Franciscan University of Steubenville - Cardinal Newman Society

Franciscan University of Steubenville

Year Founded 1946
Number of Students 2,200
Location Steubenville, Ohio
Total Cost (Tuition, Room & Board) $34,830
Net Price (learn more) $26,367
Number of Majors 41
Catholic Students 97%
Catholic Faculty 94%
Median High School GPA 3.85
Median ACT 26

See the Q&A for more detailed information!

Franciscan University was founded in 1946 at the urging of the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio, which turned to the Third Order Regular of St. Francis to teach returning war veterans. The University’s ownership and the responsibility for its Catholic identity rest with the Franciscan community based in Loretto, Pennsylvania.

The University is located 40 miles west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on a hill overlooking Steubenville, a small, industrial city with a population of about 19,000. For many Catholics, the term “Steubenville” has come to represent the University, rather than the city. The 2,200 students are 97 percent Catholic, hailing from 50 states and 13 countries.

Franciscan University provides an abundance of opportunities for both academic and spiritual growth, and the role of the friars is at the core of both. Sixteen Franciscan friars serve students through spiritual direction, teaching, chaplaincy, or providing Sacramental needs. “Our greatest strength is our commitment to the charism of Franciscan joy lived out in fidelity to the magisterium,” says President Father Sean O. Sheridan, T.O.R. “As a university that is rooted in our Franciscan and Catholic identity, we have an obligation to educate, to evangelize, and to send forth joyful disciples.”

Father Sheridan outlines four elements that make Franciscan distinctive. “The academically excellent nature of our school, the quality of our professors and the personal interest they take in our students, our unique Catholic culture, and our evangelistic outreach that focuses on the New Evangelization.”

A largely lay board of 22 trustees reports to the Order. Traditionally, the minister provincial of the province is chairman of the board. Seven other members of the board are also Franciscans.

The University offers majors in mostly typical liberal arts fields, as well as three religious-oriented majors in humanities and the Catholic culture, catechetics, and theology. It boasts the largest number of students majoring in theology and catechetics of any Catholic university in the United States, and so too the largest number of students majoring in philosophy.

Franciscan’s tuition rate is lower than the average for private institutions in Ohio. The undergraduate cost for tuition, room, and board for 2017-2018 is $34,830.

Franciscan University undergraduates complete an integrated liberal arts core curriculum of 45 credits for B.A. majors and 42 credits for B.S. students, based on the Western intellectual tradition, the Franciscan educational heritage, and the Catholic mission of the University.  The core includes 18 hours of philosophy and theology courses for B.A. students, and 15 hours of philosophy and theology courses for B.S. students.

Students can choose from over 70 programs, including 41 majors. More than 35 minors are offered, including exercise science, human life studies, Franciscan studies, and Greek and Latin.

Franciscan also offers majors including catechetics, education, biology, business (with six programs of study), nursing, communication arts, psychology, and a concentration in bioethics for its Master’s in Philosophy. Five of the majors are reserved for associate degree candidates. There also are pre-professional programs including medical fields. Students can pursue an eight-seminar or 32-credit honors program that relies on the Great Books and the Catholic intellectual tradition. 

A new online program, Franciscan Fast Track, enables high school students to  get a head start on their college degree with courses in theology, philosophy, biology, and other subjects. In addition to an online MBA and an online Masters of Science in Education, Franciscan now offers an online Master of Arts in Theology and Christian Ministry, and an online Masters of Arts in Catechetics and Evangelization, with courses taught by renowned full-time faculty members including Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. Alan Schreck, Dr. John Bergsma, Dr. Bob Rice, and Sister M. Johanna Paruch, FSGM, PhD. 

There also is an impressive study-abroad experience for undergraduates. Approximately 175 students per semester, most in their sophomore year, study for one semester at a former Carthusian monastery in the Alpine town of Gaming, Austria. Coursework is four days a week, allowing students to travel throughout Europe. A 10-day Rome-Assisi trip and a 10-day break are built into the experience. Approximately 50 percent of all graduates participate in this program.  There are also several other study-abroad opportunities, including a semester at Oxford. 

Ninety-four percent of the faculty is Catholic. Theology department faculty members and all new campus ministers take an Oath of Fidelity. 

The most prominent building on the 235-acre campus is Christ the King Chapel, a 44-year-old modern-looking structure noted for a large steel cross atop its roof.

Twenty Masses are celebrated each week at Franciscan University. Daily Masses are held Monday through Friday at 6:30 a.m., 12:05 p.m., and 4:45 p.m. and attract more than 700 students each day. All four Sunday Masses are filled to capacity.

The Masses are reverent and range from contemporary, which includes some more modern music, to a weekly Mass in the Extraordinary Form.  Eight priests hear confessions five times a week,The Rosary and other devotions are prayed daily. Each semester, students sign up for perpetual adoration, which is offered 24/7 in the Portiuncula Chapel during the school year. On Tuesdays, students gather for Praise and Worship and prayer. There are monthly Festivals of Praise and frequent retreats, including silent ones, throughout the school year. Solemn vespers and Benediction are held in the chapel every Sunday evening for students.

The University offers a Priestly Discernment Program that helps about 40 men discern vocations. An annual Vocations Awareness Day showcases nearly 75 religious orders and dioceses. There are days of discernment for women who might consider religious life as well.

There are also a Marian Grotto, outdoor Stations of the Cross, and a life-sized creche. The campus has Eucharistic chapels in every residence hall.

The Tomb of the Unborn Child is a unique memorial with an eternal flame that pays tribute to aborted babies and reflects the University’s strong pro-life commitment. About 750 students attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C., each January.

More than 70 percent of the undergraduates live on campus. Franciscan has a three-year residency requirement. There are 12 single-sex residence halls and a nearby apartment complex that houses men and women. Residence halls mix lower and upper classmen together. Each residence hall has a director to ensure that the hall’s activities conform to the University’s policies and guidelines.

David Schmiesing, vice president for student life, said, “Franciscan University’s residence life program, centered around household life and the presence of students from all undergraduate classes in each residence hall, is uniquely designed to promote the integration of faith and reason in students’ lives and the promotion of Christian maturity.”

Wireless Internet access is available in the student center, the library, and other places on campus. Student wireless access on campus is filtered. The student cafeteria is not equipped with wireless access in order to foster conversation between students.

Students may visit in residence hall common areas until 1:00 a.m. Opposite-sex visitation in student rooms (Open House) is restricted to Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Doors must remain open when someone has a guest of the opposite sex in their room. A defined and enforced code of conduct and modesty is encouraged, but there is no dress code at the University.

