Stature and value
The Carnegie Foundation classifies WMU as one of 157 public research universities conducting research at the “higher” or “highest” levels.
U.S. News & World Report has designated WMU a top national university for 27 consecutive years and has placed it in the top-tier of those universities since 2011.
Phi Beta Kappa, America’s most prestigious honor society, grants chapters to WMU and just 102 other public colleges and universities.
Business Insider named WMU Michigan’s most-affordable highly ranked university in 2017.
Washington Monthly consistently categorizes WMU as a top-100 national university as well as a Best Bang for the Buck school.
Money magazine put WMU on its inaugural list of Best Colleges for Your Money in 2014.
The Princeton Review has listed WMU for the past 12 straight years as one of the Best Midwestern Colleges.
Military Times has selected WMU, the site of Michigan’s first Purple Heart University, as the only school in the state to warrant inclusion on all seven years of its annual Best for Vets list. WMU enrolls more than 700 military veterans, the greatest number of veterans enrolled at a public university in Michigan.
INSIGHT Into Diversity has presented its Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award to WMU annually since 2013 in recognition of an “outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
U.S. Department of State data shows that WMU was among the country’s 10 leading producers of American Fulbright Scholars in 2016-17.
Complexity and character
- Seven degree-granting colleges offer 257 distinct degree programs, and with 149 of them at the undergraduate level, WMU has the second most undergraduate programs of any public university in Michigan.
- Within three months of graduation, 92 percent of alumni are employed, engaged in military service or continuing their education; 88 percent are satisfied with their jobs; and 84 percent have jobs related to their degree.
- WMU is one of only 90 U.S. universities able to offer both medical and legal professional education, doing so through two private schools that are formally affiliated with the University.
- Emphasis is given to shaping academic programs so graduates can hit the ground running and immediately add value to their workplaces and communities.
- The first American university to require all students to study the non-Western world, WMU includes a global-awareness component in its general education requirements for all undergraduate degree programs.
- Teaching and research are bolstered by nearly 60 specialized institutes and centers as well as a variety of preeminent state, national and international journals and conferences.
- WMU offers some of Michigan’s largest awards for incoming freshmen, including the Medallion and Foundation scholarships worth $60,000 each and the MLK GOLD Scholarship worth $16,000.
- Demonstrating its transfer-friendly status, WMU has signed agreements with all 28 of Michigan’s community colleges to allow students to begin their studies at the community college level.
- The Lee Honors College is one of the oldest honors programs in the country and serves as an intimate home for some 1,800 academically talented students whose profile rivals that of the most elite private colleges.
- Students can choose from more than 100 WMU-operated study abroad programs in some 40 countries and have access to countless more through the University’s worldwide linkages.
- The University has a diverse student body, with minority groups making up 22 percent, graduate students 21 percent and international students 8 percent.
- Despite its size and complexity, WMU has a 17-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, two-thirds of undergraduate classes have 30 or fewer students, and undergraduates have ample opportunities to work closely with faculty researchers and artists.
- Helpful advisors, career specialists, counselors, mentors and tutors are within easy reach. The resources and services they provide are conveniently listed in a student success directory.
- WMU operates the nation’s largest and most comprehensive collegiate support program for former foster-care youth and is an international model for teaching, research, learning and public service related to foster care and higher education.
- Exploring professional and personal interests is made easy through nearly 400 registered student groups as well as scores of intramural sports and wellness and fitness programs.
- College of Fine arts students, faculty and guest artists annually stage 1,400 plays, concerts and exhibitions while students and the University stage dozens of cultural events each year.
- The Division I, No. 15-ranked WMU Broncos played in the 2017 Cotton Bowl Classic, marking only the second time in Mid-American Conference history that a MAC team was selected for a New Year’s Six bowl game.
- Miller Auditorium, Michigan’s third largest theatre, presents everything from concerts, comedy acts and multimedia events to touring Broadway shows and internationally acclaimed performances of ballet, opera, music and dance.
- U.S. News & World Report ranks seven health and human services graduate programs in the nation’s top 100: audiology, occupational therapy (Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, Michigan, programs), physician assistant, social work, speech language pathology and rehabilitation counseling.
- Graduate programs ranked in the top 150 nationally by U.S. News & World Report include art, clinical psychology, education, English, geosciences/earth sciences, history, public affairs and psychology.
- The sales and business marketing program has been named No. 1 in the nation 11 times by the Sales Education Foundation.
- Top industry surveys place the integrated supply management program at No. 2 and No. 5 in the nation.
- WMU has the world’s oldest, largest and premiere blindness and low vision studies program of its kind in the world.
- The Haworth College of Business is among an elite group of fewer than 5 percent of business schools worldwide that are accredited at both the undergraduate and graduate levels by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business as well as among the select 1 percent that have additional specialized AACSB accreditation for their accountancy programs.
- With a diversity ranking at No. 21, the WMU Cooley Law School is the most diverse law school in Michigan.
- The jazz studies program routinely numbers among the top-three jazz programs that garner the most annual awards from DownBeat magazine.
- Long considered one of the country’s top-three aviation schools, the College of Aviation offers the only comprehensive aviation program at a public university in Michigan.
- Government officials have chosen the Department of Geosciences to house the Michigan Geological Survey and direct management of the state’s geological resources.
- WMU’s annual International Congress on Medieval Studies is the world’s largest and most comprehensive academic gathering for those who study the Middle Ages.
