Dickinson College is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, 267-284-5000. The Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation.

Other agencies accrediting or recognizing Dickinson are the University Senate of the United Methodist Church, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the American Chemical Society.

Dickinson College is a member of the Central Pennsylvania Consortium. The other members are Franklin & Marshall College and Gettysburg College.

The Mission of Dickinson College

Dickinson College was created explicitly for high purposes- to prepare young people, by means of a useful education in the liberal arts and sciences, for engaged lives of citizenship and leadership in the service of society. Founded by Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the college was chartered in 1783, just days after the conclusion of the American Revolution with the specific purpose of preparing the citizens and leaders who would ensure the success of the new democracy. The college was to offer a distinctively original form of American education - one that was rigorously rooted in the traditional liberal arts and was, at the same time, innovative, forward-looking and ultimately useful. It was a revolutionary education designed for a revolutionary age.

As we face the challenges and complexities of the 21st century, Dickinson continues to seek direction from this revolutionary heritage within a contemporary context. A Dickinson education prepares its graduates to become engaged citizens by incorporating a global vision that permeates the entire student experience, creating a community of inquiry that allows students to cross disciplinary boundaries and make new intellectual connections, and encouraging students to be enterprising and active by engaging their communities, the nation and the world. 

Dickinson offers a liberal arts education that is distinctive in purpose and approach. Our founders intended Dickinson graduates to use their liberal arts education as a powerful agent of change to advance the progress of humankind. We expect no less today.

Facts About the College

Character: A nationally recognized selective liberal-arts-college—private, coeducational, and residential

History: Founded by Benjamin Rush, the first college chartered in the newly-recognized United States of America in 1783. Named to honor John Dickinson, the penman of the American Revolution and a signer of the Constitution.

Location: Carlisle, a historic town in south central Pennsylvania; part of the metropolitan region of Harrisburg, the state capital (regional population 578,000)

Enrollment: 2,145 full-time undergraduate students, representing 44 states and territories plus the District of Columbia, and 42 foreign countries

Undergraduate Faculty: 228 faculty members; 92% of full-time faculty hold Ph.D.'s or the highest degree in their field

Undergraduate Student-Faculty Ratio: 9:1

Average Undergraduate Class Size: 14 students

Degrees Granted: Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science (50 majors); Master of Arts (Managing Complex Disasters) and Post-Baccalaureate Certificates

Study Abroad: Dickinson offers study-abroad options including 18 Dickinson-run global programs, 30 plus partner-programs, Global Mosaics, summer offerings and winter and spring break trips tied to semester and yearlong courses; 67% of all Dickinson undergraduate students participate

Undergraduate Financial Aid: In 2021-2022, Dickinson awarded $70 million in grants; 86% of students received merit or need-based awards

Undergraduate Retention: 92% of the Class of 2024 returned for their sophomore year; 72% of the Class of 2021 graduated in four years

Library Facilities: The Waidner-Spahr Library collection contains over 377,585 printed books (including government documents), 1,140,601 electronic book titles, 4,186 current serial titles with an additional 109,168 digital or electronic titles, over 174,514 digital or electronic audiovisual materials and 25,377 CDs, LPs, DVDs, and video cassettes. Librarians work actively with students to help them use collections to their fullest and to assist them in the research process.

Undergraduate Residential Facilities: Dickinson offers a wide variety of housing options, from traditional residence halls to small houses and apartments.  Occupancies range from eight person suites to single rooms.  All residence halls are co-educational.  Most residential spaces house men and women side-by-side in separate rooms, and we do have a gender neutral housing policy.

Small houses and apartments offer a variety of unique facilities for Dickinson students, typically in their junior and senior years.  This ranges from row apartments and houses for three to eight students to larger apartment buildings with three, four, and five person apartments.  

Special interest housing (SIH) gives students a unique opportunity to collaborate with other students by creating affinity communities with common goals and purpose.  SIH creates the conditions for engaged citizenship and self-governance that enables self-directed living environments around a shared theme, issue or interest.  The SIH program encourages group and individual social and intellectual development while simultaneously contributing to the intellectual and social life of the College.

