Jul 17, 2024  
OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2024-25 
OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2024-25

Mission, Vision and History

Alumni GateClick on a link to be taken to the entry below.


The Preamble*

When the United States Congress adopted the Ordinance of 1787, Ohio University became the first university to be chartered through an act of Congress. Its purpose then — to expand the reach of education — has not changed. We are committed to removing barriers to a world-class higher education and the lifelong benefits it offers, and educating students to be distinctively-prepared professionals, dynamic leaders and thoughtful citizens who contribute to the greater good.

Situated at the meeting point of America’s Northeast, Midwest and Southeast regions, we bring together students from down the street and around the world to a university community focused entirely on their success and deeply committed to delivering value, through both affordability and experiences that promise a return on the investment. As a national, R1 research institution, we engage students in transformational research with a focus on inquiry and creativity that impacts communities, here in Appalachia and around the world. Our approach to learning in and through community fosters connections that expand each student’s view of the world and influence the impact they will have on it, today and forever.

*Note: The Preamble, Mission, Vision, and Values are currently draft until approved. This is expected to occur at the June 2024 Board of Trustees meeting.

Our Mission

To hold the door open to higher education so that all those eager to solve humanity’s most urgent challenges might enter to learn, connecting them with experiences and discovery that will help them think critically, care deeply, lead boldly, and ultimately depart to serve.

Our Vision

To deliver the most valuable university education in Ohio, and lead as one of the most valued public universities in the nation.

  • For students, we will connect each student with personalized experiences that ensure their lifelong success while maximizing opportunities for an affordable education.
  • For communities and partners, we will be eager collaborators in addressing challenges and advancing opportunities.
  • For our state, will will remain committed to serving students in and recruiting students to Ohio and be actively responsible to evolving workforce and educational needs.
  • For all, we will invest in research and creativity that translates to solutions, delivering value far beyond Ohio’s borders. 

Our Values

  • We believe that a University education can and should be both academically excellent and accessible to all who seek it.
  • We fully embrace that the educational experience, at its best, can and must ensure success for every student.
  • We are confident that learning happens in community and through experiences, and we work to build both into all programs and modalities, in and out of the classroom.
  • We are committed to working with business and community partners, not by delivering knowledge already achieved but by collaborating to build new knowledge together.
  • We recognize that our place in the world has value in our work — that what we can teach and learn in the heart of Appalachia can shape the success of our region and be applied far beyond these 13 states.
  • We expect respect across differences and recognize our responsibility to practice empathy, to appreciate diverse perspectives and cultures, and to develop the capacity to solve problems that transcend borders.
  • We remain resolute that students enter to learn and depart to serve, and we work to inspire students to apply their education to improve the world.

Undergraduate Education

Ohio University offers undergraduate instruction on both the Athens campus and the regional campuses. Undergraduate programs, designed to contribute to intellectual and personal development and career goals of students, emphasize liberal studies.

Undergraduate major programs, preprofessional, and professional programs prepare students for employment in a variety of careers and for continued study. Two–year technical and associate’s degree programs, reflecting employment opportunities, as well as the general career interests of students, are taught primarily at the regional campuses.

At the Athens campus, instruction is combined with residence life and other extracurricular programs in an effort to create a collegiate experience integrating learning and living. At our regional campuses, we provide affordable, flexible, and career-focused education that’s close to home.

Academic Advising

Ohio University recognizes academic advising to be a central element of the educational experience of its undergraduate students. Advising is a collaborative relationship for which advisors and students share responsibility and through which students create sound educational plans consistent with their academic, career, and personal goals. Advisors are responsible for being accessible and responsive to students, and for providing accurate, timely information. Students are responsible for being prepared for advising sessions, and for understanding University and major requirements.

Philosophy of the First Year

Ohio University believes that first–year students should be presented with a common set of curricular and cocurricular learning opportunities that introduce them to the intellectual skills, ethical norms, and civic values that will prepare them to succeed as scholars and citizens of the university community. Ohio University is committed to promoting academic, social, and personal engagement in that community and to ensuring continual improvement in the quality of the first–year experience through systematic assessment of student learning and involvement, academic practices and policies, and the availability and efficacy of support services.

Graduate and Professional Education

Ohio University offers graduate and professional education. The primary forms of activity are advanced and specialized courses of study, supervised practical experience, and research.

The essential concentration of faculty, material, and space resources dictates that the activity associated with graduate and professional education will be centered on the Athens campus. This activity is not limited to that campus; research and instruction are carried out at various locations.

Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

Ohio University is a center for scholarship, research, and creative activity involving the creation, testing, and dissemination of knowledge, understanding, expressions, and technique.

As a public university, Ohio University has a particular responsibility to address societal issues and needs through such scholarship, research, and creative activity. The scholarly and artistic activity of the faculty enhances the teaching function at all levels of the student experience.

Extended Community

Ohio University serves an extended community. The public service mission of the University, expressed in such activities as public broadcasting and continuing education programs, reflects the responsibility of the University to serve the ongoing educational needs of the region. The regional campuses perform a critical role in serving this extended community.

It is the purpose of these extended University programs to serve a diverse range of educational needs, from professional groups requiring continuing courses of study related to the practice of their professions, to individuals desiring occasional or special interest study.

Ohio University contributes to cultural and economic development, health care, and to other human services.

Adopted January 15, 1977, and reaffirmed January 1988.

Academic advising statement added March 2005.

Philosophy of the first year added July 2007.

Vision statement updated May 2024.


Ohio University was chartered by the state of Ohio in 1804 and is the oldest university in the Northwest Territory. Located in the scenic Appalachian foothills of southeastern Ohio, its classic residential campus is one of the most attractive in the nation. The charm of tree-lined brick walkways on the university’s College Green makes you feel as if you are at a small college rather than a large university.

Ohio University’s roots are in post-Revolutionary War America. In 1786 a group of veterans petitioned Congress to purchase, through the Ohio Company of Associates, one-and-a-half million acres north and west of the Ohio River.

Revenue from two townships in the Ohio Company purchase was set aside for support of a university. In 1808 the university opened with three students, and in 1815 awarded its first two bachelor’s degrees.

The university graduated a total of only 145 students until after the Civil War. By 1920 it had 1,072 students, but it was not until after World War II that the university began to approach its present size.

In the 1950s the student population grew from 4,600 to 8,000, and the 1960s saw enrollment burgeon from about 10,000 to some 18,000 students on the Athens campus. In the early 1970s, during the Vietnam era, the student population fell below 13,000. Today the Athens campus serves over 18,000 students.

Since 1946, the university’s service as the major educational and cultural institution in southeastern Ohio has included regional campuses in Chillicothe, Ironton, Lancaster, St. Clairsville, and Zanesville. Today, the regional campuses collectively enroll over 5,000 students, making the full-time, part-time, and eCampus unduplicated enrollment for Ohio University over 33,000.

Under the new 2021 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classifications, Ohio University is designated a Doctoral Universities: Very High Research Activity (R1) under the Basic Classification category. Only 156 schools - 4% - of the 3,939 schools assessed by the Carnegie Foundation are classified as a R1 research school. Ohio University’s institutional peers are all classified as either a doctoral university (very high research activity) or a doctoral university (high research activity - R2).