Villanova University


Villanova University’s beautiful 254-acre campus is located twelve miles west of Philadelphia, in the famed “Main Line” suburban area. VU is the oldest and largest Catholic university in Pennsylvania, and was founded in 1842 by the Order of Saint Augustine. Saint Augustine believed in a commitment to community, and to the connections between the mind and the heart, and between truth and love. The Augustinian values stated on our university seal— Veritas, Unitas, Caritas—(translated as truth, unity, and love) still guide “’Nova Nation” today. Villanova is home to students of all faiths, and tends to attract students who are dedicated to social responsibility, volunteer work, and contributing to the greater good.

The most distinctive aspect of this school is its sense of community, since this is the aspect of the university that permeates all others and in many ways defines what it means to be a Villanovan. The care that people show for one another, both on our campus and across the world, is tangible and on display constantly. This community focus is central to everything—from coursework to social events to volunteer opportunities. It even flows through our 90,000-strong alumni community. As a recent alumna, I’ve already gone back to VU for several events and I would like to maintain a strong connection to the university for many years to come. During my four years there, I was helped by countless alumni in all different facets of life and I would like nothing more than to give back as much as I have received.

VU’s scenic campus, a designated arboretum, has more than sixty buildings— including twenty-six residence halls and a library with more than 800,000 volumes. In addition to offering more than forty rigorous academic programs, this institution provides students with a wide range of opportunities to study abroad and to participate in more than 130 campus organizations. Student services are excellent—from the VU Laptop program to the Student Health Center to the dining halls and “Holy Grounds” coffee shops to Career Services.

Extracurricular opportunities definitely appeal to a broad range of student interests. Throughout my four years as an undergraduate, I served as a VU School of Business peer advisor, an ambassador, a liturgical minister, and president of the National Society of Leadership and Success. I was also involved in intramural sports, including basketball, soccer, and club Frisbee. I led a group of 12 students on a service trip to San Jose, Costa Rica, during my senior year, and spent a summer studying and working abroad in London.

VU is also home to the new Davis Center for Athletics, along with many intramural and varsity sports teams, including the nationally recognized Wildcat’s men’s basketball team, which generates a lot of excitement and community spirit on campus. This university is one of only five schools to have advanced to the NCAA Tournament “Sweet 16” in three of the last four seasons.

Villanova University. Whenever the topic of my alma mater is raised, I could speak about the rigorous academic experience, the challenging coursework, and the world-class professors who encourage students to expand their horizons every day. I could speak about the incredible opportunities outside of the classroom, with the hundreds of student organizations that exist on campus. I could talk about the wonderful opportunities afforded to students through our internship, community service, and international studies programs. But the most distinctive aspect of VU is its sense of community, and the genuine care that people show for one another. My experience can be summed up in four words, taken from a speech the university President Father Peter Donohue gave to a group of students during my senior year: ‘Take Villanova with you.’ Father Donohue was speaking about the challenges facing us as we prepared for the next stage of our lives. He encouraged us to reflect upon our time at VU—upon the many experiences that shaped us, helped us mature, and forced us to go beyond our comfort zones. He then challenged us to take VU with us. This school provided me with the opportunity to do just that, through an education, experience, and community of mentors and friends who will shape the rest of my life.


Information Summary

Ranks 8th in Pennsylvania and 48th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 97.3
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $70,728
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 33 / 1470
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 11 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 96% / N/A
Enrollment Total (all students) 11,030


This school offers degree programs through four colleges: the Villanova School of Business, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the College of Nursing. Graduate degree programs are also offered through the Villanova School of Law. All Villanova colleges are recognized for their academic quality and technological resources, and all are focused on the education and well-being of the whole person—intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, culturally, socially, and physically.


The Villanova School of Business, one of the top-ranked business programs in the United States, offers majors in accounting, economics, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing. The school also offers a business honors degree, an international business co-major, and minors in entrepreneurship, real estate, and business law and corporate governance. VSB is home to the Applied Finance Lab, which provides students with many of the real-time technological resources available to Wall Street traders. Bartley Hall, with its light-filled, three-story atrium, class- and study rooms, and common areas includes the Bartley Exchange dining hall. The two most popular special programs among VSB students are international experiences and service learning. Nearly half of the student body participates in international academic, internship, and volunteer experiences.

