Brigham Young University
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.
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 33,000 daytime-attending students during the fall and winter semesters at BYU in Provo. Over four percent are students over age 30, and 1.5% are under age 18. BYU students come from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and more than 115 countries. 33% are from the South Pacific, 28% are Latino, 4% are Black, 4% are American Indian, and 31% are other races. (Ethnicity is reported voluntarily; all statistics are from 2007.)
BYU full-time employees include approximately 1,300 instructional faculty, 88.4 percent of whom are tenured or on tenure track, and approximately 2,900 administrative and staff personnel. Part-time employees include approximately 900 faculty, administrative and staff personnel, and 12,000 students.
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 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
Morality of BYU students, and their willingness to sacrifice sports field glory for the standards of God's kingdom, often make the news. In 2010 BYU girls opted out of final playoffs in order to keep from competing on the sabbath day. In 2009 Harvey Unga, a star halfback for the BYU Cougars' football team, had decided to stay on for his senior year, instead of moving early into the NFL. He was then suspended for breaking the BYU honor code, which forbids pre-marital sex. Harvey and his girlfriend welcomed a baby, got married, and Unga showed his prowess after drafts were long over, being accepted by the Chicago Bears.
In 2011, BYU's men's basketball team was heading for one of four top-seed spots in the college basketball playoffs, with a 27-2 record. Although Jimmer Fredette, with his high-scoring magic, was all over the newspapers, it was definitely a team effort, with other star players performing necessary roles. In early March, Brandon Davies was suspended for the rest of the season for the same honor-code violation as Harvey Unga. BYU lost its next game. The following are quotes from an editorial in the Christian Science Monitor:
- The punishment stands out not only because of its severity – college athletes in top programs are routinely slapped on the wrist for much worse offenses – but also because it essentially torpedoes what was shaping up to be a historic season for BYU, which is hardly a basketball powerhouse.
- Because of that, the school has, a bit surprisingly perhaps, won no small amount of respect from the sports world. BYU is a private university owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon church. Nearly all of its 34,000 students are church members, most of whom will serve two years as missionaries. The school has what to the rest of the academic world is a strict and perhaps old-fashioned honor code. Among its tenets: Be honest, live a chaste and virtuous life, use clean language, participate regularly in church services, observe dress and grooming standards (no beards or ear rings for men, no “form-fitting” clothing or more than one ear piercing for women), and abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and substance abuse. In order to remain “chaste and virtuous,” one must not engage in premarital sex. Students have to sign the honor code every year.
- ESPN.com senior writer Pat Forde put it this way: 'What makes this such a powerful testament is the fact that so many schools have cravenly abandoned their standards at such a time as this, embracing athletic expediency over institutional principle. It happens so often that we don't even raise an eyebrow at it anymore.'
The Deseret News said the following:
- "Collegiate sports scandals may well be the canaries in the coal mine of American ethics. If Christianity teaches that we put our hearts where our treasures are, then touchdowns and slam-dunks have become precious booty, indeed. We shouldn't be surprised that thieves will do all they can to get at those jewels.
- "Against that backdrop, it's easy to see why so many people were stunned … when BYU booted one of its key basketball players for violating the school's honor code. Those shiny treasures hold so many people in a trance they can't imagine wanting anything else." Read more...
Rankings and Recognition
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.
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. 
"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.
"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.
"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 72th 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.
"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." 
The Princeton Review names BYU America's most religious college. 
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 princetonreview.com.
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.
In April 2014, businessinsider.com 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.. 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. Also in 2016, Forbes ranked BYU the third top college with the most value for the dollar. 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.
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:
- 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.
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.
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.
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.” 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.”
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, BYU-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.
- See MormonFAQ.com — about education
- Karl G. Maeser: History of the Academy
- David O. McKay: The Church University
- Hugh B. Brown: An Eternal Quest--Freedom of the Mind
- Robert K. Thomas: Academic Responsibility
- Neal A. Maxwell: Discipleship and Scholarship
- Gordon B. Hinckley: Our Sacred Trust
- BYU's Honor Code
- J. Reuben Clark, the namesake of J. Reuben Clark Law School
- J. Reuben Clark Law School
- BYU Ad Lab brings back Smokey the Bear, 2010
- BYU Ad Lab's Doritos commercials, 2010
- BYU's "New Spice" video goes viral on YouTube, 2010
- BYU rated 11th by recruiting companies, 2010
- BYU PR department one of five best in the U.S., 2010
- BYU is Lone Hold-out for not Playing Sports on Sundays, 2010
- BYU the nation's "most popular" school, 2011
- BYU in top ten in nation for grads who get PhDs, 2011
- BYU offers courses in more than sixty languages, 2011
- BYU Ranks No. 1 in Colleges Where Graduates Get the Most Bang for Their Buck, 2015
- BYU hits best mark in one U.S. News ranking, stays high in others, 2015
- BYU in Best College in Every State Listing, 2016
- BYU 5th Best College in America, According to Money Magazine, 2016
- BYU in U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings, 2017
- Niche Ranks BYU In 33 Categories For Best Colleges, 2017
- BYU Ranked No. 4 in the Country for Taking Research Inventions to Market, 2017
- https://www.deseret.com/2017/1/25/20604772/byu-the-best-law-school-deal-for-students-new-study-says BYU Best Law School Deal for Students, 2017]
- BYU No. 2 on List of Universities Where Students Are Most Eager to Enroll, 2018
- BYU ROTC wins prestigious MacArthur Award, 2018
- BYU Accounting Ranks in U.S. Top 10 Programs, 2018
- Forbes: BYU Best Value School, 2019
- https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/best-universities/best-universities-graduate-jobs-global-university-employability-ranking Global University Employability Ranking, 2019]
- BYU named one of America's Top 25 Brainiest Colleges, 2019
- BYU in U.S. News College Rankings, 2019
- BYU No. 1 in Wall Street Journal Ranking "Worth the Cost", 2019
- BYU's Cougarettes win national hip-hop championship, 2019
- Once again, BYU is Princeton Review's choice for #1 "Stone-Cold-Sober" school. 2020
- BYU among 20 Best Conservative Colleges in America, 2020
- Graduates from BYU’s accounting program have the highest first-time pass rate for the CPA exam, 2020
- BYU Top on U.S. Campuses to View Fall Foliage