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Widener University began in 1821 when John Bullock established the Bullock School of Boys in Wilmington, Delaware. The purpose of the school was to prepare young men for college studies. In 1846, the name of the school changed to the Alsop School for Boys when Samuel Alsop became the headmaster.
Following tradition, the name of the school changed again when Theodore Hyatt purchased the school and became headmaster, becoming Hyatt School for Boys in 1853. In 1858, Hyatt added military discipline to the school in an effort to develop muscles, expand the chest and help the young men in attendance develop a “gentlemanly carriage.” Legend has it he had the young men perform drills with broomsticks in the gym when the program first began. The school was chartered as the Delaware Military Institute Academy in 1859.
The school moved to West Chester, Pennsylvania, an abolitionist-friendly state, and the name changed to the Pennsylvania Military Academy. When the school opened in Pennsylvania, Colonel George Patten, a South Carolinian who served as a Union soldier, developed a civil engineering department at the school and the engineering program is now world-renowned at Widener.
After the Civil War, the school moved again to Upland, Pennsylvania in 1866. This move was brief and the school moved in 1868 to its present location in Chester, Pennsylvania. In 1892, the son of Theodore Hyatt, General Charles Hyatt, helped the school achieve university status, becoming Pennsylvania Military College. The all-male school was designed after the U.S. Army Military Academy at West Point and cadets began to call themselves the “West Point of the Keystone State.”
In 1946, the first civilians were granted entrance into the college, but they were all veterans and they were not permitted to live on campus. In 1958, the program expanded to include non-veterans who registered in a newly established civilian curriculum, but they also were not permitted to live on campus. During the Vietnam War, there was strong lack of support for the conflict and enrollment decreased. In an effort to increase enrollment, a second school was created – Penn Morton College, which enrolled civilian males. In 1966, 17 female nursing students began attending day classes for the first time, although women had been attending the school’s evening college since 1954. One year later, women were admitted to Penn Morton College and became the first female resident students on campus.
In 1972, the Pennsylvania Military College was disbanded and cadets joined Penn Morton College. The new school was named Widener College after the prominent Widener family of Philadelphia. In 1975, Widener acquired the Delaware Law School, now known as Widener University Delaware Law School. The college gained university status in 1979.
Today, Widener still focuses on the core values established more than 200 years ago. There are over 3,400 students enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate courses.
Widener University Accreditation Details
Widener University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Accreditation indicates that the university meets or exceeds criteria set forth by the agency that demonstrate excellence in education. In addition, the following agencies accredit specific programs at the university:
- Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
- Accreditation Commission for Program in Hospitality Administration
- American Bar Association
- American Psychological Association
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
- Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare Management Education
- Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
- Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
- Council on Social Work Education
- National Association for Education of Young Children
- National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education
- Pennsylvania Board of Nurse Examiners
- Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board of the Supreme Court
Widener University Application Requirements
Freshmen applicants must complete an online application and provide an official high school transcript. There are no letters of recommendation or essay required. Transfer students must submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended as well as official high school transcripts. SAT and ACT test scores must also be provided. Graduate students who wish to attend Widener should discuss their admission requirements with an admissions counselor.
Widener University Tuition and Financial Aid
Undergraduate tuition at Widener University is $40,418 per year or $600 per credit hour. Graduate program tuition ranges from $678 to $1,118 per credit hour.
Financial aid is available at Widener University and 85 percent of students who attend a full-time graduate program receive financial aid. More than 90 percent of all undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid. Financial aid is available in the form of scholarships, grants, loans and work-study. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to qualify for financial aid at Widener.
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Widener University Degree Program(s) Available
Widener offers a PsyD in Clinical Psychology that is the longest running program of its kind in the U.S. Students who wish to advance their education to graduate studies or begin careers in mental health counseling will find success by completing the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Widener University. Graduates have entered careers in mental health counseling, human resource management, corrections and other positions where they can provide assistance to those suffering from emotional distress. In addition to General Education classes, courses required for the program include:
- Introduction to Psychology
- Current Issues in Psychology
- Statistical Methods for Social Science
- Research Design for Social Science
- Forensic Psychology
- Biological Psychology
- Industrial/Organizational Psychology
- Problem Behavior Analysis in Children
- Counseling and Psychotherapy
- Social Psychology
- Human Growth and Development I, II and III
Students must complete a minimum of 30 credits at Widener including 50 percent of the major credits. Students must maintain a 2.0 grade point average in the major and an overall grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
Students are provided skills and knowledge in psychology from expert faculty as well as a strong foundation for professional development. Students are able to develop skills in critical thinking with the option of working on civic projects through groups and organizations at Widener.
Widener University offers students the ability to take classes on a flexible schedule. Although students must take some traditional classes at Widener to complete the degree, there are courses offered online that can help students who have work, social or family obligations achieve their higher education goals in order to move into a new career or advance in a current career.