Alvernia University

Alvernia’s Franciscan heritage includes a rigorous intellectual tradition that recognizes and values the importance of diversity of thought, faiths and cultures. We challenge our students to shape the world and transform it as working professionals, concerned citizens and caring community members, consistent with the principles and teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi. 



The roots of Alvernia University were planted in 1926 when the Bernardine Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis established an orphanage in the building now known as Francis Hall; eventually the orphanage became an elementary school. 


With a College of Arts and Sciences and a College of Professional Studies, Alvernia today offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and minors. Programs offered include majors in:

  • the humanities and social sciences;
  • the natural sciences;
  • specialized professional fields such as accounting, business, marketing, communications, criminal justice, forensic science, social work, sports management; and 
  • a comprehensive health sciences program that includes majors in nursing, occupational therapy and athletic training. 
  • pre-med, pre-dental and pre-pharmacological studies;
  • a Doctor of Physical Therapy program


Housing services

Eleven residence halls including traditional halls, suite-style apartments, townhouses, and apartment-style halls.

Student Life

Campus life

 The 121-acre campus in historic Berks County is situated three miles from center-city Reading in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania. There are two satellite centers in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).

Sports facilities

NCAA Division III, new member of the Commonwealth Conference, part of the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 9 men’s and 11 women’s intercollegiate sports.

Student clubs

More than 55 student groups, including intramural and intercollegiate sports, academic clubs, honor societies, student government, and faith-based, arts, environmental, and service clubs.


Middle States Commission on Higher Education, American Council of Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), PA State Board of Nursing Approval, PA Department of Education (PDE), Competency and Credentialing Institute.