Hillsdale College



Degrees and Certifications:

Hillsdale College



About Hillsdale College

Founded in 1844, Hillsdale College is an independent, coeducational, residential, liberal arts college with a student body of about 1,400. Its four-year curriculum leads to the bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree, and it is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

Hillsdale’s educational mission rests upon two principles: academic excellence and institutional independence. The College does not accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies for any of its operations.

Located in rural southern Michigan, the nearly 400-acre Hillsdale campus includes both modern and historic buildings. Excellent facilities include comfortable residence halls, subject-specific computer labs, a state-of-the-art health education and sports complex, Michael Alex Mossey Library with its Leighton-Taylor Wing, the Sage Center for the Arts, the Herbert Henry Dow Science Building, Howard Music Hall and two new classroom buildings—Kendall Hall and Lane Hall. Adjacent to the campus is the model primary and secondary school, Hillsdale Academy, whose comprehensive Reference Guide is used in hundreds of schools throughout the country.

An ideal student-to-faculty ratio of 10-to-1, rigorous academics, intramural sports, national fraternity and sorority houses and widespread community volunteerism nurture intellectual, physical, social and personal growth. A broad perspective is encouraged through opportunities for off-campus internships, overseas study programs and the adjunct seminars of the Center for Constructive Alternatives, Mises Lectures in free-market economics, the National Leadership Seminars and the Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence.


Hillsdale College was founded as Michigan Central College in Spring Arbor, Michigan, in 1844. Nine years later it moved to Hillsdale and assumed its current name. As stated in its Articles of Association, the College undertakes its work “grateful to God for the inestimable blessings resulting from the prevalence of civil and religious liberty and intelligent piety in the land, and believing that the diffusion of sound learning is essential to the perpetuity of these blessings.”

Though established by Freewill Baptists, Hillsdale has been officially non-denominational since its inception. It was the first American college to prohibit in its charter any discrimination based on race, religion or sex, and became an early force for the abolition of slavery. It was also only the second college in the nation to grant four-year liberal arts degrees to women.

Professor and preacher Ransom Dunn, who would serve Hillsdale College for half a century, raised money to construct the new hilltop campus in the early 1850s by riding 6,000 miles on horseback on the Wisconsin and Minnesota frontier. It was largely through Dunn’s efforts that Hillsdale would survive while over 80 percent of colleges founded before the Civil War would not.

A higher percentage of Hillsdale students enlisted during the Civil War than from any other western college. Of the more than 400 who fought for the Union, four won the Congressional Medal of Honor, three became generals and many more served as regimental commanders. Sixty gave their lives.

Because of the College’s anti-slavery reputation and its role in founding the new Republican party (Professor Edmund Fairfield was a leader at the first convention), many notable speakers visited its campus during the Civil War era, including Frederick Douglass and Edward Everett, who preceded Lincoln at Gettysburg.

Hillsdale’s modern rise to prominence occurred in the 1970s. On the pretext that some of its students were receiving federal loans, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare attempted to interfere with the College’s internal affairs, including a demand that Hillsdale begin counting its students by race. Hillsdale’s trustees responded with two toughly worded resolutions: One, the College would continue its policy of non-discrimination. Two, “with the help of God,” it would “resist, by all legal means, any encroachments on its independence.”

Following almost a decade of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court decided against Hillsdale in 1984. By this time, the College had announced that rather than complying with unconstitutional federal regulation, it would instruct its students that they could no longer bring federal taxpayer money to Hillsdale. Instead, the College would replace that aid with private contributions.

Hillsdale continues to carry out its original mission today, both in the classroom and nationwide, through its many outreach programs, including its monthly speech digest Imprimis. A prayer written in the Bible that was placed inside the 1853 cornerstone of Central Hall reflects its continuing commitment: “May earth be better and heaven be richer because of the life and labor of Hillsdale College.”



Honor Code

In keeping with the original and abiding mission of Hillsdale College, each entering freshman signs the following document, committing himself or herself to participate fully and honorably in that mission.

Hillsdale College Honor Code

A Hillsdale College student is honorable in conduct, honest in word and deed, dutiful in study and service and respectful of the rights of others. Through education the student rises to self-government.

Understanding the Code

Hillsdale College was founded in 1844 out of gratitude to God “for the inestimable blessings resulting from the prevalence of civil and religious liberty and intelligent piety in the land…” Its original and abiding mission is “to furnish all persons who wish, irrespective of nation, color, or sex, a literary, scientific or theological education… and to combine with this, such moral, social and artistic instruction and culture as will best develop the minds and improve the hearts of the students.”

True education of the mind and heart teaches and requires self-government. Self-government calls for the active cultivation of intellectual and moral excellence and humility before our Creator. It commands courage in pursuit of justice and diligence in performing the duties of scholarship. Self-government instructs each person to hold honor sacred.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are every person’s natural rights. Mindful of these gifts from God, Hillsdale College students uphold their rights with care for the common good.

Self-government is a challenge with the promise of a rich reward: liberty of the soul. A soul enjoys liberty when it is ordered—when its passions are ruled by reason and its habit is virtue. Hillsdale College exists for the improvement and ultimate happiness of its students. This great and enduring happiness is its highest purpose.

Guided by faculty, staff and their parents, Hillsdale College students learn to cherish the liberty of the soul; to defend, as the College founders declared, the “civil and religious liberty” of the American order; and to live with “intelligent piety” as self-governing citizens and scholars.

Virtus tentamine gaudet. Strength rejoices in the challenge. This truth, the motto of Hillsdale College, means that to be strong in virtue, one must welcome a challenge. In offering its students the challenge of self-government, Hillsdale College asks its students to act at all times worthy of the blessings of liberty.

Departments & Programs

Natural Sciences

·                 Biology | Biology 

·                 Chemistry | Chemistry, Biochemistry

·                 Mathematics & Computer Science | Mathematics, Computational Mathematics, Computer Science Minor

·                 Physics |Physics


·                 Art | Art, Art History Minor, Graphic Design Minor

·                 Classical Studies | Classical Studies, Greek, Latin

·                 English | English

·                 French | French

·                 German | German

·                 Music | Music, Music Education Focus

·                 Philosophy & Religion | Philosophy, Religion

·                 Spanish | Spanish

·                 Theatre & Speech | Theater, Dance Minor, Speech

Social Sciences

·                 Economics & Business Administration | Economics, Business Administration Minor, Accounting, Financial Managment, Marketing/Managment

·                 History | History

·                 Politics | Politics

·                 Psychology | Psychology

·                 Education | Classical Education Minor, Early Childhood Education Minor

Sport Studies

·                 Sport Studies | Exercise Science, Physical Education, Sport Management, Sport Psychology

Interdisciplinary Studies

·                 American Studies | American Studies

·                 Christian Studies | Christian Studies

·                 Comparative Literature | Comparative Literature

·                 International Studies in Business and Foreign Language | International Business

·                 Political Economy | Political Economy

·                 Sociology & Social Thought | Sociology

Fellowship Programs

·                 George Washington Scholars Program

·                 Herbert H. Dow II Program in American Journalism | Journalism Minor

Preprofessional Programs

·                 Pre-Medicine

·                 Pre-Dentistry

·                 Pre-Veterinary Medicine

·                 Allied Health Sciences

·                 Pre-Environmental Sciences

·                 Pre-Forestry

·                 Pre-Engineering

·                 Pre-Law

·                 Pre-Ministerial