About Drexel University

Mission Statement

Drexel University fulfills our founder's vision of preparing each new generation of students for productive professional and civic lives while also focusing our collective expertise on solving society's greatest problems. Drexel is an academically comprehensive and globally engaged urban research university dedicated to advancing knowledge and society and to providing every student with a valuable, rigorous, experiential, technology-infused education, enriched by the nation's premier co-operative education program.


Drexel will be the Philadelphia region's leading university excelling in high-quality experiential education, online learning, translational research, technology transfer and business incubation, and urban revitalization. Drexel will use and leverage all its assets - outstanding faculty, highly motivated students, 150,000 alumni, a pragmatic and entrepreneurial culture, co-operative education, Drexel University Online, and our superior location as a major transportation hub - to create an accessible, relevant and market-leading educational research platform that benefits our diverse community of students, advances our scholarly work, and champions economic development in our region. Drexel will join the ranks of the most impactful and competitive universities in the United States at a time when the nation is clamoring for educational value, jobs, and new ideas for bolstering our economy.

A Brief History of Drexel University

In founding the institution that would become Drexel University, Philadelphia financier and philanthropist Anthony J. Drexel launched a tradition of innovation. Mr. Drexel envisioned an institution of higher learning uniquely suited to the needs of a rapidly growing industrial society and the young women and men seeking their place in it - core values that continue to guide the University in its modern era. Mr. Drexel's vision was realized in 1891 with the establishment of the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry. Originally a non-degree-granting institution, Drexel began conferring bachelor of science degree in 1914, when its 18 departments were organized into four schools. In 1927, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted Drexel the privilege to confer the master of science degree, and in 1965, the doctor of philosophy degree.

The cornerstone of Drexel's career preparation model has been its cooperative education (co-op) program. Introduced in 1919 as one of the first models of its kind, co-op is integral to the University's educational experience. Through co-op, students alternate periods of study with periods of full-time professional employment, providing unrivaled, valuable professional experience.

The institution's curriculum and organization of its academic programs have evolved to include 15 colleges and schools. Through its evolution, Drexel has undergone two changes in name - in 1936 becoming the Drexel Institute of Technology, and in 1970, Drexel University. The current title reflects the institution's commitment to research as well as the breadth of its academic programs.

Drexel's mission, services and opportunities expanded further in 2002 when MCP Hahnemann University, a major Philadelphia health sciences institution, merged with Drexel University with the addition of the College of Medicine, the College of Nursing and Health Professions, and the recently named Dornsife School of Public Health. In 2001, the University established an affiliation with one of Philadelphia's most storied institutions, the Academy of National Sciences, now the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. These historic events extended the resources of Drexel have led to many productive synergies in teaching and research.

Drexel's foundation as an innovating institution established the university as a national leader in higher education. In 1983, Drexel became the nation's first university to require all undergraduates to have personal access to a microcomputer for use in all their coursework. The university continued its commitment to integrating technology when it became the first university to operate a fully wireless campus in 2000. In 2006, Drexel became the first major research university to open a new law school in 25 years. The Thomas R. Kline School of Law is one of only two US university law schools that follows a cooperative education model of learning.

Throughout its evolution to a comprehensive urban research university, Drexel's core mission has held constant. Since its founding, the institution has remained a privately controlled, nonsectarian, coeducational center of higher learning, distinguished by a commitment to preparing women and men for success in their chosen careers incorporating experiential learning and celebrating diversity. Its greatly expanded enrollment, campuses, and curricula reflect a history of responsiveness to societal and individual needs - all of which Mr. Drexel sought to address in his day and going forward through his charge "change."

Drexel University Today

Today, over 24,000 students are enrolled in over 100 undergraduate programs and over 190 graduate programs across 17 colleges, schools, and centers:

Drexel Co-op

Drexel University has been a pioneer in cooperative education since 1919 — operating one of the largest cooperative education programs in the nation. Undergraduates alternate on-campus study with full-time employment in fields related to their academic interests. More than 1,600 employer organizations in business, government, health care and education participate at locations in more than 30 states and 45 countries. The Steinbright Career Development Center (Steinbright) works to ensure that students and alumni get the most from their experiential and career education activities.


Technology is integrated into every aspect of the Drexel educational experience, marking the university as a leader in educational innovation.

Drexel made history in 1983 when it became the first university to mandate that all students must have personal access to a microcomputer. This tradition of leadership in integrating state-of-the-art technologies into a Drexel education continued when Drexel, in early 1998, inaugurated the first totally wireless library in the nation. In 2000, Drexel again made history by becoming the nation’s first major university to offer completely wireless Internet access across the entire campus.

A pioneer in online learning, Drexel offers distance education programs leading to certificates and degrees in areas including engineering management, business administration, information systems and library and information science. Drexel University Online has over 7,500 unique students from all 50 states and more than 20 countries pursuing one of more than 130 graduate and undergraduate degree and certificate programs. Over all, there are more than 13,000 Drexel University students taking at least one course online.

Drexel is widely recognized for excellence in technology-based, experiential learning and was ranked 94th in the 2018 edition of U.S.News & World Report's "Best National Colleges."


Drexel's 74-acre University City Main Campus is located in the vibrant University City district of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Drexel makes full use of its metropolitan setting by integrating Philadelphia and its resources into the classroom, co-op/internship experience, and student life, making it a model for other urban universities. The main campus is a 10-minute walk from Center City, the core of Philadelphia's commercial and business district.

Drexel teaches at two additional Philadelphia campuses: the Center City Campus houses the College of Nursing and Health Professions and the Queen Lane Medical Campus in East Falls houses the College of Medicine. The Law School also operates the Kline Institute of Trial Advocacy in Center City.

