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University of Mary Washington


The University of Mary Washington was initially founded as a State Normal and Industrial School for Women by Governor Claude A. Swanson in 1908. After being renamed to honor the mother of America’s first president George Washington, UMW officially became co-educational in 1970. Today, UMW is a premier public liberal arts teaching institution focusing on baccalaureate education. Each year, the University of Mary Washington enrolls around 4,300 undergraduates and 450 post-graduates. UMW is conveniently located on a 176-acre suburban campus in Fredericksburg, Virginia, midway between Washington DC and Richmond.

According to the U.S. News, UMW is ranked the 16th best regional college, 6th top public school, and 14th best university for veterans in the South. Consistently, UMW is included within the Princeton Review’s “Best 380 Colleges.” Forbes magazine named the University of Mary Washington the 260th top university in the United States. UMW was the only Virginia school honored in the “Fiske Guide to Colleges” for 2015. Money magazine recognized UMW in the top 25 public universities nationally for graduating students on-time. For over 10 years, the University of Mary Washington has also been a “Top Producing College” for the Peace Corps.

University of Mary Washington Accreditation Details

Reaffirmed in 2013 for decennial review, the University of Mary Washington is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This accreditation is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. In particular, the Department of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). Chemistry degrees meet the standards of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Teaching programs align with the guidelines of the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).

University of Mary Washington Application Requirements

Getting into the University of Mary Washington isn’t guaranteed because only 76 percent of applicants are accepted. First-year students must be graduating with an approved high school diploma or passing the GED equivalency test. Freshmen typically come from over 28 states and 10 international countries. Following a college-prep curriculum with AP, IB, and honors classes is preferred. Admitted students have an average high school GPA of 3.63. On average, freshmen score between 1030 and 1220 on the SAT or between 22 and 28 on the ACT.

Transfer students must have completed at least 12 credits in another accredited undergraduate program. Carrying a minimum collegiate GPA of 2.5 is recommended. Transfer students with an associate’s degree from the VCCS system and a GPA of 3.25 or higher may receive Guaranteed Admissions. At the graduate level, applicants must already possess a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Having a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate studies is mandatory. Graduates with five or more years of experience don’t have to submit GRE or GMAT scores.

Students applying to University of Mary Washington must submit the following before the Early Decision deadline on November 1st or Priority deadline on February 1st:

  • Completed Common Application form
  • Official high school and/or college transcripts
  • College entrance exam scores
  • One or two letters of recommendation
  • Brief personal goals statement
  • Payment for the $50 application fee

Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time undergraduates from Virginia will pay $2,802 in tuition annually. Non-resident undergrad students must afford $9,884 for full-time yearly tuition. Two fees of $1,056 and $1,677 apiece are charged. Total cost of full-time attendance is $5,535 (in-state) or $12,617 (out-of-state). Part-time undergraduates can pay $395 (in-state) or $983 (out-of-state) per credit hour. Graduate courses at UMW will cost $510 per credit for Virginia residents or $989 per credit for non-residents. On average, graduate students pay $5,922 (in-state) and $14,022 (out-of-state) every year.

Around 68 percent of full-time beginning students at University of Mary Washington receive financial aid. Money can be borrowed with the Federal Perkins, Federal Direct Subsidized, Federal Direct Unsubsidized, or Grad PLUS loans. Certain students will qualify for the Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, TEACH Grant, SMART Grant, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. In-state residents should apply for the Virginia Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) or Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program (VGAP). There’s also the Virginia War Orphans Education program. Federal Work-Study (FWS) is available for part-time campus employment. Scholarships are also numerous, including the Presidential Award, Eagle Award, Blue and Grey Award, Washington Scholar Program, and Alvey Scholarship.

Student Experience

The University of Mary Washington tries to carry on its namesake’s tradition of civility and academic excellence. Students are given the ability to tailor the liberal arts and sciences curriculum with more than 60 majors. Unique undergraduate majors are offered in Historic Preservation, Environmental Geology, Studio Art, Latin, International Affairs, and Actuarial Science. Adult learners can pursue the Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) degree completion programs with evening and weekend classes. There are also MBA, Master of Education, and M.S. in Geospatial Analysis programs. With a student-faculty ratio of 15:1, around 56 percent of classes have under 20 students for accessible master teachers. UMW boasts a real-world orientation, so internships and service learning projects are included.

All students at UMW are required to complete a First Year Seminar to connect with like-minded classmates in small, discussion-based groups. The close-knit community is perhaps why the University of Mary Washington has a high retention rate of 70 percent. Around 60 percent of undergraduates live at the Fredericksburg campus’ 17 residence halls. Dining options include the Eagle’s Nest, Blackstone, University Center, and Jamba Juice. Each year, over 300 UMW students studied abroad from China and Bolivia to Ireland and Russia. Those looking to give back to the local community can find opportunities with the Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service.

The Office of Student Activities currently offers 118 student-run clubs to choose from. UMW students could study Ancient Greek in Classics Club, gaze into the stars in Astronomy Club, or practice their high notes with BellACappella. The university’s Blue & Grey Press is an award-winning student newspaper published every Thursday. Every year, there’s a week-long prank rivalry between the junior and senior class in the Devil-Goat Day competition. Athletic students could play for the Eagles in the NCAA Division III Capital Athletic Conference for 12 varsity sports, including the IHSA riding team. Fun intramurals like ultimate Frisbee, fencing, quidditch, swimming, and field hockey are also offered at the University of Mary Washington.