900 Arkadelphia Road
Birmingham, AL 35254
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Birmingham-Southern College is a four-year, private liberal arts institution founded in 1856 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Click here to see some of the college's accolades.
Birmingham-Southern College is the result of a merger of Southern University, founded in Greensboro, Alabama, in 1856, with Birmingham College, opened in 1898 in Birmingham, Alabama. These two institutions were consolidated on May 30, 1918, under the name of Birmingham-Southern College.
Campus and Location:
The campus is situated on 192 wooded acres three miles west of downtown Birmingham. The College has 45 academic, residential, administrative, and athletics buildings/facilities. New facilities since 1998 include a 100,000 square-foot science center, a renovated humanities center, an admission welcome center, two residence halls featuring suite-style accommodations for 167 students, student center, fitness center, football complex, new Fraternity Row, and an urban environmental park/lake.
Birmingham-Southern’s new Explorations curriculum moves general education away from a more traditional, “check-box” approach—which emphasizes disciplinary requirements—to one that stresses the importance of what students learn to do. This new pedagogy of doing is illustrated by requirements that guide students in learning how to communicate effectively, solve complex problems in creative ways, connect their coursework to the wider world, engage with their social and political world, and engage in self-directed teaching and learning. These are precisely the skills and perspectives that professional schools, graduate schools, and employers are seeking in today’s increasingly complex and inter-connected world.
The academic year is divided into two semesters and a January Exploration Term. Four units of credit are required each semester, in addition to two Exploration Term courses.
A distinctive part of the Birmingham-Southern experience is the Exploration Term, a four-week period each January in which students develop their potential for creative activity and independent study by exploring one topic of interest. This intensive program of experiential learning offers students unique opportunities for on- and off-campus projects, independent study or research, foreign study experiences, and challenging and unusual internships.
This fall the College enrolled 1,305 students from 33 states and 16 foreign countries. The first-year class consistently has the highest academic profile in the state. The new first-year students in fall 2011 brought an average high school core grade-point average of 3.5, an average ACT score of 26, and represent 22 states and six foreign countries.
More than 95 percent of the full-time faculty members hold either a doctoral degree or the highest degree in their field. These distinguished professors are award-winning teachers, accomplished researchers, and exceptional advisors, as well as authors of textbooks and novels, Fulbright recipients, performers and artists, and experts in salamanders, natural disasters, politics, and many other areas. The college's low 13 to 1 student to faculty ratio means students work side-by-side with professors in the classroom, laboratory, and undergraduate research.
Students have access to a diverse number of advising/counseling opportunities, including faculty advisors, academic and personal counseling, career counseling, and pre-professional guidance in church-related vocations, education, law, business administration, and health-related careers.
The College offers the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Musical Arts, and the Bachelor of Music Education.
Students may elect to major in: art, art history, biology, business administration, chemistry, economics, education, engineering (3-2 program), English, history, mathematics, music, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, religion, sociology, Spanish, and theatre arts.
Students may choose an interdisciplinary major from the following: Asian studies, biology-psychology, English-theatre arts, history-political science, international studies, media and film studies, musical theatre, philosophy-politics-economics, religion-education, religion-philosophy, sociology-political science, sociology-psychology, and urban environmental studies. Students who desire a more specialized or personally designed major may develop their own individualized major with the guidance of a faculty committee.
Minors available to students include: Art, art history, biology, business administration, chemistry, classics, economics, English (literature, creative writing, and journalism), history, mathematics, music, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, religion, sociology, Spanish, and theatre arts.
Students may choose an interdisciplinary minor from the following: Asian studies, Latin American studies, and urban environmental studies.
A variety of special programs are open to students, including: the Donald C. Harrison Honors Program, Biomedical Research Scholars Program, Vail College Fellows (research and teaching) Program, Media Fellows Program, Bunting Center for Engaged Study and Community Action, Dual Degree in Engineering, Dual Degree in Environmental Studies, Marine Environmental Science Consortium, Hess Center for Leadership and Service, British Studies at Oxford, Air Force ROTC, Army ROTC, 3/2 Program in Nursing, Central Europe Semester, Costa Rica Science Semester, College Fellows Program, and Study Abroad. The College has now established relationships with 16 international schools and seven international education programs abroad, making worldwide study-abroad opportunities available to students.
