University Overview

Seton Hall University was founded in 1856 by Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley, the first bishop of Newark, who named it after his aunt, Elizabeth Ann Seton, a pioneer in Catholic education and the first American-born saint. The University is the oldest diocesan university in the United States.

Seton Hall is located primarily on three campuses. The main campus in the suburban village of South Orange, New Jersey, houses the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Human Development, Culture and Media, the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, the Stillman School of Business, and the Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology. The Interprofessional Health Sciences campus, located in the towns of Clifton and Nutley, NJ, is home to the College of Nursing and the School of Health and Medical Sciences. Seton Hall’s eighth School, the School of Law, is located in Newark, New Jersey. The Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies is located on the South Orange campus.

A Tradition of Christian Values

Seton Hall University is founded on and defines itself and its academics, student life and community programs on a Christian understanding of the nature of the world and the human person. With a tradition of quality education based on Christian values, the University takes pride in its concern for the intellectual, ethical and spiritual development of its undergraduate and graduate students.

Religious beliefs and values are taken seriously at Seton Hall. The University emphasizes the importance of religious and ethical concerns to all areas of human inquiry. With Roman Catholic teaching and tradition as a life-enhancing and enabling vision, the University calls on its students to explore and appreciate all that is the best and most humane in the world.

Seton Hall is Catholic not only by its charter and mission, but also by its ongoing spirit and activity. There exists a basic tenet at the University that religious faith is vital to life and its meaning. This tenet provides a context in which the University has and will continue to define and develop its identity. The Office of Mission and Ministry was instituted in order to foster the spirit and the reality of the Catholic faith on campus.

At the same time, Seton Hall is committed to bringing together people of different races, cultures, religious traditions, lifestyles and ethnic backgrounds into a community that is respectful and supportive. This commitment has helped to establish a truly multicultural community in which all people of good will are welcome.

Seton Hall strives to develop the intellectual, social and religious talents of its students so they may live their lives responsibly, generously and successfully.

Academic Programs: A Commitment to Excellence

At the undergraduate level, Seton Hall offers more than 60 majors and concentrations, as well as many minors, certificates, and interdisciplinary and other special programs. These curricula are continually evaluated and enhanced to meet the changing educational, professional and technological needs and expectations of our increasingly complex society.

One thing that has remained consistent, however, is the University’s commitment to individual attention: With more than 400 full-time faculty and many adjunct faculty, the average class size is just 20 students, and the student-faculty ratio is 14:1. In addition to a highly dedicated and accessible faculty, the University offers comprehensive academic advising and career development programs, as well as a diversity of special services designed to assist students in their academic, personal, professional and spiritual development. At Seton Hall, students find people who are willing to listen, offer support and help them achieve their goals.

The University also encourages students to enhance their academic preparation through involvement in extracurricular activities, such as student government; student professional organizations; internships and cooperative education experiences; varsity, intramural and club sports; recreation and fitness activities; fraternities and sororities; community service; cultural programs; and ethnic and other special- interest organizations.

A Window to the Wider World

Seton Hall is in the midst of one of the world’s most cosmopolitan centers of education, business, publishing, art and entertainment. The University’s close proximity to New York City (which is 14 miles from South Orange) allows students to explore the best that the “Big Apple” has to offer, including museums, plays, concerts and sporting events. In the city as well as throughout areas of New Jersey, students take part in field trips, internships, cooperative education assignments and community service activities. With the increasing importance of international business, communication and governmental cooperation, many students elect to pursue international study programs.

The History of Seton Hall

The “three chapters” of the University’s history span over 160 years of intellectual and spiritual development, from the founding era into the 20th century, through the depression, world war and cold war, and through the most recent period of expansion.

From its original enrollment of a handful of students in 1856, Seton Hall grew rapidly. During its first 12 years, the College enrolled more than 500 freshmen from 17 states and six foreign countries. The seeds of diversity at Seton Hall were planted almost from its birth.

