Soka University of America

Soka University of America is a private, non-profit, co-educational institution of higher education located in Aliso Viejo, California. Soka currently offers a BA in liberal arts and an MA in Educational Leadership and Societal Change. Although the University does not offer a religious curriculum and admits students without regard to religious affiliation, the founding spirit is inspired by Buddhist principles of peace, human rights and the sanctity of life. Emphasizing a non-sectarian humanistic curriculum, including the importance of self-knowledge, self-mastery, the dignity of life and peace, Soka strives to achieve its mission "to foster a steady stream of global citizens committed to living a contributive life." Soka values student-centered education that promotes peace and human rights, fostering a global humanistic perspective on the world in which we live. Classrooms are centers of dialogue and discussion, emphasizing seminar course settings. The campus offers a 8:1 student/faculty ratio (average class size of 13). All undergraduate students live on campus. The average freshman-year retention is 96%, and 83.5% graduate in 4 years and 89% in 5 years. Sokas 103-acre hilltop campus is open to top students of all nationalities and beliefs. Half of the student body is international. In 2008 Soka became the smallest and youngest university to offer full tuition to admitted students whose annual family income is $60,000 or less. Over 90% of our domestic and international student body receive need-based and/or merit-based scholarships totaling over 10 million dollars. The BA program is a multi-disciplinary program in liberal arts with concentrations in Environmental Studies, Humanities, International Studies, and Social & Behavioral Sciences. Taught within each concentration and across the curriculum are multiple perspectives drawing on diverse cultures, traditions, and points of view with special attention given to Eastern and Western thought and practice. A general education program introduces students to disciplinary knowledge and perspectives, as well as to critical and creative thinking and to the communication skills necessary for life-long learning. All students take seminar-style Core Curriculum classes, exploring the great works of both Eastern and Western culture (Core I) and current issues of social inequality, personal and group identities and major issues facing humanity today (Core II). All students, both domestic and international, study a non-native language and spend a semester of their junior year in a country where that language is spoken. Study abroad is mandatory and included in tuition. All seniors complete a capstone project, choosing their own topic and faculty advisor. Learning Clusters are among the most unique academic programs at Soka. A research seminar where students work in teams with faculty facilitators, each Cluster is designed to bridge theory and practice by helping students learn to apply a range of investigative and analytical tools in the discovery and presentation of trends and ideas. Students propose, research, and model constructive approaches to the issues. Learning Clusters occur in 3.5-week block periods to take full advantage of opportunities for field and service learning, traveling to places such as South Africa, China, the Amazon, Panama and India. Although Soka only offers one undergraduate major in liberal arts, its graduates have been accepted into such diverse graduate programs as economics at Stanford, public policy at Berkeley, law at U of Maryland, statistics at Harvard, education at Columbia, urban planning at NYU, conflict resolution at George Mason, public affairs at Cornell, public health at UCLA, psychology at U of Tokyo, international affairs at UCSD, journalism at Northwestern, musicology at Oxford, creative writing at New School, film at San Francisco Art Institute, East Asian studies at Duke, and environmental studies at Penn.

Academic Grad Slug

School Details

school_type year_founded religious_affiliation academic_calendar year_2016_endowment address telephone
Private, Coed 1987 N/A Semester $1.2 billion 1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656 (949) 480-4000
overall score total score state city online paying global
75 100.0 California Aliso Viejo 1012