Students of age are allowed to have alcohol in their rooms, but not in the presence of minors. While some drinking problems have been reported, most occur off-campus. The campus is safe; reported crimes are infrequent and usually minor, like petty theft.

Students often congregate in the J.C. Williams Center, the active student center located near the middle of campus. The center includes a lounge, a Pub, Cupertino’s Café and Bakery, student mailboxes, a bookstore, meeting rooms, and an art gallery.

A health center staffed by a nurse practitioner treats routine matters. Trinity Health Systems operates a hospital and walk-in clinic in Steubenville. There are a number of larger hospitals in nearby Pittsburgh.

Four hotels are located near campus. A variety of restaurants, a mall, and other retail businesses are located slightly farther away. At the bottom of the hill from campus are a coffeehouse and a café.

The city of Steubenville is an old industrial town that has seen better days. The downtown is rather dilapidated and has a higher than average crime index.

Downtown Steubenville is known for its 25 large art murals, and Pittsburgh has a wide variety of sports, cultural, and entertainment opportunities. The Pittsburgh International Airport is a half-hour away.

Students can participate in more than four dozen organizations and student-led programs, including an unusual number of groups engaged in spiritual and Catholic outreach efforts. These include Latinos for Christ; Ut unum sint Society for Christian Unity; Anscombe Society, which promotes marriage and sexual integrity; a club that advocates pro-life issues at the United Nations; and Knights of Columbus.

The Students for Life club is very active. In addition to participating in the annual March for Life, they have a weekly prayer ministry outside a Pittsburgh abortion clinic, train sidewalk counselors, and host prominent speakers.

Other groups include Excite, which sponsors entertainment and social events, a Fine Arts Society that sponsors outings to theatres and classical music concerts in Pittsburgh, an equestrian club, student government, and the weekly student newspaper, The Troubadour.

Students participate in community outreach programs such as the Works of Mercy, which organizes outreache to nearby food kitchens, nursing homes, youth centers, and homeless shelters. SENT teams (Student Evangelization Network Teams) travel to local parishes throughout the semester to conduct retreats for high school students.

Missions of Peace sponsors international mission trips during breaks to places such as Belize, Jamaica, Honduras, and Ecuador. Domestic mission trips include Chicago, Fargo, Florida, New Mexico, New York, and Steubenville.

A unique aspect of the University is the “faith household” system. Three or more students of the same sex can come together as a household to support each other spiritually, academically, and in other ways under the guidance of an advisor. Nearly 900 students are involved in a household.

In addition to a wide variety of campus activities, households sponsor their own events

Homecoming provides the opportunity for the St. Francis Festival on campus. The chaplain blesses animals, and some students dress in medieval period costumes. An evening service commemorates the death of St. Francis.

The athletics program intentionally integrates faith and sports. The intercollegiate athletic program includes 15 Division III NCAA teams, an intercollegiate rugby team, and five intramural sports that attract hundreds of student participants. Most head coaches are Catholic, and all support the University’s unique mission.

There’s no place quite like Franciscan University of Steubenville, and its students’ enthusiasm for serving God both during and after their college years is most refreshing and exciting.

Few institutions share Franciscan University’s reputation for strong Catholic identity, including a powerful
witness to the pro-life cause and evangelization, which penetrates everything the institution does. Still a center for charismatic Catholic worship, the University today embraces other orthodox approaches to Catholic spirituality and attracts a diverse population of students, albeit nearly all of them Catholic.

Catholic families will find in Franciscan University a thoroughly Catholic environment that prepares servants of God for every walk of life, while offering a solid education and vibrant campus life.

Questions & Answers

Answers from the college on the most important questions. Click a topic below to read more.

Is your institution accredited by at least one regional or national education association?


Please identify each accreditor and indicate whether it is approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

Franciscan University has held continuous regional accreditation since 1960, first as the College of Steubenville. The University’s most recent accreditation was reaffirmed in 2014-15 by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Franciscan University participates in the HLC’s Open Pathway for accreditation, a privilege afforded only to those institutions with a long-standing positive review from the commission. The Open Pathway includes submitting an Assurance Review, which consists of Franciscan’s responses to HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation complete with an evidence file and a comprehensive evaluation visit by peer reviewers from other HLC institutions. Franciscan is authorized by the state of Ohio Department of Higher Education. The following organizations have also accredited various University departments: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); Council on Social Work Education (CSWE); Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP); and the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). All specialized accreditors are approved by the Department of Education or are members of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). 

Please cite evidence of student or alumni accomplishment, such as graduation rate, graduate school placement, job placement, awards, etc.

From information obtained on 78% of the Class of 2016, 96 percent of these graduates were employed, in graduate school, or serving the Church within one year of graduation. 

Franciscan’s four-year graduation rate of 67 percent is much higher than the national average. 

Franciscan’s four-year graduation rate of 67 percent is much higher than the national average.

Recent examples of student success:

The 165 students in Franciscan University’s Center for Leadership program continue to distinguish themselves: One student received a substantial grant from Our Sunday Visitor to organize a three-day conference, “Woman: Gift in Culture and Church”; others completed capstone projects that focused on evangelization in Russia, confronting sexual addictions, human trafficking awareness, and education on Catholic social teaching topics.

Through the Franciscan University Institute for Science and Health, biology and chemistry majors conduct research as undergraduates that put them on par with graduate students at other universities. This includes internships at the National Institutes of Health in Bethseda, Maryland; summer research internships to combat neglected diseases of the poor, including tuberculosis, at AbbVie, Inc, labs, a global biopharmaceutical company; other science students conduct research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and with the U.S. Department of Energy. On campus, students are assisting in research on epilepsy and using adult stem cells to address disorders such as osteoarthritis.

Each year, more than 575 students participate in domestic and foreign mission trips, some serving as team leaders, giving them invaluable leadership and evangelistic experience.

Each year, more than 140 Franciscan student-athletes earn at least a 3.2 GPA and are consistently represented on the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference All-Academic Team.


Please identify any notable public recognition of your institution’s academic quality in the last three years, such as rankings, awards, etc.

Since 1998, U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” guide has ranked Franciscan University in the elite “top tier” of Midwestern universities. Each year since 2011, Kiplinger Personal Finance Magazine has ranked Franciscan in its top 100 “best values” in private higher education in the nation for “high-quality academics as well as affordable costs.” For our excellent academics and conservative environment, Young America’s Foundation rates Franciscan one of the top 15 conservative colleges in the nation, calling us a “dynamic Catholic university” that “lives by a conservative intellectual and social philosophy based on the strong liberal arts tradition and the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Additional Academic Quality information, clarification or description (optional)

Franciscan was included in the inaugural and subsequent editions of The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College, in the most recent editions of Barron’s Best Buys in College Education, and FORBES list of America’s Top Colleges, ranking in the top 10 percent of 4,706 degree-granting institutions. The University has also received strong reviews in the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s Choosing the Right College guide.

