Saint Francis University carries forward the Franciscan health care tradition of our patron, St. Francis of Assisi, through our well-respected programs in the health sciences. 


Located in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania on 600 wooded acres, the scenic campus is just half an hour from the cities of Altoona and Johnstown and less than two hours from the city of Pittsburgh.

Saint Francis University is a private, Catholic-Franciscan, coeducational institution founded in 1847 by six friars from Ireland. The University offers accredited undergraduate and graduate education within the context of a liberal arts foundation. The student experience places particular emphasis on developing individuals who will lead or serve with character in their chosen professions and communities.

The diverse student body consists of approximately 1,800 undergraduate and 2,400 total students. 

Student-faculty ratio
A 15:1 student-faculty ratio assures personal attention from 100 full-time professors, 80% of whom hold doctoral or terminal degrees.

 The 23-building campus features 10 residence halls and an athletics center that houses a pool, a fully equipped weight room, and courts for basketball, volleyball, and racquetball. An outdoor athletic complex features a multipurpose, artificially surfaced field and all-weather track. Recent building projects include the DiSepio Institute for Rural Health and Wellness, a state-of-the-art Science Center, and the completion of the School of Business building. 

Student organizations
Students can become involved with more than 75 clubs and organizations and attend year-round activities such as film series, lectures, concerts, and theater productions.

Our intercollegiate athletics program features 23 NCAA Division I sports for men (nine) and women (14), as well as a popular intramural program and club baseball.

Class size
Averaging just 22 students, all classes are taught by faculty members. 

A spirit of achievement, humbled by service, is at the heart of the Saint Francis University experience. No matter what your dream is, we believe that if you reach higher, you’ll go far. We support your career and life goals by providing rigorous health care programs that include clinical and service opportunities that honor the Franciscan tradition and prepare you to do great things.

In fact, 98% of our graduates are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation. We will help you write your success story with career advice, internship assistance, one-on-one counseling, and career exploration workshops. 

Exercise Physiology
Exercise physiologists study how and why the body responds to exercise in order to maintain or improve health, fitness, and athletic performance and reduce risks for chronic disease. The Saint Francis Exercise Physiology program provides students with contemporary knowledge and skills necessary for immediate employment in the fitness industry and graduate education in exercise physiology, allied health, or medicine. Lab experiences and internships provide practical application of knowledge.

A degree in Nursing from Saint Francis provides the clinical expertise required by nurses today. The Saint Francis program also helps students understand the Christian perspective that is critical for dealing with the emotional and ethical considerations of this demanding profession. The four-year program reflects our belief that a diverse academic base and a strong moral foundation are essential tools for success. In addition, students gain clinical experience in a variety of settings.

Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapists help people across the life span—from pediatrics to geriatrics—face life challenges and regain functional independence through purposeful and occupation-based activities when daily routines are compromised by injury or illness. The Occupational Therapy program at Saint Francis University is a five-year program that provides solid professional education rooted in a liberal arts tradition. Students admitted to the entry-level program who meet academic progression standards will gain a Bachelor of Science degree and then automatically progress into the master’s-level program.

Saint Francis offers accelerated programs in Pharmacy in conjunction with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM). The 3+3 program allows students to complete the three-year undergraduate Pre-pharmacy program based in the liberal arts tradition at Saint Francis and then matriculate into the LECOM School of Pharmacy for three years to complete the professional curriculum. Students can gain a bachelor’s degree and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) in six years. In the same way, the 2+3 program gives students the opportunity to earn their Doctor of Pharmacy degree in five years. 

Physical Therapy
Physical therapists use physical and therapeutic measures to design treatment plans that optimize quality of life. They also rehabilitate people affected by pain, disease, or injury. The Physical Therapy program at Saint Francis prepares students to work as competent, ethical, caring doctors. Within six years students gain both a Bachelor of Science degree, including a solid liberal arts foundation, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Physician Assistant
Physician assistants provide health care to all, respecting the uniqueness of each person. The Physician Assistant program at Saint Francis is a five-year program where students learn to provide competent, compassionate, and comprehensive health care. Students admitted to the entry-level program who meet academic progression standards will automatically move into the master’s-level program. Simulation lab sessions and clinical rotations round out the academic experience.

Public Health
If the previously mentioned careers are not quite what you want, but you want to work in the health field, then consider the Public Health program at Saint Francis. A Bachelor of Science degree prepares students for challenging career roles working with people or applying to graduate school. The Bachelor of Arts degree prepares students who want a career that impacts people, indirectly, in environmental or legislative areas. If you’re considering advanced medical disciplines, the pre-professional Bachelor of Science is available.

Application dates
The Physician Assistant program has an application deadline of November 15. The priority application date for Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy is January 15. Other academic programs run on a rolling admission basis.