Roger Williams University

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Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
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Master's Colleges & Universities: Medium Programs
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Roger Williams University is an independent, coeducational institution located in Bristol, Rhode Island. Officially established in 1956, Roger Williams University traces its roots back to 1919 when it began as a branch campus off of Northeastern University, opening in the Broad Street Providence YMCA. In 1940 the YMCA Board of Directors took over control of the school and awarded its first associate degrees in 1948. In 1956 the school was granted its state charter to become a two-year, degree granting institution under the name of Roger Williams Junior College. By the 1960s the school, then known as the Roger Williams College, began granting bachelor’s degrees. The College soon outgrew the YMCA building and purchase was made of 80 acres of waterfront land in Bristol and in 1969 construction of new campus was completed. In 1992 College achieved University status, adopting its current name of Roger Williams University.

Academic Programs

Roger Williams University’s core purpose is to “strengthen society through engaged teaching and learning.” The University’s mission statement continues, “We inspire and educate students to lead fulfilled lives by ensuring they acquire and develop the knowledge, skills and habits of mind necessary to become reflective, responsible individuals who interact with society in mutually rewarding ways.” Roger Williams University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and has been so since 1972.

Roger Williams University offers a range of academic programs with more than 40 undergraduate majors, over a dozen graduate-level degrees and numerous minors and certificate programs. Roger Williams University consists of several colleges and schools, including the Mario J. Gabelli School of Business, the Feinstein College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation, the School of Engineering, Computing & Construction Management, the School of Justice Studies, the School of Education, the School of Continuing Studies, and the School of Law which is Rhode Island’s only law school.

Student Life

Roger Williams University has a total enrollment figure of nearly 5,000, including more than 4,500 undergraduate students. The male to female student ratio is split nearly in half with female students slightly outnumbering males. Approximately 75% of students live on campus in one of the University-owned residencies. Roger Williams University reserves its traditional residence halls for underclassmen while suites and apartment-style residencies are offered to upperclass students.

Roger Williams University recognizes more than 70 student- led clubs and organizations which cater to a wide range of interests including academic, professional, religious, recreational, and social groups. These and other events and organizations provide ample opportunity for students to interact with one another outside of the classroom setting and allow students to hone their leadership skills. As an NCAA Division III school, Roger Williams University sponsors at least two dozen varsity sports teams, known as the Hawks, which compete in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

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