Our Vision

Begin with abundant curiosity. Add exploration — and the space to test theories, spark ideas, and facilitate new knowledge. Then take the result and release it on the world.

At a time when the demand for science professionals is greater than ever, we have the unique opportunity to propel more Cal Lutheran graduates into science careers in research, healthcare, business, and academia — all doing work that will have a lasting impact on our world.

The new Swenson Science Center will enable us to expand access to Cal Lutheran for more STEM majors and enhance science education for all of our students.

A New Kind of Scientist

Student in lab

The world needs scientists who are interested in research and results. It needs compassionate citizens who care deeply about their community and the world and leaders who can confidently contribute from day one.

Cal Lutheran fosters graduates across all fields of study who are:

  • Ethical – Focused on achieving public good, they balance the possibilities for scientific achievements with deep responsibility to positively impact individuals and communities.
  • Ready – With access to research scenarios that echo what they’ll see in the professional world or graduate school, they accelerate their ability to make an immediate difference in their careers and their communities.
  • Well-Rounded – A new type of problem solver, they blend perspectives, practices, and disciplines that result in creative and innovative thinking.

Learn about our faculty

A New Kind of Facility

The building

The Swenson Science Center will support the university’s vision by providing more experiential learning opportunities for all students and increasing access to science education for a diverse student population.

But increasing the space for research and learning on campus is only the start. The new lab spaces mimic what students will see in graduate school and their professional careers.

It will enable a more effective way of learning by encouraging communication, the cross-pollination of ideas, and by connecting faculty, students, and the community all under one roof.

Access to new technology will accelerate our students’ growing enthusiasm for the sciences and strengthen our innovative model of instruction and learning.

Learn more about the building’s innovative design

Exceptional Opportunities

Grounding in the sciences builds critical-thinking skills that enable graduates to go out into the world and solve persistent, pervasive problems in any industry and in the most elite fields of academia.

The Cal Lutheran educational experience is focused on:

  1. Access to a quality science education for all students, particularly at-risk students who may not have considered a career in science.
  2. Personal learning experience that combines one-on-one faculty attention with a focus on inquiry-based learning.
  3. Experience researching, publishing, and presenting work as undergraduates to accelerate the future careers of students.
  4. Passion directing students’ research and study based on their own interests and passions adds meaning to their work.

Learn more about Research and Scholarship at Cal Lutheran

Faculty and student


My research experiences have taught me to think around problems and to concisely prove an idea. I feel more confident in my own abilities going forward.

Hillis Johnson '16
Chemistry major, Mathematics minor
Career goal: Become a university professor or research chemist

I would never have gained the confidence to prepare me for my work at Yale and Stanford without the hands-on experiences I had at Cal Lutheran.

Joy Cyprian ‘10
Nurse practitioner, Stanford Orthopedic Joint Replacement Center

Sized for Success

Research by the Council of Independent Colleges showed that smaller private institutions do a better job at producing STEM graduates than larger research-intensive universities.

  • Students who major in STEM fields at smaller institutions are more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree in STEM within four years.
  • One in five STEM graduates from smaller institutions enrolls in a master’s or PhD program within a year of graduation, at roughly the same rate as graduates of large research universities
  • 20% of all PhDs in STEM are awarded to students from small private colleges.
  • STEM graduates of smaller colleges are almost twice as likely to complete a doctorate as graduates of larger universities.
  • Cal Lutheran is designated a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI). Latino students make up 28% of our STEM students.

The report notes further that hallmarks of the smaller private college experience include faculty emphasis on teaching, smaller class sizes, a mission-centered curriculum and active forms of pedagogy. In the sciences, this translates to more personal attention from faculty members in the classroom and laboratory, as well as opportunities for open-ended, independent research projects.

With our focus on teaching, small class sizes, and hands-on undergraduate student research, Cal Lutheran is poised to meet the need for STEM graduates, both nationally and locally.

Source: www.cic.edu/STEM

97 percent

The percentage of Cal Lutheran graduates who find a job or enroll in graduate school within nine months.

The university’s job and graduate placement rate has held steady even during the recent recession.

Jim and Sue Swenson

These students are in the lab and in the field, gaining invaluable experience as undergraduates that would not be possible anywhere else. This is what the sciences are all about at Cal Lutheran. Your contribution will have an impact far beyond one facility — it will help transform the way students pursue science for a purpose.

Jim and Sue Swenson, both H'12
Founders of the Swenson Science Summer Research Fellowship