The College holds membership in the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS), Birmingham Area Consortium of Higher Education (BACHE), National Council on Undergraduate Research, Project Kaleidoscope, The Annapolis Group, Council of Independent Colleges, and National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, among others.
Birmingham-Southern is a United Methodist Church-affiliated college and its history is rooted in the Christian faith. Approximately 35 percent of the College’s students are Methodist, while 65 percent come from other understandings of Christianity, as well as from other faiths. The College honors the variety of faith traditions among students, faculty, and staff—a balance between the conviction of one’s own faith and a respect for other traditions. There are many opportunities for worship, programming, service work, and scholarly religions inquiry, including for Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu faiths, and more.
Housed in the Charles Andrew Rush Learning Center, the N.E. Miles Library includes a collection of 257,000 volumes, 57,000 government documents, more than 20,000 recordings, compact discs, and DVDs. More than 135 online databases provide access to the full text of over 40,000 periodicals and numerous e-books. The Learning Center/Library includes a variety of facilities for individual and group study, research, and instruction, including an electronic classroom, an auditorium, seminar rooms, and research carrels. Forty-two computer workstations for student use are located in the library; wireless Internet access is available in the library and throughout the campus.
The campus network is comprised of over 900 College-owned, windows-based systems and more than 100 network laser printers. Additionally, wired and wireless connectivity for student-owned machines is available in all residence halls, sororities, and fraternities. Lab facilities include nine computer classroom labs, five small departmental labs, and computers in essentially all science labs. There are 52 classrooms with ceiling-mounted computer/video projectors and computers. A high-speed connection provides Internet access via wired and wireless means to all members of the College community.
National Honor Societies:
Birmingham-Southern is a sheltering institution for a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and is home to 20 other honorary or professional societies in various academic areas. The College established a new chapter of the business honorary Beta Gamma Sigma in 2003, joining 375 other schools, which honors top students by inducting them into lifetime membership in the society. Birmingham-Southern is one of only six baccalaureate-liberal arts institutions in the country to hold both the designation of Phi Beta Kappa and house a Beta Gamma Sigma chapter.
A rich array of activities are open to students, including the campus newspaper, yearbook, literary magazine, scholarly review, theatre productions, a full range of musical groups including three choirs, marching band, and a variety of instrumental groups, and a pre-law society, plus numerous special interest, service, and honorary organizations. A full range of men's and women's intramural sports, as well as a variety of outdoor activities, are open to students.
Student Government Association:
The SGA is the official organization of the student body, responsible for planning student activities and for administering regulations governing student behavior and the Honor Code through the Honor Council. The SGA enables students to play a major role in the governance of the College community and in the maintenance of the academic integrity of the College.
The social life of the campus finds expression in six men's national social fraternity chapters, seven women's national sorority chapters, Quest II film/lecture series, Entertainment Fest, SoCo entertainment weekend, Homecoming, Black Student Union, International Student Union, Student Outdoor Recreation activity group, and diverse a schedule of social activities sponsored by the SGA and other organizations.
The College offers 22 NCAA Division III varsity sports, including baseball, football, softball, volleyball, and men's and women's basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming/diving, tennis, and indoor/outdoor track and field. BSC is a member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. On July 1, 2012, the College will join the newly created Southern Athletic Association.
Residential living opportunities include eight residence halls on the residence hall quad, a 16-building apartment complex, six fraternity houses on Fraternity Row, and four sorority townhouses behind the Bruno Residence Hall. Each student living on campus is automatically a member of the Residence Hall Association. RHA meets regularly to plan activities promoting community among on-campus residents and to hear concerns they may have.
Tuition and Fees:
Tuition and FeesEstimated Cost Summary 2011-12
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More than $30 million in federal, state, and institutional programs, including scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study. More than 95 percent of students receive some form of financial aid.
Birmingham-Southern College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Birmingham-Southern College.
In addition, the College is on the list of institutions approved by the following organizations: Alabama State Department of Education, American Chemical Society, National Association of Schools of Music, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and University Senate of the United Methodist Church.