Moravian College, the sixth oldest college in the United States, is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1742, it was the first college to educate women as well as Native Americans in their own language. Its picturesque 85-acre campus is only a one-hour drive from Philadelphia and one-and-a-half hours from New York City. If you’re looking to be a little revolutionary, this could be the school for you.
Moravian College has an enrollment of approximately 2,000 students. All students are required to live on campus unless they live within fifty miles of the school. The school has a low student-teacher ratio of 11:1 and embraces student involvement even at the administrative level. Two student representatives on the school’s Board of Trustees serve two-year terms with full voting privileges. When it comes to equipping incoming first-year students with technology, Moravian College issues both a MacBook Pro and an iPad to its students. The school also fields twenty NCCAA Division III NCAA intercollegiate teams for women and men.
Moravian College utilizes a liberal arts curriculum to prepare, as per its mission statement, “each individual for a reflective life, fulfilling careers, and transformative leadership in a world of change.” To this end, more than fifty majors are offered, ranging from biochemistry to global religions to political science. Students can double (or even triple) major, and there is also the option to create a self-designed major.
Bloomberg Businessweek rated Moravian in the top 25 percent of all schools for return on investment (ROI). According to the ETC College Rankings Index that rates colleges by the Economic Value Added delivered to their graduates, Moravian is first in the Lehigh Valley and third in the state for providing the best “graduate outcomes.” On average, within six months of graduation almost 96 percent of graduates are either employed or enrolled in a professional or graduate school.
John Amos Comenius, a Brethren bishop, believed that all children deserve an education. It was this “being a little revolutionary” idea that was put into practice in the New World by a 16-year old girl named Countess Benigna von Zinzendorf who founded the Bethlehem Female Seminary. The school was the first girls’ boarding school in the US, and its reputation quickly grew.
During George Washington’s second term as president, he personally requested that the headmaster admit his two grandnieces. By 1863, the school was chartered to award baccalaureate degrees and in 1913 was renamed Moravian Seminary and College for Women.
Two boys’ schools were also established in 1742 and 1743, and they later combined to form Nazarene Hall. In 1954, Nazarene Hall and Moravian Seminary and College for Women were formed into a single institution: Moravian College. This also made Moravian the first co-ed college in the Lehigh Valley.
If you choose Moravian, you’ll be in good academic company as the incoming first-year class has an average GPA of over 3.5, and nearly half were in the top 25 percent of their class. Numerous opportunities for undergraduate research allow students to learn more about their fields of study. These include the Honors Program, Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR) and Beyond the Classroom.
The Honors Program gives high-performing seniors a year to study a topic of their choice under the direction of a faculty member. The program is specifically designed to prepare students for the in-depth study required in graduate school. Scholarships and stipends are available to help fund this research.
SOAR pairs students with faculty mentors to collaborate on research. Begun in 1998, SOAR projects are available in every academic program. Research may focus on a topic chosen by a student or help further ongoing faculty scholarship.
Beyond the Classroom lets students gain valuable real-world experience. Internships with intentional learning goals are available at both business and non-profit organizations. The civic engagement program allows students to work for the common good through volunteer opportunities. There is also a Peace Corp prep program as well as international study abroad courses, which can last up to a year.
Moravian College has more than a hundred clubs and organizations . Some of these are Habitat for Humanity, the school newspaper The Comenian and club sports such as hockey and rugby. If you can’t find an existing group which meets your needs, you’re welcome to start a new organization.
The annual Heritage Day brings students and faculty together to perform service projects for the local community and throughout the Lehigh Valley. The first event is the Lovefeast, a shared meal for faculty and students to build goodwill. Then, participants report to designated service project locations. Later, there is time for reflection and a choir performance.
While the majority of Moravian College students live on campus, a small percentage also commute to class from the surrounding community. The College offers a wide variety of housing arrangements for students including residence halls, apartments, fraternities and sorority houses. Many students take advantage of the residence hall program available that enables them to get involved with the day to day life and safety of students in the housing complexes as well as campus events.
Take a Tour
If you are interested in learning more, there is no better way to get to know Moravian than to schedule a visit the campus, several options are available:
- Personalized Tours: Open to anyone, these tours can be customized based on academic interests. Plus, tours are led by student ambassadors who can answer questions about campus life and other aspects of Moravian culture.
- Senior Select Days: For high school seniors, prospective students attend a class in their anticipated fields of study, eat in the dining hall with other students, and go on a tour of the campus.
- Discovery Days: For transfer students and high school sophomores, juniors and seniors, this open-house experience allows students to meet faculty and staff, tour the campus, and find out more about the application process and financial aid assistance.
- Accepted Student Days: For accepted students, a wide range of activities are available from touring dining halls to having their fortune read by a Tarot card reader to rolling around in a life-size hamster ball.
- Program-Specific Tours: Offered as per the schedule on the Campus Visit page, recent opportunities include Nursing Twilight Tours that provide a comprehensive tour of the Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Center for Health Sciences.
If you can’t make it to campus, check out our detailed Moravian College Campus Tour
- LiberalArtsColleges.com College Rankings – Student Satisfaction
- Forbes Best Value Colleges
- US News & World Report – Best National Liberal Arts Colleges
- Money – Best Colleges
What Students Say about Moravian College
“I came to Moravian because I felt the community was supportive and welcoming. As a prospective student, everyone on campus went out of their way to answer any questions I had.”
– Junior, Neuroscience Major
“I chose to come to Moravian College because it was such a close-knit community. When I walked onto campus everyone was so welcoming and greeted me with warm smiles and hellos. It gave me a sense of comfort and I knew I found my home for the next four years. Moravian has offered me many experiences and opportunities since I have been here.”
– Senior, Biology Major
“Moravian was a great experience. It is small and the professors are approachable. You are taught by the professor, not a teacher’s assistant. I felt comfortable joining teachers for coffee and conversation. After graduating, I went on to Lehigh for a master’s degree. I have gone on to take additional graduate classes at Moravian and am involved in alumni groups. I took advantage of travel abroad options and still decided to stay in Bethlehem.”
– Alumnus, Class of 2000