life-changing learning

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Offering forward-looking education since 1843

By enrolling in the CareerPLUS Bachelor of Applied Studies degree, you’ll join a learning community that has supported and challenged students for nearly 180 years.

Located in Dubuque, Iowa, Clarke University was established in 1843 as St. Mary’s Academy by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM). From then to now, Clarke has attracted students who seek intellectual curiosity, cultural engagement, professional preparedness, spiritual exploration, and a commitment to contributing to the common good in a global society.

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Clarke’s core values

Clarke is a Catholic institution that welcomes students from all walks of life. Our core values emanate from our founder, Mary Frances Clarke, the BVM sisters, and all those who follow their example.


As a community seeking wisdom, we help all to appreciate learning opportunities that enable persons to reach their full potential.


As a community seeking to welcome all, we contribute to the well-being of others and the common good.


As a community standing with others, we strive to create a society that recognizes the dignity, equality, and rights of all people and to respond faithfully to one another.


As a community seeking to live authentic lives, we invite all to be open to God’s love and to be true to their best selves.

#1 Faith-Based University in Iowa

PLEXUSS 2021 Global Rankings

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Meeting you where you are

At Clarke, we understand that working adults have unique circumstances, needs, and backgrounds when it comes to pursuing a degree. That’s why our CareerPLUS team is specially trained to guide you at every stage of your journey.

Enrollment Coaches

Enrollment coaches provide one-on-one help completing your application and building your initial schedule.

Financial Aid Advisors

Our financial aid advisors will help you explore (and qualify for) different ways to help cover your degree costs.

Success Coaches

Our success coaches will help you map out your plan to graduation, regularly check your progress, provide encouragement, and connect you with helpful people and resources.


With an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, your instructors can more easily make time to meet with you individually.

Progressive with the times

The BVM sisters establish St. Mary’s Academy, one of the first schools for women west of the Mississippi.
The institution is renamed Clarke College after BVM founder Mother Mary Frances Clarke, who implored her sisters to “keep our schools progressive with the times in which we live.”
Clarke begins evening programs for non-traditional students—the predecessors for today’s CareerPLUS bachelor’s degree.
Clarke College becomes Clarke University in recognition of its growing number of both students and academic offerings.
Through CareerPLUS, busy adults have greater access than ever before to the life-changing power of a Clarke education.

Lifelong, life-changing learning

I have always considered myself a lifelong learner. The CareerPLUS program helps me maintain my philosophical beliefs that are centered around continued education.

- Lisa R., CareerPLUS student