2018-2019 Catalog 
    Jun 21, 2024  
2018-2019 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

About ACU

acu.edu • 325-674-2000
ACU Box 29000, Abilene, Texas 79699-9000


Our mission: To educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world.

Our promise: ACU is a vibrant, innovative, Christ-centered community that engages students in authentic spiritual and intellectual growth, equipping them to make a real difference in the world.

Abilene Christian University is the premier university for the education of Christ-centered, global leaders, offering an exceptional education to about 5,000 students annually from 50 states and territories, and 42 nations. This private, comprehensive university, founded in 1906 in Abilene, Texas, offers 77 baccalaureate majors in more than 135 areas of study, 30 master’s degree programs and three doctoral programs. Abilene is a friendly city of 120,000 people, located about 150 miles west of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. As an educational center for a large region, Abilene provides cultural, entertainment and support programs and services normally associated with much larger cities. ACU Dallas, a branch campus in Addison, Texas, is the home of the university’s online graduate and professional programs.

Established by members of the Churches of Christ, ACU maintains a strong relationship with these independently governed congregations around the world. Since its founding, the university has welcomed all students of character and ability who value the university’s Christian environment. All ACU faculty and staff are Christians, and they help students understand how their Christian beliefs connect with their fields of study.

Academic excellence is important at ACU, and students are challenged to learn in the classroom and through their experiences. In addition to outstanding undergraduate programs, ACU enrolls about 1,500 students to graduate programs. All students are encouraged to share their time and talents as Christian leaders and volunteers through various service-learning opportunities on the campus, in the community and in other countries. Graduates are in high demand by employers and graduate programs because they gain knowledge and experience in their majors, and they learn to apply Christian values to their everyday decisions.

ACU is a unique community of learners, dedicated to scholarship and committed to Christ. In every major, students gain a broad perspective on the world through the liberal arts core curriculum. The university also provides professional and pre-professional studies programs that have produced outstanding graduates in such fields as medicine, law, journalism, ministry, business, physics, nursing, graphic design, psychology, and education. One of our primary goals is to foster a lifelong love of learning in our graduates.

Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees Offered at ACU

Associate of Arts AA
Bachelor of Arts BA
Bachelor of Business Administration BBA
Bachelor of Fine Arts BFA
Bachelor of Music BM
Bachelor of Science BS
Bachelor of Science in Engineering BSE
Bachelor of Science in Nursing BSN
Certificate Program Cer
Doctor of Education EdD
Doctor of Ministry DMin
Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP
Master of Accountancy MAcc
Master of Arts MA
Master of Arts in Christian Ministry MACM
Master of Athletic Training MAT
Master of Business Administration MBA
Master of Divinity MDiv
Master of Education MEd
Master of Healthcare Administration MHA
Master of Liberal Arts MLA
Master of Marriage and Family Therapy MMFT
Master of Science MS
Master of Science in Social Work MSSW
Specialist in School Psychology SSP

