About WMU

  • Photo of student Hanna Lantzer at WMU Chemistry Building.
  • Photo of student Jeffrey Gaines at Haworth College of Business.
  • Photo of student at WMU Fountain Plaza.
  • Photo of student Trinidad Perez in the WMU Chemistry Building.
  • Photo of Buster Bronco in the WMU Student Recreation Center.

Profile of Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University is a national research university enrolling nearly 25,000 students from across the United States and more than 100 other countries. Founded in 1903, it is a learner-centered, discovery-driven and globally engaged public university that stands out among America's more than 5,000 higher education institutions. Read more.

Superior, supportive learning environment

Photo of WMU's Sangren Hall at dusk.WMU combines the resources of a major research university with the personal attention and friendly atmosphere often found at a small college. Taking full advantage of that combination gives students the edge they need to succeed in graduate school, the workplace and life.

Students attending WMU enjoy top-notch programs, teachers, facilities and hands-on learning opportunities. They expect and receive one-on-one attention from senior-level faculty members and quickly find that advisors, career specialists, mentors and tutors are within easy reach. In addition, most classes are relatively small in size and taught by the University's full-time professors.

Faculty members have been trained at the world's leading universities and bring a global perspective to the classroom. A majority of these scholars have a passion for research as well as teaching. They not only share their cutting-edge work in the classroom, but also welcome undergraduate and graduate students alike into their research laboratories and creative studios.

Outstanding academic programs

Photo of female student operating microscopeThe University offers 142 bachelor's, 72 master's and 30 doctoral programs, along with one program leading to the specialist degree and several others that lead to graduate-level certificates. These programs are offered through seven degree-granting colleges: Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Education and Human Development, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Fine Arts, Haworth College of Business, and Health and Human Services.

Many programs rank among the top of their kind in the country, giving WMU a national or international reputation as one of the best places to study in fields as varied as aviation flight science, creative writing, engineering management technology, evaluation, experimental atomic physics, geology, integrated supply management, jazz studies, medieval studies, occupational therapy, paper engineering, psychology, sales and business marketing, and speech pathology.

Whenever possible, instruction is designed so graduating students are ready to immediately add value to their employers. Plus, the University's business-industry partnerships and exchange agreements with organizations around the globe provide countless opportunities for students to obtain internships, conduct research, gain field experience and study abroad.

Dynamic, diverse campus

Photo of runners in WMU's Veterans Day 5k race.WMU creates a learning environment that is not only challenging, but also supportive and inclusive. A wide range of resources and services focus on academic and career success, with several dedicated to meeting the special needs of such select groups as first-year students, transfer students, military veterans and youths who have aged out of the foster care system.

The University's robust academic environment is bolstered by some of the best instructional and cultural facilities in the Midwest, and ongoing improvements are reshaping the housing and dining system so it is more in tune with the needs of today's students. Meanwhile, the University consistently earns national awards for sustainability as well as praise for the beauty of its park-like campus.

Photo of Campus Fountain in WMU's Fountain Plaza.Among the University's notable facilities are a world-class aviation campus; a state-of-the-art science complex; new buildings devoted to education, chemistry and the visual arts; a high-tech home for health and human services programs; a cutting-edge engineering campus that includes the thriving Business Technology and Research Park; one of the nation's top 10 theatres; and a large, well-equipped student recreation center.

Students come to WMU from around the world, with representatives of minority groups making up 19 percent of the student body, international students 7 percent and graduate students 21 percent. They enjoy a vibrant campus atmosphere featuring more than 400 student organizations, including fraternities and sororities, professional associations, club sports and hobby groups. The University also provides acclaimed arts programs, a lively cultural calendar, and strong intramural, health and fitness programs. 

Far-reaching impact

Innovation, engagement with the communities it serves and outreach to enhance economic development are University hallmarks.

Photo of a WMU sign in summer.For instance, the aviation campus and Business Technology and Research Park are components of Michigan's economic development zones, while the centers for Biological Imaging and for Biosciences Research and Commercialization contribute to the state's life sciences business sector.

During recent years, the University has given students unprecedented opportunities to start their own businesses as well as helped to launch more than 30 startup companies through collaborative life science research and commercialization activities. 

In addition, philanthropists and Kalamazoo's two world-class teaching hospitals have joined the University in developing the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, which opens in fall 2014 and will stimulate additional economic growth as well as life sciences innovation.

WMU also extends its reach by offering quality academic programs online and at eight regional locations in the Michigan cities of Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Muskegon, Royal Oak and Traverse City.