Are more than half of the current members of your faculty practicing Catholics?


Approximately what percentage of your current faculty members are practicing Catholics?


Are members of your faculty officially informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the institution?


Are members of your teaching faculty expected, as a condition of employment, to respect Catholic teaching and comply with Catholic morality in their public actions and statements both on and off campus?


Please identify key undergraduate faculty who are noted experts in their field, have produced important publications, have leadership roles in academic associations, etc. and briefly describe such accomplishments (optional):

Dr. John Crosby, Professor of Philosophy, author of several books, dozens of articles, and founding director of the MA Philosophy Program.

Dr. Robert Doyle, Professor of History, Fulbright Scholar, University of Munich, Germany (1993).

Dr. Scott Hahn, Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization, world- renowned speaker and author, co-author, or editor of over 50 academic and popular published works on theology translated into more than 20 languages; founder and president, St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology.

Dr. Anne Hendershott, Professor of Sociology, and author of several books, including The Politics of Abortion, and most recently Renewal: How a New Generation of Faithful Priests and Bishops Is Revitalizing the Catholic Church.. Hendershott regularly provides opinion pieces in a number of major news outlets.

Dr. Daniel Kempton, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor of Political Science, Fulbright Scholar, Tver State University, Russia (2008); Pew Fellow, Harvard University (1993); Fulbright Scholar, Rhodes University, South Africa (1992).

Dr. Patrick Lee, Professor of Philosohy and director of the Franciscan University Center for Bioethics, author of several books, dozens of scholarly articles, and champion of a Catholic philosohpical approach to bioethical issues.

Dr. David Schaefer, Professor of Communication Arts, Fulbright Scholar, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2004), co-editor of Bollywood and Globalization: The Global Power of Popular Hindi Cinema.

Dr. Sarah Wear, Associate Professor of Classics, author of a book and over a dozen articles, and rising star in neoplatonic studies.

Dr. Petroc Willey, Professor of Catechetics, is a Consultor for the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization in Rome; for more than twenty years served as editor of The Sower, a journal for catechetical leaders; also hosted the EWTN catechetical series, Handing on the Faith.

Additional Faculty information, clarification or description (optional):

Other notable faculty:

Dr. Eugene Gan, Associate Professor of Multi-Media and Communication Arts, author, Infinite Bandwidth: Encountering Christ in the Media, and many papers including two for the Pontifical Council on Social Communications.

Dr. Edward Kovach, Professor of Computer Science, Fulbright Scholar, Pázmány Péter University, Hungary (2004)

Dr. Dan Kuebler, Professor of Biology, research on seizure activity published in Brain Research; working with Franciscan associate professor Dr. Jeff Rohde, a Harvard-educated chemist, on drugs to reduce seizure activity;  National Catholic Register contributor on bioethical issues.

Dr. Jeffrey Rohde, Associate Professor and Chair of the Chemistry Department, and Director of the Engineering Dual Degree Program. Dr. Rohde has pioneered innovative student research on ways to address rare and neglected diseases, and is one of the founding members of the university’s new Franciscan Institute of Science and Health.

Dr. Alan Schreck, Professor of Theology, author of many essays, and Catholic and Christian and nearly a dozen other books on theology; in 2008 one of 15 scholars nationwide to receive a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for research on St. Francis in Assisi, Italy.

Does the institution have a department of Catholic theology, distinct from “religious studies” and other disciplines?


Are courses in Catholic theology clearly identified and distinguished from other courses dealing with religion?


Does every faculty member in the theological disciplines have the mandatum (or the “canonical mission” for ecclesiastical faculties) approved by the appropriate Church authority, as required by Canon Law?


Do all faculty in the theological disciplines make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Does your institution require that all theology courses be taught in a manner faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium, and also to the principles and methods proper to Catholic theology?


Please identify the theology courses that are included in the undergraduate core or distribution requirements and the professors who routinely teach those courses.

All BA and nearly all BS students take Foundations of Catholicism, The Word of God: Scripture and Tradition, and Christian Moral Principles to ensure a common college-level understanding of orthodox Catholic doctrine and practice. Faculty who regularly teach these courses include: Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. Regis Martin, Fr. Donald Frinsko, TOR, Dr. Alan Schreck, Dr. Kevin Miller, Dr. John Bergsma, Dr. Donald Asci, Dr. Michael Sirilla and others.

In addition to this course, theology majors, men in the Priestly Discernment Program, and some others take Principles of Biblical Study I & II, focusing on the Old and New Testaments and introducing biblical interpretation, taught by Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. John Bergsma, Dr. Andrew Minto, Dr. Stephen Miletic, and others. Other courses many students take include: Francis and the Franciscan Tradition, as well as Christian Marriage taught by Fr. Daniel Pattee, TOR, Dr. Donald Asci, and others.

Please describe the place of Catholic theology in your institution’s undergraduate curriculum and how it is distinct from other institutions.

The study of Catholic theology has a preeminent position in Franciscan University’s core curriculum.  Students are formed through three required courses in the fundamentals of Catholic doctrine and systematic theology, in Sacred Scripture, and in the principles of moral theology.  These courses are taught by outstanding professors, each of whom is required to take the Oath of Fidelity and receive a mandatum.  Moreover, the Theology Department is the largest department on campus and serves more undergraduate majors than any other department at the university—in fact, no other Catholic university has as many theology majors as does Franciscan University.  It is the very nature of a Franciscan perspective on human inquiry that theology takes a primary role in enabling students to appreciate the ways in which all disciplines point back to God, and this principle is alive and well at Franciscan University. Fidelity to the magisterium, innovative scholarship, and outstanding instruction are the hallmarks of Franciscan University’s theologians.  By means of these gifts Franciscan University’s theologians faithfully communicate Catholic theology to our students and shape in them those habits of mind and heart that facilitate a lifetime of ongoing conversion.

Additional Theology information, clarification or description (optional):

While nine credits of theology are required of all BA students (and a minimum of six by all BS students), extra theology courses are taken by many students. With consistently more than 550 majors enrolled each year, Franciscan University is home to the largest undergraduate theology/catechetics program in the U.S.

