College Mission and Profile
McDaniel College is a diverse, student-centered community committed to excellence in the liberal arts and sciences and professional studies. With careful mentoring and attention to the individual, McDaniel changes lives. We challenge students to develop their unique potentials with reason, imagination, and human concern. Through flexible academic programs, collaborative and experiential learning, and global engagement, McDaniel prepares students for successful lives of leadership, service, and social responsibility.
One of the first coeducational colleges in the nation and recognized nationally among the original “Colleges That Change Lives,” McDaniel offers more than 70 exceptional undergraduate programs of study, including pre-professional specializations and student-designed majors, plus over 20 highly regarded graduate programs.
Academics center on the McDaniel Plan, a customized, interdisciplinary curriculum that emphasizes experiential learning and student-faculty collaboration to develop the unique potential in every student. The signature McDaniel Commitment includes four components that guide students towards personal and professional success. Students also enroll in first-year seminars and senior capstone projects and can take specially designed courses both on- and off-campus during McDaniel’s three-week January term.
Special opportunities abound through McDaniel’s Center for Experience and Opportunity, Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Honors Program, Green Terror Army ROTC Battalion, National Security Fellows, and Global Fellows. The Student Accessibility and Support Services (SASS) is available to assist all students with documented disabilities and works with each student on a case-by-case basis.
Represented by the Green Terror, its more than 20 athletic teams compete in the NCAA Division III Centennial Conference. Students are involved in over 70 student organizations, intramural sports, and fraternities and sororities.
Committed to access and affordability, McDaniel is comprised of a diverse, student-centered community of 1,800 undergraduates from over 30 states and Washington, D.C., and 30 countries, and 1,400 graduate students, McDaniel also boasts a spectacular 160-acre hilltop campus in Westminster, Maryland, offering access to both Baltimore and Washington, D.C., plus a European campus in Budapest, Hungary.
The First Principles
McDaniel College believes that liberally educated individuals think and act critically, creatively, and humanely. They take charge of their lives and develop their unique potential with reason, imagination, and human concern. They take their place in the global community, understanding their responsibilities to aid individuals and to contribute to the larger society. McDaniel College accepts the challenge to provide an academic and social environment that promotes liberal learning.
- We strive to place students at the center of a humane environment so that they may see and work toward their personal goals while respecting others and sharing the responsibility for the common good.
- We provide a foundation of knowledge about the past and present so that students may be informed about the world.
- We provide various approaches to knowledge and personal achievement so that students can think critically about, respond creatively to, and form sensitive, intelligent decisions concerning the world and its future.
- We provide instruction in fundamental skills so that students can express themselves for their own satisfaction and to the larger community.
- We provide solid and respected professional programs for the committed student, and, more important, we provide a liberal arts education as an integral part of professional training so that students will be more flexible, more successful, and happier in the world of work.
In the classrooms, in the residence halls, in the laboratories, on the playing fields, and in the lounges, McDaniel College works to disseminate these First Principles.
Referred to as “the Hill,” McDaniel College is located in Westminster, Maryland, Carroll County’s largest town and county seat, and sits at the top of one of Maryland’s historical Main Streets. Westminster truly serves as an extension of McDaniel’s campus with restaurants, cafes, and other local businesses nearby, and the college benefits from partnerships throughout the community. Local residents also enjoy programs offered by the college, many of which are free.
Additionally, McDaniel is ideally situated between the Chesapeake Bay and the Blue Ridge Mountains, within close proximity to both Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Train trips from Baltimore also make day trips to Philadelphia and New York City convenient.
The college is known for its beautiful campus grounds and among the 73 buildings on the 160-acre campus, six are listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Over the last decade, new construction and major renovations have included Kenneth R. Gill Stadium, McTeer-Zepp Plaza, and Roj Student Center. Hoover Library offers access to a 24-hour computer lab and study commons, as well as special collections including the Nora Roberts American Romance Collection, the Bothe Poetry Lecture collection, and the Student Art Collection. Peterson Hall includes an art gallery for the college’s permanent collection as well as visiting exhibitions and WMC Alumni Hall is home to the performing arts program. Other campus facilities include a human performance laboratory, neuromuscular performance laboratory, and human anatomy and physiology laboratory; student research science labs; video production laboratory; photography studio; graphics laboratory; and observatory. The college also has a two-story fitness and recreation center and a nine-hole golf course that doubles as an 18-hole FootGolf course. The nearby McDaniel Environmental Center is an outdoor learning lab for students to engage in hands-on educational opportunities in agriculture, conservation, and environmental sciences, as well as community building.
Hoover Library houses over 200,000 books, periodicals, media and U.S. government documents, and provides access to thousands of full-text databases and online journals. Hoover’s online catalog is searchable at hoover.mcdaniel.edu, and also links to the holdings information of the Carroll County Public Library System and the Carroll Community College Library, which, with Hoover, form the Carroll Library Partnership. McDaniel College Library I.D. cards are valid at either of the other CLP sites. Hoover Library’s memberships in the Maryland Independent Colleges and Universities Association library group as well as the Baltimore Academic Libraries Consortium allow for additional reciprocal borrowing opportunities for students and faculty. Interlibrary loan services are also freely available, and state-of-the-art reference services include extensive course-integrated bibliographic and information literacy instruction. Visit the Hoover website for more details as well as hours information.
Students have access to class syllabi and course resources through the Blackboard learning management system. A Microsoft Teams site has been created for every course to provide video conferencing capabilities and to enhance student collaboration. Classrooms, meeting spaces, and seminar rooms have been equipped with a presentation system and a computer to support classes and events. Students have access to nine campus computer labs including a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week computer lab. Wireless access points across the campus provide students, faculty, and staff with access to the campus network, campus systems, and the Internet.
Having the right technology is important to a successful college career. While McDaniel has nine computing labs on campus, students are generally expected to bring their own laptop with them to support their academic goals. Most classes will expect students to use Microsoft products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Outlook). For this reason, all McDaniel students can download and use Microsoft 365 on their personal computer for free.
The McDaniel portal provides access to important information, campus offices, email, and links to all campus systems.
McDaniel 1Card is the official identification card for McDaniel College students. McDaniel 1Cards are issued to all members of the college community and are required for identification and access to essential campus services. The 1Card also offers a convenient account— McDaniel Bucks— for making purchases on and around campus.
Information Technology supports students, faculty, and staff in their use of technology to improve teaching, learning, and the business operations of the college. Members of the campus community can visit, call, or email the Information Technology Help Desk to ask questions or request assistance.
Faculty and Curriculum
Faculty members – 130 full-time professors with 96% holding the highest degree in their field – devote themselves to classroom, lab, and studio teaching. Many conduct research and involve students in their work. Professors generally teach three courses each semester and spend ample time with students outside of the classroom helping them plan academic programs, arrange internships, and prepare for careers. An average class size of 15 students encourages collaborative discussion and learning. Faculty members also serve as advisors to many student organizations.
Academics center on the McDaniel Plan, a customized, interdisciplinary curriculum that emphasizes experiential learning and curricular choices tailored to each student to develop their unique potential. An expansive curriculum enables students to acquire a broad base of knowledge in the areas of humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, and social sciences and also to pursue learning in depth in one or more of the 70 fields of study. The program links wide-ranging educational experiences with strong career preparation and extensive internship and community outreach programs in the Center for Experience and Opportunity (CEO).
A signature component is the McDaniel Commitment, which includes four elements— My Place, My Design, My Experience, and My Career—that are embedded within the college’s general education curriculum and are experienced by students at different stages of their development at the college. “My Place” is an intensive orientation which begins in the summer before they arrive and extends through their first semester; “My Design” is a course taken in their first January Term, in which they explore their strengths and areas of growth, and they chart a purposeful path of experiences for the next four years; “My Experience” guarantees every student two experiential learning opportunities, including service learning, study abroad, student-faculty collaborative research, credit-based internship, or independent study; and “My Career” is the career-counseling course taken during the junior or senior year to help them launch from college into their desired career. A team of mentors helps students develop a completely tailored program of courses and opportunities to prepare them for personal and professional success.
Students have the flexibility to choose courses that match their interests and fuel their ambitions, plus classes specific to each academic year from first-year seminar through senior capstone.
Faculty advisors offer guidance across the curriculum and work closely with their advisees in planning their academic program about course selections and planning strategies. Students may receive additional guidance from the Office of Academic Life, Student Accessibility and Support Services (SASS), and the Center for Experience and Opportunity (CEO).
