Mary Baldwin’s residential undergraduate program, Mary Baldwin College for Women, includes the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership and the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted. Mary Baldwin also offers undergraduate programs designed specifically for those with jobs, families, and other responsibilities through its Baldwin Online and Adult Programs, as well as graduate programs in Shakespeare and Performance, health sciences, and education (see the College of Education, Shakespeare and Performance, or Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences sections of this catalog for information on graduate admissions).

If you are applying for an undergraduate program, you can apply for admission after your junior year in high school, for admission to the fall or spring semesters, or as a transfer student. You may enter with advanced placement, dual enrollment credit, or credit for advanced work by the International Baccalaureate or by tests of the College Entrance Examination Board. You may attend full-time or, if you live in the area, part-time. As an especially gifted student, you may enter well before completing high school. If you are 18 years or older, you may enter Baldwin Online and Adult Programs, with special provisions for learners who have many demands on their schedules and energies. Please see the Mary Baldwin University website,, or the Contact Information section of this Catalog for more information on admission to each MBU program.

First-Year Admission

Admission to Mary Baldwin’s programs is based on a student’s academic potential; achievement in secondary school, when applicable; strength and maturity of character; and any special talents and abilities. In judging academic ability, the secondary school record, when applicable, is the primary factor considered.

Candidates for admission should have completed at least 16 college preparatory courses. The university recommends that candidates include four or five academic subjects in their course loads each year in meeting the following recommended school program:

  • English, four units;
  • Foreign language, two units (preferably two consecutive foreign language courses);
  • Mathematics, three units;
  • History and social studies, three units;
  • Lab science, two units.

Scores considered in the admissions process are those on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), the American College Test (ACT), or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

All students who enroll at Mary Baldwin University agree to abide by the rules, regulations, and standards set and established by the university. The university in turn will offer a bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, bachelor of science in nursing, or bachelor of social work; master of letters or master of fine arts in Shakespeare and Performance; master of education or master of arts in teaching; or master of science in physician assistant, doctor of occupational therapy, or doctor of physical therapy to those who meet the established standards, and will attempt during a student’s tenure to lend advice and support as solicited and/or needed.

The Declarations section of this catalog states Mary Baldwin’s policies on nondiscrimination, student privacy rights, and other important provisions.

Personal Interviews

A personal interview on campus with an admissions counselor is suggested for Mary Baldwin College for Women students seeking admission. Appointments for an interview and tour of the campus should be made in advance. Refer to the university calendar in this catalog for the dates when the university is in session. The Office of Admissions is open Monday through Friday all year, except for short periods during the Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas holidays. During academic sessions, the Admissions Office is open on Saturday mornings. During the summer months, it is not open on Saturday. Visit the website,, or call 800-468-2262 or 540-887-7019 to schedule an appointment.

Transfer Students

Mary Baldwin will consider students for admission to the freshman, sophomore, or junior class by way of transfer from colleges and universities accredited by regional accrediting agencies or the American Association for Liberal Education. A transfer application must include transcripts of all college work taken and a transcript from the secondary school.

Applications for the fall semester should be filed with the Office of Admissions during the prior winter or spring, and notification will be made when the file of credentials is complete. For entrance in the spring semester, applications should arrive before December 1. An evaluation of credits will be made after the final transcript arrives from the institution from which the student is transferring. A non-refundable advance deposit of $300 must be received by December 30 for students entering in January.

In evaluating transfer applications, emphasis is placed on the previous college record. As a general guideline, transfer students should have an average of 2.0 or better in their college work in order to be approved for transfer to Mary Baldwin. Only courses with grades of “C-” or higher, or “passing” grades in acceptable internships, will be accepted for transfer credit, and each course will be considered separately.

Transfer students coming into Mary Baldwin College for Women must earn a minimum of 63 semester hours at Mary Baldwin and spend two years in full-time attendance.

Transfer students should send their official college transcript(s), official final high school transcript, and application to Mary Baldwin University for full consideration. Students with 25 credits or less of transfer work should also submit SAT or ACT scores. Official college transcripts must be mailed directly from the Office of the Registrar from all previously attended institutions; and prospective applicants should request the transcripts be sent to Mary Baldwin as soon as possible. We will notify students of the status of their admission application within two weeks. Mary Baldwin will consider transfer students with some college and no degree and those with an associate of arts, associate of science, or associate of arts and sciences.