- Psychology faculty and the multifaceted Autism Center of Excellence and are internationally known for their expertise in autism-related research, professional training and service activities.
- The College of Fine Arts is the only such college in Michigan and one of just eight fine arts colleges in the country to have all of its disciplines professionally accredited.
- WMU has paper, paper coating and printing pilot plants, making it the only higher education institution in the world where students can get first-hand experience in pulping, paper making, printing and recycling without leaving campus.
- The Parkview Campus is home to the Business Technology and Research Park, which supports 42 high-tech engineering, life sciences and information technology firms that regularly hire WMU students and alumni as interns, co-op students and permanent employees.
- Students, faculty and alumni of the highly regarded creative writing program frequently earn prominent fellowships and prizes. Two were finalists for the National Book Award during the past decade and one received the honor in 2010.
- After developing a rigorous science curriculum that addresses pressing industry issues, WMU and Kalamazoo Valley Community College launched the nation’s first sustainable craft brewing program.
- The Evaluation Center is one of the top such centers in the world, housing the only interdisciplinary doctoral degree of its kind and serving clients such as the Kellogg Foundation, U.S. Marine Corps and National Science Foundation.
- Students have a chance to practice their clinical skills and serve the public during the more than 93,000 patient visits that take place each year in units affiliated with the College of Health and Human Services.
- The Specialty Program in Alcohol and Drug Abuse was the first of its kind in Michigan and the state’s first university-based training clinic to address the criminal justice population of substance abusers.
- A 2017 study published by the Journal of Education for Business cites the business school as ranking 68th internationally in the importance of education research published in quality journals as well as research co-authorship, the highest placement of any Michigan institution.
- The program in food and consumer package goods marketing is one of the largest marketing programs in the nation, enjoys a near-100 percent placement rate and organizes an industry-leading food marketing conference each year.
- In 2015, the intensive English language program for international students became only the sixth program worldwide to be reaccredited twice by the prestigious Commission on English Language Program Accreditation.
By posting the league's best overall GPA for the academic year, the 398 student-athletes in WMU's 15 Mid-American Conference sports brought home the 2016-17 MAC Institutional Academic Achievement Award.
WMU's male student-athletes have had the highest overall GPA in the Mid-American Conference five times, capturing the MAC's academic achievement award for men more often than any other school in the league.
- WMU is a founding member of the Alliance for Resilient Campuses, forming part of a college and university network committed to leading the nation’s response to challenges triggered by changing global weather patterns.
- A top innovator in school sustainability, WMU earned the 2014 Best of Green Schools designation in the higher education category from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools.
- The Sustainable Endowments Institute has named WMU among 80 “national campus sustainability leaders” and recognized the University for having the country’s oldest green revolving fund for investing in sustainability projects that generate cost-savings.
- Sierra Club magazine included WMU on its 2015 and 2016 top-100 ranking of “Cool Schools” that are the greenest colleges and universities.
- The higher education website BestChoiceSchools.com ranks WMU No. 13 on its list of the nation’s 50 most affordable, eco-friendly colleges.
- A leader in building to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, WMU has 16 LEED-certified buildings and four still going through the certification process.
- The University has the country’s first higher education facility (Health and Human Services Building) to receive gold-level LEED certification for an existing building and the Kalamazoo region’s first building (Heritage Hall) to be certified at the platinum or highest level.
- WMU received one of the six Best of GRITS—Green Revolving Investment Tracking System—awards given out thus far. It was honored as the large educational institution with the most carbon emissions saved to date.
- WMU is the first university in Michigan to open a large-scale Consumers Energy Solar Garden on its campus.
- Second Nature, the nation’s leading collegiate climate action organization, has presented a Climate Leadership Award to WMU in recognition of campus innovation and leadership.
- With 22 free electric vehicle charging stations, WMU has the most extensive EV charging network on any campus in the Midwest. The British online publication Transportation Evolved ranks the University fourth on its list of the most EV-friendly colleges in the United States.
- WMU was one of 29 U.S. colleges and universities and only two in Michigan to be recognized as a Tree Campus USA school during the program’s inaugural year. It has been recertified to receive this national Arbor Day Foundation designation every year since.
- WMU was the first documented large-property entity in Michigan to manage stormwater so that 100 percent of the total maximum daily load of runoff pollutants are kept and cleaned on-site rather than allowed to flow into other areas of its watershed.
- Among the first five U.S. organizations to earn Landscape Management and Operations Accreditation, WMU was the only one from Michigan and just one of two to be accredited at the highest level.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented a College/University Partner of the Year Award to WMU for outstanding waste reduction achievements as a partner in WasteWise, the country’s first national voluntary solid waste reduction program.
- A leader in using healthy and sustainable cleaning approaches, WMU earned the Grand Cleaning Award for higher education institutions in the American School & University’s 2017 competition. The University was the nation’s fourth higher education institution and the first in the state to achieve Green Seal certification.
- WMU received a Michigan Governor’s Energy Excellence Award in the Best Public Project category for the success Heritage Hall’s renovation triggered in reducing energy waste.
- The College of Health and Human Services building brought home the Education category’s “Biggest Loser” title in the 2016 Michigan Battle of the Buildings for having the greatest energy reduction in the state.
- STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, has awarded WMU a gold rating.
- In a statewide competition, the Detroit Free Press named WMU a Michigan Green Leader in the public sector category for its “remarkable range of green activities.”
Visit Year’s Top News for more WMU accomplishments and points of pride.