In 1949, Grand Canyon University first opened its doors to 93 students at a small campus in Prescott, Ariz. Today, GCU has more than 20,000 undergraduates and boasts a 90-acre campus in Phoenix, complete with state-of-the-art amenities, including an Olympic size pool, student recreation center, and new 5,000-seat arena.
Grand Canyon University offers a variety of degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level, both on campus and online. Their commitment to hybrid and distance learning programs, combined with a strong sense of community, attracts a student body of both traditional undergraduates and working adults. The university has been accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Higher Learning Commission since 1968. In addition, the school’s baccalaureate and graduate-level nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
GCU generally practices an open admissions policy for students who are at least 16 years of age and have a high school diploma or GED. While some work experience or introductory college level courses can be helpful, they are not required for the bachelor’s programs. Certain areas of study that are considered to be more rigorous may have additional requirements for admission, and prospective students are encouraged to research this prior to applying. Those applying to graduate-level programs must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, a GPA of at least 2.8, and two years of work experience to be considered for admission.
Students at Grand Canyon University can broaden their education with a bachelor’s degree in an area such as business administration, biology, psychology, counseling, healthcare administration, and more. Master’s programs include, but are not limited to, education, nursing, and leadership.
Incoming students may be able to transfer up to 90 credits towards a bachelor’s degree, but no more than 84 credits can be applied at the lower division. Students must have taken courses at an accredited institution and received a grade of at least a C to qualify for transfer credit. Certain degree programs may have restrictions about transferring credits when evaluating courses considered for degree requirements. GCU’s website lists the specifics of this evaluation process as well as more information about course equivalents for approved local community colleges and trade schools. Additionally, GCU offers adult students the opportunity to earn credit for their life experiences through the Lifelong Learning Assessment (LLA) program. Please note that there are different policies for transferring graduate-level coursework. More information can be found on the school’s website.
The Student Experience
Grand Canyon University is a private Christian university dedicated to helping students pursue their educational and professional goals while maintaining a clear focus on Christian values and ethics. While no statement of religious affiliation is necessary for admission, those who apply should display a willingness to uphold the values and spiritual mission of the university.
With a variety of evening and online programs, GCU caters to both working adults and traditional undergraduates looking to accelerate their degree path. However, despite their virtual focus, the school is also highly committed to fostering a rich campus life with a strong sense of community, appealing to a large pool of more traditional students as well. The hybrid and online programs offer students ultimate flexibility and the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree in less than four years. GCU operates on a 16-week semester schedule, with some eight week classes offered twice per semester. Online courses are taken one at a time in a consecutive cycle to allow students more in-depth understanding and focus on their studies. Generally, students should be prepared to commit a minimum of 10 to 15 hours per week to their coursework for online classes, depending on the program.
Grand Canyon University also utilizes a modern, easy-to-use virtual learning environment, providing a consistent and easy-to-navigate format for students. Online courses are also asynchronous, meaning that students are free to log in and review course materials and complete assignments whenever they want, rather than at a scheduled time. While designed to allow maximum flexibility, students must meet an attendance requirement in their courses, which entails checking in at least two times per week on separate days. This stipulation is designed to keep students focused on their academics and can assist them in creating a working schedule that best fits their learning style.
The school also maintains a great number of full-time online faculty to ensure students get the dedication and assistance they need from their instructors. This commitment to translating the strong sense of community and personalized instruction found on-campus to the virtual environment is one of GCU’s greatest strengths.
A Military-Friendly Environment
Grand Canyon University has established a special program to serve the unique needs of military professions, DOD personnel, and their families. In fact, GI Jobs Magazine recently named GCU one of the Top Military Friendly Schools. With small class sizes and personalized instruction, GCU maintains an intensive educational experience while providing adaptability in their curriculum to meet the needs of even the most demanding schedules. Courses available in fields such as business, education, justice studies, psychology, and more are designed to foster critical thinking, communication, and leadership skills. Whether pursing a military career or transitioning to the public sector, students will graduate equipped to work as global citizens and responsible leaders.
Teaching at Grand Canyon University
Each Grand Canyon University student is assigned an advisor in their chosen field of study to guide them through their academic career. The school also employs a dedicated team of full-time faculty and staff to assist students with financial aid, course selection, and any other issues that arise during their time as students.
Whether students decide on a hybrid or fully online curriculum, GCU offers a variety of affordable and accessible degree programs. GCU’s emphasis on high-quality education based on core Christian values provides a unique community, both on campus as well as in the virtual environment. To read more about the programs offered and testimonials from students, you can visit GCU’s website.
Grand Canyon University Graduates in the Real World
Grand Canyon University is focused on helping students achieve their professional goals. By employing faculty with industry experience and offering specialized mentoring programs, the school works hard to impart practical skills to students in order to guide them to succeed in their chosen career paths. In addition, GCU’s strong sense of community and personalized attention allows for great networking opportunities with faculty, staff and peers. The Career Services Department offers resources for students and alumni both online and on campus which include free testing tools to explore career options and interests, resume and cover letter editing, practice interviews, and job postings.