Ferris State University was founded in 1884 by Woodbridge and Helen Ferris as the privately-owned Big Rapids Industrial School. It became a state institution in 1950 and a state university in 1987. Since its beginning, Ferris has been dedicated to providing students of diverse backgrounds with educational opportunities for rewarding professional and civic lives.
Ferris State University is a mid-sized four-year public university known for its quality of instruction and large selection of academic programs, ranging from associate to doctoral degrees, offered through eight degree-granting colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Services, Engineering Technology, Health Professions, Kendall College of Art and Design, Michigan College of Optometry, and Pharmacy. It equips students to contribute to a changing world by offering a challenging, adaptive curriculum that consists of a unique blend of technical and professional programs based in traditional academic areas and driven by industry demand.
Students at Ferris have exceptional access to faculty due to the university’s low student-faculty ratio and small class sizes, which promote more engaging instruction, one-on-one career advice and professional connections. Courses at Ferris State are taught by credentialed, dedicated instructors who have real-world experience in their fields and provide relevant, adaptive coursework with an emphasis on hands-on learning.
Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) play an important role in helping Ferris State University achieve the mission of innovative teaching and learning. RSOs provide unique learning experiences outside the classroom, and they create opportunities for students’ personal and professional development. The university recognizes the positive impact student organizations may have on recruitment and retention of students.
Ferris State University’s main campus is located in Big Rapids, a west central Michigan town of approximately 10,600 in the vacation-recreation region. In addition to being home of Ferris State University, Big Rapids is the county seat of Mecosta County. The 935-acre campus is readily accessible by the US-131 expressway and state highway M-20. Big Rapids is 55 miles north of Grand Rapids and within 200 miles of Chicago and Detroit.
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