Bethel College

Why Bethel?

With more than 500 students from a rich diversity of backgrounds who call themselves Threshers, Bethel College is a fun place to live, learn and work.

Consistently ranked and praised by leading national college guides, Bethel educates leaders through faith and learning, building its programs on four central values:





Distinctive to a Bethel education are opportunities for experiential learning, study abroad and the Common Ground curriculum experienced by all Bethel students. Bethel’s graduation rateexceeds national norms and Bethel is one of only a handful of colleges across the nation to offer a 4-Year Graduation Guarantee.

As the oldest Mennonite college in North America, Bethel offers a welcoming community in which to explore choices and determine life commitments without requiring a particular religious perspective.

About the College

Bethel College is a four-year, private, primarily residential, liberal arts college. Students may participate in campus spiritual life, fine arts activities, sports and more than 50 clubs and organizations. Bethel’s academic buildings, including its historic Administration Building, the Krehbiel Science Centerand the James A. Will Family Academic Center, are clustered around the Green, an open grassy area where students gather. 


Fast Facts about Bethel College

Mission: Bethel College is an independent institution of higher education. The mission of the college is to prepare students, through active learning and rigorous instruction imbued with the spirit of liberal arts, to become critical thinkers and engaged global citizens.

The Basics




4-year liberal arts

Church affiliation:

Mennonite Church USA (Independent Corporation and Board)


North Newton, Kansas (adjacent to Newton, Kansas, pop. 19,000)


90 acres

Miles to Wichita:


Miles to major cities:

• Kansas City: 180

• Oklahoma City: 184

• Denver: 490

• Omaha: 303

Newest campus additions:

• Renovated Luyken Fine Arts Center (2014)

• $5 million renovated Will Family Academic Center (2012)

• $5.5 million sports complex (2005)

• $5 million Krehbiel Science Center and Mabee Observatory (2002)


Overall ranking:

• Ranked number 3 in the nation among Best Baccalaureate Colleges in Washington Monthly’s annual college guide 2015

• The only Kansas private college to be ranked in’s listing of America’s Best Colleges for 2015

• One of only five Kansas colleges listed in Christian Colleges of Distinction 2014–15

• One of only two Kansas colleges in the top 25 of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Midwest Regional Colleges category, 2015

Graduation rate:

Postsecondary Education Opportunity ranks Bethel in the top 12 nationally of liberal arts colleges whose actual graduation rates surpass predictions.


One of six colleges or universities that have sent students to the American Forensics Association’s National Individual Events Tournament every year since its beginning in 1978.


A Templeton Character Building College and one of only eight colleges to be listed in Mother Jones as a college that combines great values with good value


One of only four Private Kansas colleges to be recognized as part of the most recentPresident’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

Biomedical science:

In 1996, 2003, 2007, and 2011, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) recognized Bethel College for the high number of its science majors who go on to earn M.D. degrees and/or Ph.D. degrees in the sciences.

After Bethel

Teacher education graduates who passed the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) for teacher licensure in 2010–13:


Biology and natural science graduates who successfully pursued Ph.D. and/or M.D. degrees (since 1987):

approximately 50%

Social work graduates who passed licensing exam on first attempt:

more than 97%

Graduate school:

• 1 out of every 17 graduates earns a doctoral degree, ranking Bethel first in the state and 92nd in the nation in percentage of bachelor degree students who go on to earn a Ph.D.

• ranked No. 2 in the nation for bachelor’s to Ph.D. criterion in Washington Monthly’s annual college guide for 2015

Return on investment:

• Ahead of Wichita’s public university

• only Kansas private college ranked in for 2015.

Academic Excellence


• Bachelor of Arts

• Bachelor of Science

• Bachelor of Science in Nursing

• Bachelor of Science in Social Work

Areas of study:

Bethel offers teacher licensure in secondary education for 10 majors.

• Accounting

• Art

• Athletic Training

• Bible and Religion, Biology

• Business Administration

• Chemistry

• Clinical and Counseling Studies

• Coaching

• Communication Arts

• Computer Science

• Conflict Resolution

• Elementary Education

• Graphic Design

• German

• Health and Physical Education

• History

• Human Services

• Interprofessional Health Studies

• Literary Studies

• Mathematical Sciences

• Music

• Natural Sciences

• Neuroscience

• Nursing

• Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies

• Philosophy

• Physics

• Psychology

• Pre-Engineering

• Pre-Law

• Pre-Medical Studies

• Social Work

• Spanish

• Sport Management

• Youth Ministry

Study and travel abroad:

Study abroad programs at 19 colleges and universities in 17 countries, including:

• Australia

• Austria

• China

• Costa Rica

• Ecuador

• England

• France

• Germany

• Greece

• India

• Japan

• Mexico

• Northern Ireland

• Spain


• two 16-week terms (fall and spring)

• 4-week January interterm

• summer term

Average class size:


Graduation requirements include:

an undergraduate research project, a public performance and/or an internship

Student-faculty ratio:


Freshman class (2014–15):