Please identify any course that every undergraduate student must take:

The 45-credit-hour core for BA students and the 42-credit-hour core for BS students requires: Foundations of Catholicism, Christian Moral Principles, The Word of God, Foundations of Ethics, Philosophy of the Human Person or Metaphysics, Epic (BS students take 15 of the 18 Theology and Philosophy credits, and 3 of the 6 English credits. Also, all BS students take Macroeconomics and various mathematic courses, whereas all BA students take either Macroeconomics or a mathematics course). All of these common courses include, as well, some focus on the Franciscan contribution to the Catholic tradition.

Please identity the courses that students may choose from in order to satisfy common curriculum distribution requirements:

In addition to the common courses specified above, students take: 3 credits in history (History of Civilization I or II, Medieval World, Renaissance and Reformation, or French Revolution and Nineteenth-Century Europe); 3 credits in fine arts (Survey of Sacred and Religious Music, Catholic Traditions in Drama, or Catholic Traditions in Visual Arts); 6 credits in natural science (classes include Survey of Biological Sciences, Human Biology, Introduction to Environmental Science, Human Embryology, Tropical Marine Biology, General Botany, General Zoology, Survey of Physical Science, General or University Physics I and II, Introduction to Chemistry I and II, Physical Anthropology, Introduction to Physiological Chemistry, and Anatomy and Physiology I and II); 3 credits in social science (classes include Foundations of Politics and Government, General Psychology, Psychology and Human Development I and II, Cultural Anthropology, Mass Media, Catholic Worldview of Media, U.S. History II, International Politics, Survey of American Law I and II, Christianity and Society, and Introductory Sociology), and 3 credits in American founding principles (classes include History of the U.S. I, American Political Tradition, and American National Government)

How many credits are required for graduation and what percent are from core / distribution courses?

124 credits    36% for BA students, 34% for BS students

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more courses in which they are taught authentic Catholic doctrine and practice?


If yes, please describe them generally and note how many courses are required?

The Foundations of Catholicism course is intended to ensure a common college-level understanding among students of orthodox Catholic doctrine and practice.  All BA students must take three theology courses, and all BS students must take 15 of the 18 common philosophy and theology courses specified above.  Each of the three core theology courses teaches authentic Catholic doctrine and practice as applied to morality, biblical interpretation, and other facets of human life.

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more interdisciplinary courses relating theology or philosophy with other disciplines?

No.  It is the proper function of the intellectual virtues cultivated in the core courses to enable students to make those interdisciplinary connections.

Additional Core Curriculum information, clarification or description (optional):

In 2012, Franciscan University approved a new core curriculum, which is an integrated core curriculum based on the Western intellectual tradition and the Franciscan character of education and in accord with the Catholic mission of the University. This approval represents the completion of a rigorous deliberative process undertaken by faculty and major administrators, which was guided by the University’s mission and Ex corde Ecclesiae.
Franciscan has been selected by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools to pilot the HLC’s new Pathways Project, which at Franciscan focuses on assessing how we live and communicate the Franciscan charism at our dynamically orthodox Catholic university.
Faculty across majors are participating in a project the central tasks of which are to: reflect on the relationship between faith and reason; demonstrate their values and understanding of their Christian vocation through service; evaluate their place in the world in relationship to God, human society and the natural world; communicate effectively.

List the major, minor and special program areas that students may choose for specialization while pursuing an undergraduate degree:

Majors (Bachelor Degree Programs): Accounting; Anthropology; Biology (BA); Biology (BS); Business (BS): Economics, Finance, International Business, Management, Marketing; Catechetics; Chemistry (BA); Chemistry (BS); Classics; Communication Arts: Journalism; Communication Arts: Multimedia; Communication Arts: TV/Radio; Computer Information Science; Computer Science; Drama: Dramatic Literature; Drama: Performance; Economics (BA); Economics (BS); Education (four licensure programs); Engineering Dual Degree; English: British and American Literature; English: Western and World Literature; English: Writing; Finance; French; German; History; Humanities and Catholic Culture; International Business; Management; Marketing; Mathematical Sciences; Music, Sacred: Organ; Music, Sacred: Voice; Nursing; Philosophy; Political Science; Psychology; Sociology; Social Work; Spanish; Theology; Undeclared.

Minor Programs: Exercise Science; Film Studies; Franciscan Studies; Greek; Human Life Studies; Latin—Classical; Latin—Ecclesiastical; Legal Studies; Special Programs; MBA 4+1: Five-year program for entering freshmen; Graduate Counseling 4+1;

Special Programs: Priestly Discernment Program: Preparation for major seminary;

Honors Program: Based on the close reading and vigorous discussion of a Great Books curriculum, Franciscan’s Honors Program challenges students to engage the canon of western literature, hone their written and oral communication skills, debate the perennial questions, and develop insight into the human experience.

Pre-Professional Programs: Pre-Dentistry; Pre-Engineering Program (this leads to automatic admission, provided sufficient GPA, into a variety of engineering majors at The Catholic University of America, the University of Notre Dame, Dayton University, and Gannon University); Pharmacy program leads to a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or biology from Franciscan University and a doctor of  pharmacy degree from D’Youville University; Pre-Law; Pre-Medicine; Pre-Optometry; Pre-Pharmacy; Pre-Physical Therapy; Pre-Veterinary Medicine.

Associate Degree Programs: Accounting; Business Administration; Child Development; General Studies; Theology.

Graduate Degree Programs: Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Master of Arts in Philosophy; Master of Arts in Theology and Christian Ministry; Master of Arts in Catechetics and Evangelization, Master of Business Administration; Master of Science in Education; Master of Science in Educational Administration; Master of Science in Nursing; Also offered online: Master of Arts in Theology and Christian Ministry; Master of Arts in Catechetics and Evangelization, Master of Business Administration; Master of Science in Education


What are the three most popular majors or specialty disciplines for undergraduate students, and about what percentage of undergraduate students specialize in these disciplines?

Theology, 19%

Business (six programs of study), 13%

Nursing  and Education (tied), 11%

Does each undergraduate degree program require Catholic ethical formation related to the student’s major field(s) of study?


Does your institution regularly provide academic events to address theological questions related to specialized disciplines?