Liberal Arts and Sciences

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences—one of the few colleges in the country that offers an undergraduate degree in astronomy and astrophysics— provides a wide array of degree programs, concentrations, and majors, along with interdisciplinary majors in the humanities, international studies, comprehensive science, and environmental science. This school is one of only eighteen Catholic colleges or universities in the nation to have a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the prestigious liberal arts honor society.

In 2008, this university celebrated the “Year of Mendel” in honor of the famous scientist Gregor Johann Mendel, a friar in the Order of Saint Augustine, whose experiments with the hybridization of pea plants led him to discover the laws of heredity which now bear his name: the law of segregation and the law of independent assortment.

School Snapshot: Undergraduate Majors

  • Accounting
  • Art History
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Business Administration: Economics, Finance, Management, MIS, Marketing
  • Engineering: Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Mechanical
  • Chemistry
  • Classical Studies
  • Communication
  • Comprehensive Science
  • Computer Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • Economics
  • English
  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Studies
  • French and Francophone Studies
  • Geography
  • Global Interdisciplinary Studies
  • History Honors Program
  • Human Services
  • Humanities
  • International Business
  • Italian Studies
  • Mathematical Sciences/Applied Statistics
  • Nursing
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Secondary Education
  • Sociology
  • Spanish Studies
  • Theology and Religious Studies


The College of Engineering, ranked among the best engineering programs in the nation, offers degree programs in the disciplines of chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. The college is home to three research units: The Center for Advanced Communications, The Center for Nonlinear Dynamics and Control, and The Villanova Center for the Environment— a joint effort with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The college’s home, the Villanova Center for Engineering Education and Research, houses state-of-the-art instructional and research labs. Additional engineering-related facilities can be found on campus in White Hall, John Barry Hall, Tolentine Hall, and the 10,000-square-foot Structural Engineering Teaching and Research Laboratory.


A small but very special group on campus is the student body of the College of Nursing. A manifestation of the Augustinian spirit of caring in action, nursing students have opportunities to work closely with community members in need while completing their rigorous coursework.

The College of Nursing is housed in brand-new Driscoll Hall. Unveiled in 2008, this beautiful 75,500-square-foot building offers resources including:

  • a 200-seat auditorium and a 200-seat lecture hall
  • future-oriented clinical simulation labs for health assessment, adult health, maternal/ child health, anesthesia, and critical care
  • simulation labs for standardized patient observation and testing
  • a center for nursing research and scholarship
  • space for prayer and reflection
  • space for global health studies and international student activities
  • space for student, faculty, and alumni events and social interaction

The technological resources available to students are outstanding. In recent years, the school has installed an intelligent/multi-purpose classroom design with enhanced audiovisual, Web, and podcasting and video conferencing options. It has also integrated eportfolio, Wimba, iTunes, and Respondus with the Blackboard Vista LMS platform.

A Microsoft Exchange e-mail and calendar platform is now used across campus. VU is standardized on the TaskStream e-Portfolio for faculty and students to share, store, and collaborate on various learning artifacts and coursework. They have upgraded Internet bandwidth to 475 Mb, which includes a 25-Mb Internet 2 connection. This school provides all undergraduate students with laptops that have access to an Internet-based backup and vaulting product, U-Vault. They have also launched an upgraded emergency notification system, Nova Alert, a Web-based laundry reservation system, a basketball lottery system, and a student tracking system.

Career Services

With the help of the Career Services Office, students develop their professional skills and gain access to a wide variety of career options. The support resources provided to students include career fairs, career counseling, graduate school counseling, career library, practice interviews, resume critiques, workshops, and seminars.

I was challenged by my professors to use my undergraduate accounting degree to pursue an internship with Deloitte & Touche in Manhattan in the spring of 2007. My internship was a phenomenal extension of my classroom learning, and upon concluding my four months in New York, I accepted a job offer from Deloitte & Touche. I am now enjoying my Deloitte & Touche job tremendously, and am grateful to this school for providing me with the education that has allowed me to arrive at this point in my life.

More than 1,700 companies post positions on Villanova’s job boards; the median starting salary for graduates is $50,000. More than ninety-five percent of graduates become full-time employees or enroll in graduate school within six months of their degree completion. Internships are also an important source of professional development opportunities for students. Over 400 internships are posted on campus each year, and internships often lead to full-time job offers.

