Academic Catalog

About Eastern Kentucky University

EKU Campus


Eastern Kentucky University is a regional, coeducational, public institution of higher education offering general and liberal arts programs, pre-professional and professional training in education and various other fields at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Located in Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University has a distinguished record of more than a century of educational service to the Commonwealth.

Situated near the heart of the Bluegrass, Richmond is served by a network of major highways which makes Eastern Kentucky University easily accessible from all parts of Kentucky and surrounding states. Richmond is 26 miles southeast of Lexington, Kentucky. Interstate Highways 1-75 (north-south) and I-64 (east-west) make the metropolitan areas of Cincinnati, 112 miles to the north, and Louisville, 110 miles to the west, within convenient distance by automobile. Richmond is also served by U.S. Route 25 from south Eastern Kentucky and Kentucky Route 52 from the east and west. The Kentucky Turnpike and the Mountain, Hal Rogers, and Cumberland Parkways provide even greater accessibility by automobile since the city is located near the convergence of these arterial highways into the interstate system.

Richmond, the county seat of Madison County, is an expanding community of approximately 30,000 population.

In and around Richmond are many areas of historic and scenic interest. Boonesborough State Park, birthplace of Kentucky, is located 12 miles to the north. Many other historical places are within easy driving distance. Scenic and recreational areas surround this section of the state.


The Kentucky General Assembly of 1906 enacted legislation establishing the Eastern Kentucky State Normal School. Governor J. C. Beckham signed the bill into law on March 21, 1906. On May 7 of that year, the Normal School Commission, meeting in Louisville, selected the campus of the old Central University, founded in 1874, in Richmond, Kentucky, as the site of the new school. On June 2, 1908, Ruric Nevel Roark was chosen President of the Normal School and the training of teachers was begun.

In 1922, Eastern Kentucky University became a four-year institution known as the Eastern Kentucky State Normal School and Teachers College. The first degrees were awarded by this institution in 1925. In 1928, the College was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. In 1930, the General Assembly renamed the school the Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College.

In 1935, a graduate program was approved at Eastern, leading to the Master of Arts degree in Education. In 1948, the General Assembly removed the word “Teachers” from the name of the college and granted the college the right to award nonprofessional degrees.

The most significant day since its founding came for Eastern on February 26, 1966, when Governor Edward T. Breathitt signed into law a bill renaming the institution Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) and sanctioning the awarding of graduate degrees in academic fields other than education.

During this period of time, Eastern Kentucky University has increased rapidly in size and stature. Beginning with a few students engaged in short review and certificate courses, the University today serves thousands of Kentuckians. The curriculum leads to associate degrees, baccalaureate degrees, and an expanding graduate program that currently offers degrees at the master’s level in many other fields as well as the already well-established Master of Arts degree in Education and the various fifth- and sixth-year leadership programs in education. Specialist degree programs have been implemented in education and psychology.

In 2008, EKU offered its first doctoral degree, the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.). Since that time, EKU also offers the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD).

Ever-mindful of the purpose of its founding, Eastern continues to recognize its historic function of preparing quality teachers for the elementary and secondary schools of the Commonwealth. However, a strong liberal arts curriculum leading to appropriate degrees, together with pre-professional courses in several areas and graduate programs, enable Eastern to serve the Commonwealth as a regional comprehensive university.

Experience Excellent: EKU’s 2022-2030 Strategic Plan

Mission Statement

Eastern Kentucky University is the School of Opportunity where everyone belongs. World class faculty and staff create opportunities for personal growth through exceptional experiences, to ensure students realize their fullest potential and achieve excellence. EKU graduates shape the success and vitality of their professions and communities.


Eastern Kentucky University will be excellent in all that we choose to do.

Strategic Priorities

Goal 1: Knowledge

Knowledge is at the center of EKU’s commitment to serve as the School of Opportunity. From academic teaching and learning to experiential co- and extracurricular activities, EKU strategically advances academic and student success programs that support EKU’s diverse learners.

Goal 2: Innovation

Innovative thinking and bold action will elevate and differentiate EKU. Innovation will enhance organizational stewardship, intellectual and creative capacity, and economic vitality within EKU and the communities we serve.

Goal 3: Transformation

EKU is dedicated to transforming lives and communities. EKU’s learning environments support intellectual growth, creativity, empowerment, and life-changing experiences by centering access, equity, dignity, respect, and inclusivity.

Guiding Values

Inclusion: Community engagement, Diversity of people and perspectives, Professional growth, Hospitality, Celebration

Trust: Consistency, Effective communication, Accountability, Efficiency, Leadership

Since its inception in 1874, Eastern Kentucky University (then known as Central University) has been driven by core values. Although its mission has evolved and expanded to meet the changing needs of citizens of the Commonwealth (and increasingly other places in the world), core values are still an integral part of the University community. Values are the code of organizational conduct. They guide decision-making in all parts of the University. They direct our actions and must inspire all of us in the EKU community to be true to them. The EKU community is committed to embodying these values in our policies and procedures in our day-to-day activities to accomplish our mission and achieve our vision. EKU has been and will continue to be guided by the following values when planning strategies and implementing decisions regarding the University community’s teaching, scholarly, and service activities.