If yes, please describe:

The Theology Department, Fine Arts Society, Center for Leadership, Catechetical Institute, and many other academic and student life departments bring dozens of noted Catholic theologians and prominent speakers to campus each year. Recent speakers include Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., of Philadelphia, Dr. Peter Kreeft, Fr. Peter Cameron, OP, George Weigel, Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien of Baltimore, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Bishop Arthur Serratelli, and Raymond Cardinal Burke. In addition, the Science and Faith, Society of Catholic Social Scientists, Media and Faith, Bioethics, and Christian Philosophy Conferences also allow students to engage theological and cultural questions with world-renowned scholars. Events have included: A fall 2016 symposium on Pope Francis’ Vision for the Renewal of the Church, a colloquim on St. Junipero Serra, a symposium on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si Encyclical, a symposium on Ex corde Ecclesiae, and a discussion on marriage and divorce with Raymond Cardinal Burke. The Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life brings faithful Catholic scholarship to bear on the most pressing ethical issues of the day through professors who write for popular and scholarly publications and by hosting conferences. Many other speakers sponsored by academic disciplines or student clubs also bring the Catholic perspective to bear on today’s biggest issues.

Does your institution require cooperation among faculty in different disciplines in teaching, research and other academic activities?


Additional Programs of Study information, clarification or description:

It is not the case that, strictly speaking, this is a contractual requirement of our faculty generally.  However, there are a variety of ways in which the university encourages interdisciplinary activities.  We have many faculty in one department who will teach a course or two in another department.  Many different departments provide professors for the honors program.  We also host interdisciplinary conferences and symposia in which faculty from a variety of disciplines participate. For example, in Spring 2016 Franciscan hosted an inter-disciplinary symposium on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si. Finally, we have a Center for Teaching and Learning that facilitates interdepartmental conversations on pedagogy.

Austrian Study Abroad Program: After their freshman year, all Franciscan students have the opportunity to study for a semester in the Austrian Program. They live and study in a beautifully restored 14th-century Carthusian monastery, and take classes taught in English by Franciscan’s professors. More:

Center for Leadership: This four-year program prepares young Catholics to serve their country and the Church in business, politics, media, education, health care, and every occupation proper to Christian laity. Students are exposed to lectures, readings, discussion, mentorship, and experiential learning while they continue their degree and receive competitive scholarships based on their participation.

Does the local bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) select or approve the appointment of your chaplain?

The University Chaplain is appointed by the TOR Priest serving as president of Franciscan University. The Chaplain is always a member of the Franciscan TORs, and takes the Oath of Fidelity to the Magisterium. The position of chaplain is recognized by the Diocese of Steubenville.

Does your institution offer Mass on campus at least on Sundays and other days of obligation?


On average, about what percentage of undergraduate students attend Sunday Mass (including the Saturday vigil Mass) during the academic year? 


Does your institution offer daily Mass to students?


On average, about how many undergraduate students attend daily Mass during the academic year?

Approximately 700 attend on campus; others attend daily Mass off campus at nearby parishes.

Does your institution offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to students at least weekly?


Are all of the Masses celebrated on campus reverent and in accord with liturgical norms and directives?


Are the altar servers at your institution’s Masses male only or both male and female?

The policy, established by the University chaplain, specifies that male altar servers are to serve at all University Masses and services.

Please list the schedule of Masses, noting the following for each Mass: the day and time, the Form or Rite of the Mass, and the style of music, if any (chant, traditional, contemporary, etc.):

Mo 6:30 a.m., 12:05 p.m., 4:45 p.m. 

Tu 6:30 a.m., 12:05 p.m., 4:45 p.m. 

We 6:30 a.m., 12:05 p.m., 4:45 p.m. 

Th 6:30 a.m., 12:05 p.m., 4:45 p.m. 

Fr 6:30 a.m., 12:05 p.m., 4:45 p.m. 

Sa 6:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. 

Su 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m.  

Most Masses are celebrated in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. There is no music at the 6:30 a.m. Mass; music at the other masses varies from traditional to contemporary and is led by student musicians. Mass in the Extraordinary Form is offered on campus every weekend that students are on campus. Most weekends it is a low Mass at 8 a.m. on Saturday, with one sung high Mass per month at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. The music (chant and sacred polyphony) is provided by the Schola Cantorum Franciscana, an ensemble of the Sacred Music Program. 

Does your institution offer Confession on campus at least weekly?


List the schedule for Confession by day and time:

Mo 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Tu 3:30-4:30 p.m.

We 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Th 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Sat: 10:00 – 11:15

Or by Appointment

Does your institution offer Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at least weekly?


List the schedule for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by day and time:

The Portiuncula Chapel has 24/7 Eucharistic Adoration each semester. By the generosity of the Vatican Office of the Apostolic Penitentiary, visitors to the Port can receive plenary indulgences on any of five different occasions through the year.

Please identify regularly scheduled devotions on campus for students such as the Rosary and prayer groups:

Community Rosary, Tuesdays after 12:05 p.m. Mass; Liturgy of the Hours, 7:15 a.m. weekdays, Sundays, 7:00 p.m.; Sung Vespers; Morning Prayer, weekdays; Divine Mercy Chaplet, 3:00 p.m., weekdays, Spanish devotion, weekly; Divine Office, 6:00 a.m., weekdaysAll-Campus Holy Hour with Divine Mercy Chaplet, 3:00 p.m., first Friday of each month during school year.  

Does your institution offer retreat programs available to all Catholic students at least annually?

Yes, many retreats are offered each semester by Chapel Ministry, the Office of Evangelization, and other campus groups. In addition, Faith Households and NCAA teams sponsor annual retreats for their members.

Please describe any formal programs to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life:

About 40 men per year participate in the Priestly Discernment Program. Daily Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharistic Adoration, small-group sharing, formation conferences, and apostolic and liturgical ministries all help these men grow as brothers and servants of God’s people as they discern our Lord’s call. Men who complete the philosophy and theology course work are eligible to receive a Priestly Discernment Program Certificate, which assures bishops, religious superiors, and vocations directors that the student has received the formation required for major seminary.

The annual Religious Vocations Awareness Fair, always well-attended by students, draws more than 70 representatives from diocesan vocations offices and religious orders. While there is no formal vocation program for women, Mary, Spouse of the Spirit Household organizes monthly Holy Hours and discernment days for those considering a religious vocation.

If your institution has formal vocation programs, about how many students participate in them each year?


Are you aware of any graduates from your institution (not including seminary students, if any) who are ordained to the priesthood or have entered religious life? Please describe.

Since 2004, more than 115 Franciscan graduates who discerned and prepared for the priesthood through the University’s Priestly Discernment Program have entered seminary or a religious order.

Two Franciscan graduates currently serve as bishops; other alumni can be found in just about every area of Church ministry.

Harder to track are the number of priestly vocations of men who attended Franciscan University but were not enrolled in a formal discernment program. A recent survey found that more than 400 Franciscan graduates currently serve the Church in the priesthood. All told, Franciscan has sent more than 700 alums into the world who have become bishops, priests, and religious brothers and sisters.