Important information:

  1. Students must be academically and socially eligible to return to the school they are currently attending or in which they were previously enrolled.
  2. Mary Baldwin has articulation agreements with the Virginia Community College System.
  3. Students with less than 24 hours of college-level course work will be evaluated for admission based on their academic performance in high school as well as their college-level course work.
  4. SAT or ACT test scores may be taken into consideration.
  5. If a student enters with 18 or fewer credit hours, the student’s academic work will be evaluated to determine the appropriate Gateway course for the student.
  6. Official Mary Baldwin University transcripts will show course titles, grades, and credit hours earned on transfer credit for which MBU has comparable courses; however, grades from transfer coursework are not factored into the GPA. In evaluating graduation requirements, the Registrar will determine if certain transfer credits can be used to satisfy general education requirements. All students must satisfy the core requirements and other graduation requirements set forth in the catalog under which they enter Mary Baldwin University.

Part-Time Degree-Seeking Students

Students who live close to the university and wish to complete their bachelor’s degree requirements by class attendance on the Mary Baldwin University campus may do so on a part-time basis. They are subject to the same admission requirements as other entering students.

Leadership Gateways and the Undergraduate First-Year Experience

All new undergraduate students have the benefit of membership in a gateway program offering support, direction, and connection. Baldwin Online and Adult Programs function as a Gateway for adult students. International students also have their own Gateway which includes intentional cultural, academic, and social immersion; and transfer and commuter students have their own Gateways as well. Mary Baldwin College for Women students may choose one of seven Leadership Gateways.

For first-year students, Gateways are a critical component of Mary Baldwin’s unique first-year experience, serving as the entryway to a journey of lifelong leadership. Our first-year curriculum includes a year-long orientation program which assists in the transition to college and helps guide students in career exploration with focus on leadership. Throughout the first year, students work closely with faculty, staff, and peers to build successful studentship and strong relationships, to discover their passions, and to explore who they want to be. The Leadership Gateway brings these teams together around common co-curricular interests and activities and integrates these activities into the academic curriculum while exposing students to the larger campus and all of its resources. Our first year experience supports new students in their transition to college and in their exploration and discovery of their best selves. National data and our own experience demonstrate that focused first-year learning communities enhance student success.

First-year students in the Mary Baldwin College for Women enter through the following Leadership Gateways with individualized orientation programs. Through these learning communities, all new students will complete BOLD 101 and 102: Baldwin Opportunities for Leadership and Development.

Arts Gateway

Students interested in the Arts Gateway are passionate about visual, performing, and literary arts. They want to explore the influence of creative thinking in everyday life. Whether they have aspirations to become scientists, businesswomen, historians, or artists, students in the Arts Gateway strongly believe in the power of fresh thinking and original expression.

Students in this gateway will have the opportunity to attend local and regional arts events and exhibitions, visit the spaces and places that inspire, meet others who share an appreciation of the arts, and participate in activities designed to challenge and develop the creative mind.

Suburbanites (for commuter students)

It need not be difficult for non-residential, local students to stay informed and connected. New commuter students from Staunton and surrounding areas will find support and networking opportunities among each other and upper-class commuter students. With a variety of ways to get involved on campus, Suburbanites will immerse themselves in the college community to become vibrant and active members of MBCW both in and out of the classroom. This Gateway helps the commuter student navigate the first-year transition and become fully involved in the college community, while maintaining her ties and responsibilities at home.

Early College Gateway

Director, Christy Baker, associate director of PEG

This gateway is for students who have been accepted to either the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted (PEG) or Early College Academy (ECA). PEG is a radical acceleration program that allows students as young as 13 to skip high school and dive right into college, living within a community of their intellectual and social peers. ECA enables academically talented students to start college after their junior year of high school. Many of these students complete their high school degree during their first year at Mary Baldwin.

Students in this gateway are invited to participate in other age-appropriate co-curricular and extra-curricular activities that are social, cultural, or just for fun. PEG students live in the PEG Center, a living-learning community with adult advisors in the building 24 hours a day.

  • MBU 102 An Investigation of the Arts, which includes participation with the American Shakespeare Center actors and scholars at the Blackfriars Playhouse, or MBU 103 An Investigation of the Sciences, which focuses on how science is integrated across disciplines and explores opportunities to engage in research and projects beginning in your first year.

Note: Additional application and interview are required.

Lois Blackburn Women for Healthy Lifestyles Gateway

This gateway is designed for students who want to practice and promote healthy and active lifestyles as the foundation of their college life and studies. Gateway experiences are designed to provide exposure to all facets of the wellness spectrum.

Students will have the opportunity to help plan community-based activities such as the Girls and Women’s Health Fair and Wellness Walk, in conjunction with Women’s Health Virginia; volunteer with the Women’s Health Initiative; and work with Physical Education, Dining Services, the Health Center, and other campus life offices to help learn and promote healthy lifestyle practices. Each student also completes a personalized fitness and wellness assessment leading to an individualized wellness plan. After their first year, students may work as wellness mentor and assist with programming for new freshmen entering the program.