Most Popular Fields of Study


campus :: Villanova University


Admission is challenging. In addition to looking for academically talented, well-rounded students, VU looks for applicants who have “compassionate minds”—in other words, those who want to transform the world and make it a better place.

Common Application

This school is a Common Application member institution. In addition to the Common Application, prospective students are required to complete a VU Preliminary Application for Undergraduate Admission and to submit an official high school transcript and Common Application School Report.

Standardized Tests

This school requires applicants to have their standardized test scores (SAT or ACT) reported directly to VU by the College Board or ACT.

High School Performance

In the admissions process, high school performance is an extremely important selectivity factor. Each student’s high school record, GPA, and class rank, along with each student’s demonstration of character and personal abilities, are carefully considered. Extracurricular and volunteer activities, in addition to outstanding academic work, are helpful to applicants in this regard.

Personal Essay and Recommendations

Another very important factor in the admissions process is the personal essay. Since VU doesn’t interview applicants, the essay is a crucial vehicle through which prospective students can explain to the school who they are, and why they should be selected to become Villanovans. Recommendations are also carefully considered.

International Applicants

Non-U.S. prospective students are warmly welcomed to apply for admission. Applicants from non-English-speaking countries must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) test and have scores reported directly to Villanova from the College Board. The International Student Services Office supports enrolled international students in areas including immigration rights and responsibilities; educational, social, and personal counseling; cultural adjustment issues; and campus and community activities.

Transfer Applicants

Transferring to Villanova is possible, but selective. Students applying to transfer to VU must complete a transfer application and submit official transcripts from each postsecondary school attended and a completed Dean of Students Transfer Evaluation form.

Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid breaks the application process down into five straightforward steps for students and parents to follow:

  • Step 1: Completion of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), the form by which you declare your family’s financial profile
  • Step 2: Completion of the VU Institutional Financial Aid Application
  • Step 3: A comprehensive check of the numbers using the SAR (Student Aid Report) and the EFC (Expected Family Contribution)
  • Step 4: Receipt of award letter, detailing all funding offered to you by the federal and/or state government and VU, and payment of the balance due
  • Step 5: Finishing up with a twenty-five-minute interview, which may be done online with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency or in person at the Office of Financial Aid. This interview is a counseling session that provides information about managing student loans, both during and after college.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 1562nd for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Pennsylvania.


Villanova Snapshot: Student Body

  • Minority Students: 18%
  • In-State Students: 25%
  • Students Living on Campus: 70%
  • Students Affiliated with the Greek system: 20%
  • Students Involved in Varsity or Club Athletics: 21%
  • Students who Pursue Graduate/ Professional School after Graduation: 23%
  • Number of Official Extracurricular Student Organizations: 250
  • Number of States Represented 45
  • Number of Countries Represented: 48

This school is a fun, close-knit, caring academic and social community. Filled with endless opportunities to meet new friends, discover new interests, and enjoy campus life, the undergraduate experience at VU is most often warmly remembered by alumni as “some of the best years of our lives.” In the Augustinian tradition, mutual love, respect, and compassion are paramount values, and VU leaders expect these values to guide all interactions among students outside the classroom. More than 1,300 diverse students are members of the school’s ten fraternities and nine sororities, all with national affiliations. To help students transition from high school to college, incoming freshmen have the opportunity to be part of a school’s Learning Community. Through Learning Communities, students form close friendships as they live together in specially designated residence halls and learn together in courses and cocurricular programs. Learning Communities available to resident freshmen include:

  • The Leadership Experience
  • Citizenship for a Diverse World
  • Healthy Living
  • Environmental Leadership
  • Global Community
  • Justice: From Adam to Eve
  • Performers and Artists
  • Politics of Freedom

My VU experiences provided me with a unique opportunity to learn about myself and others in my community—whether they were my roommates, my professors across campus, the first-graders in West Philadelphia we tutored after school each week, or the host families with whom we stayed in Costa Rica. I accomplished things that I’d never imagined I could when I first set foot on campus as a freshman. What I tell incoming students is that you may come to this school thinking you know a great deal about yourself and the world, but what you realize by the time you leave is how much you truly have left to learn! My experience taught me that it is never enough to settle for what is good right now; our VU education instead demands that we constantly strive to be better, in the classroom, at work, in our families, in our communities, and in our world.