Undergraduate Athletics: A member of the Centennial Conference (NCAA Division III); 11 men's and 12 women's varsity sports, plus club sports

Undergraduate Extracurricular Features: More than 162 clubs and activities, including music and drama groups, student publications, fraternities and sororities, and religious, political, special-interest, and community service organizations

Statement on Diversity

Dickinson is deeply committed to diversity. Twenty-three percent of our most recent undergraduate incoming class are students of color. In fall 2021, 245 international students from forty-two countries were enrolled at Dickinson. Seventeen percent of our undergraduate faculty members and eight percent of our administrative and service staff are persons of color.

Diversity in Student Life: There are a number of student groups dedicated to the concerns of diversity and social justice. These include American Association of University Women (AAUW), Amnesty International, Anwar Bellydance, Asian and Asian-American Collective (AAAC), Black Student Union, Catholic Campus Ministry, Chinese Students and Scholars Association, Dickinson Christian Fellowship, Exiled Poetry Society, Womanist Collective, Finding Relationships Under Inspired Truth (FRUIT), French Club, German Club, Global Gastronomy Group, Her Campus, Hillel, Italian Club, JStreet U, Kpop Club, Latin American & Caribbean Club, Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS), Muslim Educational and Cultural Association, Portuguese Club, Russian Club, Spanish Club, Spectrum: Queer Student Union, Trendsetters, Vietnamese Students’ Association, We Introduce Nations at Dickinson (WIND), Women in Business and others. In addition, there are a number of offices and centers that support the college's diversity efforts. The Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity is a resource open to the entire Dickinson community and charged with advancing Dickinson's commitment to broadening the understanding of - and building - a pluralistic society that promotes equality and integrity on the campus, in the community, and the world. The Women's & Gender Resource Center is a resource that builds gender education and equality into the life of the institution through space and community, resources and skills, and events and opportunities. The Center for Spirituality and Social Justice engages students in community service, encourages conversations on faith, meaning-making and purpose and is committed to exploring the social justice issues that interact with community, service and faith. The Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life provides a central space for Jewish students to meet, socialize, celebrate the Sabbath and other Jewish holidays, take classes with visiting rabbis, and host interfaith dialogues with other religious groups on campus. The Office of LGBTQ Services provides support for the LGBTQ community and allies and enhances campus education to foster a more inclusive and safe environment for all individuals. In addition, one of the goals of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness & Inclusivity is to advance the college's mission to build and maintain a diverse and inclusive community committed to broadened educational opportunities within an atmosphere of respect for others.

Diversity in the Undergraduate Curriculum: The college's curriculum reflects a strong focus on issues of diversity defined in terms both of domestic and of global diversity. All undergraduate students at Dickinson are required to take at least one course in US Diversity in order to graduate. They must also complete one course in "Global Diversity" (the study of a culture other than that of the West) and become proficient in a foreign language. Dickinson's Community Studies Center also promotes diversity through fieldwork research projects that take Dickinson students into diverse cultures and environments within and outside the United States. Among the center's program are the American Mosaic, in which students devote an entire semester to community-oriented fieldwork, and the Global Mosaic, which extends fieldwork abroad. Overall, 60% of the Class of 2021 studied in a foreign country during their four years at Dickinson. Dickinson's global programs offer students the opportunity to study in Africa, Central America, and Asia as well as the traditional programs in Europe. In addition, Dickinson's grant from the Freeman Foundation established a new professorship in Asian law and culture that takes a leadership role in advancing Asian Studies and infusing Asian and comparative materials into course work in other departments.

Diversity in Academic Resources: Dickinson has devoted significant academic resources to diversity. The Waidner-Spahr library boasts one of the largest private collections of Asian Studies in the country, the Norman and Margaret Jacobs Collection. The collection includes over 20,000 volumes covering China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, India, and other Asian countries. The East Asian Studies Reading Room houses most of the library's East Asian language collections, which consists of monographs, journals and DVDs in Chinese and Japanese, as well as a small collection of Korean titles, including artifacts. The Trout Gallery possesses a substantial collection of African Art totaling slightly more than 600 pieces. The pieces represent a wide swath of Africa including Ethiopia, the Sepik River region, the Upper Volta, Burkina Fasso, Mali, Sudan, the Côte d'Ivoire, Angola, Tanzania, Ghana, Benin, and other countries within Africa. The collections include various cultural materials such as sculptures, textiles, baskets, pottery, masks, and archeological materials.