About ACU

Our MissionGlobal Learning
What Makes ACU Special?Distance Education
University TraditionsThe Learning Covenant
Spiritual Formation and ChapelAcademic Accreditation
Exceptional Educational ExperienceLegal Notices
Excellent Student Support


Our Mission

www.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.

Abilene Christian University is a national leader in Christian higher education, offering an exceptional education to about 4,800 students annually from nearly every state and 60 nations. This private, comprehensive university, founded in 1906 in Abilene, Texas, offers 61 baccalaureate majors in more than 100 areas of undergraduate study in addition to its graduate programs. Abilene is a friendly city of 115,000 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 cities twice its size.

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.

Academic excellence is important at ACU, and students are challenged to learn in the classroom and through their campus experiences. In addition to outstanding undergraduate programs, ACU’s Graduate School enrolls about 550 students in 26 master’s and one doctoral program. All faculty and staff are Christians, and they help students understand how their Christian beliefs connect with their fields of study. In addition, ACU students are encouraged to share their time and talents as Christian leaders and volunteers through various service opportunities on the campus, in the community and in other countries. Graduates of ACU 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 at home and at work.

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.

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What Makes ACU Special?

Because of ACU’s strong sense of mission and outstanding academic programs, we attract high-quality faculty members from across the United States and several other nations. 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 that ACU continues to grow as a leader in Christian higher education and to achieve its mission for a second century and beyond. At ACU, each person (the grounds keepers, food service providers, financial aid counselors, marketing staff, vice presidents) is focused on the mission of educating students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. We are one team with one goal – to prepare our graduates to change the world in a positive way and to make a difference as Christian scholars and professionals.

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University Traditions

Traditions at this 100-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 ACU Wildcats – ACU’s athletics mascot. ACU teams have won the fourth-highest number of NCAA national championships, after UCLA, Stanford and USC. Students compete on 14 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 beaten teams from prestigious national universities many times through the years.

Other traditions include Opening Chapel and the Parade of Flags, candlelight devotionals, the hooding of all graduates at Commencement, the singing of the “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” the Big Purple Band, a cappella singing, Welcome Week for freshmen, Spring Break campaigns, the GATA fountain, involvement in social clubs, Sadie Hawkins week, and the school song titled “Oh, Dear Christian College.” For the first time in 2001, students could earn the right to order ACU’s new single class ring. Graduates of this university wear this ring as a symbol of achievement and honor.


Spiritual Formation and Chapel

Spiritual formation is one of the most important aspects of an ACU education. The Office of Spiritual Formation serves in partnership with faculty, staff and students to create meaningful campus conversations through which hearts are challenged and students are formed in the image of Christ.

Chapel, one function of the Office of Spiritual Formation, engages students, staff and faculty in Christian community through worship and celebration. Though Chapel varies from day-to-day, the purpose remains the same: to worship God and to celebrate our lives in Jesus. Chapel occurs in Moody Coliseum as a combined community and also in smaller groups across campus. Chapel meets daily and is required of all undergraduate students under the age of 25 as part of their ACU educational experience.

For more information about the Office of Spiritual Formation and Chapel, contact:
Wayne Barnard, University Dean of Spiritual Formation
ACU Box 29209 • 325-674-2854 • chapel@acu.edu

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Exceptional Educational Experience

As one of the nation’s largest universities with a serious Christian focus, ACU draws students
from across the country and around the world. The university attracts a diverse, interesting student body – individuals who are generally 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 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. The university’s graduates who apply have an average acceptance rate of greater than 80 percent into medical school – compared to a national average of about 40 percent. This is just one example of the exceptional academic quality seen throughout ACU. The university’s Honors Program challenges the brightest 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 learn and develop.


Excellent Student Support

To ensure the quality of the students’ education, we provide enhanced library resources, fast Internet access in the residence halls, 24-hour computer labs, 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, transfers and graduate students also receive special attention from various offices on campus. We value each individual who attends ACU, and we want to ensure each person’s success.

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Global Learning

Around 25% of students who graduate from ACU have participated in Study Abroad programs in Europe (Oxford, England) and Latin America (Montevideo, Uruguay). About 600 students each year travel to various states and nations on Spring Break campaigns, which are week-long experiences involving many different service projects for churches and communities. Students can grow spiritually through daily Chapel, student-led devotionals, prayer groups, membership in local congregations and more.

The university’s Admissions staff and faculty strive 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.


Distance Education

ACU WorldWide
ACU WorldWide is Abilene Christian University’s distance education home. The university offers several graduate degrees through online courses and accelerated courses in metropolitan areas. Students from all over the world can take advantage of ACU’s quality education.

For more information visit www.acu.edu/worldwide or send an email to worldwide@acu.edu. Interested persons can also call 325-674-2950.

