The University of North Dakota is the state’s oldest, most prominent university, founded in 1883 when North Dakota was still a territory. Built under a federal land grant, UND’s original mission was to provide the best arts and sciences education for the settlers of the frontier, and that heritage has kept UND growing and developing into the state’s flagship. With more undergraduate, graduate, and online degree programs than any other university in the Dakotas, and North Dakota’s only law and medical schools, UND has been recognized as one of the top public research universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, and the premiere institution of its kind in the Northern Plains region.
Academic ProgramsUnlike other land-grant universities, UND’s first mission was not restricted to agriculture and applied sciences, but to a full arts and sciences curriculum, and ever since, UND has given equal emphasis to all of the disciplines and professions that North Dakota’s people need to build a healthy citizenry, democracy, and industry. That mission includes the humanities and liberal arts alongside professional programs like law, business, and medicine, which in turn exist in cooperation with hard and applied sciences like mining, engineering, energy, and aerospace.
As North Dakota’s flagship, UND’s responsibility is to the whole state, and its massive impact is felt directly (through jobs and research funding) and indirectly (through leadership and an educated workforce) throughout the state. UND is also known for research, with more than two dozen dedicated research centers and institutes performing work specific to life in the Dakotas and the Northern Plains, and on a global scale. Research wings like the Center for Rural Health and the Northern Plains Indian Law Center work to find understanding of local problems and meet the needs of the Dakotas, while others are creating products and gathering data that can have worldwide consequences.
Student LifeWith around 15,000 students, the University of North Dakota is the largest university in the state, with one-third of students coming from North Dakota, a third from Minnesota, and others originating in all 50 states and more than 60 nations. UND’s outreach to adult and non-traditional students has had an effect, growing diversity in age and background among the student body, particularly in graduate and professional programs, where the average student is in their mid-30s. That student body represents the future of North Dakota.
A student body of that size needs a lot to keep it occupied, and more than 275 student organizations and clubs certainly create a lot of activity. The presence of the university as also spurred Grand Forks, ND, to greatness, and the 65,000-resident city is frequently named as one of the most loved and most popular college towns in America. The UND Fighting Hawks compete in 20 NCAA Division I sports, but of course, the ice hockey team is beyond legendary and continues to be the university’s main draw for a century.