Nonsectarian, in its most literal sense, refers to a lack of sectarianism. The term is also more narrowly used to describe secular private educational institutions or other organizations either not affiliated with or not restricted to a particular religious denomination though the organization may be overtly influenced by the Church they are related to.[1][2][3][4]


Academic sphere

Examples of private universities that identify themselves as nonsectarian include Berea College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Columbia College in Missouri, Cornell University, Denison University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Franklin & Marshall College, George Washington University, Hawaii Pacific University, Hofstra University, Howard University, Kwansei Gakuin University, National University, New York University, Northwestern University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, Reed College in Oregon, Whitman College in Washington, Rice University, University of Richmond, Syracuse University, Tulane University, the University of Southern California, Washington University in St. Louis, and Woodbury University in California.

Private primary and secondary schools also self-identified as nonsectarian include Allendale Columbia School in Rochester, New York, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School in New York and Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania (the oldest nonsectarian school in the U.S.)[citation needed], Friends School Mullica Hill in New Jersey, Pine Crest School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, The Pembroke Hill School, as well as Notre Christi Academy of the Philippines.

Pi Lambda Phi (ΠΛΦ or Pi Lam) is a college social fraternity founded by Frederick Manfred Werner, Louis Samter Levy, and Henry Mark Fisher at Yale University in 1895. It was founded as the first non-sectarian fraternity, "a fraternity in which all men were brothers, no matter what their religion; a fraternity in which ability, open-mindedness, farsightedness, and a progressive, forward-looking attitude would be recognized as the basic attributes."[5] It currently boasts 35 chapters and four colonies in the United States and one chapter in Canada. The fraternity founded the Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity Educational Foundation[6]

The first nonsectarian sorority was Phi Sigma Sigma. Phi Sigma Sigma (ΦΣΣ), colloquially known as "Phi Sig," was the first collegiate nonsectarian fraternity, welcoming women of all faiths and backgrounds. Founded by 10 women on November 26, 1913 at Hunter College in New York, Phi Sigma Sigma is now an international sorority with 60,000 initiated members, 115 collegiate chapters and more than 100 alumnae chapters, clubs and associations across the United States and Canada.

Non-academic institutions

Organizations that are explicitly nonsectarian include the Apex Clubs of Australia, those participating in the Ethical Culture Movement, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, the National Jewish Medical and Research Center, and the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia. In Northern Ireland, nonsectarian refers to groups identifying themselves as neither Nationalist/Republican or Unionist/Loyalist, such as the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland.


Some cemeteries are known for being nonsectarian. In the United States, these are typically Christian cemeteries that do not adhere to one branch of the faith. Internment services can therefore be conducted in accordance with any one of various faith traditions, or none at all.


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • nonsectarian — onsectarian adj. not restricted to one sect or school or party; as, religious training in a nonsectarian atmosphere; public funding is restricted to nonsectarian colleges. Opposite of {sectarian}. [Narrower terms: {ecumenic, oecumenic, ecumenical …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • nonsectarian — adjective all comprehensive, all embracing, all including, all inclusive, broad, broad based, collective, comprehensive, ecumenical, general, global, interdenominational, mixed, undenominational, universal, unspecified, world wide Burton s Legal… …   Law dictionary

  • nonsectarian — [nän΄sek ter′ē ən] adj. not sectarian; not confined to or affiliated with any specific religion …   English World dictionary

  • nonsectarian — adjective not restricted to one sect or school or party religious training in a nonsectarian atmosphere nonsectarian colleges a wide and unsectarian interest in religion Bertrand Russell • Syn: ↑unsectarian • Ant: ↑sectarian …   Useful english dictionary

  • nonsectarian — 1. adjective Of or pertaining to nonsectarianism. The children will not go to church, few will attend Sunday school, but they will attend a nonsectarian Bible school. 2. noun One who is not a sectarian …   Wiktionary

  • nonsectarian — adjective Date: 1831 not having a sectarian character ; not affiliated with or restricted to a particular religious group …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • nonsectarian — /non sek tair ee euhn/, adj. not affiliated with or limited to a specific religious denomination. [1825 35; NON + SECTARIAN] * * * …   Universalium

  • nonsectarian — Synonyms and related words: all comprehending, all comprehensive, all covering, all embracing, all encompassing, all filling, all including, all inclusive, all pervading, allover, catholic, cosmopolitan, country wide, ecumenic, galactic, global,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • nonsectarian — adj. not aligned with any sect or religion …   English contemporary dictionary

  • nonsectarian — non·sectarian …   English syllables