Summer Online
Summer Online delivers a limited number of undergraduate courses via the World Wide Web through its Online Summer program. Students are able to take these courses provided they have regular access to a computer and the Web. These courses require students to interact daily with their classmates and professors but provide the flexibility of accessing the course at any hour of the day. Courses usually correspond to the normal five- or 10-week summer terms. Students register through the standard registration process.

For more information about Summer Online, contact:
Gary Tucker, Director • ACU Box 29201 • 325-674-2940
toll free 866-546-3822 • summeronline@acu.edu

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The Learning Covenant

At Abilene Christian University, 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;

     • to love and honor God and Christ, to study the Bible and to seriously pursue opportunities to
       grow as a Christian servant-leader.

Student Outcomes
Ideally, graduates who have gone through the core curriculum and spent four or more years on campus should:

     1. Speak and write effectively in English as a result of clear thinking and extensive reading,
         writing and observation;

     2. Be proficient in planning, calculating, organizing ideas and solving problems;

     3. Engage in meaningful and productive careers and/or pursue additional graduate or
         professional education;

     4. Conduct their daily lives in a way that fosters mental and physical health and well-being;

     5. Possess a sensitivity to people, an appreciation of the arts and sciences, a sense of history,
         an international perspective and an understanding of the interrelatedness of things;

     6. Function effectively as citizens, workers and educated members of society, providing service
         and leadership in the activities of home, occupation or profession, church, community,
         country and the world; and

     7. Base their lives on a carefully thought-out philosophy that emphasizes Christian faith and
         commitment, personal integrity, open-mindedness, respect and concern for all human
         beings, and a desire to be responsible stewards of personal and natural resources.

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Academic Accreditation

Abilene Christian University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Ga. 30033-4097, telephone
404-679-4501) to award associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Many programs have received additional accreditation from the following associations:

     • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)

     • The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC)

     • American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA)

     • Association of Theological Schools (ATS)

     • Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE)

     • Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education

     • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

     • Council for Interior Design Accreditation (formerly FIDER)

     • Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

     • National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)

In addition, some ACU Programs hold approval by state and national associations:

     • American Chemical Society (ACS)

     • Board of Nurse Examiners for the State of Texas

     • National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

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Legal Notices

Annual Notice to Students
Annually, Abilene Christian University informs students of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. This act, with which the institution intends to comply fully, was designated to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings. Students also have the right to file complaints with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act office (FERPA) concerning alleged failures by the institution to comply with the Act.

Local policy explains in detail the procedures to be used by the institution for compliance with the provisions of the Act. Copies of the policy can be found in the Campus Life office.

Questions concerning the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act may be referred to the Campus Life office.

Disclosure of Student Records
In general, no personally identifiable information from a student’s education records will be disclosed without written consent from the student. This includes, but is not limited to, grade reports, academic schedule information and transcripts. Two exceptions may, however, be made: (1) directory information will be released unless the student requests that it be withheld, as explained in the section below; (2) records may be disclosed to parents of students who depend upon them as defined by Internal Revenue Code 1986, Section 152.

Public Notice Designating Directory Information
Abilene Christian University hereby designates student information listed below as public or “Directory Information.” Such information may be disclosed by the institution for any purpose, at its discretion.

     Name, classification, major field of study, permanent address, email address, local residence,
     telephone number. Previous institutions attended, dates of attendance, full-time or part-time 
     status, awards, honors (including Dean’s Honor Roll), degree(s) conferred (including dates),
     church affiliation, past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities,
     physical factors (height, weight of athletes), photograph, date and place of birth.

Currently enrolled students may withhold disclosure of “Directory Information” under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. To withhold disclosures, written notification must be received in the Campus Life office within 12 calendar days from the first day of registration for a long term and within four days for a summer term. Forms requesting the withholding of “Directory Information” are available in the Campus Life office. Abilene Christian University assumes that failure on the part of any student to specifically request the withholding of categories of “Directory Information” indicates individual approval for disclosure.

Non-Discrimination Notice
Abilene Christian University complies with all applicable federal and state non-discrimination laws and does not engage in prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, nationality or ethnic origin, gender, age, or disability, including qualified disabled veterans and qualified veterans of the Vietnam Era. ACU is affiliated with the fellowship of the Church of Christ. The university is governed by a Board of Trustees, all of whom are members of the Church of Christ, and is operated within the Christian-oriented aims, ideals and religious tenets of the Church of Christ. As a religiously affiliated institution of higher education, ACU is exempt from compliance with some provisions of certain civil rights laws, including some provisions of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Inquiries concerning this notice or the application of the laws referenced herein should be referred to the Legal Services office.

For more information about Legal Notices, contact:
Slade Sullivan, General Counsel • ACU Box 29125
325-674-2485 • sullivans@acu.edu

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Vision in Action

Watch the video above to witness the future of Abilene Christian University taking shape.

Learn more 

Connect with ACU