Jul 16, 2024  
2013-2014 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog 
2013-2014 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Introduction to the University

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth


The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is a vibrant and innovative public research university located on a 710-acre campus on the scenic South Coast of Massachusetts. The university offers nearly 50 undergraduate and 26 master’s degree programs as well as the commonwealth’s only public law school. Nearly 9,500 students attend UMass Dartmouth, which has produced more than 46,000 alumni.

UMass Dartmouth traces its roots to 1895, when the state legislature chartered the New Bedford Textile School and the Bradford Durfee Textile School in Fall River.  As the region’s economic base shifted from textiles to more diverse manufacturing and service industries, these institutions changed. By the middle of the 20th century, the schools were growing rapidly, spurred by economic and cultural trends, and became multipurpose institutions, preparing engineers, health care workers, teachers, and business leaders.

In 1962, the state legislature created Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute (SMTI) by merging the New Bedford Textile School and the Bradford Durfee Textile School at its Dartmouth location. The dramatic campus design was the work of world-renowned architect Paul Rudolph. Among the signature Rudolph structures is the five-floor, 460,000-volume Claire T. Carney Library, which has recently undergone a $48 million renovation.

Responding to the public demand for a comprehensive university in the region, SMTI became Southeastern Massachusetts University in 1969. The university continued to grow through the 1970s, when its residence halls were finished and through the 1980s, as research and studio facilities were developed. In 1988,  the Swain School of Design merged with the university’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.

In 1991, the campus became UMass Dartmouth, joining a new University of Massachusetts system that also includes campuses in Amherst, Boston, Lowell, and Worcester.

In 1994, UMass Dartmouth received approval to offer its first PhD degree, in Electrical Engineering. The campus now offers 10 doctoral programs and the law program.

In 1997, construction was completed for the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST), located on 2.6 acres in New Bedford near Buzzards Bay. A full program of research and development is now supported in this new facility.  A major expansion of this facility is underway.

In 2001, the university opened its Star Store College of Visual and Performing Arts facility in downtown New Bedford.  The facility has been a catalytic force in the development of the community’s creative economy.

Also in 2001, the university opened the Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center in Fall River.  The 60,000 square foot research and development center features conference space, specialty labs in acoustics, optics, telecommunications, materials, textiles and environmental engineering, as well as incubator space for start-up companies.  Just a few minutes away from the ATMC, the University is building a major bio-manufacturing center that will house emerging life science companies and education and spaces that will create exciting opportunities for University faculty and students.

During the first decade of the 21st century, UMass Dartmouth has continued to grow in size and impact.  The campus residential population has grown to 4,500 with the addition of several residence halls, and the research enterprise reached $26 million.  In addition, the university’s commitment to civic engagement has been documented to generate 190,000 hours of student service to the community, valued at nearly $5 million.

The University of Massachusetts

The University of Massachusetts has been providing high quality educational opportunities for Massachusetts residents and for students and faculty from all over the world for more than 140 years.


The University’s mission is to provide an affordable and accessible education of high quality and to conduct programs of research and public service that advance knowledge and improve the lives of the people of the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world.


The university was established in 1863 as the Massachusetts Agricultural College, located in Amherst. It became known as the Massachusetts State College in 1932 and in 1947 became the University of Massachusetts. The Worcester and Boston campuses were established in 1962 and 1964, respectively. The Lowell and Dartmouth campuses (previously the University of Lowell and Southeastern Massachusetts University, respectively) were consolidated into the University under Chapter 142 of the acts of 1991.


The University of Massachusetts is governed by: