Jul 14, 2024  
College Catalog 2021-2022 
College Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academics at Elizabethtown College

Overview and Accreditations

Founded in 1899, Elizabethtown College is a selective, private, residential, co-educational college located on 204 acres in historic Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The campus is near Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Philadelphia, each of which is rich with cultural, athletic, and social opportunities.

Elizabethtown offers 61 majors and 100+ minors and concentrations, which lead to degrees in liberal arts, fine and performing arts, science and engineering, business, health and social services, and education. This array of programs allows our students to prepare for a broad spectrum of graduate programs and careers. Elizabethtown College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia PA 19104, 267-284-5000. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. In addition, Elizabethtown has specialized accreditations from ABET; the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education of the American Occupational Therapy Association; the American Chemical Society Committee on Professional Training; the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs; the Council on Social Work Education; and the National Association of Schools of Music.

Elizabethtown College is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), a voluntary, interstate agreement that establishes comparable standards for offering postsecondary distance education across state lines.  Member states recognize participating institutions that are authorized in other member states.  SARA establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state.

Currently, close to 1,700 full-time students are enrolled at the College. The majority of these men and women hail from the mid-Atlantic region (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and New York) but also represent close to 15 additional states and 16 other countries. Educating our students are 124 full-time faculty members, 94% of whom hold doctorate or terminal degrees in their fields. In addition, 320 adult learners also are pursuing degrees through the College’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies at the Edward R. Murphy Center.


Elizabethtown College provides a transformative educational experience that cultivates personal strengths and develops a passion for lifelong learning and purposeful work.

The impact of an Elizabethtown College education is long-lasting and far-reaching because it is deeply transformative. Students acquire new habits of mind and heart—some in the course of the undergraduate experience, others as students grow beyond college.

Educational Philosophy

Elizabethtown College engages students in a dynamic, integrated learning process that blends the liberal arts and professional studies. Challenged to take responsibility for their education, students at Elizabethtown embark on a journey of self-transformation that involves intellectual, social, and personal growth.

The College is committed to educating the whole person within a relationship-centered learning community, where common goals are achieved through engagement in a rigorous academic curriculum and thoughtful co-curricular experiences. Students are encouraged to develop and challenge their own values, while seeking to understand and appreciate alternative perspectives. Embedded in an ever-changing global context, the College promotes the developmental, collaborative, and complex nature of learning.

In seeking to “educate for service,” Elizabethtown College believes that students can perform no greater service than they do when sharing knowledge and creativity with others. Opportunities to strengthen scholarship and leadership extend beyond the classroom, and students learn actively through practical experiences and civic engagement.

The impact of an Elizabethtown College education is long-lasting and far-reaching because it is deeply transformative. Students acquire new habits of mind and heart – some in the course of the undergraduate experience, others as students grow beyond college.

Learning Goals

At Elizabethtown College, students are inspired and challenged to:

  • assume responsibility for their intellectual development, personal growth, and well-being. Students will learn to sharpen their curiosity and become aware of the capabilities, strategies, and resources needed to learn.

  • reason, analyze, and engage in critical thinking. Students will make, systematically evaluate, and, if necessary, refute arguments and claims – their own and those of others.

  • demonstrate thoughtful and articulate communication by applying knowledge in a variety of contexts, including writing, speaking, listening, and interpretation.

  • understand the creative process and its role in human expression, and cultivate the ability to make informed aesthetic judgments.

  • navigate diverse cultural worldviews and perspectives, with the realization that differing frames of reference influence analysis, communication, and behavior.

  • make reflective ethical decisions and act with integrity to seek just outcomes with relationships, communities, and society.

  • apply and integrate different strands of learning and comprehend interconnections in the process of gaining knowledge and experience.

  • identify and cultivate a sense of purpose that inspires a commitment to meaningful work in service to society.

The Qualities of Our Education

Our educational experience blends a high standard of scholarship with four signature attributes, which include commitments to educate our students in a relationship-centered learning community, foster in our students international and cross-cultural perspectives, complement classroom instruction with experiential-learning opportunities, and prepare our students for purposeful lives and meaningful work.

Relationship-Centered Learning

Our educational programs engage students in ways that capture their most profound attention, confront them with learning experiences that are compelling, and call out from them responses that reach beyond what even they thought possible. In this learning community, our faculty members and staff members demonstrate passion for their subjects and for continued learning so our students see how compelling deep engagement is. Students receive personal attention, as all College employees commit to expressing sincere and genuine interest in the educational success of our students. Our College’s classes deliberately are kept small to support our students’ individual needs and challenge them to grow.

International and Cross-Cultural Perspectives

Elizabethtown offers a globalized curriculum and co-curriculum. Programs of study and development help students understand and effectively engage with other cultures and the globalization of life and work. Our staff includes faculty and staff members who are citizens of countries from around the world, who speak a multitude of languages, and who have had myriad study and residential experiences on other continents. Students study alongside classmates from other cultures. Additionally, they encounter our international world when they visit, study, or live in cities as diverse as Harrisburg, Philadelphia, London, Beijing and Quito.

