For students looking for a private college experience combined with a practical education in engineering, architecture, business textiles or other industry-based degrees, Philadelphia University may be a good fit.
The university is a small school in a big city. Although located in the East Falls area outside Philadelphia proper, the school has less than 4,000 students. The small size of the school allows for a closely-knit community of like-minded students with a passion for the arts.
Pretty much any student with an interest in fashion design, architecture or graphic design will find quality programs at Philadelphia University, which began as as the Philadelphia Textile School in the late 1800s. The school’s mission and purpose has expanded since that time, but design remains a core part of the school’s identity.
One of the greatest testaments to the university’s commitment to design-related fields is its Design Center, one of the most recognizable landmarks on the campus. The Design Center provides many resources for students pursuing degrees in architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, graphic design, textiles, fashion design, product design and more.
The facility also houses the university’s historic and contemporary texitle collection, which consists of more than 200,000 items and is an important resource for the study of textiles through the ages.
Fashion merchandising and fashion design are the two most popular majors at the school. One of the big selling points of the school is its low faculty to student ratio of 15 to 1. In fact, the majority of classes at the university have fewer than 20 students, giving students the one on one interaction with experienced faculty that separates the “college experience” from a true “learning experience.”
The university recently received a $1.25 million grant to establish Pennsylvania Advanced Textile Research and Innovation Center. The center’s purpose is to advance research into the uses of textile materials in biomedical and human protection applications.
Philadelphia University is accredited by the Middle States Association Commission on Higher Education, which handles accreditation for colleges and universities in Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The association also accredits schools overseas.
Overall, the university offers 50 degrees in undergraduate and graduate studies, divided into six colleges, the School of Architecture, the School of Business Administration, the the School of Design and Media, the School of Engineering and Textiles, the School of Liberal Arts and the School of Science and Health.
U.S. News and World Report ranked Philadelphia University No. 62 in its ranking of northern regional universities and also commended the university for its undergraduate engineering programs. The publication also gives the university high marks for some of its health-related programs, such as occupational therapy, midwifery and physician’s assisting.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Philadephia University has a rolling admissions process, but high school students are encouraged to apply early in their senior year. Transfer students starting in the spring have an admission deadline of March 1 for fall semester and Nov. 15 for spring semester.
Philadelphia University students have an average GPA of 3.46 and average SAT scores between 960 and 1150. Admissions are selective, but more than 70 percent of students who apply to the university are accepted. Students should include any pertinent letters of recommendation in their application for admission.
All students applying to the university must pay a $35 application fee. Students who have applied can check their admission status on the school’s website.
Students applying to Philadelphia University are eligible for federal grants and student loans. There are also a number of grants and scholarships offered by the state of Pennsylvania, the university and other organizations that students may be eligible for.
For example, the university awards merit scholarships of between $2,500 and $13,000 per year to new freshmen based on high school GPA and SAT or ACT scores. These scholarships are renewable over four years so long as students meet minimum GPA requirements. Transfer students may also be eligible for merit scholarships based on their prior college work.
Philadelphia Textile Association Scholarships are available to students who are majoring in textiles. The university also offers athletic scholarships to qualifying athletes. These are just a few of the scholarship options available to Philadelphia University students.
Students should not be put off by Philadelphia University’s status as a private college, as the right combination of scholarships and financial aid makes attending there financially feasible for academically strong students of any means.
The university’s office of financial aid also stands ready to help students find other grants and scholarships they may be eligible for. The majority of students attending Philadelphia University receive financial aid of some sort.
Student Financial Aid Details
Located near Philadelphia’s Center City, students of Philadelphia University will never lack for something to do, in fact, there’s so many cultural and recreational activities available they may feel somewhat overwhelmed by the choices.
Being primarily a design school, most students at Philadelphia University have an interest in the arts, making the university’s downtown Philadelphia location an ideal place for them to pursue their interests thanks to the many arts and cultural events and activities there.
The vast majority of the university’s first-year students live on campus, as housing there is guaranteed for freshmen. Many students also live off-campus in the nearby city neighborhoods of Manayunk and Roxborough. Philadelphia University has reserved housing for students in apartment complexes near the university, with 1 to 3 bedroom options. More than 60 percent of the university’s students are female.
Located on 100 acres, the Philadelphia University campus offers students plenty of room to live, learn and enjoy themselves.
Popular on campus hangouts include the Common Thread eatery, which is located in the Kanbar Campus Center, Ted’s a snack and convenience store and the Tuttleman Cafe.
Transportation around campus is provided by a fleet of buses. Transportation throughout the city is easy, thanks to a nearby SEPTA station.
The university strives to provide a safe learning environment for students, operating a well-run security plan.
The university also has many intramural sports and campus organizations students can take part in.
The university has two Greek fraternities and one sorority.
The university’s career services department is well-regarded and over the past 20 years, the university claims that it has placed 90 percent of its graduating students in jobs within a few months of graduation.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The Philadelphia University athletic teams are known as the Rams. Philadelphia University’s colors are maroon and grey.
The Rams have NCAA Division II status and are members of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference. The university fields teams in men’s soccer, baseball, basketball, cross country/track, golf, rowing, tennis and women’s soccer, basketball, cross country/track, golf, softball, lacrosse, rowing, tennis and volleyball.
The Rams have a rich athletic history. The Rams have a strong men’s basketball program, and Coach Herb Magee recently racked up his 903rd win, surpassing Bobby Knight’s win record. Magee has been coaching for 43 years. The women’s program is also well-respected.
The baseball program is also well-regarded and has produced a number of Major League baseball players, including Bob File and Curtis King.
The Rams also recently started a rowing program, and racked up a major win by taking the Dad Vail Regatta in a women’s competition.
In 2008-2009, the men’s and women’s tennis teams won the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.
In the 2008-09 seasons, Philadelphia University athletes put together six CACC Championships, setting new records for their school and conference.
In keeping with the university’s devotion to design, the university has several events each year devoted to fashion. The university is launching a new tradition this year by holding the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. The festival will celebrate the arts and include a fashion show and an event entitled “An Evening of Innovation.”
A unique landmark for the university is its Philadelphia University Research Center, which is located in a converted textile mill in Manayunk, just outside of Philadelphia.
The university has a rich athletic tradition, and support for Rams teams is strong among the small, but closely-knit student body of Philadelphia University. Attendance at games is good, reflecting the affection Philadelphia University students and alums have for their school.
Additional School Information
The university was founded in 1884 to promote the study of textiles so that the American textile industry could catch up to the European industry, which was creating better products. The Philadelphia Textile School was originally intended to provide further education to textile workers and managers.
In time, the university became aligned with the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the School of Industrial Art. Over time, it began transitioning from a trade school to a university, earning the right to grant bachelor’s degrees in 1941.
Famous alums of the university include Coach Herb Magee, Jay McCarroll, who won the first season of Project Runway, Curtis King, a former player for the St. Louis Cardinals, and inventor Maurice Kanbar, who the Kanbar center is named for.
The College Board College Handbook, 2010 . 47th ed. New York: College Board, 2009. Print.
McGrath, Anne. Ultimate college guide 2010 . 7th ed. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks Inc., 2009. Print.
“Philadelphia University “Power to Do” Philadelphia, PA." Philadelphia University “Power to Do” Philadelphia, PA. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2011. <http://www.philau.edu/>.