History, Affiliations and Rankings
The Sisters of St. Francis, a Catholic Franciscan order, created Briar Cliff on September 18, 1930. While the Sisters' order was established in Dubuque, Iowa, they aspired to construct a higher education school focused on students and built on values in the area of greatest need. In 2001, the college became Briar Cliff University. That summer, graduate programs (Masters and Doctorate) were implemented. Briar Cliff University is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and is accredited as a degree-granting school by the Higher Learning Commission. It has recently been ranked for its top degree programs. The University ranks #3 in Logistics Degree Programs, #6 in Social Work Degree Programs, #8 in Master’s in Health Services Degree Programs and Nurse Practitioner Degree Programs and is also among the Top 30 in Nurse Practitioner Programs, Nursing Programs and Business Administration Degree Program. It is ranked #29 in Regional Colleges Midwest and #25 in Top Performers on Social Mobility (tie) by the US News and World Report 2022.
Infrastructure, Campuses and Courses
Briar Cliff University’s campus carved out of the Loess Hills, spans 70 acres on the outskirts of Sioux City, Iowa. This picturesque clifftop setting is surrounded by a protected prairie landscape and wildlife, providing exceptional 360-degree views. The campus feels like a masterpiece that is never quite done and in the past 90 years, it has never stopped growing and changing. The university has invested millions into its physical buildings and facilities. They are consistently reimagining and renovating spaces to remain flexible to the demands of both residential and off-campus student populations. The university offers a total of 60 programs out of which 47 are Undergraduate, 7 are graduate degree programs and 5 are Professional programs.
Accomplishments and Alumni
With a rich heritage of 90+ years of existence, Briar Cliff University announced a $2 million endowment from the Sisters of St. Francis in 2019, establishing the Sisters of St. Francis Chair in Theology and infusing Catholic Franciscan ideals across Briar Cliff and the community. This year, Briar Cliff also saw a significant increase in new first-year students, with a 26.5% increase over the prior year. It was recognized among thousands of institutions in the nation and a comprehensive research guide based on an assessment of 2,277 accredited colleges and universities. Each program is evaluated on curriculum quality, graduation rate, reputation, and post-graduate employment. Briar Cliff's network of alumni comprises 10,000 graduates, who are nurses, doctors, social workers, executives, teachers, musicians and writers, in our schools, hospitals, businesses and beyond. They are distinguished by their deep commitment to living the Franciscan values and making a difference in the world.
Student Diversity and Visiting Companies
As a University, Briar Cliff provides a variety of opportunities for students to become engaged and make a difference. Students seeking for a little fun while becoming involved in the clifftop community can choose from over 20 clubs and organizations. There are 30+ student support services available on campus. The Career Development Office works with students, alumni, and employers to offer the best opportunities after graduation. Among the top employers of graduates are Henjes, Conner, & Williams PC, Deloitte, Dell and AT&T Communications.