About the College

The nation's oldest Catholic women's college and a leader in distance education for women and men.

Best in the Midwest

Founded in 1840 by Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and the Sisters of Providence, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) is the oldest Catholic liberal arts college for women in the United States.

SMWC thrives by offering a rich liberal arts education, scholarships and financial aid opportunities to make college affordable, individual attention, a value-centered education in a Catholic tradition, and a wide variety of student leadership activities. The College takes pride in its long history of traditions and commitment to academic excellence. In fact, U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks SMWC as one of the Best Baccalaureate Colleges in the Midwest.

We have a rich history as a women’s college and, while our campus program remains rooted in that heritage, our distance programs offer the College’s high-quality liberal arts programs to men and women. By offering busy adults a chance to earn a distance degree in a coeducational setting, our distance programs emphasize respect for multiple perspectives, development of critical thinking and promote leadership.


The College is fully-accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and approved for teacher training by the Indiana Department of Education and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Additionally, many individual programs of various departments are certified by their professional associations.

Learn more about our accreditation.

A Beautiful Campus

The campus is located on 67 acres of beautiful woodland, creating peaceful and serene college grounds, yet still being close enough to a major metropolitan area to be convenient. The College shares its campus with the Sisters of ProvidenceProvidence Center, the White Violet Center for Eco-Justice.

Le Fer Lake Bridge
SMWC Women


SMWC boasts an enrollment of approximately 1,700 students in its campus-based undergraduatedistance-learning undergraduate, and graduate programs.

The traditional campus-based program is for women only. The Woods Online distance program and our graduate programs serve women and men.