We think you have what it takes to flourish in Calvin’s challenging academic environment.
Welcome to Calvin, where learning is a passionate pursuit. Here, you’ll join a community of learners who dig in, speak up, and respond to the world’s needs. In this community, professors are your guides to discovering God’s world.
At Calvin, you will listen to many different voices—sometimes wildly different—who have thought deeply, creatively, and counter-culturally about being human.
You will explore how faith in Jesus, the one perfect human, can inform how we study our own humanity. This pursuit of truth will expose you to many forms of wisdom and will reward you with research, writing, and thinking skills you will use your whole life. Studying in the humanities will give you a unique perspective that is valuable to employers in fields as diverse as marketing, web design, teaching, archeology, and journalism.
"People in other areas learn a great deal about some things. History majors get to learn a great deal about everything: art, language, business, geography, anthropology, psychology, physics...everything."
"I chose Chinese Studies because after adopting my little sister, my passion has been to help the orphans in China who aren't adopted. Chinese Studies equips me with knowledge of both the language and the culture so that I can return to China and be a light for God's kingdom."
"As a philosophy student, especially a Christian philosophy student, one learns not only how to ask the questions that are often overlooked, but also how to pursue wisdom in one's daily life. In the end, that is one of the most enriching and fulfilling experiences one can have in college."
"Classical Studies gives a comprehensive look at the culture, history, and literature of people in the Classical time period. However, I feel as if I'm at an advantage in the world today because of it. This major has given me research, writing, and thinking skills that I know will make a great foundation for any post-graduate pursuit."
"I chose to study English because it teaches practical skills of analytical reading and effective communication, but also artful abilities of deep understanding and beautiful expression. At Calvin, these skills are taught by careful and experienced professors who not only love English, but love to share their enthusiasm for the written and spoken language."
"Calvin is known for its academic rigor, especially in the liberal arts, but I chose Religion specifically because of Calvin's pledge to fidelity to Christ, being open to questions, and its academic community. It truly is a place where minds are in the making to do great things."
The humanities are woven throughout Calvin's liberal arts "core" curriculum. Read what Calvin music, writing, philosophy, history, and religion professors have to say about how learning in their fields can help you become both a wiser, more loving Christian and a more successful future member of the workforce.
“The humanities are among the places where ‘the most important things’ are pondered. History, philosophy, literature, theology, and the arts: these are the academic sites where basic human questions are posed and where the traditions of wisdom that have developed in response to these questions are explored.” Lee Hardy, Professor of Philosophy
Newly-admitted students: Request a FREE copy of Practically Human: College Professors Speak from the Heart of Humanities Education and we'll send it to you as soon as possible!
Measure the height of sand dunes, trap atoms with lasers, classify ancient whale bones—when you step back from the discovery work you do at Calvin, you’ll be amazed at what you see.
You’ll see beauty, complexity, synergy, simplicity, and so much more—our creator has an eye for detail. At Calvin, we love uncovering new things and experiencing the wonder that comes from seeing how intricately God created protein molecules, brain synapses, or asteroid belts. Bring your curiosity and see where it leads you—a local watershed in need of renewal, a remote telescope in New Mexico, or an HIV research lab.
Love the outdoors? Apply for Calvin's "First-Year Research in Earth Science" course that includes weekly lab sessions on the beautiful dunes of Lake Michigan. Measure changes in the dunes over time and contribute to efforts to preserve this natural landscape. First-year students from any major can apply.
Consider Calvin’s neuroscience concentration, for example, which you can take as a major in psychology, biology, or chemistry/biochemistry. Each concentration exposes you to different ways of studying the human brain and mind. Finish with an in-depth philosophical study of minds, brains, and persons with philosophy professor Kevin Corcoran.
Pursue your Jurassic aspirations and become a paleontologist. Follow in the steps of Calvin student Melissa Braun ('14) who spent two summers as a research assistant in geology, working with professor Ryan Bebej studying fossils of ancient whales.
Your professor is a powerhouse
Prof. Carolyn Anderson leads research to develop new synthetic methodologies for preparing N-alkyl pyridones. In short: She’s breaking new ground in chemistry—and funding organizations like the National Science Foundation and the Research Corporation for Science Advancement have taken notice. Prof. Anderson shares time in the lab, and publication rights, with student researchers like you.
Plaster Creek Stewards
Help clean up a polluted watershed near Calvin’s campus through research, community outreach, and more.
