Brigham Young University

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All images used with permission from BYU. Copyright 2006

Originally established on October 16, 1875, as the Brigham Young Academy, Brigham Young University was founded on principles of combined spiritual and secular learning.

Brigham Young University is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes called the Mormon Church. BYU is part of a Latter-day Saint Church Educational System, which serves more than 1.2 million people worldwide, including students at BYU in Provo, Utah; BYU–Hawaii in Laie, Hawaii; BYU–Idaho in Rexburg, Idaho; and Ensign College in Salt Lake City, Utah. This education system also serves hundreds of thousands in continuing education and literacy programs, religious seminaries and institutes, and elementary and secondary schools in many countries, including Fiji, Mexico, New Zealand, Samoa, and Tonga.

Brigham Young University provides nationally recognized education in an atmosphere that upholds the moral standards of the Church of Jesus Christ, its sponsor.

BYU is recognized for extensive language programs, an academically minded and internationally experienced student body, talented performing arts ensembles, outstanding sports programs, quality teaching, and its beautiful mountain location. BYU is also known for being the number-one “stone-cold sober” school in the nation, a rating it consistently receives annually from the Princeton Review. In 2022, the Princeton Review changed the category name to "Cancel the Keg," and BYU is still No. 1 on the renamed list, where it has remained since 1998.[1][2][3] BYU also stands alone atop Princeton Review categories “Pot’s Not Hot” and “Scotch and Soda, Hold the Scotch,” and rates highly in a variety of other categories.

BYU alumni participation rates in donating to their alma mater far exceed national averages for universities. Donations are handled through the Philanthropies department of the Church, including donations of cash and property and online donations.

There are nearly 35,000 daytime-attending students during the fall and winter semesters at BYU in Provo.[4] BYU students come from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 105 countries. Self-identified ethnicity includes 1% are Pacific Islanders, 9% are Hispanic or Latino, 3% are Asian, 1% are Black, <1% are American Indian, and 4.5% are two or more races, and 81% are Caucasian. (Statistics are from 2023.)

BYU students view the world as their campus and many take advantage of the 200+ international study abroad programs that are offered throughout 60 countries. More than 2,000 students participate in study abroad programs annually, making BYU one of the Top 20 study abroad programs in the country. BYU also boasts one of the top foreign language study programs in the country, with students speaking 121 languages. More than 60 percent speak a second language.[5]

BYU faculty members hold advanced degrees from respected academic institutions around the world. Many faculty members are fluent in at least one additional language, and many conduct research and creative works in countries other than the United States.

Who was Brigham Young? Click here to read a brief article

BYU's Mission Statement

"The mission of Brigham Young University—founded, supported, and guided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—is to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life. That assistance should provide a period of intensive learning in a stimulating setting where a commitment to excellence is expected and the full realization of human potential is pursued.

"All instruction, programs, and services at BYU, including a wide variety of extracurricular experiences, should make their own contribution toward the balanced development of the total person. Such a broadly prepared individual will not only be capable of meeting personal challenge and change but will also bring strength to others in the tasks of home and family life, social relationships, civic duty, and service to mankind.

"To succeed in this mission the university must provide an environment enlightened by living prophets and sustained by those moral virtues which characterize the life and teachings of the Son of God. In that environment these four major educational goals should prevail:

  • All students at BYU should be taught the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Any education is inadequate which does not emphasize that His is the only name given under heaven whereby mankind can be saved. Certainly all relationships within the BYU community should reflect devout love of God and a loving, genuine concern for the welfare of our neighbor.
  • Because the gospel encourages the pursuit of all truth, students at BYU should receive a broad university education. The arts, letters, and sciences provide the core of such an education, which will help students think clearly, communicate effectively, understand important ideas in their own cultural tradition as well as that of others, and establish clear standards of intellectual integrity.
  • In addition to a strong general education, students should also receive instruction in the special fields of their choice. The university cannot provide programs in all possible areas of professional or vocational work, but in those it does provide the preparation must be excellent. Students who graduate from BYU should be capable of competing with the best in their fields.
  • Scholarly research and creative endeavor among both faculty and students, including those in selected graduate programs of real consequence, are essential and will be encouraged.

