What is Tulane Known For? Is Tulane a Good School?

Founded in the 1800s as a medical school, Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana is known for its reputation as a school that gives back. 

From the early doctors that started the university to better address outbreaks of yellow fever and cholera to the modern-day campaigns to help the NOLA community rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Tulane has found a way to serve the community. 

This dedication and culture of service have produced top Tulane alumni like Michael E. DeBakey, the so-called “father of modern cardiovascular surgery,” and Regina Benjamin, former president Obama’s Surgeon General. 

Beyond medicine, the university has been home to many successful political figures, engineers, entertainers, and even the president of Costa Rica. 

Students interested in attending this historical R1 private research university will be inspired by the number of Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, Truman Scholars, and Fulbright Scholars the university has produced. With the mentorship and resources that the university offers, students will be well on their way to being scholars themselves. 

Tulane embodies the resilience and richness of the surrounding New Orleans culture and invites native and non-native Louisianians alike to join the Green Wave community in learning what it means to be NOLA Strong. 

What Majors & Academics Are Tulane Known For?

Tulane University
EEJCC, Richardson Memorial, Tulane University, CC BY-SA 4.0

A conversation about academics at Tulane University has to start with mentioning its foundation in medicine. 

The university specializes specifically in tropical medicine and is the first school in the country to have a tropical medicine focus. The university’s long history of contributing to public health gives any student interested in a medical career a great place to be part of innovative research into under-addressed diseases. 

Apart from this well-established history as a medical university, modern-day undergraduates can choose from four other different schools within the central Newcombe-Tulane College. Including the public health program, the five schools that make up the Newcombe-Tulane College cover architecture, liberal arts, business, and engineering. 

Each of the five schools at Tulane offers students a unique academic experience that combines a commitment to community service with academic excellence. 

Ranked number 4 in Service Learning by U.S. News and World Report, the university’s service-learning component in their curriculum gives all students the chance to gain valuable education and work experience through volunteer and internships with the local community. 

Students can do a wide range of service activities, including court monitoring, tutoring youth, creating Model UN groups at local schools, and working with urban farming initiatives.    

Paired with service is the university’s dedication to academics. 

As an R1 research university, students will find many unique opportunities to grow as researchers no matter what their field of interest. 

Research opportunities include submitting research to Tulane University’s undergrad journal, joining research-oriented student organizations, and accessing nearly 100 different specialized academic centers. 

Finally, the Tulane experience wouldn’t be complete without students being able to participate in the great city of New Orleans. 

For first-year students, Tulane offers the TIDE program for an interdisciplinary experience that brings the best of New Orleans with students’ interests. 

Special courses include cemetery architecture, New Orleans music and culture, and even New Orleans as a Dungeons and Dragons campaign!

Is Tulane a Good School?

Ranked number 27 in Southern Universities by Forbes and number 42 by US News and World Report in National Universities, Tulane stands out as an excellent school not just for its commitment to academic excellence but also for its commitment to creating a better society. 

Students who attend Tulane will be taught the value of service, create a more equitable society, and find innovative ways to develop new solutions to old problems. 

Projects like the medical school’s culinary medicine program exemplify this commitment. 

By equipping medical students with a broader range of skills, these future health care providers are able to more holistically address common issues like heart disease and diabetes in a more person-centered way. 

Tulane knows the value of person-centered ways of learning and teaching for many reasons, a large one being the university’s survival and rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. 

In the years since, as the university went through rebuilding and meeting the community’s needs, Tulane developed an even stronger commitment to an education that can embody the NOLA spirit of service, community, and celebration. 

Those that attend won’t be able to avoid catching the resilient spirit of the university community. Whether students are from Louisiana or from abroad, they will find a special home away from home at Tulane. 

Tulane Traditions

Community service is a central part of the Tulane experience and is a tradition that stretches back to the university’s founding. 

Physicians who were part of the university’s development were involved in serving the community by finding ways to combat yellow fever and cholera. 

Since then, Tulane’s culture of community service has earned it the distinction of being one of the first research universities to require community service hours as part of each student’s education requirements.

 In addition to serving the community’s medical needs, Tulane also finds ways to bring the university community and local city together to celebrate the richness of Louisiana culture. Look no further than the university’s annual Crawfest to find local food, music, and art. 

In addition to Crawfest being an all-around fun time, students can also add valuable experience to their CVs by becoming part of the student-run management team that runs the whole event. 

Prominent Clubs & Extracurricular Activities at Tulane

Tulane University
EEJCC, Gibson Hall, 2019, CC BY-SA 4.0

In the continued theme of service and research, Tulane offers many clubs and extracurricular experiences that help students give back and build up their CVs. 

Whether students are interested in mental health advocacy, poverty, global issues, animal rights, or the environment, there is a group that will welcome them. 

A uniquely exciting service group the university offers is the Tulane University Service-Dog Training and Education Program. In addition to supporting those training dogs for service, students can even learn how to train service dogs themselves. 

Research groups are among some of the most popular student organizations and include excellent opportunities for women in STEM. Of particular note are the groups that support women in the sciences, Women in Science, and the Society of Women Engineers. 

These groups offer women the chance to network, attend workshops, and access valuable opportunities that will help them build the skills and support to break into STEM-related careers. 

What Sports Are Tulane Known For?

Tulane University sports are NCAA Division I teams in the American Athletic Conference. 

Though the university is more popularly known for its Green Tide football and men’s and women’s basketball teams, they have also seen a great deal of success in less flashy sports like tennis, beach volleyball, and sailing.

 As part of the ITA Collegiate Tennis Southern Region, Tulane’s women’s tennis team came out among the top as a team, in doubles, and singles. 

In addition to being ranked number 7 as a team, the university managed to rank number 2 in doubles and had an athlete place 9th in singles. 

Beach volleyball may not always make the news, but students will want to take time to get some sun and root on their university team as they continue to build on two consecutive seasons of over 20 wins. 

And those interested in joining the team will be pleased to know that they will be coached by athletes like American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Thirty Under 30 awardee, Jade Hayes, whose dedication and expertise make her one of the best in up and coming coaches. 

While out on the beach, students should stay close to the water to witness the unique art of sailing. 

Tulane University is home to a co-ed sailing team that competes in several sailing events, including the ICSA Open Dinghy Championship. In 2022, the Green Wave team ‘sailed’ by Yale to secure their second ever win in the championship. 

Aside from the success of its many sports teams, Tulane’s athletics team is also known for embodying the university’s commitment to service. Green Wave teams are known for placing in the top universities for community service and, in 2020, were ranked in the Helper Helper Challenge at number 4 for community service hours.

Why Tulane?

Tulane University is a school that sets itself apart by giving students an education that will equip them to change the world. The university knows that not only do students need head knowledge, but they also have to pair this with work experience and skills to be world citizens. 

Students who are looking for an education that will give them the hard and soft skills needed to succeed in the workforce will benefit from the university’s unique service-learning requirement. 

In addition, the many pre-professional organizations, professional societies, and fellowships available to students will give them the support and credentials needed to go far should they continue their academic career into graduate school. 

In addition to the university itself, it is essential that students who are interested in Tulane are interested in the city it calls home. 

New Orleans, one of the most historic cities in the south, isn’t just a backdrop at Tulane; it is an extension of the classroom. Students will experience this firsthand by getting a unique chance to take special topic courses that expose them to the unique history and culture of New Orleans. 

Whether students are enjoying local cuisine and music at Crawfest, researching the unique architecture of New Orleans’ cemeteries, or studying tropical diseases in the lab, students will find that the learning experience at Tulane is rich in service, culture, and academic excellence.