Grand Canyon University: An Accredited Online University

Grand Canyon University is an accredited online university with a 65-year history. Seeped in the tradition of our Phoenix campus, GCU offers students the flexibility of choosing to take courses in the classroom or online.

Grand Canyon College, as it was initially referred to, was chartered on August 1, 1949 by the Southern Baptist Church. In 1951, the college put up its first permanent buildings in west Phoenix. Grand Canyon College was fully accredited in 1968 by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The college was first considered a school primarily for preachers, but its reputation expanded rapidly. Grand Canyon College became known for its teacher education program and soon developed outstanding programs in the sciences, nursing, business, music and the arts, while maintaining its excellence in Christian Studies.

In 1989, Grand Canyon College transitioned into Grand Canyon University, organizing programs and departments into multiple colleges, offering graduate degree programs and forming the Grand Canyon University Foundation. The GCU Foundation was formed from the generosity of several individuals who pledged or gave unrestricted gifts valued at $1 million or more to launch the university into the next decade and century. In May 1984, the college trustees voted to prepare for transition to university status on the school's 40th anniversary in 1989. Another landmark event occurred at the turn of the century, at which time the university became self-owned by the Board of Trustees.

Four years later, in 2004, the university's ownership once again changed when it was purchased by Significant Education, LLC. At this time, the university became a for-profit institution with a vision for maintaining the strength of its campus-based programs, as well as a strong emphasis on online program offerings. Grand Canyon University currently offers over 150 academic programs in fields like engineering, computer science, business, education, nursing, health care, liberal arts and fine arts. With an online student body of over 50,000, GCU has maintained a strong reputation as an accredited online university.