The college’s academic program, the McDaniel Plan, provides a liberal arts education that combines a comprehensive program of general education and a rigorous program in the major, complemented by electives and a range of special opportunities. More than 70 undergraduate programs of study including student-designed majors, plus pre-professional programs, are available. The Bachelor of Arts degree is offered in Accounting, Actuarial Science, Applied Mathematics, Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, Art, Asian Studies, American Sign Language, Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedical Science, Business Administration, Chemistry, Cinema, Communication, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Economics, Elementary Education, English, Environmental Studies, Food Studies, Health Sciences with Athletic Training, Chiropractic, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, and Physician Assistant specializations, History, International Business, Kinesiology, Marketing, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics with Computer Science and Engineering specializations, Political Science, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, Spanish, Theatre Arts, and Writing and Publishing. Many students choose more than one major and/or minor.
McDaniel College offers a licensure program in social work and initial teacher certification in elementary, PK-12, and secondary education (Maryland certification includes reciprocity with more than 45 other states), pre-professional programs in dentistry, law, and health professions. The college also offers an Army ROTC program.
Graduate Degree Programs
McDaniel College offers more than 20 graduate and professional programs that are primarily virtual and cater to working professionals, career changers, and others wanting to continue their education. Programs include M.S. in Counseling (Clinical Mental Health or School Counseling), Data Analytics, Educational Leadership, Innovations in Teaching and Learning, Education of the Deaf, Elementary or Secondary Education (non-certification), Gerontology, Human Resources Management, Human Services Management-Special Education, Kinesiology, Public Administration and Policy, Reading Specialist: Literacy Leadership, School Librarianship, Special Education, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and Teaching with certification in Elementary Education, PK-12 Education, or Secondary Education, plus a Master of Liberal Arts. Post-baccalaureate certificates are offered in Administrator I, Data Analytics, Equity and Excellence in Education, Gifted and Talented Education Specialist, Learning Technologies Specialist, Specialist in Aging, STEM Instructional Leader, and Writing for Children and Young Adults.
Study abroad is available for academic credit at McDaniel’s European campus in Budapest, Hungary, with our exchange partner ISEP exchange consortium in more than 50 countries, or our exchange partnership with Université Saint-Louis in Brussels, Belgium. Students can also study off-campus through one of our hundreds of affiliate programs or the McDaniel faculty-lead January Term domestic or international trips.
McDaniel’s European campus in Budapest, Hungary, is the branch campus of McDaniel College. Established in 1994, the Budapest campus attracts students from around the world and is a lively study abroad center for students from colleges across the United States; the McDaniel students benefit by being able to take their institutional financial aid package with them when they study there. Study abroad students may enroll at McDaniel Budapest for a semester or a full year program. Credit-bearing internships may be possible in some disciplines. Students also travel on field trips to cities throughout Central Europe as a regular part of the program. In addition to serving as a national study abroad center for U.S. students, the Budapest campus provides a four-year undergraduate curriculum leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art, Business Administration, Communication, Political Science, and Psychology, plus a minor in Journalism & New Media. International students enrolled at McDaniel Budapest have the option of spending at least one semester in residence on the home campus. All Budapest courses are taught in English by highly qualified Hungarian, British, and American faculty. The Budapest campus is fully accredited by the Commission of Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
More than 20 national and international honor societies recognize leadership, service, and academic achievement, including the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest academic honor society. Those recognizing leadership include Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society that was installed at the college in 1963, and Trumpeters, which recognizes exemplary qualities of leadership, integrity, and sincerity.
The key to college life is involvement. Over 80% of undergraduate students live on campus; one-third compete on one of over 20 athletic teams; and all enjoy activities sponsored by more than 70 diverse student organizations, intramural sports, and fraternities and sororities.
McDaniel is committed to access and affordability and invests over $50 million annually in grants and scholarships. Tuition for 2023-2024 is $48,672, standard room and board are $13,422 and personal expenses (including books and transportation) are estimated at $3,904 per year.
The College supports a program of financial aid to eligible students based on both need and merit. More than 90 percent of students receive financial assistance. Students who have been accepted by the college and can demonstrate financial need as required by the federal government may be eligible for assistance in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and opportunities for student employment. Typically, an award is a package of these four resources tailored to the student’s needs.