Programs of note

Civic Engagement
Civic engagement, participation in the public life of the community, is important to the Drexel University's strategic plan. Civic engagement can take many forms from volunteerism doing community service to electoral participation and advocacy. 

Drexel University’s Lindy Center for Civic Engagement fosters a culture of civic responsibility by providing programs and resources that empower Drexel students and the broader university community to expand their civic identities through engagement in mutually beneficial partnerships that lead to a more just society.

The Lindy Center for Civic Engagement focuses on four core priorities including: Community-Based Learning, Civic Leadership, Public Service, and Community Partnerships.

Honors Program
The Pennoni College offers several academic options for its students. These opportunities are designed to be intensive, and are taught by faculty members who understand and accommodate Honors students’ abilities and aspirations.

The Honors Program offers several academic options for its students. These opportunities are designed to be intensive, and are taught by faculty members who understand and accommodate Honors students’ abilities and aspirations.
These options include:

  • Honors Colloquia: These interdisciplinary courses introduce students to topics not typically covered elsewhere. These courses are small, discussion-based, seminar style classes. Past Honors Colloquia topics include: The Hidden God in Cinema; Theory of Special Relativity; The Graphic Novel; Torture and Terrorism, and many others.
  • Honors-Section Courses: These courses fulfill traditional major requirements but offer Honors credit. While the subject remains the same, the classes are taught to smaller groups, consisting entirely of Honors students, and on an advanced level that encourages discussion and practical application. Honors-section courses include, among other subjects, physics, English, business, general psychology, chemistry, and biology.
  • Honors Options:  With permission from their instructors and approval from the Honors Program, Honors students may elect to enhance non-honors courses to yield honors credit. The student and faculty member conducting may agree on the specific terms before the course begins and jointly submit a proposal to the Honors Program.
  • Independent Study: Honors students frequently come across topics in their general coursework that they would like to investigate in greater detail. To accommodate this, the Honors College encourages students to study and research a topic of their choosing with guidance from a faculty member. 

The Great Works Symposium
The Great Works Symposium is a series of team-taught, interdisciplinary courses, each one focused upon a great human achievement or important global problem. Each course typically has at least three instructors, representing three different academic disciplines, and typically there is a series of about ten guest lecturers, recognized experts on the topic, also representing a wide variety of disciplines and points of view. Each course is broader in its content than what could be covered by any one academic discipline or any single textbook, but each has a concrete center of focus. Each topic is broad and important enough that it is relevant to the education of any student.

The Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, established at Drexel in 1918, is an integral part of the University. Army ROTC courses are open to all students, and enrollment alone does not carry a military obligation. Students selected for the advanced course (normally pre-junior, junior, and senior years) will complete their academic and military studies concurrently, and upon graduation will be commissioned as lieutenants in the United States Army, Army Reserve, or Army National Guard. Participation in the advanced course may qualify participants to receive financial aid through a series of scholarships and cooperative education programs. For further information, contact the Professor of Military Science, Drexel University, The Armory, 33rd and Market Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Drexel students are eligible to participate in the Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps  (NROTC) through a cross-enrollment agreement with the University of Pennsylvania. All naval science courses are held on Penn’s campus. The NROTC program enables a college student to earn a commission in the Navy or the Marine Corps while concurrently satisfying requirements for his or her baccalaureate degree. Scholarship and nonscholarship programs are available.

Drexel students are eligible to participate in the Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps  (AFROTC) through a cross-enrollment agreement with St. Joseph's University. All aerospace studies courses will be held on the St. Joseph's campus. The AFROTC program enables a college student to earn a commission as an Air Force officer while concurrently satisfying requirements for his or her baccalaureate degree.


Study Abroad
Drexel University's Study Abroad programs are open to students in all disciplines who meet the qualifications of each individual program. Please see the study abroad website for eligibility requirements of each individual program and for the most up to date program offerings.

Foreign Language Proficiency
The University awards an advanced-level Certification of Proficiency in a foreign language in recognition of exceptional ability in oral and written communication in that language. Certification is listed on the official college transcript.

Examinations leading to proficiency certification include listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and written analysis, and the ETS Achievement Test, which is also the qualifying examination for proficiency testing. Certification also requires successful completion of an extensive oral interview, with at least a “2” rating on the FSI/ACTFL rating scale. Certification indicates proven ability to function effectively in professional and social situations in a country in which the target language is spoken.

Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity

University Policy: Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity
It is the policy of the University to provide a working and learning environment in which employees and students are able to realize their full potential as productive members of the University community. To this end, the University affirms its commitment to equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in employment and education for all qualified individuals regardless of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, disability or applicable veteran status or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal or state law. Further, the University is committed to taking affirmative action to increase opportunities at all levels of employment and to increase opportunities for participation in programs and activities by all faculty, staff, and students.

Affirmative Action is directed toward racial and ethnic minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and Vietnam-era veterans. All member of the University community -- faculty, staff, and students – are expected to cooperate fully in meeting these goals.

It is the policy of the University that no qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of the disability, be excluded from participation in University programs and activities. Disability is defined as any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or having a record of such impairment; or being regarded as having such impairment. A qualified individual with a disability means an individual as defined above, who is capable of performing the essential functions of a particular job or of participating in a particular course of study, with or without reasonable accommodations for his/her disability. Reasonable accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Consumer Information and Student Right to Know

In accordance with federal regulations set forth by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 1965, as amended, a summary of consumer information must be made available to all prospective and enrolled students at Drexel University. Links to the information is available on the Office of the Provost's website.

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