Dec 01, 2023  
2021 - 2022 Adler Catalog 
2021 - 2022 Adler Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

The University: An Overview

Adler University educates students to engage communities and create a more just society. Established in 1952 to advance the pioneering work of Alfred Adler - who advocated social change to improve community health - the University offers a range of graduate degree programs that focus on graduating socially responsible practitioners, engaging communities, and advancing social justice.

Approximately 1,800 students are enrolled at the University’s campuses in downtown Chicago and Vancouver and through our Online Campus. Our Institute and Centers engage students, faculty, practitioners, and communities in applied research and action for social justice. Adler University holds the Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, recognizing higher institution practices for exemplary community engagement.

Adler University is named for Alfred Adler (1870-1937), a physician, psychotherapist, and founder of Adlerian psychology. His work pioneered attention to community life, prevention, and population health and emphasized the human need and ability to create positive social change and impact. Alfred Adler held equality, civil rights, mutual respect, and the advancement of democracy as core values. He was one of the first to use public education as a way to address community health and was among the first to write about the social determinants of physical health and mental health. His values and concepts drive the mission, work, and values at Adler University today.

Adler University continues the pioneering work of Alfred Adler by graduating socially responsible practitioners, engaging communities, and advancing social justice. This mission drives our curricula, which have earned national and international recognition. Across all academic programs, coursework and training are embedded with our unique emphasis on socially responsible practice.

Through practica, internships, training, and community engagement with our hundreds of community partners, including government, advocacy, human service, and other agencies at all levels, Adler University students provide about 358,000 direct service hours to nearly 14,000 people in their communities each year.

Campus Facilities

Adler University
17 North Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60602

Adler University’s downtown Chicago facility is the location for its Chicago Campus and for the leadership and administration of the Online Campus. The campus boasts LEED Gold certification for environmental innovation and provides Adler University students with classrooms equipped with state-of-the-art smart technology; a library with dedicated space for instructional support; Mediascape collaborative workspaces; a wellness studio for yoga, meditation, and relaxation; and many other features that support wellness and a collaborative learning environment.

The Chicago Campus is easily accessible by bus, train, or automobile, and features secure bicycle storage facilities. Located near campus are a number of prestigious colleges and universities, government centers, public libraries, lakefront parks, theater and shopping districts, and museums.

Major tourist attractions include the Art Institute of Chicago, Water Tower Place, Navy Pier, Auditorium Theatre, Chicago Theater, Oriental Theater, Willis Tower, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, and the Field Museum of Natural History.

Adler University
520 Seymour St.
Vancouver, BC V6B 3J5

The Vancouver Campus is a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Vancouver comprised of 30,500 square feet on five contiguous floors of the building. The campus holds the Gold rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The campus is highly functional, supports the culture of the University, and maintains the identity of the community within. It has considerable open space for collaboration and movement that creates a positive student experience and connections among students, faculty, and staff while supporting the technology requirements of future generations.

In addition to these features, the building in which the campus is situated includes underground parking, a workout/yoga studio, and a rooftop terrace. The campus is also close to regional transit. Access to the Canada Line, SkyTrain, and SeaBus is within two blocks of the facility, and many of the city’s major bus routes converge close to campus.

Adler University
17 North Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60602

The Online Campus brings together Adler University’s fully online degree programs under one virtual campus, enabling students to earn advanced degrees wherever they live. Online classes are limited in size to ensure students receive focused faculty attention, mentoring, and academic support. Coursework is developed and delivered by faculty members who are qualified experts in their disciplines, as well as trained in online instruction to meet the industry standards for effective online course design. Administration and staff affiliated with the Online Campus are housed in the Chicago Campus facility.

Mission, Values, and Vision

Adler University continues the pioneering work of Alfred Adler, the first community psychologist, by graduating socially responsible practitioners, engaging communities, and advancing social justice.

The values held by Adler University as relevant to its mission are:

  • Social Interest: We are part of and invested in community, and we act and collaborate with compassion and social responsibility.
  • Pluralism: We respect and celebrate human diversity and difference.
  • Courage: We encourage leadership, innovation, and creativity, act on principle, and challenge the status quo.
  • Excellence: We embrace the highest level of quality, rigor, and integrity for education, scholarship, performance, and outcomes.
  • Pragmatism: We are outcome-oriented and evidence-based, and we pursue real-world solutions and measurable results.

The University’s vision is to be the leading academic institution advancing socially responsible practice, healthy communities, and a more just society.

Socially Responsible Practice

Advancing the work of Alfred Adler, Adler University and its mission emphasize the importance of educating socially responsible practitioners. Today’s social challenges demand highly trained, relevant, and inventive practitioners to address them. No other institution prepares practitioners in the particular way that Adler University prepares socially responsible practitioners because we are uniquely and specifically informed by Alfred Adler’s ideas and constructs. Gemeinschaftsgefühl - Adler’s concept of social interest, or the relationship between health and community - is the foundation upon which we engage in the work of social justice and preparing practitioners to work in our communities.

The ability to engage in socially responsible practice is a required competency in all Adler University degree programs. Attainment of this competency is achieved through practical training, coursework, and other activities. The Social Justice Practicum (SJP) offers students a broad range of community-based experiences; classes provide information on theories and research on the effects of structural and systemic variables on human well-being; and educational and community engagement activities and programs through Adler Community Health Services, the Department of Community Engagement, and the University’s institutes and centers provide students with opportunities to learn how to identify and address a wide range of clinical and social issues.

Organization and Governance

Adler University is a private, independent, nonprofit institution of higher education. The University is incorporated in, and operates under, the provisions of the State of Illinois General Not-For-Profit Corporation Act and is declared a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The University is extra-provincially registered under the laws of British Columbia as Adler University.

Rights Reserved

This catalog and its contents are not to be construed as a binding contract between Adler University and the student. The catalog presents the offerings and requirements in effect at the time of publication. Adler University may amend, without prior notice, the policies or procedures as stated in this catalog, Adler University handbooks, and other documents. These changes include, but are not limited to, changes in admission or academic requirements, rules, policies and procedures, tuition, fees, curricula, courses, course content, and graduation requirements. Changes to Adler University’s policies, procedures, and requirements affect all students who have not yet graduated. Clarification of matters contained in this catalog or institutional handbooks can be obtained from the directors of the appropriate administrative or academic departments and offices. The University, while always working to communicate changes that affect its learning community, may make such changes as necessary and with or without advance notice. Degree and course offerings and requirements are continually under examination, and revisions are expected.

Adler University reserves the right to refuse to admit or readmit any applicant. Adler University reserves the right to dismiss any student at any time who fails to give satisfactory evidence of academic or clinical ability, earnestness of purpose, acceptable student conduct, or active cooperation in all requirements for acceptable program completion.


Celebrating the richness of human diversity is at the heart of Adler University’s commitment to social responsibility and is reflected in the content of our curricula and makeup of our community. Apparent differences in race, ethnicity, language, religion, values, beliefs, abilities, class, sexuality, gender, and age are woven into the fabric of excellence at Adler University. At every level of our organization, we invite and embrace diversity of faculty, staff, students, sponsors, trustees, vendors, and our wide range of business partners.

The curricula for all programs provide the opportunity for students to acquire knowledge, skills, and values related to individual and group diversity. Field placements for clinical training are available in areas where the clientele is partly or primarily from traditionally underserved communities.