"In meeting these objectives BYU's faculty, staff, students, and administrators should be anxious to make their service and scholarship available to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in furthering its work worldwide. In an era of limited enrollments, BYU can continue to expand its influence both by encouraging programs that are central to the Church's purposes and by making its resources available to the Church when called upon to do so.

"We believe the earnest pursuit of this institutional mission can have a strong effect on the course of higher education and will greatly enlarge Brigham Young University's influence in a world we wish to improve."

—Approved by the BYU Board of Trustees November 4, 1981

BYU Sports

On September 10, 2021, the Big 12 presidents and chancellors voted to accept BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF into the conference. BYU will join the league for the 2023-2024 athletic season—although BYU is a football-independent school, its other programs participate in the West Coast Conference.

In fall of 2010, BYU decided to go independent in football (with its other teams joining the West Coast Conference). This won BYU the recognition for its huge, world-wide fan base, since ESPN signed an eight year contract to broadcast BYU's home games and brokered a deal to play Texas and other prestigious teams.

BYU sports programs turn out star athletes, the most notable being a string of All-American quarterbacks who have left their mark in pro football after college.

Video: BYU All-American Quarterbacks discuss being connected for good:

BYU Sports and the Honor Code

All BYU students, including student-athletes, are required to follow the University Honor Code, which is a code of conduct and living that helps improve the lives of university students. The Honor Code calls for honesty, chastity and virtue, obedience to the law, clean language, respect for others and adherence to the Word of Wisdom, as well as following the school’s dress and grooming standards.

“Anyone at BYU, when we perform, has responsibility to represent ourselves, our team, our individual family,” said Holmoe, the BYU director of athletics. “But we’re going to represent BYU and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — and people notice that.”[6]

Morality of BYU students, and their willingness to sacrifice sports field glory for the standards of God's kingdom, often make the news.

Rankings and Recognition

  • 2024

BYU's landscaping team captured top honors in March’s National Collegiate Landscape Competition, marking BYU’s fifth such championship in the past six years. BYU’s first place squad finished more than 350 points ahead of the next closest competitor, having out-landscaped 50 other universities. Sixty BYU students took part in the competition, with 13 receiving scholarship awards. Isaac Broberg earned the de facto gold medal with a $5,000 President’s scholarship sum. Nine Cougars finished in first place for their individual events.[7]

  • 2023

New data from the Institute of International Education Open Doors Report shows BYU is tops in the United States for the most students who studied abroad this past academic year. According to the report, 2,878 BYU students took part in 204 BYU study abroad programs located throughout 61 countries. The University of Texas was No. 2 on the list with 2,652 total study abroad students. BYU’s previous highest mark in the annual Open Doors report for most study abroad students was No. 14, after the 2018–2019 school year.[8]

Newly released rankings from The Wall Street Journal recognize Brigham Young University as one of the best universities in the country. BYU comes in at No. 20 overall in the 2024 Best Colleges in America rankings from The Wall Street Journal and College Pulse, joining the likes of Princeton, MIT, Yale, Stanford and Harvard in the top 25. The new rankings put a greater focus on the value added by colleges, with an emphasis on how much a college improves its students’ chances of graduating on time, and how much it boosts the salaries they earn after graduation.[9]

Each year, U.S. News releases its rankings for professional school programs in business, education, engineering, law, medicine and nursing. The rankings are determined by expert opinions that take into consideration program excellence and statistical indicators, analyzing faculty, research, and students. BYU is once again among the top contenders. BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School reached its highest ranking to date — bumping up six spots from last year to come in at No. 23 for 2023. BYU’s Marriott School of Business also placed in the Top-50 program ranks. The MBA program secured the No. 36 spot and the MPA program was at No. 49. Six additional BYU graduate programs ranked among the Top 100 in their disciplines: Speech Language Pathology (No. 63); Nursing (No. 68); Education (No. 84); Mathematics (No. 91); Computer Science (No. 99); Chemistry (No. 100).

BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School placed in the top 25 in the latest U.S. News & World Report law school rankings. Most top law schools were founded in the 1800s, and, in fact, all but two of the report’s top 28 schools were founded before 1910 — UCLA in 1949 and BYU in 1973. “Think of what we faced with (the first-year) class,” President Dallin H. Oaks says. “We had to recruit a class of students who could go to any law school. That was fundamental, but we had to say to the law students, ‘We’re not an accredited law school. We don’t yet have a faculty, and without accreditation we can’t guarantee that you can sit for the bar examination in any state in the United States.’ Yet that class of 159 students helped BYU become immediately competitive. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger selected the top student in that first class as one of his clerks, the first of 16 BYU students to clerk at the nation’s highest court. The J. Reuben Clark Law School earned accreditation a year after it opened. BYU Law today is recognized as a global leader in religious liberty law. The Law School celebrated its 50th year in August 2023.[10][11]

  • 2022

A new video game created and produced by BYU students received the “Highly Commended” award from the Rookie Awards – an international board that evaluates and ranks top video game design schools around the world. The 2022 award earned BYU the number five school in the world for game design and development.[12]

  • 2021

In 2021, U.S. News ranked BYU No. 6 overall for Best Value in their 2022 Best Colleges publication released this morning. BYU joins the likes of Yale, MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia and Stanford in the U.S. News Top 10 Best Values ranking.

BYU was also highly ranked in 2021 for several specific academic programs in the newly published U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2022 guide, including: No. 2: Accounting; No. 13: Entrepreneurship; No. 18: Information Systems; No. 23: International Business.[13]

In rankings released in August 2021, The Princeton Review also ranked BYU No. 6 in Best Value. While The Princeton Review did away with many of their popular student life rankings due to the pandemic, they did publish several lists with top-performing schools. BYU made the cut on the following lists: Best Western Universities; Great College Library; Great Intramural Sports; Great Town-Gown Relations. BYU was also ranked No. 3 overall for undergraduate entrepreneurship.

  • 2016

In 2016 BYU celebrated its 19th year as the most "Stone Cold Sober" college campus in America. BYU students are experts on having good, clean fun. [14]

  • 2015

In the 2015 U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard, BYU averaged an annual coast of $13,070, with 78 percent of its students graduating and making a salary of $57,400 after graduating.[15]

BYU’s MBA program is ranked No. 27 in the 2015 edition of U.S. News’ Best Graduate Schools, while the J. Reuben Clark Law School comes in at No. 36 among top law schools. [16] Both schools moved up in the rankings, with the MBA program jumping three spots from last year and the law school jumping a remarkable eight spots. Graduates from BYU’s MBA program enjoy one of the highest placement rates among MBA grads nationwide, with 95 percent of graduates employed at three months. Last year, MBA grads had an average starting salary (and bonus) of $110,000, landing jobs at Adobe, Proctor & Gamble, ExxonMobil, and Amazon, among dozens of other major companies. [17]

  • 2014

In April 2014, named BYU the best place to find students with both beauty and brains. Using data from Niche on colleges with the hottest guys, hottest girls, smartest guys, and smartest girls.[18]. Also in 2014, BYU ranked number 62 on a list of the best 300 universities in the nation. also ranked sixth for graduates with the least debt and number 14 among best value schools. Money ranked BYU among the best value in 2016: 79 percent of students graduate within six years (11 percent higher than comparable schools) and graduates earn on average slightly more than comparable schools.[19] Also in 2016, Forbes ranked BYU the third top college with the most value for the dollar.[20] The Marriott School's accounting program is ranked number 3, its international business program ranked number 12, the entrepreneurship program came in at number 16, and the undergraduate programs ranked number 34 overall.

  • 2013

At the beginning of 2013, the Public Accounting Report ranked Brigham Young University as No. 3 on a list of the nation's 50 best accounting undergraduate programs. The report has ranked BYU as third in the nation for the past 18 years, according to the Marriott School of Business. [21]

The Provo, Utah, campus of BYU was ranked the safest in the nation by Business Insider," a ranking that was based on security, crime rates, and alcohol and drug abuse.[22]

  • 2012

In March 2012 BYU student films won multiple student Emmys from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation, with this year’s haul being the largest ever. BYU student films and filmmakers won an unprecedented five awards at the 33rd College Television Awards. (Read more ...)

Again in 2012 the "Cougarettes," BYU's precision dance team (part of the pep squad) won the National Dance Championship in hip hop dance for the 10th time. Read more ...

