Widener University

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In 1821, the Bullock School of Boys was established by John Bullock in Wilmington, Delaware with a vision to prepare young men for college. The name of the school changed to the Alsop School for Boys and in 1853 after Samuel Alsop became headmaster and, after its purchase by Theodore Hyatt, who then took the position of headmaster, it became the Hyatt School for Boys.

In an effort to develop a "gentlemanly carriage" in students by building muscles and "expanding the chest," Hyatt created a military discipline, requiring young men to perform drills in the gym using broomsticks. This led the school to be chartered as the Delaware Military Institute Academy in 1859. Just before the Civil War, the school moved to West Chester, Pennsylvania, which was an abolitionist-friendly state, undergoing another name change to the Pennsylvania Military Academy. A civil engineering department was started at the school by Colonel George Patten, a Union soldier who was raised in South Carolina. The engineering program at the school has grown to world-renowned recognition.

Another move occurred in 1866, but the school only remained in Upland, Pennsylvania for two years before moving to its current location in Chester, Pennsylvania. Under the direction of General Charles Hyatt, the son of Theodore Hyatt, the school became Pennsylvania Military College. The curriculum and school were designed after West Point, the United States Army Military Academy and only admitted men. The similarities between West Point and the Pennsylvania Military College led the school to be nicknamed the "West Point of the Keystone State."

Civilians were not admitted to the school until 1946 and all of those who attended were veterans who were not permitted to live on campus. Non-veteran civilians were admitted in 1958, but they were required to take a special civilian curriculum and on-campus housing was still forbidden for non-military students. Enrollment decreased significantly during the Vietnam War due to lack of support for the war. The school addressed the enrollment issue by opening Penn Morton College for civilian men. Women were permitted to attend evening classes as of 1954, but were not admitted to day classes until 1966, when 17 nursing students began attending. In 1967, women were admitted to Penn Morton College and were allowed to live in on-campus housing.

Due to the declining enrollment, Pennsylvania Military College closed and cadets who were enrolled transferred to Penn Morton College. In recognition of the prominent Widener family in Philadelphia, who were supporters of the school, the college was renamed Widener College in 1972. The school acquired the Delaware Law School in 1975 which then became the Widener College Delaware Law School. In 1979, Widener became Widener University.

Today, Widener offers liberal arts and sciences as well as professional programs that lead to undergraduate and graduate degrees. The school focuses on academic excellence, career preparation and civic engagement in order for graduates to be successful.

Widener University Accreditation Details

Widener University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. In addition, industry-specific accreditation at Widener has been granted by the following organizations:

  • 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

Students who have no college credits are accepted into Widener as freshmen and must complete an online application. Students must provide an official high school transcript along with SAT and ACT scores. Students are not required to submit letters of recommendation or essays. Transfer students must submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended as well as official high school transcripts. If the transfer student has less than 12 transferrable credits, they must also provide SAT and ACT scores. Graduate students who wish to attend Widener must complete an online application. Each graduate program has different supporting documentation that must be submitted. Many require admission examination scores, such as the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MAT or TOEFL. Graduate students are advised to discuss admission requirements with an admissions counselor prior to applying.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Undergraduate tuition at Widener University is $42,034 per year. Graduate tuition per credit hour for master's degree programs are as follows:

  • Business – $984
  • Business Online – $984
  • Criminal Justice – $736
  • Education – $790
  • Engineering – $1,118
  • Hospitality Management – $844
  • Human Sexuality – $678
  • Liberal Studies – $944
  • Nursing – $736
  • Public Administration – $850
  • Social Work – $850
  • Social Work Online – $780

Per credit hour tuition for doctoral programs is as follows:

  • Education – $1,004
  • Human Sexuality – $1,004
  • Nursing – $980
  • PsyD – $1,088
  • Social Work – $956
  • Physical Therapy – $812

Tuition for full-time doctoral studies is $29,468 per year.

Widener University offers financial aid to students and approximately 85 percent of full-time students receive some type of aid, with more than 90 percent of undergraduate students receiving assistance. 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.

Online Degree Programs Available

Master of Business Administration

Widener's Master of Business Administration offers students a unique, full-integrative approach to understanding leadership roles in the business world. Students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in today's increasingly global business market. Students who take the online program receive the same high-quality education as students in traditional classroom settings. Students may choose to concentrate their studies in Health Care Management or Business Process Innovation. All classes are offered in an accelerated seven-week format.

Master of Social Work

The Master of Social Work program at Widener is designed to meet the educational and lifestyle needs of working professionals. Students who enroll in the program are dedicated to social justice and want to create a positive change in the community they serve. Students develop an understanding of how exposure to trauma in the community or family setting could lead to social issues. Students receive the tools and knowledge to intervene in these situations and to be advocates for human rights on a global scale.

What Careers Are Available With A Master's Degree In Social Work?


The RN to BSN program at Widener is dedicated to creating leaders in the nursing profession. Students learn in an atmosphere that fosters relationships while developing an understanding of societal health issues. Students are also encouraged to develop strong community ties in an effort to address health issues that may be unique to their local area. Licensed RNs can earn their BSN in as little as one year through the online program at Widener.

The online programs at Widener University allow students to achieve their higher education goals in a flexible format so that they may meet their social, work and family commitments. The programs are offered completely online, allowing working adults to move into a new career or advance in a current career.