• average ACT score 22.24

• 16.66% in top 10% of high school class

• 37.5% in top 25% of high school class

Opportunities for Participation

15 varsity sports under the auspices of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics-Division II, including:

• football

• men’s and women’s basketball

• women’s volleyball

• men’s and women’s track and field

• men’s golf

• men’s and women’s soccer

• men’s and women’s tennis

• cheerleading

• women’s softball

• men’s and women’s cross country


• Thresher Stadium, Joe W. Goering Field and Herbert Schmidt Track

• Thresher Gymnasium

• Memorial Hall gym

• Ward Tennis Center

• practice fields

• biking/walking/running paths

• cardio equipment and weight rooms

Intramural sports:

More than a dozen options

Clubs and organizations:

Nearly 50 options


Award-winning forensics and debate team


4 or more opportunities each school year to perform on stage or behind the scenes in plays and musicals


Since 2010, one or more Bethel music groups have been selected to perform at the annual conference of the Kansas Music Educators Association. In 2014, the Concert Choir performed at the Southwestern Conference of the American Choral Directors Association. Read more about opportunities for involvement.

• Choral ensembles

• jazz ensembles

• chamber groups

• orchestra

• private lessons

• community music groups

• coffeehouse performance opportunities

Spiritual Life


Mennonite Church USA

Other backgrounds:

Though Mennonites represent the largest single denomination at Bethel, more than half of our students come from backgrounds other than Mennonite.

The Bethel College Mission

Vision Statement

(adopted by the Bethel College Board of Directors, October 2011)

At Bethel College we welcome with open hearts, stimulate personal and spiritual discovery, transform through the power of community and inspire the leaders of tomorrow.

Mission Statement

(adopted by the Bethel College Board of Directors, October 2014)

Bethel College is an independent institution of higher education. The mission of the college is to prepare students, through active learning and rigorous instruction imbued with the spirit of liberal arts, to become critical thinkers and engaged global citizens.

Values Statement

(adopted by the Bethel College Board of Directors, October 2014)

The vision and mission of Bethel College are grounded in the values inherited from its historical relationship with the Christian faith tradition of the Mennonite Church and intrinsic to its institutional character. We believe these values to be fundamental to our work together, as we seek to carry out the mission of the institution.

• Discipleship: that prizes a high level of conviction and pursuit of authentic faith

• Scholarship: that prizes intellectual curiosity and critical inquiry

• Service: that prizes compassion and concern for the powerless

• Integrity: that prizes honesty and accountability

• Community: that prizes social connectivity and shared endeavor with others

• Peace and Social Justice: that prizes commitment to a peaceful and just society

• Diversity: that prizes all individuals for their unique combination of heritage, personality and talents

Academic Distinctives

While it’s true you’ll choose a specific field of study, Bethel’s Common Groundwill also expose you to a wide range of ideas in ways that help you come to terms with your own beliefs and opinions. You’ll enter the professional world understanding how intellectual pursuits and ethics, learning and faith, research and compassion are all related.

Your Bethel College education will be made up of an eclectic mix of courses that satisfy your interests and fulfill your goals. Interterm enables you to study something out of the ordinary — perhaps somewhere out-of-the-ordinary — before the start of spring semester.

Perhaps you’re passionate about English and psychology and don’t know which to pursue. At Bethel, you don’t have to choose. Our Individualized Major allows you to partner with two advisers to design your own major geared to your specific academic interests.

But college isn’t just about books and lectures

Our experiential learning opportunities — internships, service learning, undergraduate research, study abroad and other creative and professional work experiences — will help you hone your strengths and get the hands-on experience employers look for.

Student Life

Many of your college memories will be composed of lessons learned and tests taken, but what will really stay with you?

Likely it will be the people.

As a Bethel College student, you will develop a community of lifelong friends. Nearly 70 percent of Bethel College students live on campus, so the support of your teammate or classmate is just a knock on the door away. Whether living and studying together or participating in activities together, Bethel College students come to know and care for each other.

Because Bethel is a residential campus, you’ll have the opportunity to live on campus in one of our residence halls during your four years at Bethel, where your classmates will be your neighbors and your neighbors will be your friends.

Your education at Bethel College will extend beyond the classroom with activities designed to help you grow emotionally, socially and spiritually all while enhancing your academic and leadership skills. With nearly 50 clubs and organizations, 14 varsity athletic teams, a variety offine arts opportunities, forensics and numerous intramural sport options, you have multiple ways to get involved and create lifelong college memories. Opportunities are limited only by your imagination.

Although activities and organizations are fun, your academics and overall well-being are our top priority. In order to ensure your success both inside and outside the classroom, you can take advantage of services such as our Center for Academic Development, career servicesand health and counseling services.

Fine Arts Performance

The music department offers you many ways to be involved in music. All students may participate in ensembles, take private lessons or enroll in music courses. In addition, the theater department gives you a variety of opportunities to participate on stage and behind the scenes in several productions each year, including plays, musicals and an opera every other year.