Founded in 1866, the University of New Hampshire was built as the state’s Morrill Act land-grant university, forming under the name New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts. The Morrill Act was designed to further research and learning in practical, applied sciences, and the University of New Hampshire took off quickly. Originally affiliated with Dartmouth College, UNH moved to its own campus in Durham, NH, when land was donated in the will of a local farmer. UNH’s grounding in agriculture and mechanics – the roots of engineering – helped it grow into a leading STEM and professional university, and today UNH is the flagship of the University of New Hampshire System, a public land, sea, and space-grant research university, and U.S. News & World Report top-tier institution.
Academic ProgramsAs New Hampshire’s primary public research institution, the University of New Hampshire is central to higher education in the state, especially for graduate and professional programs. It is home to the only law school in New Hampshire, formerly the Franklin Pierce Law Center before being taken over by the state to form the School of Law; the UNH Law School is particularly known for its work and expertise in intellectual property law. The Paul College of Business and Economics is ranked one of the best undergraduate business schools in the nation by the Princeton Review, and with its proximity to the ocean, the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, the university’s first interdisciplinary school, is a model for its field.
UNH is a prominent research institution, meeting the Carnegie Classification level of Higher Research Activity (the second-highest, and the highest in New Hampshire). With a much higher undergraduate student body than graduate, UNH puts a priority on undergraduate research, with three programs: the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, the Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and the International Research Opportunities Program. While practical programs like business and nursing are some of UNH’s greatest strengths, the university is also known for some of the strongest music programs in the region.
Student LifeThe University of New Hampshire has a student body of just over 15,000, 12,000 of whom are traditional undergraduate students. Around half the population comes from New Hampshire, and a little more than half are women. With a primarily traditional-aged, residential student body, student life at UNH is very much that of the hallowed college tradition – more than 300 student-led clubs and organizations, a vivacious Greek Life, and athletics. The oldest on-campus club, the New Hampshire Outing Club, encourages student appreciation for the outdoors and New Hampshire’s natural offerings with activities like kayaking, hiking, and skiing; other groups, like the Dairy Club and the Organic Garden Club, harken back to UNH’s rural, agricultural origins.
The UNH Wildcats compete in NCAA Division I athletics in the Atlantic East Conference. While UNH has fielded successful teams in football and basketball, the university is especially known for hockey, including both men’s and women’s teams. Traditionally, since the 1970s, the Zeta Chi fraternity throws a fish on the ice after the Wildcats’ first goal of every game; their fierce rivalry against neighboring University of Maine is famous, from in-game snowball fights to competition for recruits. Another famous rival is Dartmouth College, which has the only other Division I basketball and hockey teams in New Hampshire.