Seton Hall always has reflected the growing ethnic scope of its students and the increasing diversity of the Church and society it has served. In the 19th century, in spite of setbacks, major fires, lean times and the Civil War, the College continued to expand. By 1937, Seton Hall established a University College. This marked the first matriculation of women at Seton Hall. The University became fully coeducational in 1968.

The years after World War II witnessed unprecedented growth for Seton Hall as it responded to the needs of thousands of veterans seeking higher education. The College was organized into a university in 1950, comprising the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business, Nursing and Education.

  • Seton Hall School of Law, 1951
  • School of Health and Medical Sciences, 1987
  • School of Diplomacy and International Relations, 1997
  • College of Communication and the Arts, 2015

The next two decades saw the construction and modernization of a large number of facilities including the Library, the Science and Technology Center, residence halls and the University Center. Many new programs and majors were inaugurated. New ties were established with the private and industrial sectors, and a growing partnership developed with federal and state governments creating programs for the economically and educationally disadvantaged.

The ’70s and ’80s continued to be a time of growth and renewal. New business and nursing classroom buildings and an art center were opened. In 1984, Immaculate Conception Seminary returned to Seton Hall, its original home until 1927, when it moved to Darlington, NJ. With construction of four new residence halls between 1986-88, the purchase of off-campus apartment buildings, and the expansion of Aquinas Hall, Seton Hall as of 2014 provides living space for approximately 2,300 students.

The physical development of the campus continued in the 1990s. In 1994, construction was completed on Walsh Library, a $20 million, four-story facility. Walsh Library provides first-class study and research resources to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and scholars from around the world. The opening of Walsh Library is symbolic of Seton Hall’s transformation from a small, local institution whose library housed the personal collection of its president to a major national university with current library holdings of over 1.5 million titles in all formats (both print and electronic).

Seton Hall’s space expanded in 2018 when the University’s Interprofessional Health Campus in Clifton and Nutley, N.J. opened in the summer of 2018 and features world-class facilities for health science research and discovery. The IHS campus houses the University’s College of Nursing and the School of Health and Medical Sciences, and is neighbor to the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University. It is approximately 10 miles from Seton Hall’s main campus in South Orange, N.J. and is convenient to New York City and major transportation hubs.

The IHS campus creates a forward-thinking approach to healthcare education, bringing together future doctors, nurses and health professionals in the fields of medicine, nursing, physical therapy, physician assistant, occupational therapy, athletic training and speech language pathology.

When the Sesquicentennial of Seton Hall was observed in 2006, we looked back on the prophetic concluding words from the 1956 centenary history of the University: “Seton Hall University’s great boast and claim to fame is not predicated on expansion, buildings or even curriculum. It lies rather in the hearts and minds of a dedicated and devoted faculty.” Seton Hall’s history has been one primarily of people: students and faculty living and working together in a community of learning, a community rooted in a Catholic tradition that is a home for the mind, the heart and the spirit.

Seton Hall remains in the forefront of global education, and at the same time honors its history.

Priest Community at Seton Hall

From its earliest existence as a diocesan college, Seton Hall has been staffed by the priests of the Archdiocese of Newark. At present, 45 priests (the largest single apostolate of diocesan clergy anywhere) serve the University community in a variety of ways. Some work in administration or on staff, others are professors on the University or Seminary faculties. Some work directly with students in a pastoral capacity in Campus Ministry. Some serve on the University Boards and some have retired after many years of service to the University and continue to live on campus and contribute to the spiritual and liturgical life of the campus community.

The presence of so many priests of the Archdiocese of Newark, as well as those from other dioceses or religious orders who also work on campus, is a vital element in furthering the Catholic mission and identity of the University. In addition to their administrative and/or academic duties, the priests minister to all members of the University community, not only through the scheduled liturgical services in the University chapels, but also through their availability, personal concern and response to individual needs. 

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Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Seton Hall has reached new heights in academic excellence, faculty research and student success. Ready to take the next steps on your academic or career path?