Alvernia University

Reading, PA

Alvernia University is a church-affiliated university. Founded in 1958, it adopted coeducation in 1971. Its 121-acre campus is located in the Blue Mountain area of eastern Pennsylvania, 50 miles from Philadelphia.

School Profiles: Undergrad Catholic

Alvernia University

Reading, PA

Alvernia offers a values-based educational approach that challenges students to grow into ethically courageous leaders for life. With hundreds of community connections and opportunities for service learning, Alvernia students impact their communities while earning their degrees.


Fast Facts
• Enrollment: About 3,000 students are enrolled at Alvernia; almost half the student population are undergraduates.
• Faculty: Alvernia has a 12:1 student-faculty ratio and an average class size of fewer than 20 students.
• Student Activities: More than 55 student groups are available, including intramural and intercollegiate sports, academic clubs, honor societies, student government, and service clubs.
• Affordability: 100% of undergraduates receive financial aid and/or scholarships.

Golden Wolves Athletics
About 40% of Alvernia undergraduates are student-athletes. Continuing a proud athletic tradition, Alvernia is a member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Collegiate Athletic Corporation (MAC), a highly competitive NCAA Division III conference. 

• Baseball
• Basketball
• Cross-Country
• Football
• Golf
• Ice Hockey*
• Lacrosse
• Soccer
• Spirit Team*
• Tennis
• Track & Field
• Volleyball
• Wrestling

• Basketball
• Cross-Country
• Equestrian
• Field Hockey
• Golf
• Ice Hockey
• Lacrosse
• Soccer
• Softball
• Spirit Team*
• Tennis
• Track & Field
• Volleyball

* Club sports

Programs of Study

Majors & Minors
• Addictions & Mental Health Treatment*
• Athletic Training (five-year master’s degree)
• Biochemistry#
• Biology*#
• Biology—Medical Laboratory Science
• Business (optional five-year MBA)
- Accounting
- Economics*
- Finance
- Healthcare Administration
- Human Resource Management
- Management
- Marketing
- Sport Management
• Chemistry*
• Communication*
- Film, Culture & Creative Arts
- Journalism
- Media Design & Production
- Public Relations & Advertising
- Strategic Communications
- Theatre Studies
• Computer Science
• Criminal Justice Administration*
• Digital Media Marketing
• Education
- Early Childhood (PreK-4)
- Early Childhood (PreK-4) & Special Education (PreK-8)

• English*
• Environmental Science*
• Forensic Science*
• General Science*
• Healthcare Science#
• History*
• Liberal Studies
• Mathematics*
• Nursing
• Occupational Therapy (five-year master’s degree)
• Philosophy*
• Physical Therapy (six-year doctoral degree)
• Political Science*
• Psychology*#
• Social Work (optional five-year master’s degree)
• Theatre*
• Theology*

Additional Minors
• Art
• Business
• Community & Environmental Sustainability
• Community Engagement
• Computer & Information Studies
• Cultural Studies
• Cyber Security
• Data Science
• Digital Media
• Gerontology
• International Studies
• Leadership Studies
• Music
• Physics
• Pre-law
• Sociology
• Spanish
• Women’s & Gender Studies

Pre-professional Programs
• Pre-dental
• Pre-law
• Pre-medical
• Pre-optometry
• Pre-pharmacy
• Pre-physician Assistant
• Pre-veterinary

Minor available
# May be used to track toward application for Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate program

Lead in service-oriented careers
Alvernia offers a range of academic programs that transform students into leaders ready to pursue fulfilling service-oriented careers. With more than 600 courses and 50 majors and minors in nearly every field, an Alvernia education will prepare you for the career you want—and the one your community needs.

Grow in the Franciscan tradition
Alvernia is one of only 24 Franciscan institutions in the United States. Our values-based learning philosophy is guided by the ideal of “knowledge joined with love,” which shapes our educational philosophy and strong campus community. Our emphasis on developing ethical leaders with moral courage is blended with a commitment to service in a campus environment that provides our students the ideal setting to grow and develop.

Learn through service
Alvernia students live the Alvernia motto “To Learn, To Love, To Serve” every day as they learn through service. By working with underserved populations, our students fully understand the challenges facing our world. Through our community connections in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and beyond, Alvernia students get experience in their fields of study while they serve others.

Through Alvernia’s Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement; the O’Pake Institute for Ethics, Leadership, and Public Service; and Alvernia Campus Ministry, Alvernia students learn to lead as they create positive social change.

For example, Alvernia students travel to teach and serve at the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters’ school in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. They also complete service projects locally through the South Reading Youth Initiative and the Reading Collegiate Scholars Program, which pairs Alvernia students with Reading High School students for mentoring opportunities.

Service is even built into Alvernia’s curriculum. Past service learning courses have allowed Alvernia students to provide social media marketing to a local women’s shelter, help a local author promote her anti-bullying initiative, and give physical therapy services to children in need.

Invest in your future
An Alvernia education is affordable—our tuition is well below the national average for private liberal arts colleges.

The Office of Student Financial Planning works with students to find the best ways to fund their education through scholarships, grants, work-study positions, and loans. One hundred percent of Alvernia students receive financial aid and/or scholarships.

Our students experience a great return on investment. Students are prepared for success at Alvernia. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranks us as one of the Best Regional Universities in the North. Graduates work in education, health care, social services, large and small businesses, the media, law firms, law enforcement, all levels of government, and many other professions and fields.

Impact the campus community
Whatever your extracurricular interests, Alvernia will help you live your whole life—mind, body, and spirit.

Students join service organizations like the Bog Turtle Creek Farm, which brings naturally grown produce to the city of Reading. Our Interfaith Ministry allows students to explore life’s enduring questions and experience other students’ faiths with special programming offered throughout the year. In addition, many Alvernia campus clubs coincide with academic majors, so students can attend conferences and network with professionals in their fields before graduation.

Feel at home
Alvernia students recharge and thrive in their spacious and clean accommodations on campus. With views of Mount Penn and the Reading Pagoda, Alvernia on-campus housingis designed to support students on their way to successful careers.

Our Village Apartments feature contemporary-style housing and offer the latest amenities, including gas fireplaces in the atriums and business centers for student use. Alvernia also offers special-interest housing options for students who seek a supportive living-learning environment.

Explore a diverse community
Our scenic 121-acre campus in historic Berks County is three miles from theheart of Reading, Pennsylvania, and ashort drive from Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.

Reading offers a mix of cultural and entertainment destinations, including:
• GoggleWorks Center for the Arts
• Reading Public Museum
• Outlet shopping
• Minor league sports (Reading Fightin
Phils, Reading Royals, and Reading United)
• Concerts at the Santander Arena

Beautiful Blue Marsh Lake is close to campus and offers biking, hiking, kayaking, swimming, and more. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, French Creek State Park, Nolde Forest, the Schuylkill River Trail adjacent to Angelica Park, and plenty of great golf courses are also nearby.