ACU Profile

  • The university: A selective four-year private Christian university, ACU is the best at providing exceptional academics in a Christ-centered community. It includes the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Biblical Studies, Business Administration, Education and Human Services, Graduate and Professional Studies, and Honors; the Graduate School of Theology; and the schools of Information Technology and Computing, Nursing, and Social Work. ACU is affiliated with the Churches of Christ and is one of the largest private universities in the Southwest.
  • Academic programs*: Students may choose from 77 baccalaureate majors that include more than 135 areas of study, 30 master’s degree programs and three doctoral programs.
  • Accreditation: Abilene Christian University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Ga. 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of ACU.
  • Students: About 5,100 students, comprising 3,600 undergraduates and 1,500 graduate students, generally from 50 states and territories, and 42 nations.
  • Location: ACU is in Abilene, Texas; an award-winning city of 120,000 people 150 miles west of the Dallas and Fort Worth area. ACU Dallas, a branch campus in Addison, Texas, is the home of the university’s online graduate and professional degree programs.
  • Faculty: 253 full-time faculty members with 96 percent of tenured or tenure-track faculty holding terminal degrees. ACU has a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1.
  • Financial aid: The average first-year student’s financial aid package for 2016-17 was $27,000, which included a combination of scholarships, grants, work-study and loans. ACU offered more than 4,700 scholarships and grants valued at more than $33 million to the entering class of 2017.
  • Annual Cost*: $33,330* for tuition and general fees (up to 36 hours per year in ACU’s annual block tuition plan), plus approximately $10,020 for room and board and $1,250 for textbooks and supplies.
  • Graduate success: Of May 2016 graduates, 94 percent were employed or enrolled in graduate or professional school within six months. Specific programs saw even higher employment success at 100 percent, such as teacher education, marketing, and chemistry. ACU graduates who apply to medical, dental, and veterinary schools have been accepted at twice the national average for the past 10 years.
  • International study: ACU’s Study Abroad programs take students to study in places such as Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. Nearly 25 percent of graduating seniors have studied abroad.
  • Campus technology: ACU ensures cutting-edge technology is an integral part of each student’s education. The university’s AT&T Learning Studio and Learning Commons, both in Brown Library, provide innovative spaces for students to collaborate and acquire skills using the latest technology. The campus has full wireless Internet access and students have access to Adobe Creative Cloud at no additional cost.
  • Student organizations: There are about 100 campus organizations in which students can become involved, including social clubs; government; and service, honor and special-interest groups.
  • Wellness: The Royce and Pam Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center is a focal point on campus. Designed to encourage wellness of the whole individual — body, mind and spirit — it includes the Weber Medical and Counseling Care Center and is the home of a dynamic intramural program with championship and recreational leagues for students of all interests and abilities.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division I, Southland Conference. Football (FCS), women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, baseball, men’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s softball, and women’s beach volleyball.

*For 2018-19 school year.

What Makes ACU Special?

ACU ensures cutting-edge technology is an integral part of each student’s education. The university’s AT&T Learning Studio and Learning Commons, both in Brown Library, provide innovative spaces for students to collaborate and acquire skills using the latest technology. Recognized regularly over the past decade for innovation by U.S. News & World Report, ACU also has appeared on its list of “Best Value Schools” for 11 consecutive years and is ranked among the Nation’s Top 20 regional universities (West). Forbes ranks ACU in the top 10 percent of U.S. colleges and universities, and the university is named among the “Best Colleges for Veterans” in the nation.

Because of ACU’s strong sense of mission and outstanding academic programs, we attract high-quality faculty members from around the world. They believe their Christian commitment requires them to excel in their fields of study and to focus on teaching and mentoring students. Experienced and talented professors teach freshmen and conduct research and hands-on learning projects with undergraduate students. Some of the best minds in the world choose to teach at ACU because they believe this university provides them the best opportunity to mold the next generation of leaders in various professions.

The staff and administrators also are Christians, and they focus on supporting the academic mission of the university. The university’s Board of Trustees and administrators believe strongly in comprehensive strategic planning and institutional research to ensure ACU achieves its mission and its 21st-Century Vision goals. We are one team with one goal — to prepare our graduates to make a difference in the world as Christian scholars and professionals.

University Traditions

Traditions at this 112-year-old university are strong. The school colors are purple and white, and many people wear purple on Fridays to indicate their support for the Wildcats. Only five universities - including UCLA, Stanford, and USC - have won more NCAA national team championships than ACU, where students compete on 17 NCAA Division I intercollegiate men’s and women’s teams.

Many academic programs also have winning traditions. For example, the student newspaper, The Optimist, has won All-American honors annually since 1975, and ACU debate teams have defeated teams from major national universities many times through the years.

Other traditions include the Opening Session and the Parade of Flags, candlelight devotionals, the a cappella singing of “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” the Big Purple Marching Band, Wildcat Week for freshmen, and involvement in men’s and women’s social clubs. Students earn the right to order ACU’s class ring, which graduates wear as a symbol of achievement and honor.


Quest Program

The Quest Program encompasses our Chapel programming, our Spiritual Formation Event opportunities, and the Quest App. This app serves as a digital platform for communicating event information as well as monitoring attendance for many of the events. Chapels, along with Spiritual Formation Events, engage students in Christian community through worship and celebration, along with spiritual messages and practical discussion opportunities. Though programs vary, the purpose remains the same: to worship God and to celebrate our lives in Jesus together. Chapel occurs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in Moody Coliseum as a combined, community opportunity. The Chapel Office hosts Immersed Chapel, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in Cullen Auditorium. Spiritual Formation Events happen in smaller groups at different times, across campus and throughout the city, each week. These events are created through faculty/staff sponsorship. Quest participation is required of all full-time, undergraduate students under the age of 25 as part of their ACU educational experience. Students accrue Quest credits each semester to meet certain requirements.

