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Messiah distinctives

Identity and mission

Messiah College is a Christian college of the liberal and applied arts and sciences. Our mission is to educate men and women toward maturity of intellect, character and Christian faith in preparation for lives of service, leadership and reconciliation in church and society.


Messiah College is a nationally ranked, private Christian college with a student body of 3,084 undergraduate and graduate students. Located in Mechanicsburg, Pa., just 12 miles from the state capital, Harrisburg, Messiah also has a campus in downtown Harrisburg.


Messiah College was founded in 1909 by the Brethren in Christ Church. Now, the College’s faith base is broadly evangelical and includes students and employees from a variety of denominations and Christian faith traditions.

messiah ranking

Academic excellence

  • In a Career Center post-graduation survey, 96 percent of the class of 2012 respondents indicated they were employed or in graduate/professional programs within six to nine months after graduation, a rate significantly higher than the national employment average.
  • Noted innovative learning experiences and outstanding preparation of graduates earn Messiah recognition as a “Pennsylvania College of Distinction” and a national “Christian College of Distinction.”
  • Messiah was named a top college in Pennsylvania for return on investment, according to
  • The new Calvin and Janet High Center for Worship and Performing Arts features a premier 800-seat performance and lecture hall for the region and provides state-of-the-art classroom and rehearsal spaces for music, theatre and dance students.

Undergraduate majors and pre-professional programs

Messiah College awards Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in more than 80 majors. Specialized programs include extensive off-campus study, individualized majors, independent study, service-learning, internships, allied programs in partnership with other institutions (including advanced degrees in pharmacy and occupational therapy) and a flourishing College Honors Program.

80+ majors

For a complete listing, visit

Pre-professional programs

pre-allied health, pre-dental, pre-law, pre-medical, pre-physical therapy, pre-veterinary

Three-year degree options

Some majors allow motivated students to graduate one or two semesters early. More information is available at

Graduate programs

Messiah College offers quality graduate programs in a flexible hybrid format of traditional and online courses.

  • Master of Music in conducting (wind, orchestral, choral)
  • Master of Arts in counseling (clinical mental health; marriage, couple and family; or school counseling)
  • Master of Education (curriculum and instruction; TESOL; or special education)
  • Master of Arts in higher education (college athletics management or student affairs)
  • Master of Science in Nursing


Kim S. Phipps, Ph.D., has served as the eighth president of Messiah College since 2004. Dr. Phipps represents the College’s commitment to civic engagement by serving in leadership roles on a variety of boards, including chairing the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities board. In 2012, Dr. Phipps was named one of “50 Women You Should Know” by Christianity Today.

9 new majors

Notable community

The Messiah College community of students, educators and alumni are committed to seeking increased understanding of the Christian faith and applying that faith to specific academic disciplines and world problems.

  • Messiah College hosts prominent national speakers, recently including David Brooks, Helene Cooper, Tony  Dungy, Henry Louis Gates, Leymah Gbowee, Annette Gordon-Reed, James Davison Hunter, Eric Metaxas, Joni  Eareckson Tada and Philip Yancey.

Distinguished educators

Messiah College selects its educators for their Christian commitment as well as their proven teaching ability. They are outstanding scholars, authors, artists and experts in their chosen fields.

  • Messiah College’s 178 full-time faculty hold degrees from nationally and internationally recognized graduate  schools — including prestigious institutions such as Duke University, Oxford University, Vanderbilt University and  the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Our faculty members actively contribute research, scholarly writing and artistic works that inform their  academic disciplines and the national conversation on faith in the academy and broader culture.
  • Messiah educators are often sought by local, regional and national journalists for their commentary and  expertise. Recent examples include coverage in Christian Science Monitor, Chronicle of Higher Education,,, Inside Higher Ed, Investor’s Business Daily, Philadelphia Inquirer and Washington Post.
14th in the nation

Faculty profile

  • full-time faculty: 178 (58% male/42% female)
  • hold terminal degree: 84%
  • part-time faculty: 138
  • student/faculty ratio: 13:1

Student profile

Undergraduate enrollment:

  • 2,772 undergraduate students representing 37 states and 28 countries
  • 39% male/61% female students
  • 2,701 full-time students
  • 2,407 living in on-campus housing
  • 42% out-of-state students
  • 10% students from underrepresented racial, ethnic and cultural populations
  • 2.4% international students

Undergraduate financial aid:

  • average aid package: $26,198 first-year students
  • $24,712 all undergraduates

Undergraduate retention and graduation:

  • 86.6% returned for 2nd year
  • 70.6% graduated within 4 years
  • 75.8% graduated within 6 years

note: Messiah does not track students who transfer from Messiah College and graduate from another institution.

