Recognized as a “Best Midwestern College by the Princeton Review and as one of 37 public universities ranked a “Best Midwestern University” by U.S. News & World Report, Western Illinois University serves nearly 10,000 students at its traditional residential campus in Macomb and its metropolitan, non-residential branch campus in Moline, Illinois.
Academics and Programs Offered
Whether expanding their current skill set, or looking to complete a degree, Western Illinois University is committed to helping students achieve their educational objectives.
From offering a bachelor’s degrees in forensic chemistry to housing one of the largest law enforcement programs of its kind in the nation, as well as the first Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre program of its kind at an Illinois public institution, Western offers a number of standout programs, including a Sports Broadcasting program, which provides hands-on experience from day one. These signature academic programs are distinguished for their size, unique area of concentration for undergraduate students, or accessibility. WIU provides an outstanding academic experience, providing a vast array of undergraduate and graduate programs. Western offers 66 baccalaureate degrees, 12 of which are considered signature programs; 19 post-baccalaureate certificates; 38 master’s degrees, two undergraduate certificates; eight pre-professional programs, and two doctoral degrees.
Western also offers a variety of options for students who want to continue their education through an online learning environment. The degrees offered online include the Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, Bachelor of Arts in General Studies, Bachelor of Science in Nursing Completion Program, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science – Instructional Design & Technology, Master of Science in Education – Elementary Education, and many more.
WIU offers 463 online classes (320 undergraduate; 143 graduates) and seven undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including the longstanding Bachelor of Arts in General Studies (BGS) and an online major in Anthropology, which is the first anthropology program in the state, and one of only a few online majors in the nation.
Western Illinois University is the only Illinois public university to be ranked in the top 15 among 50 of the most affordable online master’s programs in the nation by College Choice. WIU, ranked 11th, is one of two Illinois public universities appearing in the 2017-2018 College Choice rankings.
WIU’s School of Nursing has also been recognized as a 2017 Best Online RN to BSN Degree Program. Western was among two Illinois public university nursing programs ranked in the top 50 in the nation, and the University has been ranked as a 2017 Best Online College in Illinois and among the Top 20 Best Online Accredited Colleges in Illinois.
Meet President Thomas
Dr. Jack Thomas was named the 11th President of Western Illinois University (WIU) in 2011. Under his leadership, Western Illinois University continues to be ranked as a “Best Midwestern College” and as a “Best Regional University” by The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report, respectively. Western Illinois University also continues to be named a “Military Friendly School” by GI Jobs Magazine. During Dr. Thomas’ tenure, numerous programs and initiatives have been established and improved, including increased partnerships with international universities and embassies, additional scholarship funding, the Western Commitment Scholarship and the Centennial Honors College Scholarship programs, a mentoring program designed to improve retention, and an enhanced Honors College.
Previously, Dr. Thomas served as WIU’s Provost and Academic Vice President. While serving at the academic helm, the University established new degree programs in: nursing, engineering, museum studies, anthropology, and religious studies. As strong proponent of mentoring young faculty from diverse backgrounds, Dr. Thomas established under-represented dissertation and post-doctorate fellowships, visiting professorships, young scholar initiatives, and other programs that support their professional development.
His love for education and his belief that the “sky is the limit” has made him a noted scholar and lecturer, appearing as a keynote speaker and presenting his research and inspirational messages locally, nationally, and internationally. Thomas is also known for his numerous publications and professional presentations.
University Organizations and Activities for Students
Western offers nearly 250 student organizations, including national fraternities and sororities; athletics and intramural and club sports; academic honoraries; service clubs; specific interest clubs, and more.
Two of WIU’s four core values are social responsibility and personal growth. Within that context, many organizations, departments and programs center a variety of activities around service learning and volunteerism, and faculty from numerous academic programs often include a service learning component into coursework.
During the 2016-17 academic years, the Office of Student Activities Greek Life division dedicated nearly 2,900 hours of community service and donated nearly $25,000 to charities and philanthropic efforts. In addition to Make a Difference Day, which was held Oct. 28, and National Volunteer Week, WAVE conducts weekly service projects, completing more than 1,000 service hours in 2016-2017, and sponsors the annual Angel Tree project to collect holiday gifts for area children in need. Last year, our student-athletes completed 3,295 hours of community service, raised over $1,300 for local and national organizations, and donated 1,000 pounds of canned goods to the Western Illinois Regional Council food bank through the Summit League Food Fight competition. Our athletes also spend time in local classrooms, serving as positive role models to elementary school children.
Western’s Study Abroad Programs, which is part of the Center for International Studies, offers a wide variety of study abroad and exchange program options for WIU students. Group programs lasting a week to a semester (or summer-long) options are led by a WIU professor, while exchange programs are direct relationships between Western and participating overseas institutions. Western also participates in select affiliate programs which are provided by WIU-approved study abroad providers.
Cost Guarantee & Scholarships
Western offers automatic scholarships to qualified students, and Western was the first university in the state to offer an exclusive Cost Guarantee that includes fixed tuition, fees, room and meal, and remains the only Illinois public university to include fees, room and meal plan in its Cost Guarantee. Simply put, what students pay their first year is what they will pay during each of their years of continuous enrollment.
In-state tuition is offered to ALL domestic undergraduate and graduate students, whether they’re from Alaska, Hawaii and all states in-between.
Western Illinois University provides on campus employment that allow students to develop skills, refine career goals, finance education, and integrate work experience with classroom learning.
The WIU Office of Financial Aid Student Employment Division administers employment programs through regular employment and Federal Work-Study (FWS). With approximately 2,300 regular student employees and almost 250 Federal Work-Study Employees working on campus, student employees play a significant role in Western’s day-to-day operations. Student employees perform a wide range of duties from general office assistance to those duties requiring highly specialized training in such areas as computer programming and accounting.
Western Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association. In addition, many of its departments and schools are accredited by professional agencies, including American Dietetic Association, American Speech-Language-Hearing, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International, Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Council on Social Work Education, National Association of Schools of Art and Design, National Association of Schools of Music, National Association of Schools of Theatre, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and National Recreation and Park Association.
Western has been ranked by The Economist, a weekly international newspaper owned by the Economist Group, third out of 11 public schools in Illinois that were ranked, and ninth of 50 Illinois schools for the economic value of that university being equal to the gap between how much money its students subsequently earn, and how much they might have made had they studied elsewhere. WIU does better than three out of four schools in the country (public and private) at increasing the earning potential of graduates. When predicting earnings outcomes of alumni based on institutional characteristics, our alumni outperform the predicted earnings by more than five percent.
A recent survey of Western Illinois University alumni revealed that over 90 percent of the WIU Class of 2015 respondents indicated they were employed or enrolled in graduate studies since earning their baccalaureate degrees. Additional results reveal that 84 percent of the respondents who are employed, held or secured a job within nine months of receiving their degree, and 90 percent of the alumni who responded reported satisfaction with their current job. Ninety percent also expressed a “positive” attitude toward Western Illinois University and 88 percent believe that Western represented a “good value for the investment that was made.”
Western’s alumni are the outstanding ambassadors for the University. The WIU Alumni Association develops and sustains lifelong relationships with students, alumni and friends to advance the University and its mission.
Whether it is organizing a reunion, planning Homecoming activities, informing alumni of what’s happening at WIU, or spreading goodwill, the WIU Alumni Association plays a crucial role in continuing the partnership between the University and its nearly 130,000 alumni and friends.
Everyone who graduates from the University is an automatic member of the Alumni Association. There are no dues or fees, and each year more than 50 alumni events are hosted in a variety of locations throughout the United States.