University of Mary Washington

Campus 10At the heart of historic Fredericksburg, the University of Mary Washington (UMW) is an absolutely friendly, be yourself, public liberal arts and sciences university filled with dynamic, smart, compassionate people, and lots of bricks and trees.

With more than 234 acres, the University of Mary Washington campus boasts state-of-art science labs where undergraduate research takes shape, a business program where entrepreneurs start-up their vision, and a recently renovated home base for the College of Education with model classrooms and makerspaces that inspire teachers and students. The future of UMW includes the construction of a breathtaking theater center that will house our theatre program, which regularly produces grads who make it to Broadway, and art and music studios that thrive with performances and exhibits.

Founded in 1908 as a state teachers’ college, the University of Mary Washington continues to excel in higher education with expertise in undergraduate education and select master’s degrees, with Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Business, and Education. Students are serious about academics, dedicated to an inclusive community, and eager to contribute to the greater good. UMW focuses on what matters and encourages individuals to create meaningful connections and powerful experiences.

With over 90+ majors, minors, and programs, and conveniently located between Washington, D.C. and Richmond, VA, UMW is committed to connecting students to the experiences that will take them to the next level- this includes internships, study abroad, over 150 student organizations and clubs, NCAA Division III Athletics, research projects, community service, and job opportunities. Deep thinking and doing happens daily at UMW, and students go for collaboration over competition. Students work with professors who double as mentors as UMW has a 12 to 1 student to faculty ratio. Campuses in Stafford and Dahlgren extend UMW’s reach into the community through professional development and specialized programs. 

Distinctive to UMW is one of the nation’s leading historic preservation programs, as well as strong creative writing and debate programs. Other top majors include political science and international affairs, computer science and cybersecurity, communication and digital studies, English, biology, psychology, earth and environmental science, visual and performing arts, theatre, economics and business. 

While many schools are defined by what they are, UMW also defines itself by what it is not. Instead of a football team, there’s an internationally known rugby program, numerous club sports and intramurals, and 19 NCAA DIII sports. There’s no Greek life, but newly renovated residence halls and apartment buildings teem with community and social events, and academic honor societies thrive, launching lifelong friendships. There are no teaching assistants – zero. More than 95% of UMW’s courses are taught by faculty with terminal degrees in their field, and the remainder benefit from career professionals with a lifetime of work experience, often within the corridors of power and influence in Washington, D.C., and beyond. Students and alumni become Fulbrights, Goldwater Scholars, and lead the nation in public service as UMW has one of the highest percentages of students who go on to the Peace Corps of any school of its size in the country.

Whether exploring the University for the first time or returning, UMW invites you to visit campus and experience for yourself why more than 4,500 students, faculty, and staff call UMW and the Fredericksburg region their home.

Find what matters to you. Learn more by visiting the UMW website, browse through UMW’s Viewbook, watch a short video clip, and connect on FacebookTwitterInstagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Awards and Recognitions

Named after the mother of the nation’s first president who also called Fredericksburg home, the University of Mary Washington has long been a highly ranked regional university in the South, with a strong liberal arts and sciences tradition that continues to define its mission. In 2023, UMW was ranked 11 among public liberal arts and sciences universities in the nation by U.S. News, and rounds out the top 150 national liberal arts colleges, public and private. Mary Washington is also included in the “Top Performers for Social Mobility” roster for efforts to advance opportunities for economically disadvantaged students.

Likewise, UMW makes the list of national liberal arts colleges in Washington Monthly’s annual placing 76th nationwide and 71st on the Best Bang for the Buck, Southeast Region listing, which includes “one-of-a-kind schools that help non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.” UMW also earned a spot on the publication’s Best Colleges for Student Voting honor roll.

Fiske Guide to Colleges calls UMW one of the 300 “best and most interesting” public and private colleges and universities in the nation, as well as Canada, Great Britain, and Ireland. Forbes has included it among “America’s Top Colleges”, and The Princeton Review listed it among “The Best 388 Colleges.”


From UMW’s ASPIRE Values to diversity and inclusion programs to the Civil Rights Trail, creating a sense of community that invites and welcomes inclusivity and diversity has been a parallel mission for both the City of Fredericksburg and the University of Mary Washington.

Each year, students at UMW dedicate more than 15,500 hours to community service. UMW’s goal as an institution is to encourage students to never doubt the importance of small action and to be involved in programs and activities that matter to them.