Student Achievement

Bachelor’s Degrees of Minerva University

Minerva University focuses on the success of our students. We provide active learning in an all-seminar program because this form of pedagogy has been shown to be superior to traditional lecture-based instruction. Our students learn to work as individuals and as members of teams, and learn habits of mind and foundational concepts that will serve them in good stead for a lifetime. We also support co-curricular and extracurricular opportunities and provide robust student support services to assist students through challenges they may face while enrolled in our programs.

Student Demographics

One of the key characteristics of Minerva University is its global character. Students come to Minerva from all over the world to study and live in seven major world cities during the four-year undergraduate program. All undergraduate students are full-time.

We have 618 students studying in the 2020-2021 Academic Year. This year students are studying in San Francisco, Berlin, and London in the Fall and San Francisco, Taipei, and Seoul. Because of the pandemic, approximately a quarter of our students are studying remotely. They come from approximately 60 different countries, with no single country dominating the enrollment. They are approximately half men and half women.

Enrollment and Retention

As demonstrated in the table below, Minerva's retention overall is currently at 92% (636+104+119/ 934). Retention from first year to second year for each cohort has ranged from 88% to 98%.

Undergraduate Enrollment and Retention
Fall 2014 Fall 2015 Fall 2016 Fall 2017 Fall 2018 Fall 2019 Fall 2020
2014 matric 28 28 26 24 22 0 1
2015 matric 108 95 92 90 7 1
2016 matric 160 153 150 146 32
2017 matric 198 187 177 180
2018 matric 158 149 146
2019 matric 163 157
2020 matric 119
Total Students 28 136 281 467 585 664 636**
*The Founding Class from 2014-2015 had a gap year during 2015-2016 and joined together with the 2015 matriculating Inaugural Class for the 2016-2017 academic year.
**Includes 18 students on Leave of Absence with intent to return.

Undergraduate Completion
Graduation 4 years (8 semesters)
# (%*)
5 years (9 or 10 semesters)
# (%)
Founding Class Matric 2014 21 (75%)
Inaugurual Class Matric 2015 83 (77%) 5 (81%)
Matric 2016 114 (71%) TBD
*% = Total number of graduates/# matriculated four or five years earlier

Outcomes for 2019 – 2021 Graduates of the Undergraduate Program
Status as of January 2022 2019
(30 mo)
# (%)
(6 mo)
# (%)
(18 mo)
# (%)
(6 mo)
# (%)
(6 mo)
# (%)
Continuing graduate education 17 (17%) 13 (13%) 14 (12%) 12 (10%) 17 (10%)
Working in career-relevant jobs 77 (75%) 82 (80%) 87 (76%) 79 (69%) 130 (76%)
Actively seeking employment 2 (2%) 5 (5%) 4 (3%) 15 (13%) 11 (6%)
Serving in the military 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 2 (2%) 1 (1%) 2 (1%)
Volunteering 2 (2%) 1 (1%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (1%)
Not seeking employment 3 (3%) 2 (2%) 1 (1%) 2 (2%) 4 (2%)
Unknown 2 (2%) 0 (0%) 7 (6%) 6 (5%) 5 (3%)
Total number of graduates 103 103 115 115 170

Student Learning

Degree Learning Objectives

Minerva expects all undergraduate students to meet Degree Learning Objectives (DLOs.) These DLOs are introduced in the first-year Cornerstone courses and consist of “habits of mind” and “foundational concepts” (HCs,) which are applied and assessed throughout the four years of study. A habit of mind is a mental skill that comes to be triggered automatically with practice; a foundational concept is fundamental knowledge that is broadly applicable, which typically does require deliberation. Each of the four core competencies, Thinking Critically, Thinking Creatively, Interacting Effectively, and Communicating Effectively, are broken down into more specific aspects (sub-competencies), and each of these aspects, in turn, includes a set of habits of mind and foundational concepts. Minerva uses both internal and external assessments to measure student learning.

Analyses of the Core Competencies

The habits of mind and foundational concepts derived from Minerva’s core competencies are introduced in the first-year Cornerstone courses and continue to be assessed over the next three years in every Minerva course. This results in continuous evaluation of student performance on Minerva’s undergraduate degree learning outcomes. Outcome data are analyzed at the end of each year. The Benchmark is set at a benchmark of 3.0 (Knowledge) on the rubric scale of 1-5. Year indicates the cohort’s expected graduation or year of graduation in the case of 2020. Please note that it has been a trend over multiple years that the percentage of students achieving the Benchmark is lower in their first year and increases in subsequent years.

Core Competencies and % Meeting or Exceeding Benchmark in Spring 2020
Competency 2020 2021 2022 2023
Thinking Critically 94% 93% 96% 71%
Thinking Creatively 94% 87% 90% 78%
Communicating Effectively 95% 85% 97% 76%
Interacting Effectively 83% 88% 84% 65%
Overall 94% 95% 95% 75%

As students continue to be directly assessed in later courses on the habits of mind and foundation concepts introduced in the first-year curriculum, they receive feedback on their ability to transfer (utilize) these outcomes to their upper-division coursework. The percentages are the proportion of students receiving a mean of 3.0 (Knowledge) or higher on the rubric scale of 1–5.

