Carlow University

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This school appears in our ranking 20 Most Affordable Master’s in Liberal Studies Degrees Online: Private College 2018.

Carlow University was founded in September 1929 by the Sisters of Mercy, the Catholic order of Venerable Mother Catherine McAuley that settled in the Diocese of Pittsburgh 86 years earlier. First called Mount Mercy College, the women’s institution became coeducational for WWII veterans in 1945. Adopting its current name to honor Ireland’s County Carlow in 1969, the college added distance education nine years later. Endowed for $25.7 million, Carlow University now employs 260 faculty teaching 2,140 Celtics in the Conference for Mercy Higher Education. Blackboard expands eLearning beyond Carlow’s 14-acre Oakland headquarters, Greensburg Center, and Cranberry site. Linked to 8,363 LinkedIn alumni, Carlow University trained Peter Flaherty, Michele Fabrizi, Gloria Skurzynski, and others.

The U.S. News & World Report ranked Carlow the 111th best Northern college with 75 percent retention. On Niche, Carlow boasts America’s 39th best location, 523rd most liberal education, and 676th top value. Money magazine placed Carlow University 417th for a mean starting salary of $39,900. PayScale calculated a 20-year net ROI of $110,000 for Carlow graduates. Times Higher Education picked Carlow for the country’s top 800 institutions overall. College Factual named Carlow the 112th best Catholic school and 147th best nursing program. The “College with a Conscience” had the 95th highest graduation rate and 187th most service in Washington Monthly. Carlow University also landed in Education Corner’s top 100 colleges with the least selective acceptance rates.

Carlow University Accreditation Details

In 2015, Carlow University passed a comprehensive evaluation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Higher Education to keep Level V accreditation for another decade under its 10th president, Dr. Suzanne K. Mellon. Based 302 miles across Pennsylvania in Philly, this seven-state Atlantic Seaboard accreditor is authorized by the U.S. Secretary of Education to ensure standards compliance for Carlow’s 21 baccalaureate, 18 master’s, and two doctoral majors, even online. At the programmatic level, Carlow University boasts the following accreditations:

  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Council on Social Work Education
  • American Psychological Association
  • Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care

Carlow University Application Requirements

Logging into Carlow University classes is labeled “minimally difficult” by Peterson’s because 91 percent of the 806 Fall 2016 applicants were okayed. Online master’s programs always need documentation of an accredited, four-year baccalaureate. Foreign degree equivalents are evaluated if students score at least 90 on the TOEFL iBT or 500 on the SAT Reading. For the Online MSN, holding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is mandated. RNs should meet clinical agency health requirements with one year of bedside experience. Online Master of Education in Special Education candidates must present K-12 certification in another content area. Carlow seeks a minimum 3.0 GPA, but taking the GRE or GMAT is mandatory. The Doctor of Nursing Practice requires MSN averages above 3.2 and a statistics course graded “B.”

Carlow University has rolling graduate admission with general final deadlines of July 1st for Fall and December 1st for Spring, but exact dates vary. For example, the Online M.S. in Fraud and Forensics accepts Fall cohorts on first-come basis until July 28th. Simply create a user ID to access the free application dashboard online anytime. If needed, mail extras to admission counselors at 3333 Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh, PA 15213. Pose any questions to (412) 578-6059 or admissions@carlow.edu. Virtual master’s students should send these:

  • Official transcript from each degree-granting college
  • Two recommendation forms from faculty/employers
  • 300-word, double-spaced personal goals essay
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae of related experience
  • Copies of unencumbered RN and teacher licenses
  • Tests of English language proficiency if applicable
  • Portfolio of 10 poems or 25 written pages (MFA only)

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2017-18, Carlow University charged average annual graduate tuition of $16,360 full-time. This figure didn’t include the $100 orientation fee, $150 graduation fee, $99 portfolio fee, or $242 challenged course fee. Living at the Pittsburgh campus’ apartments adds roughly $11,108 each year. However, the Center for Digital Learning & Innovation follows a different pay schedule at $850 per credit. The one exception is the MFA in Creative Writing that bills $998 per credit. Doctor of Nursing Practice students also pay $998 per credit online. Expect entire online master’s degree costs of $25,500 to $35,700.

According to the NCES College Navigator, 85 percent of full-time Carlow Celtics share $18.09 million total for median financial aid offers of $15,182 each. Graduate institutional funds include the Hannah T. Clawson Scholarship, Eva Tansky Blum Women of Spirit Scholarship, PNC Charitable Trust Scholarship, Crescent Eddy Fuhrer Memorial Scholarship, Marie C. Jennings Memorial Scholarship, and Boomer Esiason Foundation Scholarship. City of Pittsburgh employees can receive a 20 percent discount via the HR Department. Located in Antonian Hall, the Financial Aid Office has monthly installment plans for $35 fees. Once Fort Zug, Carlow University accepts GI Bill benefits for out-of-pocket costs as low as $500. Completing the FAFSA application with code 003303 allows graduates to borrow Direct Unsubsidized or Plus loans to the $138,500 limit too.

Online Degrees Available

Founded in 1997, the Center for Digital Learning & Innovation is an OLC partner now utilizing Blackboard to give Carlow University students three bachelor’s, seven master’s, and one doctoral options online. Two graduate certificates for Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement or Online Instructional Design and Technology are also available. Quality online courses maintain a 12:1 student-faculty ratio for substantive interaction, including with an Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize winner. Other online benefits are 24/7 technology support, multimedia services, e-tutoring, Grace Library access, experiential learning, and NC-SARA authorization. Two sample online graduate degrees are:

Master of Science in Fraud and Forensics

Chaired by Dr. Diane Matthews of Deloitte & Touche, Carlow’s Master of Science in Fraud and Forensics was the first micromaster’s formed by subject matter experts 100 percent online to review the legal repercussions of financial or cyber offenses. Partnered with the NCFTA, the 30-credit, CPA-eligible program begins each August with accelerated, five-week courses like Fraud Prevention, White Collar Crime, and Audit Procedures that require virtual residencies.

Master of Science in Nursing Leadership

Reporting 96 percent job placement at Excela Health, UPMC, Heritage Valley, and more, the MSN in Nursing Leadership lets online Carlow post-grads advance their clinical practice to lead collaborative patient care teams in just 20 months. The 33-credit, non-GRE program overseen by Dr. Renee Ingel offers eight- or 16-week modes for courses from Healthcare Innovation to Fiscal Management and Decision Making for Leaders before the internship.

Learn about more online offerings, such as the Master of Education in Special Education, MBA in Project Management, Doctor of Nursing Practice, and MFA in Creative Writing, at the Carlow University website.