Point Loma Nazarene University

Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) is a private Christian liberal arts college. Its main campus in San Diego, California, is set on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. PLNU exists ”to provide higher education in a vital Christian community where minds are engaged and challenged, character is modeled and formed, and service becomes an expression of faith.”

Point Loma Nazarene University is one of eight U.S. liberal arts colleges and universities affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene. Each college receives financial backing from the Nazarene churches in its region. PLNU is the college for the Southwest Region of the United States (California, Arizona, New Mexico, parts of Nevada, Utah, and Texas) and Hawaii. U.S. News & World Report 2019 ranked PLNU #9 in the Regional Universities West category out of 128 schools listed in that section.

Academics

Point Loma Nazarene University has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges since 1949. PLNU offers more than 60 areas of study including Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, as well as graduate degrees. Undergraduates can choose from more than 50 majors.

PLNU faculty members are known for their excellence as teachers and scholars in their respective fields, as well as for their commitment to forming relationships with students built around mentorship and accountability to help students thrive academically, professionally, and spiritually. The small student-to-teacher ratio of 14:1 means that you can have one-on-one relationships with professors who are just as concerned with who you are becoming as they are with how you are performing.

Point Loma Nazarene University offers a few online bachelor’s, master’s, and credential programs for working professionals. But as a primarily residential college, they honestly don’t offer as many online classes as some institutions do. Probably because most full-time students would rather study in person on the beautiful oceanfront campus!

Faith

Point Loma Nazarene University is a Christ-centered community committed to whole-person education and helping students fully become who they’re called to be. Whether you prefer small group settings, service projects, missions, or music — PLNU offers many ministry opportunities including chapel, community, international, discipleship and worship ministries.

Full-time students are required to attend chapel. Attendance in chapel is based on the number of units the student is enrolled. Freshman and sophomores must attend 33 chapels, and juniors and seniors must attend 25 chapels. PLNU also offers a variety of ways to earn chapel credit through Alternative Chapel Engagements offered by various departments, clubs, and events across campus and online.

Young Hall photo by Garrett Richardson.

Campus Life

Point Loma Nazarene University serves more than 3,500 students, with a male/female ratio of 36/54. Living in a residence hall as an undergraduate is a rewarding way to become part of an active Christian community. From Young Hall down by the cliffs, to Goodwin Hall on the north side of campus, most of them have ocean views! Strategically placed benches and picnic tables around campus offer a front row seat to gorgeous sunsets. The university shuttle drives all over the 90-acre campus and the neighborhood of Point Loma, offering rides to students who don’t have cars.

Point Loma is consistently rated as one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, and the campus as well as the surrounding area offer plenty to do for fun. San Diego has it all – wonderful people, great food, world-class museums, historic neighborhoods, Mediterranean climate, and amazing beaches! PLNU is even rated as the third best surf college in America. Studying here is like being on vacation!

PLNU hosts numerous denominational and local community events on campus including arts and culture gatherings, outdoor activities, and faith and ministry opportunities. PLNU has a lot of resources for students, as well as many opportunities for involvement both on and off campus. They have an Honors Program, Career Services, Study Abroad opportunities, short term mission trips, summer research projects, over 50 student clubs, and more.

PLNU athletic teams are called the Sea Lions. PLNU is a member of the Pacific West Conference in NCAA Division II. The university sponsors 11 athletic programs – four for men and seven for women – in cross-country, baseball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s track & field, women’s volleyball, and women’s golf.

Stewardship

PLNU has joined a growing number of environmentally conscious academic institutions filled with students and faculty who are passionate about energy, water and resource conservation. In fact, the stewardship of resources is one of PLNU’s core values. “PLNU strives to be forward thinking and take a leadership role in sustainability efforts and environmental stewardship,” said Dr. Bob Brower, president of PLNU.

With nearly forty percent of undergraduates majoring in a science-related discipline, Point Loma Nazarene University built a new, innovative LEED-certified high-tech science building and research facility to meet the modern needs of the Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Math, and Computer Science departments. The 36,000 square-foot two-story Sator and Latter Hall was awarded the 2016 PCBC Gold Nugget Award for Best Educational Project.

Recognized for its innovative leadership in the area of sustainability, PLNU is now also offering an Environmental Studies major. Hosted by the Department of Literature, Journalism, Writing, and Languages, this new major is an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts program that will give students the freedom to pursue their passion for sustainability and the environment across disciplines as diverse as art, literature, biology, history, political science, public policy, theology, writing, and more.

Alumni

PLNU biology alum Jeff Hester is an assistant underwater and aerial camera operator for Silverback Films, the production company behind Our Planet, the Emmy-Award-winning Netflix series. Hester helped film three of the series’ eight episodes: the kelp forests in “Coastal Seas,” manatees and underwater caves in Florida for “Freshwater,” as well as blue whales and bluefin tuna off the coast of Baja California in “High Seas.” Hester recalled back to his earliest lessons at PLNU: “My professors at Point Loma really played a big role in how I see the world and the interface between faith and science — [that] they don’t have to be mutually exclusive. When I’m sitting underwater and observing these incredible environments and the life happening around me, I believe God gave us this planet to protect and care for. What I hope to do with my work is bring others into those places and get them to care the same way I care about them.”

Admissions

As you can imagine, Point Loma Nazarene University is a competitive school to get into. After all, who wouldn’t want to live in a dorm with an ocean view! So they have to be selective in choosing their students. In fact, PLNU ranks among the top five most selective Christian colleges in the U.S. It’s also expensive; the annual cost to attend is about $50,000 per year for tuition, room and board. The good news is, 90% of accepted students are offered some type of financial aid.

The average high school GPA for admitted freshmen is about 3.79, while the average SAT score is 1,690/2,400. But they encourage you to apply, even if you’re unsure of your qualifications. “We believe you have more to offer than just a GPA or test score, which is why there is no numeric formula that determines admittance. Rather, we use a holistic evaluation approach to determine whether you are a good fit for PLNU.”

We couldn’t find anything specific about homeschool admissions on the PLNU website or elsewhere, so we asked them. Admissions Support Manager Cristina Rangel said, “Yes, we accept homeschool transcripts and applicants.” We also asked if there were any special requirements for homeschoolers, and she said “No, homeschool students would follow the very same application requirements as any applicant.”

This means you must have a complete application including high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores (optional), and two letters of recommendation. An admissions interview is not required, but is strongly recommended. College credits earned while in high school can transfer to PLNU. You can also get college credit for taking AP tests. For more information, see how to apply. PLNU applications for Fall 2022 will become available starting on August 15th.

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