One religious community, the Franciscan Sisters, TOR, of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother, was founded in 1988 by Franciscan University graduates and today its 36 members include many Franciscan graduates. Many other women who attended Franciscan University have entered a wide range of religious communities.

Additional Chaplaincy information, clarification or description (optional):

Campus ministry volunteers
Over 300 students volunteer in campus ministry as ushers, servers, music ministry (100) sacristans, extraordinary ministers of holy communion, sacred art, Martha and Mary Ministry, and other roles.

Please describe options for students to reside on and off campus:

Students may live in residence halls or apartments on campus. Students may secure their own housing off campus if they meet age and credit requirements, or if they are local commuters living with their parents.

Does your institution offer only single-sex residence halls?


Your institution offers single-sex residence halls for (please put an “X” in front of any that apply):

X All students
Any Student who wishes
No students
All freshmen (only if not “All students”)
Only freshmen

What percentage of students living on campus live in single-sex residence halls?

100% of students living on-campus live in single-sex residence halls or single-sex apartments.

When are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit common areas of residence halls?

Visitation hours with the opposite sex in residence hall lounges, common rooms, and kitchens are: Main Lounges: Sun-Thurs, 8:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m.; Fri-Sat, 8:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m.; All Other Common Areas: Sun-Thurs, 12:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m.; Fri-Sat, 12:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. Visiting outside these specified hours, or inside a student room behind a closed door is considered a violation of the Student Code.

Are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit students’ bedrooms? (Not including irregular (once or twice a semester), “open house” events.)


If yes, when?

Students of the opposite sex may visit student dorm rooms during Open House hours, which are held from 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. on Sundays.

If students of the opposite sex are permitted to visit students’ bedrooms, does your institution have an “open bolt” policy? Please describe.

Doors must be propped open when a member of the opposite sex is visiting during Open House hours.

How does your institution foster sobriety and respond to substance abuse on campus, particularly in campus residences?

Through preaching, retreats, household life, programs, and personal witness, the University strives to foster a culture of ongoing conversion that encourages students to grow in virtue, holiness, and Christian maturity with respect to alcohol. For example, the New Student Formation series includes issues related to sobriety and substance abuse. Campus Counseling Services, mentoring, and referrals to AA groups are also available for those struggling with problem drinking.

How does your institution foster a student living environment that promotes and supports chastity, particularly in campus residences?

The residence life culture supports Christian moral behavior. Through preaching, retreats, household life, programs, and personal witness, the University strives to foster a culture of ongoing conversion that encourages students to grow in virtue, holiness, and Christian maturity with respect to sexuality. Residence hall visitation policies support chaste habits and decisions.

Does your institution have formal programs to foster Catholic prayer life and spirituality in campus residences?


If yes, please describe:

In addition to a wealth of campus-wide programming, Residence Life staff and households sponsor dozens of spiritual programs in the residence halls each year. Masses are held twice each month in each residence hall. Each residence hall also has a Eucharistic Chapel available for personal prayer.

Additional Residence Life information, clarification or description (optional):

Over 50 faith households operate in the residence halls. Households are groups of men or women who choose to support each other in their academic and spiritual lives. Open to students of all ages and academic majors, households form the social and spiritual fabric of residence life at Franciscan University. Priests and religious sisters serve in the residence halls as chaplains and pastoral ministers, providing sacramental ministry, spiritual direction, and pastoral care.

Please identify and briefly describe officially recognized student clubs and activities at your institution that…

foster spiritual development:

Growing in faith and love for Jesus Christ and the Church is an integral part of education at Franciscan University.  The presence of the Franciscan friars and sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Penance (TOR) contributes to the unique character of campus life and spirituality. The University’s Office of Evangelization undertakes an ambitious program of evangelization events and serves as a resource for other campus-based groups focused on spiritual development.  The Festivals of Praise, held monthly, are student-initiated and student-led gatherings for those open to the gifts and charisms of the Holy Spirit through song, exhortation, and inspirational sharing. Households are Spirit-empowered, Christ-led groups of three or more Franciscan University students who seek to do the will of the Father in their lives. About 50 households operate on campus. These communities desire to help members grow in body, mind, and spirit through mutual support and accountability in the ongoing conversion process exemplified in the life of St. Francis.
S.E.N.T. Ministry is an outreach of Franciscan University which promotes the Gospel of Jesus Christ through retreat ministry.  Students train to give weekend retreats, youth rallies, and Confirmation day retreats each semester as part of the S.E.N.T. team.  Several student-founded, student-led organizations have a particular spiritual or liturgical focus, including the Byzantine Club, Our Lady of Sorrows Club, Students for Catholic Liturgy, and Ut Unum Sint Society for Christian Unity.

engage in corporal works of mercy:

Works of Mercy, an outreach of Franciscan University, enables students to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the hungry, sick, imprisoned, homeless, and strangers in the Ohio Valley and nearby Pittsburgh.  Through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, students actively participate in caring for those in need.  Through the Nursing Home Ministry students spend time listening, sharing, praying, and developing personal relationships with the residents of several area nursing facilities.  Students bring the love of Jesus Christ to needy and homeless people through a variety of ministries, including outreach to the homeless in Steubenville and Pittsburgh as well as providing meals through the Urban Mission’s Unity Kitchen.  The sick and needy are served through Hospital Ministry and Ministry to the Mentally Challenged.  Other ministry programs are focused on assisting youth through the local Boys and Girls Clubs, Music in Our Schools Program, and the Urban Mission’s Children’s Ministry and Youth Group. Mary’s Meals FUS supports international efforts to set up school feeding projects in communities where poverty and hunger are prevalent.

address sexual issues (including birth control, abortion, homosexuality):

Metanoia talks, coordinated by the University’s Student Life Office, address a range of issues including sexuality, dating, and marriage. The series is rooted in the University’s commitment to promote the moral, spiritual, and religious values of its students and includes presentations of related teachings of the Catholic Church. The Gift of Human Sexuality Symposium is a series of presentations that tackle contemporary sexuality issues such as the hook-up culture, counterfeit love, pornography, and same-sex attraction. The popular series enriches students’ understanding of the Catholic principles that uphold the goods of marriage, family, and sexual integrity. Students for Life, the University’s largest student-run organization, promotes a greater respect for the dignity of all human life, from the moment of conception to natural death. Members are dedicated to prayer, education, and action and conduct weekly peaceful prayer vigils at area abortion clinics, support local crisis pregnancy centers, and participate in the annual March for Life. 