At the end of 2012, BYU was named a "Changemaker Campus" by Ashoka University. Read about it here

"The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago reported that BYU is 10th in the nation in the number of graduates who go on to earn doctoral degrees.

"The Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology programs have also received recognition. U.S. News & World Report ranked the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology 92nd overall, and in their "Best Graduate Schools" issue, ranked mechanical engineering specialties 65th." [23]

The Princeton Review names BYU America's most religious college. [24]

The Princeton Review gave BYU several awards, announced in the fall of 2009 for business and law schools. Not surprising was first place for family-friendly graduate schools.

While the highest family friendly ranking is not a shock—it's the fourth time the school has received the honor since 2006—People were a bit surprised by the competitive rank, listing BYU's MBA students as the third most competitive. BYU also ranked with Princeton as having the fifth best professors across business academe. Bigger schools on the East Coast captured most of the other top 10 rankings. Students who have attended BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School ranked the school fairly closely on having the most conservative, yet also the most competitive students. On average, 100 students at each law school and 65 students at each business school were surveyed for the lists in the 2010 editions of the books. The results of the 80-question survey, which asks students about their school's academics, student body and campus life, themselves, and their career plans, is available online at

BYU's animation department ranks third in the country and works hand in hand with Pixar and other Hollywood companies. "Now, the (BYU animation) program is successful enough that ... the studios know who they want to hire and when they're available," said R. Brent Adams, director of BYU's Center for Animation. "As soon as they are, whether it's December or April, bang, they're gone." BYU animated films have earned many student Emmy Awards.

The 2010 U.S. News and World Report college rankings rated BYU #4 for least debt, #1 for the most popular university in America (topping Harvard, Stanford, and Yale), 34th for the top business schools (Marriott School for Business and Management), #20 for "Great Schools, Great Price," 78th for engineering (Ira A. Fulton School), and in the top 75 universities overall.

During the summer of 2010 BYU broke the world's record for the largest water balloon fight, a brawl lasting only 6 minutes. They made a music video out of it, and it went viral during the summer of 2010. The video, produced by BYU's Ad Lab, was the first student endeavor to win a professional award. You can watch it here:

BYU in top 10 for sending grads off for Ph.D.'s. Over the past decade, 2,442 of BYU’s graduates have earned Ph.D.s. That figure makes BYU 10th in the country as a Ph.D. launching pad – and there are signs of an upward trend. Looking at just the past five years of data, BYU ranks 5th in the country as a Ph.D. launch pad – ahead of schools like Harvard, Stanford and Yale.

  • 2007

"In its 2007 "America's Best Colleges" issue, U.S. News & World Report gave BYU high marks in several categories, ranking BYU 79th in the category of "Best National Universities" and 26th in the "Great Schools, Great Prices" category. BYU is also 16th for least student-incurred debt.

  • 2006

"The Marriott School of Management's undergraduate business programs have received acclaim from several sources. U.S. News ranked the undergraduate accounting program fifth, the undergraduate international business specialty 19th and the undergraduate management program 38th in the nation. Public Accounting Report in 2006 ranked BYU's undergraduate accounting program second in the nation. Business Week in 2008 ranked BYU undergraduate business programs seventh overall, first in the eyes of corporate recruiters, second overall (based on salary per tuition dollar) and first in return on tuition for private schools.

"The university has also performed well in graduate school rankings. The J. Reuben Clark Law School and the Marriott School of Management were ranked 44th and 41st, respectively, in the 2008 issue of U.S. News & World Report's "Best Graduate Schools." The magazine ranked BYU 72nd among top graduate nursing programs, 77th among top graduate education programs and 87th among top graduate social work programs.

"In 2006, Business Week ranked the MBA program first in "time to payback," and The Princeton Review ranked the MBA program second in "most family-friendly." The Wall Street Journal rated the MBA program No. 1 among regional schools and also ranked the MBA program's ethics emphasis second, its accounting emphasis fourth and its corporate responsibility emphasis seventh. Public Accounting Report ranked the Master of Accountancy program second in the nation in 2006.


Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke to faculty, staff, and administration at University Conference in August 2021 and urged BYU to Embrace Its Uniqueness and stay true to the Savior.

