About Baylor University

About Baylor University

Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continuously operating university in Texas and the largest Christian university with a Baptist heritage in the world. Named for District Judge R.E.B. Baylor, one of its founding fathers, and located in Independence, Texas, the institution began classes in 1846. In 1886, Baylor merged with Waco University to become Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Today, Baylor is classified as a Doctoral University with Higher Research Activity by the Carnegie Commission while the university has gained an international reputation for educational excellence built upon the faculty’s commitment to teaching, scholarship, and interdisciplinary research that produces outstanding graduates. A private Christian university and a nationally ranked liberal arts institution, Baylor has produced alumni who are leaders in all fields, from governors of Texas, to heads of Fortune 500 companies, missionaries, pastors, teachers, and professional athletes. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students with 165,000 living alumni who lead and served in communities and cities around the world. Baylor is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Located in Waco, known as a great small city with a low cost of living, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor’s academic units offer 129 undergraduate, 75 masters, and 41 doctoral degree programs. The University has an operating budget of more than $700 million for the fiscal year 2020-2021 and an endowment of approximately $1.3 billion.


Established to be a servant of the church and of society, Baylor seeks to fulfill its calling through excellence in teaching and research, in scholarship and publication, and in service to the community, both local and global. The vision of its founders and the ongoing commitment of generations of students and scholars are reflected in the motto inscribed on the Baylor seal: Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana – For Church, for Texas.

Amidst a sea of secular and parochial institutions of higher education, Baylor stands unique in its pursuits of scholastic excellence while holding firm to its Christian heritage, believing that both intellectual and spiritual pursuits are not only partners in the quest for truth, but essential to the growth and development of the whole person. To this end, the University encourages innovative and original research, promotes exemplary teaching, and supports professional excellence in various specialized disciplines.

Aware of its responsibility and role in the world, Baylor offers a distinctive voice to global conversations about crucial issues – such as social responsibility, health care, economic growth, human rights, poverty, diversity, and sustainability – in a way that few others can. Advancing the frontiers of knowledge while cultivating a Christian worldview, Baylor holds fast to its original commitment to the church and its global community – to build a university that is Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana.

Strategic Plan

Under the direction of Baylor’s new president, Linda Livingstone, the university launched Illuminate, its academic strategic plan. Illuminate draws upon the institution’s heritage and commitment to becoming a preeminent Christian research university “where research discoveries illuminate solutions to significant challenges confronting our world and where creative endeavors reflect the breadth of God’s creation.”

Illuminate contains four pillars that reflect the historical commitment of Baylor to be a community recognized for:

  • An unambiguously Christian educational environment;

  • A transformational undergraduate education;

  • Research and scholarship marked by quality, impact, and visibility; and

  • National recognized programs in human performance through the arts and athletics.

In addition, Illuminate identifies five areas of focus:

  • Health – Research and collaboration in this area will focus on environmental, family, and community determinants of health, biomedical research, health policy law, leadership and ethics, and undergraduate health and medical education.

  • Data Sciences – Research, educational, and professional training in this area will focus on biomedical informatics, cybersecurity, and business analytics, with an overarching theme of ethical largescale data;

  • Material Science – Research and collaboration in this area will focus on technologies that make products faster, stronger, and lighter, providing solutions for enhanced quality of life;

  • Human Flourishing, Leadership and Ethics - Research and collaboration in this area will focus on understanding the conditions by which humans, communities, and societies flourish;

  • Baylor in Latin America – Research, collaboration, and engagement in this area will focus on health and disease prevention; business development and international trade; human capital formation and education; immigration, migration, and human trafficking; congregational development; democratic governance and economics; and culture and arts.

These signature initiatives will enable the creation of centers of research excellence through multidisciplinary scholarship and collaboration with faculty appointments from departments, schools, and external partners. These interdependent initiatives will connect with one another through faculty partnerships, calls for research, and provision of funding.