Class of 2020 Successful Transfer Learning to New Contexts
Courses %
Arts & Humanities Courses 85%
Business Courses 90%
Computational Sciences Courses 87%
Natural Sciences Courses 79%
Social Sciences Courses 88%
Overall 86%

Collegiate Learning Assessment + (CLA+)

Minerva administered the CLA+ test to provide an outside assessment of the effectiveness of aspects of the first-year curriculum (a subset of the critical thinking and problem-solving learning outcomes we teach). The assessment was given at the beginning and end of the fall and spring terms to first-year students and at graduation. The Council for Aid to Education administers the CLA+ each year to more than 20,000 undergraduate students attending approximately 100 different colleges and universities. More information about the CLA+ is available here. The table below gives the percentiles that Minerva students achieved when compared with freshmen and seniors at other institutions.

Collegiate Learning Assessment + (CLA+)
Class Level of Class When Tested Comparison Level at Other Institutions Fall Percentile Spring Percentile One-Year Gain
2019 Freshmen
Freshmen 99 99 0
Seniors 96 98 +2
Seniors Seniors N/A 97 N/A
2020 Freshmen
Freshmen 96 99 +3
Seniors 78 99 +21
Seniors Seniors N/A 99 N/A
2021 Freshmen
Freshmen 97 98 +1
Seniors 85 90 +5
2022 Freshmen
Freshmen 97 99 +2
Seniors 85 93 +8
2023 Freshmen
Freshmen 94 98 +4
Seniors 76 86 +10

Student Engagement

Minerva administers multiple surveys throughout the year to collect self-reported data from students. The 2019–2020 surveys, plus other tracking measures, covered the Graduating classes of 2019 and 2020 and the four cohorts of 2020 through 2023, providing the following data on student self-reported engagement and learning.

  • 91% of seniors and 86% of juniors completed at least one external internship.
  • 100% of first-year students collaborated on a team-based project with students from different backgrounds.
  • 83% of all students report that they could apply the skills they learned in the classroom to real-world contexts.
  • 79% of freshmen reported that they gained skills to better understand the cultural differences of their peers in the Minerva Community.
  • 76% of students who engaged in coaching reported increased self-awareness of their strengths, motivators, and interests; 70% of students reported that they engaged more with others (e.g., peers, faculty, staff, external professionals) with regard to their career exploration.
  • 90% of respondents value prioritizing wellness in order to be successful.

Master of Science in Decision Analysis (MDA)

Master of Science in Decision Analysis (MDA)

This 21-month, part-time graduate program is designed to impart key professional skills, with an emphasis on research, analysis, and practical decision-making. Students learn how to interpret complex data, find rational conclusions, devise potential solutions, and evaluate the implications of their choices.

Enrollment and Retention

The first pilot cohort of master's students participated in a 12-month full-time program and matriculated in September 2017. Upon their graduation, the program was redesigned as a 21-month part-time program and relaunched one year later. Master's students may extend their thesis work for up to one year from the expected graduation date. Because of Covid-19, we provided an additional extension for the current cohort.

Masters of Decision Analyses Enrollment and Graduate Numbers
Year Matriculated # Matriculated Year Graduated # Graduated
2016 10 2017 (1-year full time program) 10
2017 8 2019 (Changed to 2-year part-time program) 3*
2019 14 2021 (planned) TBD
2020 17 2022 (planned) TBD
*3 graduated in 2019; 1 withdrew; 2 are on Leave of Absence with intent to return; 2 are on thesis extensions, on track to finish by 12/2020.

Degree Learning Outcomes

The following learning outcomes are associated with the MDA degree:

  • Framing problems: Identify and research important real-world problems, learning the broad and integrative knowledge relevant to a particular research question or decision.
  • Contextualizing research: Critique and extend existing research, and articulate a deep understanding of the nature and complexity of the problems seen from multiple perspectives.
  • Synthesizing approaches: Apply multiple approaches, theories, and methods of analysis to formulate possible solutions to problems, integrating quantitative and qualitative methods, including computer-based data science.
  • Assessing solutions: Use all available information and appropriate analytical tools to assess and select the most effective solutions to problems, incorporating risk, ethical implications, and competing interests.
  • Measuring efficiency: Design processes to implement decisions effectively and measure the efficacy of planned objectives.

The Benchmark is set at a benchmark of 3.0 (Knowledge) on the rubric scale of 1–5 for the learning outcomes across the eight courses taken.

Degree Learning Outcome Benchmarks
Outcomes MDA 2017 MDA 2019 MDA 2021
Framing problems 30% 100% 71%
Contextualizing research 70% 86% 64%
Synthesizing approaches 70% 100% 79%
Assessing solutions 60% 71% 50%
Measuring efficacy 60% 71% 71%
Overall 60% 86% 79%

Post-Degree Activities

MDA graduates work in a wide variety of sectors, including but not limited to science, education, government, technology, and finance. Their roles are similarly diverse, including founders (29%), chief executives (18%), and managerial/directorial roles (29%).

Post-degree Activities
Activity MDA 2017 MDA 2019*
New role since graduation 60% 71%
Continuing previous role 30% 15%
Unknown 10% 14%
*Includes students still working on thesis