Jul 24, 2024  
2015-2016 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 UMass Dartmouth Graduate 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 more than three dozen master’s and doctoral degree programs, as well as the Commonwealth’s only public law school. Approximately 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 also changed. They diversified their curricula, responding to the needs of new generations of students. By the middle of the 20th century they were growing rapidly, spurred by such forces as the GI Bill and the clear economic and social advantages of a well-educated citizenry. They had become 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. Dr Joseph Leo Driscoll was the new institution’s first President. Construction of the first building on the 710 acre campus in North Dartmouth, part way between New Bedford and Fall River, began in 1964. The dramatic campus design was the work of world-renowned architect Paul Rudolph, then dean of Yale’s School of Art and Architecture.  Among the signature Rudolph structures is the five-floor, 460,000-volume Claire T. Carney Library, which underwent a $48 million renovation in 2012-2013.

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. Since that time nearly one dozen additional doctoral programs have been added.

In 1997, construction was completed of the building for housing the School for Marine Science and Technology, located on 2.6 acres in New Bedford near Buzzards Bay. This waterside facility supports a full program of research and development.

Three buildings have been renovated in recent years to serve as UMass Dartmouth campuses, one in downtown New Bedford, opening 2001, one in downtown Fall River, opening in 2002, and one in downtown New Bedford, opening in 2004. The Star Store campus in New Bedford houses UMass Dartmouth’s fine arts and artisanry programs with studios, classrooms, offices, and art galleries. The University Extension Center located in the former Cherry and Webb Building in Fall River offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional training. The University Extension Center in New Bedford offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional courses and youth educational programs, job training, and skills development opportunities. Each site is serving as a catalyst for downtown renewal.

In 2001, the university also 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.

Two new student residence buildings, Oak Glen Hall and Pine Dale Hall, were completed in 2002. In fall 2004, the university opened a new building for the Charlton College of Business on the Dartmouth campus. It also broke ground for another two new student residence buildings, to meet the increasing demand for on-campus housing.

Six new residence halls, part of the Woodlands Community, opened its doors to upperclassmen in 2005, offering fully furnished, apartment-style living for the 21+ student population. Located near the Tripp Athletic Center, Woodlands Community also has a commons building that offers a 3,000 square foot function room that can seat up to 300 people, six smaller meeting rooms and a café.

In 2007, the university opened a 22,000 square foot Research Building that focuses on science and formerly housed the Botulinum Research Center.  The building, the first at UMass Dartmouth devoted entirely to research, strengthens an “Innovation Triangle” in southeastern Massachusetts that includes major research and development centers in New Bedford and Fall River .

In 2010, UMass Dartmouth was authorized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to grant the Juris Doctor degree. The law program will be built upon a $23 million donation of assets including a building, land, library, and technology from the nearby Southern New England School of Law. 

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 150 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: