Chowan University is a Christian educational institution founded in 1848 by Baptist families and named Chowan – which means “people of the south” – to honor the Native American Algonquin Chowanook tribe. For over 170 years, Chowan has enjoyed a long and distinguished tradition of faith and education in Northeastern NC.

Chowan University, grounded in its Christian faith, transforms the lives of students of promise, as her mission.

Chowan University is committed to serving average students. By “average,” we mean students with a GPA from 2.25-3.25 and “average” SAT scores (around 880 on the new SAT or 800 two-part on the old SAT). Students below these criteria may be admitted if they show a commitment to the Chowan University experience and academic potential.

The Honors College at Chowan University is designed to offer attractive and challenging opportunities for intellectual growth to well-prepared and highly motivated students. The college has both curricular and extracurricular components. The Honors College Committee will normally consider for acceptance into the program any freshman who enters college with at least a 3.25 high school grade point average and 1170 on the new or 1100 two-part on the old or higher SAT score. Transfer students and Chowan rising sophomores must have earned at least a 3.50 GPA and a B in English composition.

We strongly encourage all students and their families to visit campus throughout the admissions process. You can schedule a campus visit here.

Many of our students are first-generation college students, which means their parents did not attend college or complete a college degree. Because of Chowan’s commitment to individual attention in a Christian environment, these students thrive at Chowan University.

The Chowan University community seeks to believe in and to live out the teachings of Jesus Christ. This goal is accomplished through the mentoring, ministry, and teaching of Christian faculty and staff, and mission and service experiences on campus, in the community, in the United States, and around the world.

Our pastoral campus ministry team provides opportunities for students to grow in their faith while also meeting the needs of others. Local, national, and international mission trips, discipleship, residence hall Bible studies, mentoring, and lots of one-on-one attention and prayer give students a transformative education.

All students who seek to complete their degree at Chowan University must enroll in an introductory course about the Bible. Students must also attend a handful of Perspectives events that are offered weekly, which involve holistic presentations and lectures, religious celebrations, theatrical performances, and other Chowan community-related events.

We are not here to indoctrinate anyone but to show them the Christian way of life as revealed in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Non-Christian students and students from other religious traditions are respected and welcomed here and thrive in this environment.

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Nestled in the small historic town of Murfreesboro in northeastern North Carolina, Chowan University is a short drive to the beaches of both North Carolina and Virginia. Chowan is also within driving distance to many amenities, including shopping, restaurants, amusement parks, and metropolitan areas like Virginia Beach.

The town of Murfreesboro is a small community that rallies around the campus. Chowan has the best of both worlds; Murfreesboro is a small, safe community, yet major urban amenities are only a short drive away.

Chowan University resides on a 450+ acre campus surrounded by wooded areas and several lakes. We are located in the part of North Carolina designated as the “Inner Banks,” and our campus reflects the natural beauty of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Murfreesboro experiences all four seasons but is characterized by mild weather. The average high temperature during the school months is 65 degrees.


Explore campus with our Interactive Campus Map or check out our local tourism website for more information about our region.


Chowan University is home to approximately 1,500 undergraduates of diverse backgrounds from across the US and around the world. The School of Graduate Studies recently opened, giving graduate students a convenient and reputable university from which to earn a Master’s degree. Currently, Chowan offers the Master of Education (MEd) degree with advanced teacher license.

Chowan University enrolls about 65 adult students in the Adult Degree Completion Program. Through this program, adult students take classes at Halifax Community College in Weldon, NC, at the main campus in Murfreesboro, NC, and online.

Our 450 acres park-like campus includes Lake Vann, “Squirrel Park,” and the original 1851 McDowell Columns building. Most buildings on campus have been recently renovated with renovations continuing to take place.

The Value of Values Education

Chowan University is known for having “Faith in your future.” Much more than a tagline, our mission is to provide an education that transforms ordinary students into extraordinary graduates. We do this in good faith, trusting God in the person of Jesus Christ, with optimism for each student’s success. Our faculty come to Chowan to teach, advise, and engage students in the classroom, on the fields and courts of competition, and throughout extra-curricular activities. Faith in action underscores all that we do. It is not enough to teach students how or what to think; we teach students how to live with honor and conscience using their head, heart, and hands.

“Jesus grew in wisdom and maturity and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52

Head: We Teach
At Chowan, students will take classes in the disciplines of Science, Fine Art, Literature, History, Health, and Religion. But more importantly, they will learn how each discipline relates to the others. Our integrated education produces exceptional thinkers who can make sense of the world in which we live.

