The information in this undergraduate catalog applies to the academic year 2021-22. The university reserves the right to change programs of study, academic requirements, the announced university calendar, and other matters described herein without prior notice, in accordance with established procedures. This undergraduate catalog is descriptive and is not to be construed as a legal contract.
The year 1917 was a year of revolution and war—revolution in Russia and, for Americans, first-hand encounter with modern warfare as the U.S. entered World War I. It seems, in retrospect, an inauspicious time for pacifist Mennonites who abhor war and revolution to be launching a new educational venture. But the people of God respond to a time clock governed by faith.
Therefore, the humble beginning of Eastern Mennonite University in the peaceful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia provides a moving counterpoint to a year of rapine and violence seldom matched in the annals of human history.
Eastern Mennonite School, as it was first called, began as a Bible academy and is now a fully accredited university with over 1,800 students in the undergraduate, seminary, and graduate programs. EMU was founded to provide a setting for young men and women of the Mennonite Church to deepen their biblical faith, study the liberal arts and gain specific skills in a variety of professions. That tri-part objective has remained central to the purpose of the university, and its history is the story of an ever-broadening curriculum and program. In 1930 the university was accredited by the Virginia Board of Education as a junior college. Seventeen years later, in 1947, a four-year degree program was approved by the state of Virginia, and regional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools was achieved in 1959.
By 1965 a graduate theological school had evolved. Eastern Mennonite Seminary, which seeks to prepare persons for Christian ministry—especially in the local congregation—offers an intensive, well-rounded program of biblical, theological, historical and practical studies.
During the early 1960s, the university instituted a unique interdisciplinary core curriculum, Christianity and Civilization. That program has evolved into a curriculum entitled the EMU Core which is not only interdisciplinary but also cross-cultural in its focus.
The first graduate program (other than seminary)—counseling—began in 1993. It was followed by two others in the next two years—conflict transformation and education. An adult degree completion program was established in 1994. A distinctive MBA program began in the fall of 1999 followed by a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program in 2010, an MS in Biomedicine in 2012 and the first Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) was offered in 2018. Related programs at the graduate level continue to evolve.
The school's name was changed from "college and seminary" to "university" in August 1994.
Biblical studies, liberal arts, graduate programs and professional training— EMU is still evolving, but its roots reach deep into Mennonite heritage which takes history seriously and reveres humble service guided by faith and knowledge.