institute green report card puts WMU in an elite cadre of some 80 institutions nationwide that are billed as "Campus Sustainability Leaders." WMU is one of only three Michigan universities in this group. Read more.

Campuses and facilities

Photo of WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at sunset.WMU's campuses encompass 1,289 acres and 167 buildings (including utilities structures), and feature some of the finest facilities in the Midwest.


  • 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.


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 and professional development programs close to home through its online and lifelong education units as well as eight regional locations in seven Michigan cities:

Academic colleges

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
Degrees awarded
F.Y. 2012-13
Degrees awarded
since 1918
Totals 245 5,404 272,556
Bachelor's 142 3,887 205,121
Master's 72 1,402 64,175
Specialist 1 1 556
Doctoral 30 114 2,704

Enrollment (fall 2013)

WMU is Michigan's fourth largest research university, attracting a diverse, culturally rich student body from around the state, country and globe.

  • Total students: 24,294.
  • Men: 11,741, or 48 percent.
  • Women: 12,553, or 52 percent.
  • Minorities: 4,732, or 19 percent.
  • Michigan: 21,356, or 88 percent.
  • Other states: 1,250, or 5 percent.
  • Other countries: 1,688, or 7 percent.
  • Undergraduate: 19,198, or 79 percent.
  • Graduate: 5,096, or 21 percent.

Entering freshman profile (fall 2013)

  • Middle 50 percent range ACT scores: 20-25.
  • Average high school GPA: 3.37.
  • Students in top 25 percent of high school class: 37 percent.

Student costs

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. WMU ranks 10th in tuition and fees among the state's 15 public universities and is the least expensive of Michigan's five top-tier research universities.

Financial aid and scholarships (fiscal year 2012-13)

WMU awarded $275 million in financial assistance to more than 20,000 students. About $55 million of this total went to more than 3,500 graduate students.

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

  • Extensive computing facilities and wireless access are available in classrooms, laboratories and residence halls across the campus.
  • With more than 5 million items, University Libraries is the state's fourth largest academic library system and numbers among the top 100 in the country.
  • WMU's library patrons also are connected with the holdings of 72,000 libraries worldwide.


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

Graduate education

  • WMU offers nationally and internationally recognized graduate programs in a wide range of disciplines, including creative writing, medieval studies, counseling psychology, engineering management, evaluation and speech pathology.
  • Photo of international students holding flags.Graduate students 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. 

International education

  • WMU enrolls nearly 1,700 international students from 104 countries.
  • International-related academic offerings include programs focusing on global and international studies, business, politics, select world regions, and languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish.
  • The University operates study abroad programs in more than 30 countries as well as offers access to hundreds more through worldwide linkages with other universities and organizations.
  • A fully accredited intensive English language program is available for international students.

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 annual 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. 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


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

This section does not include every employee category.

  • Total: 4,241.
  • Regular staff: 1,899.
  • Full-time faculty: 870.
  • Faculty chairs: 53.
  • Part-time faculty: 548.
  • Graduate assistants: 871.

Financial operations (fiscal year 2011-12)

CategoryDollars awarded
Total current funds $531,733,263
General fund $309,551,596
Auxiliary enterprises $103,062,289
Other activities $119,119,378

Research and sponsored programs

Fiscal YearDollars awarded
2012-13 $24,180,349
2011-12 $22,748,380
2010-11 $35,715,764
2009-10 $34,107,248
2008-09 $32,290,781

Private support

This section 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 medical school

Area F.Y. 2012-13
Total $64,871,813
Paper Tech Foundation $157,801
WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine $1,234,440
WMU* $63,479,572

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 new medical school is launched by WMU, Kalamazoo's two world-class teaching hospitals and community philanthropists.