Although Drew University was originally conceived as a Drew Theological Seminary when it was established in 1867 in Madison, New Jersey, today’s school has expanded to much more. Though still housing a theological school (one which still holds to the school’s Methodist background), it was the addition of the Brother’s College, the liberal arts school created by Arthur and Leonard Baldwin in 1928 (an all male school at its inception), that created present day Drew and by the 1950’s, the seminary training was but a small part of the whole.
Drew offers undergraduates over 35 different majors, with semester based programs ultimately yielding Bachelor’s and pre-professional programs, as well as postgraduate degrees through its Caspersen School of Graduate Studies. Ultimately, Drew offers a strong education using a very hands on approach that holds to its core mission and values. Their almost 8:1 student teacher ratio on a campus of 2500 holds to their mission of “the free exchange of ideas that comes from close mentoring relationships with faculty” leading to curriculum tailored to “success in the contemporary world”.
Distance learning at Drew is offered sparsely, with online courses at all levels, but no degree programs or special areas of interest to distance learners. Noted especially in some of the theological studies, Drew offers the chance for non-degree students to participate in online education courses to extend their learning without hampering their daily life. Drew does speak highly of its cyber-classrooms, noting with pride the sense of “academic adventure” that learning a new way allows. The Theological School offers certification programs online to those studying or doing missionary work around the world, as well a Basic Graduate Theological Studies “necessary for United Methodists” and a Global Online Doctor of Ministry that uses a concentrated summer semester as well. These are programs that are designed to continue education, but most (if not all) aren’t entirely degree-able without on campus work.
Majors vary widely at Drew today, from the still popular Theology and Religion, to Biology and basic General Studies. It maintains a high student retention rate due not only to its in-house graduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programs, but also for its rather serene and secluded setting. Called the University in the Forrest” it is surrounded by woodlands, but still close to major New Jersey areas, as well as a train ride from Manhattan. The 186 acre campus gives the feel of a small liberal arts school, but routinely is awarded marks for its quality of teaching and theater program (from the Princeton review no less). It also houses one the archives of the Methodist church and numerous special collections, much of which is available online to students and simply interested seekers.
Remarkable for a college that offers so much opportunity for education, the acceptance rate is almost 75% and it does not require ACT/SAT scores, allowing for an essay to give them just as complete an admissions picture, though the price of tuition is a little higher than most.
Overall, Drew uses its “carefully constructed curriculum” to help shape the specific “competencies” they’ve found essential to competing in an ever-changing world, seeking the “insatiably curious” and rewarding them with sound education.