address issues of social concern:

Several student organizations have a particular focus on social concerns, including those previously mentioned in regard to their dedication to upholding the sanctity of all human life, marriage, and the family as well as promotion of sexual integrity. The Knights of Columbus student chapter is committed to fostering charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism.  Others promote student awareness of injustices throughout the world, and work toward their resolution in a manner consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Missions of Peace, a student outreach of Franciscan University, sponsors domestic and international mission trips organized, planned, and funded by the students themselves.  Students generously share their time and talent while on mission through various service outreaches—youth ministries, chastity presentations, prayer services, home improvement projects, village ministries, medical outreaches, and other apostolic endeavors. Among domestic trips are those to large metropolitan locations including The Bronx and Chicago as well as those to rural American Indian populations. Foreign missions are undertaken to Jamaica, Ecuador, and Honduras, among others.

address particular academic interests:

Academic departments sponsor numerous student-led clubs providing opportunities for students to further their education beyond the classroom through meetings, on-campus activities, off-campus events, and real-life applications coinciding with their academic pursuits. Students are involved in over 20 such groups with interests ranging from business and professional fields such as law, education, social work, computer science, and journalism to biology, the classics, German, the humanities, mathematics, philosophy, political science, psychology, and Spanish. Students also take part in national honor societies such as Phi Alpha, Kappa Delta Pi, Psi Chi, and Sigma Tau Delta.

address particular cultural interests:

Over a dozen student-led organizations provide opportunities for members and others to pursue their cultural interests and employ their talents. Among them several have a unique ethnic focus including German and Latino groups.  Others are centered on dance, the fine arts, animation, board games, comedy, drama, literature, music, or film. One student group is specifically engaged in the promotion of unity among Christians by means of private and common prayer, personal dialogue, fellowship, service, and education, with particular emphasis on ecumenism among other colleges, according to the vision of the Catholic Church.

provide opportunities for athletic pursuits:

Franciscan University is committed to formation of the whole person—body, mind, spirit—as an integral part of the educational experience. The well-rounded athletics program includes intercollegiate, intramural, and recreational sports as well as wellness programming aimed at inspiring the pursuit of excellence in all endeavors, the fostering of Christian character, the call to personal integrity and the acceptance of personal responsibility. The NCAA and USA Rugby intercollegiate athletic programs offer student-athletes the opportunity to compete in intercollegiate sports at a high level while focusing on the integration of sports and spirituality. Men’s and women’s teams compete in basketball, lacrosse, cross country, soccer, tennis, and track and field. Other programs include men’s rugby and women’s softball, volleyball, and swimming and diving. The popular intramural program includes flag football, volleyball, basketball, ultimate Frisbee, FUTSOL (indoor soccer), corn hole, dodge ball, and bench press competitions.

If applicable, in which athletic Division and Conference does your institution compete? (Please specify NCAA, NAIA, etc. as well as Division Level.)   

Franciscan University is a member of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference, NCAA Division III. Men’s and women’s track and field compete in the Colonial States Athletic Conference and the rugby team is in the 3 Rivers Rugby Conference.

What athletic teams are offered for men and women?  

Franciscan fields 16 Baron varsity teams; men—basketball, cross country, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, tennis, track & field; women—basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball.  

How do you help develop the mind, body, and soul of student-athletes? 

Franciscan’s thriving intramural program, which includes flag football, volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, basketball, and futsol, allows many more students to participate in competitive sports at levels to match their interests and abilities.  

Franciscan athletics is guided by the motto: Faith. Virtue, Knowledge. Self Control. Student-athletes are formed spiritually, emotionally, and physically in many ways. In addition to a chaplain who oversees all Baron athletic programs, most teams have their own chaplain and participate in a retreat at the start of the school year. Every team prays together before the game, most  also attend Mass as a team on game days, and it is a long-standing tradition for all Baron teams to invite the opposing team to pray with them following the game. While driving to away games, the teams pray the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, and other prayers.  

Franciscan University has embraced a philosophy that a well-rounded athletics program including intercollegiate, intramural, and recreational sports as well as wellness programming should be offered as a part of its educational mission.  Toward that end, the University partners with SportsLeader, a Catholic virtue-based formation program that charges each varsity coach to be involved in the spiritual growth of their student-athletes. The program incorporates the four pillars of virtue, mentoring, ceremony, and Catholic identity.

please list all student clubs not listed in the above categories:

American Red Cross Club; Anime Club; Annunciations (female a capella group); Baronettes Dance Team; Byzantine Club; Chemistry Club; Chiron Society (education club); Christian Students in Free Enterprise (entrepreneurial student club); Christopher Dawson Society; Computer Science Club; Debate Club; Equestrian Club; Explorers of the Past (anthropology and history); Faith and Science Club; Faith, Family, and Smash Brothers Club; Famished for Fiction; Fr. Michael Scanlan Scholarship Society; Franciscan University of Steubenville (FUS) Eagle Scouts; FUS Life Runners; French Club; The Gadfly; The Gemelli Society (psychology); German Club; Franciscan University Chapter Intercollegiate Defense of Equality and Solidarity (IDEAS); Instruments of Peace (social work); Irish Dancers; Knights of Columbus; Latinos for Christ; Mary’s Meals (FUS chapter); Mathematics Club; Men’s Street Hockey Club; Men’s Ultimate Club; Musical Theatre Troupe; Our Lady of Sorrows Club; Outdoors Club; Phi Alpha Honor Society (social work); Philosophy Club; Political Science Association; Pre-Medicine Club; Pun Intended; Psi Chi (psychology); ROTC Club; Roundnet Club; Spanish Club; Scottish Reeling Society; St. John Bosco (catechetics); St. Thomas More Society (law); St. Vitus Social Dance Club; Sigma Beta Mu (biology); Sigma Tau Delta (English honors society); Student Creative Arts Network; Student Government; Students for Life; Triathlon Club; Turning Point USA; Underground Railroad Club; Ut Unum Sint Society for Christian Unity; Voice of the Martyrs Club; Women’s Ultimate Club (Franciscan Fire); Women’s Volleyball Club; Young Americans for Freedom

Does your institution require all student clubs and activities, including those listed above, to operate in accord with Catholic teaching?


How does your institution address student clubs and activities that may conflict with Catholic teaching?

If a student club or activity conflicted with Catholic teaching, the responsible students and the club itself are subject to disciplinary action. Serious or repeated conflicts with Catholic teaching would result in the deactivation of the club.