Signature Learning Experiences

Elizabethtown College is committed to engaging its students in real-world learning opportunities that complement classroom learning and provide pathways to productive careers and lives beyond college. All Elizabethtown College students will complete at least two Signature Learning Experiences as part of their graduation requirements. In consultation with their academic advisor, students will select at least two of the following five Signature Learning Experiences: supervised research; community-based learning; cross-cultural experiences; internships, field experiences or practicums; and capstone experiences. More information can be found on The Core Program and Signature Learning Experiences .

Purposeful Life Work

In both the curriculum and co-curriculum, the College’s educational program fosters an understanding of education for a life of purpose based on a holistic model of student development that integrates career development; reflection on vocation, meaning and life; and a commitment to civic engagement. As a result, graduates of Elizabethtown are prepared to make the world a better place. They do so, in part, by living in ways that reflect their individual commitments, respond to the needs of others, and value personal and ethical integrity.

Inclusive Excellence and Diversity

At Elizabethtown College the learning that takes place here happens inside and outside the classroom. Our students connect with and learn from faculty members and fellow students from all walks of life and cultures, domestic and international. Our College and members of our campus community thrive in this inclusive environment – one that examines, recognizes and affirms the human dignity of everyone on our campus, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, ability, gender, gender identity and expression, age, or national origin. The Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Title IX supports this rich learning environment and connects with local, regional, and national organizations to strengthen diversity initiatives at the college. For more information, please visit www.etown.edu/offices/diversity.


Elizabethtown College was established by representatives of the Church of the Brethren on September 23, 1899. As outlined in our charter, the purpose of the College was “to give such harmonious development to the physical, mental and moral powers of both sexes as will best fit them for the duties of life.” On November 13, 1900, classes began for six students in the A. Heisey Building, located in downtown Elizabethtown, until Alpha Hall was completed later that year.

During the early years, the institution operated as an academy, offering a limited curriculum. In 1921, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Instruction accredited the College and authorized it to grant bachelor’s degrees in the arts and sciences. In May 1948, Elizabethtown was accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Since the late 1940s, Elizabethtown has grown significantly – in our student and faculty population, in our academic and co-curricular offerings, and in the number and quality of our facilities.

Our Campus

To provide the superior classrooms and cutting-edge technology necessary to prepare our students for their futures, the College has significantly enhanced our facilities over the past several years. Today, our campus is a beautiful marriage of stately 1900s architecture – symbolic of the College’s century-old heritage – and state-of-the-art academic and co-curricular buildings.

Located at the heart of campus, the Baugher Student Center is the hub of student activity at Elizabethtown. With the Brossman Commons addition, the Center offers comprehensive academic and career support through its Center for Student Success. Students who wish to get involved with activities or religious life on campus can visit the Center for Student Involvement. Additionally, the facility includes our Tempest Theatre, home to the College’s theatrical performances; the College Store; dining facilities; and an on-campus post office.

At the edge of campus sits Leffler Chapel and Performance Center, a beautiful venue for showcasing the talents of world-class performers and speakers hosted by Elizabethtown College. Highlighting the year are performances by the College’s talented musical ensembles and the annual Ware Lecture on Peacemaking, which has presented speakers such as former hostage Terry Waite, Nobel Peace Prize winner F.W. de Klerk, and New York Times reporter and op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof.

The James B. Hoover Center for Business is home to the College’s business program. In these modern facilities, our business faculty members create a learning environment in which students gain the knowledge and experience necessary to handle real-world business issues with expertise and integrity. This building also houses the Elizabethtown College School of Continuing and Professional Studies, which provides a variety of programs for adult learners, and the High Center, which provides support to area family businesses.

In the College’s Masters Center for Science, Mathematics and Engineering are the classrooms, modern laboratories, and research facilities essential for a 21st-century science education. It features state-of-the-art learning centers and facilities, including the Lyet Wing for Biological Sciences, the Masters Mineral Gallery, Occupational Therapy Kid Zone, and the Bollman Fabrication Laboratory.

Zug Memorial Hall houses various music studios, classrooms and practice rooms, asa well as lockers for storing instruments. Each rehearsal space is fully equipped for music study with a combination of upright and studio grand pianos, sound equipment and presentation podiums. Practice rooms are partially sound proof with upright pianos. Our man rehearsal and performance spaces contain Steinway pianos.

The athletics complexes and fitness and well-being facilities feature the Jay Walk where offices for the College’s coaching staff and the Ira R. Herr Athletic Hall of Fame are located. The complexes include a collection of outstanding athletic facilities, including a softball field; an outdoor MONDO-surface track; Wolf Field, our artificial turf surface for lacrosse and field hockey; and the Kevin Scott Boyd Memorial Stadium for baseball. The new $24.5 million, 82,000 square foot Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness and Well-being, demonstrates the College’s commitment to campus well-being. The complex provides space for group fitness classes and educational workshops, a 180-meter MONDO surface track, cardio equipment, health promotion programming, a smoothie bar, demonstration kitchen and locker rooms for athletic teams and the College community.

The Bowers Writers House at 840 College Hill Lane is a short walk from campus. An interdisciplinary venue for presentation, performance, expression, and study, Bowers Writers House supports a culture of creative curiosity and fosters a sense of excitement and enthusiasm for intellectual diversity. Bowers Writers House programs – from dramatic readings to interactive panels to musical performances – offer a dynamic variety of enjoyable and informative experiences.