New Office of Belonging

At University Conference on August 23, 2021, BYU President Kevin J Worthen announced the formation of a new Office of Belonging at Brigham Young University. It will be led by a vice-president level official who will be a member of the president’s council. The formation of the new office follows an in-depth report from BYU's Committee on Race, Equity and Belonging.[25] The new office will help campus members achieve the community of belonging outlined in a newly created statement on belonging while coordinating and enhancing belonging services and efforts on campus.

BYU Addresses Needs of LGBTQ Students

Brigham Young University released an update to the honor code on February 19, 2020, the same day that the Church of Jesus Christ published its updated and revised General Handbook, a guide of instructions and policies for leaders and members. The honor code change was a removal of prescriptive language on “homosexual behavior” that had prohibited all forms of same-sex physical intimacy, in or out of marriage. The wording led to confusion about what exactly it meant. LGBTQ students wondered if it meant that they had "permission to do what [they] see straight students do in their relationships.”[26] Some students sought clarification in person through the Honor Code Office.

In response, Elder Paul V. Johnson, Commissioner of the Church Educational System, released the following letter on March 4, 2020:

“Recently the language of the principle-based Church Educational System Honor Code was updated. Those adjustments included significant doctrinal and behavioral matters that have led to much discussion and some misinterpretation. Out of respect for all concerned, we are providing the following clarifying statement.
“One change to the honor code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on ‘homosexual behavior.’ The moral standards of the church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated honor code. There is and always has been more to living the Lord’s standard of a chaste and virtuous life than refraining from sexual relations outside of marriage. Lasting joy comes when we live the spirit as well as the letter of God’s laws.
“A foundational doctrine of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is that ‘marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of his children’ (‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’). Church leaders have long taught these principles.
“Same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles in the honor code.
“We are grateful for the commitment that all students and employees in the Church Educational System make to live the principles and spirit of the honor code.”[27]

The school also released a Q&A with Honor Code Director Kevin Utt.

Utt said the school recognizes some people “will continue to feel isolation and pain” and asked for understanding.

“We encourage all members of our campus community to reach out to those who are personally affected with sensitivity, love and respect,” he said in the Q&A.

On March 3, 2020, President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at a BYU devotional. In part, he said, “Marginalizing and persecuting people based on age, gender, nationality, religious preferences or anything else can be hurtful or misunderstood,” he said. Read his full address, "Children of Heavenly Father," here.

The Church Educational System honor code applies to students and staff at BYU, BYU-Idaho, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Ensign College, and BYU-Pathway Worldwide.

Believing in the Dream

In 2017, BYU Speeches released a video of a talk Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave in 1987 while serving as president of the university. He tells of a young man who was given the task of not only speaking at graduation but using it as a platform for convincing community leaders and citizens to give money to save the university from being turned into a suburban housing development. Seeking divine guidance, the student walked to Temple Hill to pray and ponder.


Brigham Young University
TV Broadcast center

In late 2010, BYU opened a new building near the Marriott Center. It is the new location of BYU-TV and is a state-of-the-art broadcasting facility unlike any in the world.

Brigham Young University
Life Sciences Building

In November 2011 the university announced plans for a new life sciences building to be built on the south side of campus. The Life Sciences Building includes 265,000 square feet of teaching and research space for the College of Life Sciences and was constructed on the hillside directly south of the John A. Widtsoe Building. The building was built where the Benjamin Cluff Building sat for many years. The building includes 16 teaching labs, three auditoriums, four conference rooms, and more than 70 academic offices. The former Widtsoe Building was demolished.

In 2015, BYU continued with the Marriott Center seating upgrade. The upgrade decreases seating by approximately 1,900 seats from the current capacity. However, the added seats will be padded, wider, and have more legroom than the seats originally installed. The new seating will be in the lower bowl and will match the chair seats on the north side. The Marriott Center will also have a new annex, with approximately 38,000 square feet that will include a state-of-the-art basketball practice facility. It will connect to the east end of the Marriott Center. BYU's new laundry and auxiliary maintenance buildings were completed in June, and the old facility was razed to make room for expansion of the MTC. Work is on schedule to complete the last four of the twelve new buildings in the Heritage Hall project. Campus Drive is being rerouted to increase green space for the campus and provide more student drop-off zones.

In 2011, BYU set a speed record for lightweight electric cars. Read more here.

Brigham Young University car
BYU electric car

External Links