In this first-year research course for science majors, discover and classify the DNA structure of your very own bacteriophage. Once you isolate your phage, spend the two-semester course studying its properties and sending data to an international database related to this important research.
students engaged in research annually in class and beyond
Goldwater Scholars since 2008, more than any liberal arts college in the U.S. during this time
in research funding awarded to Calvin between 2011-2015
Write a novel.
Choreograph a new dance.
Compose an original score.
Design a logo for a start-up company.
At Calvin, we want you to test your dreams—your plot twists, musical harmonies, and unique perspectives. Following God’s work of creation and redemption, we create too, and in doing so join the ongoing story of renewing a broken world.
Display your own originals or enjoy browsing the work of others. Both are equally gratifying in Calvin's pristine Center Arts Gallery. From the works of old masters to those new on the scene, our galleries exhibit art that educates, provokes thought, and fosters conversation.
Performances in the Covenant Fine Arts Center will transport you through time and place. With its superb accoustics and signature "starry sky" lighting, the ambience and tone are perfect—whether you're taking in an sweeping orchestral performance, a booming choral anthem, or a thunderous rock concert.
Hone your skills and perfect your number in Calvin's recital halls. With state-of-the-art technology and beautiful aesthetics, you'll be able to focus all your energies right where they need to be—on delivering a stunning performance.
Create beauty through dance and motion in Calvin's dance studios. Cascading natural light and wide open floors create an airy, calming setting for you to discover, develop, and perfect your gifts in dance.
Bytwerk movie theater
This dedicated and fully-equipped screening room is the perfect place to dig deep into cinema. Going far beyond entertainment, you'll dig into the many themes and messages of film, unraveling its methods and techniques and finding new meaning in the very best of Hollywood and beyond.
There's nothing quite like watching live theatre or improv, and you'll do just that at Calvin's Gezon Auditorium. Whether you're up on the stage or out in the seats, you'll find it to be a wonderful, captivating space—perfect for catching every wry grin, loaded sigh, and sideways look that makes a live show so riveting.
POTENTIAL CAREERS: Art Director | Archivist | Concert Musician | Sound Technician | Marketing | Art Educator | Illustrator | Sculptor | Web Designer | Animator | Photographer
To navigate a world that's becoming more complex by the minute, you need real experience solving problems and putting new ideas to the test.
In every major, you'll have opportunities to work with local businesses, corporations, schools, and non-profits. Professors with decades of industry experience will push you to consider every angle as you develop concepts, products, and plans that just might become your future.
If you live in a major U.S. city, you’re probably getting a dose of fluoride in your drinking water to prevent cavities. But if you live in Kenya, where the geology of the country spills unsafe levels of fluoride into wells, you might be extra prone to broken bones and teeth. That’s why engineering student Jerome Navarro ’16 is working with environmental engineer David Wunder to perfect a filtration system that makes water in Kenya safe to drink. Get involved with the Clean Water Institute of Calvin College.
Calvin action projects
As a Calvin business student, you'll work on real consulting projects for companies like Microsoft, Herman Miller, Amway, Wolverine Worldwide, Zondervan, and more. Design new product packaging, create a marketing plan, or recommend a new supply chain strategy and present it to company executives at the end of the course.
Impress the CEO
When 2013 business graduate Nate Van Eck met with clients for a project at Sebago, a shoe brand division of Wolverine Worldwide, he took the phrase "hands on" to a whole new level. He literally tore apart several existing shoes and put them back together to demonstrate a new shoe design. Sebago execs were so impressed they took Nate's mock-ups and worked them into concepts for new products.
Engineering major Andrew Mitchell '15 spent the summer helping to build a bridge in Kenya. As an intern with a company called Bridging the Gap Africa, he worked on design calculations, quantity takeoffs, construction supervision, and structural analysis—and learned lessons in cross-cultural engagement.
Put your diplomacy skills to work as Calvin's team travels to Model UN conferences in Chicago and New York. You will gain a greater appreciation of the possibilities for and challenges of international cooperation.
You’ve known this for a long time and have done what you can to make things better. Now, as you enter college and prepare for your future, take those thoughts, feelings, and experiences and turn them into bold steps forward.
