Profile of Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University is a learner-centered, discovery-driven and globally engaged public university that stands out among America’s more than 4,600 higher education institutions. Founded in 1903, WMU has grown to become a major national research university enrolling nearly 23,000 students from across the United States and 96 other countries. It is based in Kalamazoo, a friendly, top-rated college town situated close to large urban centers, great jobs and abundant recreational areas.
Superior, supportive learning environment
WMU combines the resources of a major research university with the personal attention and warm atmosphere often found at a small college. Taking full advantage of that combination gives students the edge they need to succeed in 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
The University offers 152 bachelor’s, 76 master’s and 33 doctoral programs, along with one program leading to a specialist degree and several others that lead to graduate-level certificates in innovative or high-demand areas of specialization. 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.
In addition, the Lee Honors College serves as an intimate home for some 1,750 high-achieving undergraduates, while the Graduate College assists some 5,000 students pursuing advanced degrees.
Many academic 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 accountancy, aviation, clinical psychology, creative writing, earth sciences/geosciences, engineering management technology, education, evaluation, integrated supply management, medieval studies, occupational therapy, physician assistant, public affairs, sales and business marketing, and the performing arts.
Whenever possible, instruction is designed so graduating students are job-ready, immediately adding value to their employers. Plus, the University’s public-private 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.
WMU researchers are advancing knowledge across the state and around the globe. A growing amount of their funded research is the product of partnerships with business, industry and government in areas such as advanced engineering and manufacturing, homeland security, information technology, the life sciences, and nanotechnology. These basic and applied collaborations enhance classroom instruction and career opportunities for students, as well as foster economic development in Michigan while expanding the 21st-century knowledge base.
Dynamic, diverse campus
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 specific groups, such as first-year students, transfer students, military veterans and youths who have aged out of the foster care system.
Students come to WMU from around the world, with representatives of minority groups making up 23 percent of the student body and international students more than 7 percent. They enjoy a vibrant campus atmosphere featuring some 370 student organizations, including fraternities and sororities, professional associations, faith-based groups, club sports and hobby groups. The University also provides acclaimed arts programs, a lively cultural calendar, and numerous intramural, health and fitness programs.
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 remains in tune with the needs of today’s students. Meanwhile, WMU consistently earns national awards for sustainability as well as praise for the beauty of its park-like campus.
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; a large, well-equipped student recreation center; and one of the nation’s top-10 theatres.
Many residence halls, as well as apartments, provide a variety of areas where students in similar programs or with similar backgrounds can live next to each other. Apartments offer a more independent on-campus living arrangement preferred by upperclassmen who previously lived in a residence hall and still want the convenience of living on campus. Such housing also is appealing to students who have families, come from overseas or are studying at the graduate level.
Innovation, engagement with the communities it serves and outreach to enhance economic development are University hallmarks.
For instance, the aviation campus and Business Technology and Research Park are components of Michigan’s economic development zones. In addition, WMU joined with community partners during the past decade to develop the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, which graduated its inaugural class in May 2018 and is stimulating economic growth as well as life sciences innovation in the region and state. Also, the University affiliated in 2014 with one of the most diverse private law schools in the United States to form the WMU Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
The University has focused on supporting life science research and commercialization in a way that has helped launch more than 30 startup companies that have brought some 225 high-paying technical jobs to the state. In addition, its successful Business Technology and Research Park is expanding after having attracted more than $150 million in investment and generating more than 800 jobs and hundreds of internships for WMU students in the 42 private companies already located there.
Meanwhile, WMU is placing increased emphasis on bringing entrepreneurship into its research, academic and collaborative initiatives. The University now has a well-established student business accelerator called Starting Gate. This accelerator gives students rich and valuable resources to develop their own startup companies, providing a fast-track to business launch. And the University continues to support scores of research centers and public-service clinics that work in tandem with partners near and far to make new discoveries and improve the health and well-being of the citizenry.
At the same time, WMU has long met the state’s regional needs for higher education and career development programs, and continues to serve thousands of Michigan residents annually through its Online and Lifelong Learning offices, as well as its 10 regional locations. The University has Michigan sites in Auburn Hills, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Clinton Township, Grand Rapids (downtown and the east side), Lansing, Muskegon and Traverse City. It also has a site in Punta Gorda, Florida.