For more information contact the Spiritual Formation Office: ACU Box 27867 • 325-674-2867 • chapel@acu.eduacu.edu/chapel

Exceptional Educational Experience

As one of the nation’s largest universities with a serious Christian focus, ACU draws students from around the world. The university attracts a diverse, interesting student body - individuals who are well-prepared academically, strong in character and highly motivated. Students are encouraged to gain real-world experience in addition to their courses, and they earn internship positions with a variety of prestigious companies and organizations. The university offers a year-round education program. In addition to fall and spring semesters, some courses are offered in an intensive short-course format with assignments required before and after the class meetings.

ACU student teams and academic programs have won national honors and grants in writing, debate, print and broadcast journalism, integrated marketing communication, accounting, business marketing, communication, computer science, psychology, physics, and more. Their research projects win awards and are published in professional journals. Graduates are accepted into medical and dental schools at a rate almost twice the national average. The university’s Honors College challenges the brightest undergraduate students and gives them excellent preparation for the demands of graduate research.

The university offers programs and services that give undergraduate and graduate students the technology, information and academic support they need to live up to their highest potential.

Excellent Student Support

To ensure the quality of our students’ education, we provide enhanced library resources, fast Internet access anywhere on campus, personal tutoring, quality research labs, and much more. First-year students are given extra attention as they decide what to major in and what direction to take their lives. An advisor will help each student choose classes and determine how to be successful in many other areas of campus life.

International students, non-traditional students, transfer students, and graduate students also receive special attention from various offices on campus. We value each individual who attends ACU and want to ensure each person’s success.

Global Learning

Nearly 25 percent of students who graduate from ACU have participated in Study Abroad programs in Oxford, England; Leipzig, Germany; and Montevideo, Uruguay. Short-term, faculty-led programs also regularly take students to locations in China, Australia, Egypt, Uganda, Ghana, Honduras, and Mexico. Service projects are part of every student’s education at ACU. Students can grow spiritually through daily Chapel, student-led devotionals, prayer groups, membership in local congregations and more.

The university’s faculty and staff endeavor to attract well-prepared students from various cultures, geographic locations, economic levels, and age groups because we believe students learn best when they interact with interesting people who bring different perspectives to their classroom and campus experiences. Through research and campus work experiences and about 100 campus organizations, students can explore their interests and enhance their leadership skills while preparing for meaningful lives and careers.

The Learning Covenant

At ACU, we have higher expectations. We believe that spiritual commitment demands the highest standards of academic and personal excellence.

Faculty and Staff

To enable students to benefit most from their ACU education, faculty and staff must be willing to challenge and be challenged, to achieve as individuals and as team members, to risk failure, to assume responsibility for their decisions and their actions, and to be sharpened and refined by other Christians.

As ACU faculty and staff members, we accept the challenge:

  • to stretch the minds of students as we teach, lead and serve them effectively as Christian scholars and professionals, calling students and colleagues to a rigorous life of learning;
  • to boldly integrate faith, learning and living and to serve with honor and integrity as we help students connect their maturing beliefs and their actions;
  • to demonstrate intellectual, Christian and social leadership that can be imitated as we support and participate in Chapel and various campus, community and church activities;
  • to create an environment where students, faculty and staff respect each other and enjoy the blessings of diversity; and
  • to develop a personal relationship with Christ, to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love our students as ourselves.


To benefit most from an ACU education, students must be willing to challenge and be challenged, to achieve as individuals and as team members, to risk failure, to assume responsibility for their decisions and their actions, and to be sharpened and refined by other Christians.

As an ACU student, I accept the challenge:

  • to stretch my mind in and beyond the classroom by reading, questioning, exploring, and committing myself to a rigorous life of learning;
  • to take responsibility for my academic decisions and life direction as I learn to make good personal choices with the support of Christian mentors, advisors, and friends;
  • to actively participate in Chapel and various campus, community and church activities that push me to grow intellectually, spiritually and socially;
  • to respect myself and others in my speech and actions, enjoying the blessings of diversity; and
  • to love and honor God and Christ, to study the Bible and to seriously pursue opportunities to grow as a Christian servant-leader.

ACU Board of Trustees and Administrators