Merit scholarships range from $15,000 per year to $30,000 per year for first-year students and from $15,000 per year to $26,000 per year for transfer students. McDaniel’s Legacy Scholarships, valued at up to $120,000 over four years, are guaranteed for children of Pre-K through 12th grade and community college educators, military veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their children, and children, stepchildren, and grandchildren of our alumni. The college also participates in the Post 9-11 GI Bill® and Yellow Ribbon Program, which covers up to the cost of full tuition.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.
More than 20 athletic teams compete in NCAA Division III as a member of the Centennial Conference, one of the nation’s elite small college conferences. Men’s and women’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, volleyball, and wrestling.
McDaniel College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), 1007 North Orange Street, 4th Floor, MB #166, Wilmington, DE 19801. MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Commission of Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation. Accreditation was first granted in 1922, with the last reaffirmation occurring in 2013. The next reaffirmation cycle will be completed in Fall 2023.
Shortly after the Civil War, Fayette R. Buell, a Westminster teacher, embarked on his dream of founding a small private college. He purchased a tract of land – a hill overlooking the town – and issued a prospectus in search of support for his dream. Although financing was slow to materialize, he did receive generous support from two of the community’s leaders: the Reverend J.T. Ward of the Methodist Protestant Church, who would become the college’s first president, and John Smith, president of the then-thriving Western Maryland Railroad and a resident of nearby Wakefield Valley.
Mr. Smith, who became the first president of the college’s Board of Trustees, suggested that the college be named Western Maryland College after the railroad, which maintained an important terminal in Westminster. On the day in 1866 that the cornerstone was laid for the college’s first building, free rail passage was granted to everyone who attended the ceremonies. Eventually, the Western Maryland Railroad merged with another company. But the college that bore its name continued to grow.
The first building of Western Maryland College was completed in September 1867; 37 men and women were enrolled in eight areas of study. Already, the new college was in many ways ahead of its time. In the original Charter, the founders and the first Board of Trustees clearly reflected their intentions that the College be an innovative and independent institution.
From its beginnings, the college offered entrance to all students without regard to race, religion, color, gender, or national or ethnic origin. It was one of the first coeducational colleges in the nation and the first south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Since its inception, it has been an independent liberal arts college with an autonomous Board of Trustees. A voluntary fraternal affiliation with the United Methodist Church existed from 1868 to 1974; today there are no ties to any denominational body. Control and ownership are fully vested by the Charter in the trustees, under Maryland state law.
On January 11, 2002, the trustees announced their unanimous decision to change the name of Western Maryland College after discussion and surveys confirmed confusion over where and what the college was. Under a new name, the college would be better recognized as a private college of the liberal arts and sciences in Central Maryland, offering access to both Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Alumni, students, parents, faculty, and emeriti faculty, administrators, and trustees participated in the process to select a name which embodied the essence of the college. On July 1, 2002, McDaniel College renewed its educational mission in honor of William R. McDaniel, a man who meant as much to the college as the college meant to him.
In recognition of the college’s 135-year history as Western Maryland College, Alumni Hall was renamed WMC Alumni Hall, and the course “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about McDaniel College/Western Maryland College” is offered during January Term.
McDaniel marked the college’s 150th anniversary with a year-long sesquicentennial celebration honoring its past, present, and future during the 2017-2018 academic year.
Billy Mac, as William R. McDaniel was affectionately known, arrived on campus in 1877 as a 16-year-old sophomore from the Eastern Shore. He was salutatorian among the six men and four women in the Class of 1880. He taught for 36 years and also served as an innovative administrator and trustee. Presidents called him indispensable. Colleagues respected his dedication to teaching and the hand he extended to faculty newcomers. His students spoke of his attention to detail and demanding yet patient way of guiding them through algebra, geometry, and astronomy. McDaniel’s dedication to the college spanned 65 years and ended only with his death in 1942.
In its 150-year history, the college has had only nine presidents: Dr. Ward, Dr. Thomas Hamilton Lewis (1886–1920), Dr. Albert Norman Ward (1920–1935), Bishop Fred G. Holloway (1935–1947), Dr. Lowell S. Ensor (1947–1972), Dr. Ralph C. John (1972–1984), Dr. Robert H. Chambers (1984–2000), Dr. Joan Develin Coley (2000–2010), Dr. Roger N. Casey (2010–2021), and Dr. Julia Jasken (2021-present). Under their guidance, the college has assumed a place in the nation among independent colleges of the liberal arts and sciences, developing programs and material and physical assets that fulfill the vision of its founders.