“In the things that clean and clarify, in the things that build and rebuild, in the things that bring light and delight—in all things that make for shalom, may the Lord bless and keep us and cause his face to shine on us, and be gracious to us and give us his peace.” Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
In Grand Rapids and around the world
Serving and learning
Your first-year English class can become an adventure in learning about history, justice, and character as you interview a World War II veteran and write his or her life story.
Political science professor Joel Westra involves students in his research on the United Nations and global security.
Psychology students gain clinical experience by serving mentally ill residents of local Hope Network group homes.
Working towards literacy
Education professor Jo Kuyvenhovenis leading a year-long project for the World Bank, developing literacy programs in Sierra Leone, Africa.
Aspiring teachers in Calvin's education program work in challenging school settings to reimagine the future of American's education system.
Social work professors and students built a social work program for a university in Liberia, a country rebuilding after two civil wars.
“Off-campus experiences create opportunities to see both the wonders and the injustices of this world.” Don De Graaf, Off-Campus Programs Director
Calvin's national ranking for the number of students who study abroad, according to the Open Doors Report (among baccalaureate institutions)
POTENTIAL CAREERS: Policy Maker | Lawyer | Activist | Social Worker | Diplomat | Aid Worker | Human Rights Advocate | Public Relations Specialist | Sociologist | Counselor
LEARN FROM THE BEST
Chances are, what you remember most from your Calvin education will be your professors.
Outstanding professors are your guides to discovering God's world, learning from its insights, understanding its brokenness, and equipping you to be part of its renewal. They'll give you real opportunities—through research, internships, study abroad programs, mentoring, and group projects—to practice your skills, to gain wisdom, and to develop your character.
Calvin professors are what make this place great. Come learn from everything they have to offer.
Meet your professors
Get to know a few of the great people you'll be studying under.
Doug Vander Griend, Chemistry
Amy Wilstermann, Biology
Robert Keeley, Education
Cynthia Slagter, Spanish
Tom Betts, Business
of Calvin professors are committed Christians
LET'S GET STARTED
Great opportunities for great students
With all these options, you're sure to find your niche.
Over 500 Calvin students participate in the Calvin Honors Program, which provides opportunities to deepen your studies and learn in innovative, interdisciplinary settings. More at www.calvin.edu/honors.
Calvin's Honors Fellows Program celebrates the academic and extracurricular achievements of top students entering Calvin's incoming class. It creates a unique community in which Honors Fellows pursue deeper learning in and beyond the classroom.
First-Year Research in Earth Science (FYRES)
This hands-on research course is for first-year students in any major (or undecided) and fulfills your general science core requirement. Conduct sand dune research and present your findings to community partners. Apply at www.calvin.edu/go/fyres.
Phage Research Program
Discover your own bacterial virus, called a “phage” in this first-year, two-semester research course for students majoring in the sciences. You'll also get a chance to sequence your phage's DNA and catalog its data in an international database. Apply at www.calvin.edu/go/phage.
John M. Perkins Leadership Fellows
The John M. Perkins Leadership Fellows is a scholarship program for first-generation college students that cultivates Christian leaders who engage big issues like poverty, injustice, reconciliation, and materialism in our multicultural world. Learn more at www.calvin.edu/go/perkins-fellows.
In this half-semester course for first-year students, professors help you make the transition from high school classrooms to college learning. Get a sneak peak of course videos at www.calvin.edu/fys/.
Summer Science Research
Over 100 summer research fellowships are available in astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, biochemistry, geology, geography, engineering, mathematics, physics, and psychology. Apply in the spring semester of each year for positions the following summer.
McGregor Summer Research Fellowships
Research isn't just for the sciences. Apply for one of 12+ summer research positions with professors in areas such as political science, music, sociology, communications, and more. Apply in the spring semester of each year for positions the following summer.
Comenius Scholars Program
If your major is in the humanities (e.g. history, philosophy, religion), take advantage of this opportunity to get a paid internship in the Grand Rapids community. Apply in the fall semester of each year for a spring internship.
Think you might be called to full-time ministry? Test your calling in this intensive ministry internship program that combines a spring course with a summer-long internship in a church setting. Learn more at our Jubilee Fellows page.
Off-Campus (Study Abroad) Programs
Study in 12 locations around the world through Calvin's faculty-led semester programs. Other Calvin-approved programs allow you to apply financial aid to study in other locations around the world, including Chicago, Thailand, Germany, Japan, and many more.
Spend a semester in one of 12 locations around the world with Calvin faculty and classmates.