  • Phys Ed 100 Fitness

Coexist Gateway

The Coexist Gateway offers students meaningful encounters with a variety of religious, spiritual, and philosophical traditions and pathways. Through cooperative activities and events, students witness the multiple ways in which people of faith live according to shared values.

Students are required to attend three conversations or events their first semester. Examples of events include the Fall Faith Fair, the World Religions and Peacemaking Lecture, and Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week spiritual activities.

  • REL 130 Faith, Life, and Service

Ida B. Wells Gateway

Director, Rev. Andrea Cornett Scott, associate vice president for inclusive excellence

Named in honor of a 19th-century civil rights activist and suffragist, this gateway is designed to aid African-American students in their transition to college life. Participants learn to identify their skills, values, and experiences, and understand how their unique presence adds value to the MBU experience.

These new students will make a commitment to diversity programming by serving as student ambassadors for the Office of Inclusive Excellence. As a member of this gateway, students will also take a general education course taught by their advisor and engage in co-curricular programming focused on civic engagement and African-American culture. Ida B. Wells extended support system includes Ubuntu Student Mentors and Sista Friends alumni mentors, using a team approach to helping each young woman become her best self. Additional application and interview are required.

  • PHIL 140 Community and Service Learning
  • REL 232 African American Religion
  • INT 177 Legacy & Tradition

Latino Culture Gateway

Designed for students who are interested in exploring the history and heritage of Latino cultures around the world, the Latino Culture Gateway enhances one of Mary Baldwin’s greatest strengths: diversity.

Music, art, food, dance, and literature help shape Gateway activities. Students will assist in planning events for Hispanic History Month and work with upper-class students involved in the on-campus group, Latinas Unidas. Resources will be provided in Spanish and English.

  • Recommended: Spanish language and Latin American Literatures and Culture courses
  • Required: LALC 127 U.S. Latino Literature and Culture

Spencer Citizens Gateway

Spencer Citizens have a passion for service whether it’s in the local or global arena. Multi-cultural experiences and travel opportunities enable participants to become agents of change, understanding that at the heart of leadership is service to others.

Students in this gateway take part in community service projects and assist with Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement activities throughout the year, such as Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and the International Café Series. After their first year, Spencer Citizens have the opportunity to become Citizen Fellows.

  • CE 102 The Reflective Self in Community
  • Recommended courses: PHIL 140 Community and Service Learning or SOC 282 Community Service and Society

Transfer Gateway

Transfer students are new to Mary Baldwin, but they already have some experience with the college ropes. MBCW makes the transition seamless and offers the resources and support they need to succeed while finishing their undergraduate education. Mary Baldwin and the Virginia Community College System also have a Guaranteed Admissions Agreement to facilitate credit transfer from community colleges.

Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL)

Terry Djuric, VWIL Commandant of Cadets (Brigadier General, retired) and Gateway Director.

Through ethical rigor, intense challenges, mutual respect and high achievement, VWIL is a four-year leader development program which integrates theoretical leadership instruction with practical application so that graduates have the knowledge, skills, character, and experience to assume positions of leadership in the military, public service, and private sectors in the United States and around the world. Using a living-learning approach emphasizing moral and ethical development, VWIL combines military leader development through Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) with civilian approaches. VWIL’s leader development program integrates four major components: Academic Curriculum, Physical and Health Education Curriculum, Co-curricular Leadership, and Military Leadership (ROTC: Army, Air Force, Navy/Marines (commissioning optional)).

VWIL Advanced Leadership Certificate

The VWIL Advanced Leadership Certificate is awarded to VWIL cadets that have been active members of the VWIL Corps of Cadets for six-eight semesters, completed all requirements for an undergraduate degree at Mary Baldwin University and the Leadership Studies Minor, and currently hold a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.  The academic requirements for the VWIL Certificate beyond the General Education and Leadership Studies Minor requirements include: completing at least two semesters of foreign language courses or study abroad or an additional global studies course; completing an additional science class (total of eight science semester hours); completing two math courses (Math 155 or higher) and a statistics course (total of 9 quantitative reasoning semester hours), and a managing difference course.  Additionally, VWIL certificates are only awarded to cadets that improve their physical fitness by completing five classes in physical and health education, participate in VWIL’s physical training program each year, and in their senior year earn a 70% on the Strength and Endurance Test or improve a total of 20% during four years.  The leadership experiential requirements for VWIL certificate includes: attending yearly VWIL promotion boards and holding two leadership positions in MBU/VWIL for an entire academic year; one of the positions must be within the VWIL Corps.  Final approval for VWIL Certificate is made by the Commandant of Cadets in consultation with the President and Provost.  Cadets awarded VWIL Certificate wear a yellow and green cord with medallion at the commencement ceremony.