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Messiah distinctives

Messiah College students walking

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 3,305 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.

U.S. News and World Report

Academic excellence

  • In a Career Center post-graduation survey, 97 percent of the class of 2015 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.
  • Messiah was named a 2015 Princeton Review Guide "Best Regional College" in the northeast.
  • 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.”
  • As part of the Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI), Messiah requires all students to complete at least one experiential "hands-on" learning experience such as internships/practica, service learning, leadership or off-campus study or research. Faculty help students develop a practical expression of what they've learned--such as a resume, e-portfolio, website or LinkedIn profile to share with graduate schools or employers. 
  • ranked Messiah 14th among its Top 50 Schools in Pennsylvania for 2015.
  • Messiah is ranked as the #1 Best Christian College and University in the North for 2017 by Christian Universities Online.
  • Messiah College accounting graduates excel on the national CPA exam. Messiah's pass rate for the first-time test takers of the CPA (76 percent) ranks 3rd out of more than 70 accounting programs in Pennsylvania--a rate that significantly exeeds the national and state average (55 percent).
  • Messiah was named #5 in the Top 10 Christian College Music Programs for 2017, #6 for Best Christian College for Visual Arts and #6 in the Top 10 Psychology Degree Programs by Christian Universities Online.
  • Messiah was named #1 Best Business Degree Program for 2017 by Christian Universities Online.

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. For a full list of degrees and certificates, visit

  • Messiah was named in the Top 50 Best Christian Graduate Schools for 2017 by Christian Universities Online.
  • ranks Messiah College as #3 in the U.S. for its master's in counseling with a clinical mental health track and #4 in the U.S. for it's master's in counseling with a track in marriage and family therapy.
  • currently ranks Messiah's M.Ed. program #8 out of 25 on its list of "Top online Master of Education programs in the country."


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 the board of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

13 new majors since 2011

Distinguished educators

  • Messiah College’s 189 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 the Associated Press, Christian Science Monitor, Christianity Today, Chronicle of Higher Education,,, Inside Higher Ed, Philadelphia Inquirer and Washington Post.

Faculty profile

  • Full-time faculty: 189 (58% male/42% female)
  • Hold terminal degree: 81%
  • Part-time faculty: 172
  • Student/faculty ratio: 13:1

Student profile

Undergraduate enrollment:

  • 2,788 undergraduate students representing 38 states and 29 countries
  • 39% male/61% female students
  • 2,648 full-time students
  • 2,317 living in on-campus housing
  • 37% out-of-state students
  • 12.8% students from underrepresented racial, ethnic and cultural populations
  • 4.6% international students

Undergraduate financial aid:

  • Average aid package: $24,546 first-year students
  • $22,095 all undergraduates

*estimated for 2016-2017 academic year (averages do not include federal PLUS loans or private/alternative loans)

Undergraduate retention and graduation:

  • 85.4% returned for 2nd year
  • 73.9% graduated within 4 years
  • 76.3% graduated within 6 years

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

Graduate enrollment:

  • 517 graduate students representing 33 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.
485 colleges, universities and businesses use our materials or model their internship program after Messiah's.
  • The Agapé Center for Service and Learning cultivates experiences with community partners to prepare individuals for lifelong service. More than 98% of the class of 2015 participated in some form of community service through the Agape Center during their time at Messiah.
  • Messiah’s extensive sustainability efforts include initiatives such as a student-run community garden and apiary,  campus-wide composting program, one of the nation’s largest solar thermal systems, biodiesel production and regular collegewide  inventory of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Messiah’s internship program is nationally recognized for excellence in professional preparation of students for today's workforce. More than 485 colleges, universities and businesses use Messiah's training materials or model their internship program after Messiah.
  • To help students connect with potential employers, the Career and Professional Development Center hosts Into the City, a unique, intensive two-day career development and networking program in major U.S. cities.
  • 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.
  • Through the SaLT House in downtown Harrisburg, 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.
  • The 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 space for music, theatre and dance.
  • Messiah’s Oakes Museum of Natural History is an educational outreach of the college, serving the campus and the surrounding community. Guided tours, field trips, special events and public hours enable visitors to interact with the museum collections of African and North American animals; birds; eggs and nests; Native American artifacts; rocks and minerals; and seashells. Last year, the museum had more than 21,000 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 have won 26 NCAA Division III National Championships, including a Division III-leading 10 titles in men's soccer (2013, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2000). They also have five titles in women's soccer (2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2005), one in softball (2009), and one in field hockey (2016). Messiah individuals have also scored National Championships: Mike Helm '00 (2000), Kaleb Holt '15 (2014), Lucas Malmberg '16 (2016) and Ben Swarr '18 (2016) in wrestling; Chris Boyles '02 (decathlon, 2000), Amy Reed '08 (Heptathlon, 2008) and Kristen Bates '10 (55- and 100-mater hurdles, and pentathlon, 2010) in track and field.
  • The Falcons had nine student-athletes earn College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District honors in2015-16, the most ever for Messiah in a single academic year. Senior Courtney Allen highlighted the group by being named Academic All-American of the year for NCAA Division III softball.


  • In 2015-16, the Falcons placed 29th in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings, which ranks all Division III athletics programs by achievements in men's and women's sports. Messiah's placement was the best among Pennsylvania colleges and universities--the 16th straight season they have done so.