An example of the Augustinian tradition in action is the fall service break, which enables students to take part in volunteer work. This university offers a limitless range of service opportunities to students, many of which also serve as social events—from Habitat for Humanity to Campus Ministry to the VU Rays of Sunshine program. This school also hosts the largest student-run Special Olympics in the United States. In fact, local and global community-mindedness and outreach are so important that all students must participate in one of the following 0-credit activities as a graduation requirement:

  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Study Abroad
  • Special Olympics
  • Villanova Freedom School/Martin Luther King Day Activities

One program that sets this school apart and truly illustrates the university’s sense of community is the Pennsylvania Special Olympics Fall Festival, which has been held on campus every November for over two decades. During my freshman year, I was encouraged by my hall-mates to volunteer during the course of the weekend. The experience was so rewarding that I continued to stay involved each year until my graduation. In my senior year, I served as registration chair and recruited my sister, Shannon, a VU sophomore at the time, to join the effort.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


VU has a very strong academic tradition in both men’s and women’s sports. The college is part of the NCAA and the Big East Conference. Students can participate as Wildcats in many sports. This school fields men’s teams in baseball, basketball, cross country running, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, and track and field. The university fields women’s teams in basketball, cross country running, field hockey, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and water polo.

Basketball is the crown jewel of VU athletics, the men’s basketball team advanced to the Final Four in 2009, but did not win the championship. The last championship win for the team was in 1985, in one of the most heralded upsets in college basketball history.

The football team also enjoys great success. In 2009 the team was NCAA division 1-AA champions. The team has been invited to join the Big East Conference, and university adminsitrators are considering the offer.

The women’s cross country team is another standout, winning NCAA National Championships in 2009 and 2010 under the direction of Coach Gina Procaccio.


The Catholic tradition runs deep here. The most prominent feature on campus is the St. Thomas of Villanova Church, the tallest structure on campus, which was built in 1883. Masses held at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. and are fairly popular among the students.

Each year, the university holds an annual St. Thomas of Villanova Day Parade in the fall, which is a major event for students and alumni. Another important annual event is the NovaFest, which is held at the end of each academic year.

However, the university isn’t all prayer and no partying. The sights of Downtown Philly aren’t too far away, and a major rite of passage for many students when they reach the legal drinking age is going to a bar called Brownies.

Also important in VU lore is the Connelly Student Center, known by the unique black and white sculpture outside of it nicknamed “The Oreo” by students.

Also well-known is the university’s seal, which symbolizes the university’s roots among the Augustinians. The seal is seen throughout campus and is an ever-present symbol of the university.


This university is fortunate to have an extremely loyal network of alumni, parents, and friends who are dedicated to the university and return to visit often. There are many “Villanova families,” worldwide— those in which several generations or siblings have attended the university, and in which husbands and wives met as students here. There are also many lifelong friendships formed as well.

Prominent Alumni

  • Maria Bello, 1989, Golden Globe- Nominated Actress
  • Daniel Brestle, 1967, Vice Chairman and President, The Estee Lauder Companies, North America
  • Rear Admiral Christine Bruzek-Kohler, 1974, Director, United States Navy Nurse Corps; Chief of Staff, Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
  • Jim Croce, 1965, Recording Artist
  • Rev. Peter Donohue, OSA, 1975, 32nd President of Villanova University
  • Justin Gmelich, 1990, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs
  • John L. Hennessey, III, 1973, President, Stanford University
  • Nnenna Lynch, 1993, Olympian and Rhodes Scholar
  • Gerald Marzorati, 1975, Author and Editor of The New York Times Magazine
  • Robert J. McCarthy, 1975, President, North American Lodging Operations, Marriott International
  • Robert Moran, 1972, President and Chief Operating Officer, PetSmart
  • James V. O’Donnell, 1963, CEO, American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.
  • Dianna Sugg, 1987, Pulitzer Prize Recipient for Journalism, Baltimore Sun
  • Brian Westbrook, 2001, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles
  • General Anthony Zinni, 1965, USMC (retired), former Commander-in-Chief, US Central Command and US Peace Envoy in the Middle East


The student-to-faculty ratio is 13:1. The university’s 571 full-time faculty members—ninety percent of whom hold the highest degree in their field—teach classes that average twenty-two students. This facilitates faculty accessibility and the personalized, community-focused educational experience for which this school is known.

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