Graduate enrollment:

  • 312 graduate students representing 20 states

Christian faith formation

Messiah weaves opportunities for spiritual growth throughout students’ college experience — including chapel and worship services, discipleship groups, ministry outreach teams, community service, mission trips and a variety of other special programs. For more information, visit

Community engagement

  • Messiah College has earned the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s prestigious Community Engagement Classification for curricular engagement and outreach and partnerships.
  • Messiah’s commitment to service-learning and civic engagement earned recognition on the national President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction.
  • Messiah’s partnership with Harrisburg School District earned national attention on the 2012–2013 National Together for Tomorrow School Improvement Challenge Honor Roll, an initiative of the White House Office of  Faith-Based Initiatives and Neighborhood Partnerships recognizing only 30 institutions nationwide.
  • The Agapé Center for Service and Learning cultivates experiences with community partners to prepare individuals for lifelong service. In 2012-2013, an estimated 99 percent of the graduating class participated in  some form of community service through the Agapé Center.
  • Messiah’s extensive sustainability efforts include initiatives such as a student-run organic community garden,  composting, one of the nation’s largest solar thermal systems, biodiesel production and regular collegewide  inventory of greenhouse gas emissions. The Princeton Review recently named Messiah College one of the 322  most environmentally responsible collegesin the U.S. and Canada. Read more at
  • Messiah’s Internship Center is nationally recognized for excellence in professional preparation of students for today's workforce. More than 455 colleges and universities use Messiah's training materials or model their  internship program after Messiah.
  • To help students connect with potential employers, the Career Center hosts Into the City, a unique, intensive two-day career development and networking program in a major U.S. city. among all undergraduate institutions that send students to study abroad, according to the Institute of International Education. Last year, more than 400 Messiah students studied abroad in more than 40 different countries.7th in the nation

  • The Collaboratory for Strategic Research and Applied Partnerships enables students to apply academic knowledge and live out their Christian faith through imaginative, hands-on problem solving that meets the needs of clients around the world. In 2012, World Vision awarded the Collaboratory a $733,000 grant to further improve water and sanitation access for disabled individuals in rural Africa.
  • Through the Harrisburg Institute, Messiah provides access to Christian higher education in an urban setting where students can live and serve in the city.
  • The Center for Public Humanities brings together academic, civic and cultural communities to engage  contemporary issues and to promote learning through symposia, lectures, film series, conferences and partnerships with school districts and literacy outreach programs.
  • The School of the Arts fosters extensive connections with visiting artists and arts organizations  internationally and locally, such as the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra. Messiah also contributes to the cultural life of the region through affiliations with its accomplished artists-in-residence: jazz musician Tim Warfield, the Susquehanna Chorale and the Mendelssohn Piano Trio.
  • Messiah’s Oakes Museum of Natural History features Smithsonian-quality collections of seashells, birds and bird eggs, minerals and fossils as well as 144 full-body mounts of North American and African wildlife. Last year the museum had more than 15,000 visitors.

Athletic achievements and championships

Messiah College sets standards for excellence in NCAA Division III college programs while developing the  Christian character of its athletes. Our athletes turn in All-American performances and have been featured in USA Today, Sports Illustrated,, and on national network television.

  • The Messiah Falcons are nine-time NCAA Division III national champions in men’s soccer (2012,


    2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002 and 2000); five-time national champions in women’s soccer (2012, 2011, 2009, 2008 and 2005); 2009 national champions in softball; two-time national runners-up in women’s basketball; and eight-time national runners-up in field hockey. In 2010, track star Kristen Bates ’10 won national championships in the 55- and 100-meter hurdles and the pentathlon, becoming the College’s most individually decorated athlete.

  • The Falcons had nine student-athletes earn College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District honors in the 2012-2013 season for maintaining at least a 3.3 GPA and playing at least 50 percent of their team’s games at a primary position. Five of the recognized student-athletes went on to be named All-Americans, the most-ever for Messiah in a single year.
    messiah div III sports
  • In 2010, Chris Heisey ’08 debuted with the Cincinnati Reds, becoming the first Messiah alumnus to play in the major leagues.