Does your institution require student services like health care, counseling and guidance to conform to Catholic ethical and moral teaching and directives?


Additional Student Activities information, clarification or description (optional):

Student leadership development in fostered through over 100 student clubs, households, and organizations. A Student Leadership Conference is hosted on campus each January to teach and inspire student leadership. The Center for Leadership sponsors campus speakers and provides co-curricular formation for select students that fosters virtues, imparts knowledge, and cultivates practical skills necessary for effective, lifelong Christian leadership.

Has your institution’s diocesan bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) officially recognized the institution as Catholic?


Do your institution’s governing documents include or reference the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?


Do your institution’s governing documents or institutional policies require conformity to the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?


What is your institution’s mission statement:

Mission Summary:
The purpose of Franciscan University is to further the higher education of men and women through programs of liberal, professional, and pre-professional studies leading to the conferral of the baccalaureate and master degrees in the arts and sciences. It is the further purpose of the University, publicly identified as a Catholic and a Franciscan institution, to promote the moral, spiritual, and religious values of its students. The University is guided by the example and teaching of St. Francis of Assisi. To accomplish this mission, the University embraces the following general policies:

Intellectual and Faith Community: The specific vocation of a student is intellectual development.

Evangelization: Through academic and co-curricular programs, the University promotes the ongoing and deepening of life in the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Church.

Dynamic Orthodoxy: The University has embraced this concept as a policy standard for its life, thereby striving to promote and maintain a balanced commitment to truth and life in its faith community.

Christian Maturity: The University recognizes that its ultimate purpose is to graduate men and women who are able to take a mature, responsible approach to life.

Good Stewardship: The University recognizes that its greatest resources are its people and pledges to treat each person with dignity and respect.

These five general policies are the basis for many specific policies, including:

Academic: The University is a teaching institution and values research primarily for advancing the scholarship of the faculty. The University requires some specific courses and some balanced selection of courses to promote liberal arts education and the importance of theological studies and basic philosophy. The University also promotes responsible academic freedom that includes observance of the 1940 AAUP statement.

Student Life: The University desires its programs to be guided by the law of love. It welcomes entertainment and recreational activities that upbuild the lives of those involved; promotes participation in physical health programs and athletic activities; promotes personal and spiritual development; provides, within its means, counseling and other support services; supports Christian morality and respect for life; embraces a Catholic worldview; encourages service to the poor as an essential part of a student’s educational experience.

Complete Mission Statement:

Does your institution have a written policy regarding speakers and honorees that at a minimum meets the standards established by the United States bishops in “Catholics in Political Life?”


If yes, please give the policy:

The president of Franciscan University reserves the right to deny approval for any guest speaker to make a presentation on campus whose appearance or remarks, in the judgment of the president or his designee, would compromise the University’s Mission or “promote propositions and values contrary to Catholic teaching” (Franciscan University Mission III.A.3.).

Additional Institutional Identity information, clarification or description:

Mission Summary

Our mission as a Franciscan and Catholic university, which embraces the call to dynamic orthodoxy, is “to educate, to evangelize, and to send forth joyful disciples,” thereby restoring all things in Christ.


Franciscan University of Steubenville is the instrument for renewal, empowering joyful disciples worldwide for mission.

Franciscan University Charisms

Ongoing Conversion

Daily, we seek to grow closer to Jesus, asking Him to transform our hearts, our minds, and our wills, so we can love Him more deeply and image Him more perfectly.

Upholding the Dignity of the Human Person

We see every man, woman, and child—born and unborn—as the living image of God and strive to honor Our Father in heaven by honoring one another.


We are most perfectly ourselves when we live for others, giving ourselves to one another in love, just as Christ gives Himself to us.

Dynamic Orthodoxy

We strive to live in perfect fidelity to the truth proclaimed in Scripture and Tradition, making known the love of Christ and His Church.


We proclaim the Gospel with our words and we witness to the Gospel through our actions, so that all might know and love Christ Jesus.


We welcome Christ by opening our hearts, homes, and lives to the friend, the stranger, the lonely, the lost, the poor, and the confused.


We delight in God’s goodness and the goodness of His creation, anticipating His loving providence in all situations.

Describe the makeup of your institution’s undergraduate student body with regard to sex, religion, home state/country and type of high school (public, private, homeschool):

Total number of undergraduates: 2,200 

Male: 40% Female: 60% 

Catholic: 99% Other Christian: 01% 

Number of states represented: 50 

Top three states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, California 

Students from top three states: 37% 

Catholic HS: 34%  Homeschool: 19% 

Private HS: 10%  Public HS:  37% 

Most up-to-date information provided by the University.

Additional Student Body information, clarification or description  (optional):

Franciscan students come from all 50 states and 13 foreign countries. The top states 10 are: Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, Virginia, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Maryland, Texas, and Indiana.

Editor’s Note: Campus safety and security information for most colleges is available via the U.S. Department of Education website here.

Are prospective and current members of your institution’s governing board(s) informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of your institution?


Are more than half of the current members of your institution’s governing board(s) practicing Catholics?

Yes. The by-laws state 100-percent of our members must be practicing Catholics. 

Do Catholic members of your institution’s governing board(s) make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Is your institution’s president a practicing Catholic?


Does your institution’s president make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?

Yes. In addition, members of the Board of Trustees took the Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity in 2016. New trustees are invited to take the oath and profession, which are administered at a Mass at the start of each school year.

Additional Leadership information, clarification or description (optional):

The Board of Trustees is comprised of 22 members and chaired by the Franciscan TOR Minister Provincial. At least six other members must be TOR Franciscan Friars with the balance being lay Catholics, or other religious or priests.

President's Note

A message from the president.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

Franciscan University of Steubenville students pour their hearts into their education and their prayer life; they desire to fall in love with God and the Church, and strive to become saints. Through their witness, they encourage me to become a better friar and priest—and all of us at Franciscan to respond without reservation to the many invitations that God extends. 

Our Catholic Core curriculum immerses our students in the treasures of Western Civilization and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. They study the best minds of the past from Augustine and Aristotle to John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis. At Franciscan, academic excellence means producing Catholic graduates as ready for their careers as they are for the challenges of a secular culture. 

If you desire an academically excellent education rooted in passionate Catholicism, if you want to be prepared to meet the challenges of the secular world, I invite you to learn more about Franciscan University . . . where you will also learn more about yourself and the person God created you to be. 

In Christ and St. Francis, 

Rev. Sean O. Sheridan, TOR 

Franciscan University of Steubenville 

Contact Franciscan University of Steubenville


1235 University Blvd
Steubenville, Ohio 43952

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