Houghton College knows its roots are firmly rooted in Christianity, something that permeates the whole campus to this day. Originally intended by its Wesleyan Methodist founders in 1883, this Genesee Valley, New York school was offering college level courses by the turn of the century and gained an official charter by 1927. Today, the school occupies two Western New York campus locations (the second is in West Seneca and is primarily for adult education) and offers a Christ-centered liberal arts education for both undergrad and a limited amount of grad students.
Located in the picturesque forests and hills of Allegany County, the main campus sits on about 1300 acres on what was once an Indian Reservation (as are a lot of areas of New York). Currently providing students with programs in over 45 different undergraduate majors and offers both an Associate degree to two year students, as well as four year Bachelor degrees in the Sciences, Arts, and Music (the last being a decided focus at Houghton). Bringing in students from nearby Canada as well as many states and over 25 foreign countries, their student body of around 1200 (almost entirely undergrad) are given an education meant to create “scholar-servants” to serve in an ever “changing world”.
A Master’s program for Music and Music Education was created with the endowment of the Greatbatch School of Music recently, and Associate degrees are offered as well.
Art, Biology, and Psychology top majors at Houghton for undergraduates, all offered in semester formats, but summer courses allow for distance learning opportunities. Created by the same highly accredited and degreed faculty as traditional classes, courses during the eight week summer sessions are offered online, utilizing Synapse (their course management system) to bring online discussions, assignments, and materials to students, allowing for collaboration and community wherever they may be. Tests are administered through the same software and students are responsible for creating their own independent learning timetables to cover coursework responsibilities. Limited courses are offered each summer, so there is no entirely online degree program, but all library materials are available online and classes are structured and held to the same high standard as traditional ones.
Adult education through their P.A.C.E. program is mainly conducted from the West Seneca campus, offering a Bachelor of Science in Management that can be created within two years on a flexible weekend/evening/summer schedule. Adults are expected to have some prior credit for this program, with additional P.A.C.E. programs in nearby Olean and Jamestown.
Religion is part of the mission at Houghton, where they strive to foster a “vital Christian spiritual life through a worshipping community, intellectual pursuit, and ministry opportunity”. In this respect, they ask that students attend chapel 2/3 of the times offered (multiple times during the week, with classes not running during chapel hours, and 3 times on Sunday) and challenge their students to show their commitment to God, through “service and fellowship”, looking to use the Christian religion as the uniting factor between “knowledge and vital piety’ to create a complete education of use. Many opportunities to show this God-education relationship are through their many intern programs, including ones for first year students that allow for studying abroad, bringing Western culture and religious education around the world from the beginning.
Gaining numerous awards in its years of Christian derived education, a high student retention rate (as well as a high percentage going on to employment in their field and graduate school), and a diverse environment that fosters individual learning, Houghton provides for nation builders and changers to learn how an education can be used for the betterment of the world around them.