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” – 2 Timothy 2:2

Heart: We Advise
The faculty and staff who surround our students walk alongside them and inspire their professional and personal dreams with passion. Faculty advisors mentor students one-on-one and consistently model and encourage right and healthy decision making.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2

Hands: We Engage
Opportunities for service abound to members of the Chowan community. Students join faculty and staff to translate what is taught and what is learned into what is done. From clothing the needy in our community to loving orphans with HIV/AIDS in South Africa, we take seriously our mission to provide Light and Truth in the name of Christ Jesus.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. – Matthew 25:40

We provide a liberal arts education that challenges the whole student. The transformed lives of our students give value to what we do at Chowan University.

Academic Life & Programs

Chowan University is committed to the liberal arts as the best preparation students can have for meaningful lives. Also, the University offers a variety of academic programs in career-oriented fields such as teacher education and criminal justice. All of the programs at Chowan University are evaluated periodically by accrediting agencies to ensure that quality standards are maintained.

The undergraduate baccalaureate programs are designed to help students gain maximum benefit by providing a balanced curriculum in general studies, a major field, minor field(s) and selected electives. Students are encouraged to learn to think critically, to communicate ideas orally, in written form and through computers, and to live worthy lives. In addition to courses in languages, history, religion and culture, upper-level courses provide opportunities for preparation in areas of special interest and in professional and career-oriented fields. To meet individual needs, the academic programs include independent study and career internships.

Chowan University offers over 70 academic programs to prepare you for the working world. Our Student/Faculty Ratio is 16:1, with an average class size of 18. Chowan University students are known by names and not by numbers and receive much individual attention.

Chowan’s faculty are expert professors, teachers, mentors, and advisors who share their knowledge, expertise, and experience with students. Unlike state-funded universities where student-teacher assistants teach most freshman level courses, Chowan University faculty teach every course. The faculty have degrees from universities all over the world. Although faculty engage in research and publish books, articles, and scholarly essays, their primary focus is teaching. Chowan is a teaching institution.

Student Life & Activities

Social and sports events, concerts, plays, dances, and movies, plus more than 45 student clubs and organizations provide leadership opportunities and the ability to make lifelong friends. Aside from formal clubs, students engage in activities ranging from fishing at Lake Vann to playing ultimate frisbee and flag football in Squirrel Park.

Greek life is another part of the Chowan experience. Students also engage in study abroad experiences. These travel experiences count toward fulfilling academic credits. For many study abroad trips, students receive scholarships to help defer expenses. Recently, Chowan University students have traveled to Greece, Turkey, Italy, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, and London.

The University also provides recreational trips to area amusement parks, whitewater rafting, skiing, and New York City. When the weather warms up, students often head to the beach on the weekends or enjoy shopping around the nearby Hampton Roads area.

Chowan fields 19 varsity sports programs as well as a co-ed cheerleading team and competes at the NCAA Division II level.  Chowan is a member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), and is the first historically non-Historically Black College or University to join a historically African-American athletic conference.  Chowan has also gained associate membership in the Conference Carolinas for five sports.

With more than a dozen fun and exciting activities to choose from, the Jenkins Center, our new wellness facility, also offers aerobics and a well-equipped weight room to strengthen one’s mind, body, and soul. Chowan’s strong intramurals program includes sports like softball, flag football, indoor soccer, volleyball, 5-on-5 basketball, and powder puff football.

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Chowan University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate, baccalaureate, and masters degrees. Contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Chowan University.

The university is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

In addition, several departmental programs are accredited by the appropriate state or national agencies. The Education program is accredited by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

The university is authorized by the immigration authorities of the United States for the training of foreign students.

Chowan University is approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the Certification of Eligibility of Chapter 30 and Chapter 35 coverage of the GI Bill® benefits for all military services, including the National Guard.

Chowan University may also be seen in U.S. News & World Report, as well as the Association of Christian Schools International.

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Additional Details

  • Undergraduate Degrees:Bachelor's
  • Undergraduate Enrollment:1534
  • Campus Setting:Rural
Show all
  • Student to Faculty Ratio:Unknown
  • Student Diversity – % Asian/Pacific Islander:Unknown
  • Student Diversity -% Hispanic or Latino:Unknown
  • Student Diversity – % Black or African-American:Unknown
  • Student Diversity – % American Indian/Alaskan Native:Unknown
  • Year Established:1848
  • Accreditation:The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Price Range 23930
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