The University: Scope, History, Mission, Accreditation

The Scope of the University

Classified as a high research activity, doctoral/professional and engaged university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the University of North Dakota is a coeducational, state-supported institution which recorded an enrollment of 14,648 students in the fall of 2016. UND is located in Grand Forks, a city of 54,000 situated across the Red River from East Grand Forks, Minnesota, about 300 miles northwest of Minneapolis and 150 miles south of Winnipeg.

This university is characterized by a solid foundation in the liberal arts, a manageable size, high-quality students and faculty, a comprehensive curriculum, a widely recognized program of graduate education and research, law and medical schools praised for quality and innovation, rich cultural resources, and an outstanding record of alumni support.

The University’s undergraduate and graduate programs are offered in 228 fields of study through the College of Arts and Sciences (which includes a major division devoted to music, theater and art), Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, College of Business and Public Administration, College of Engineering and Mines, College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines, College of Education and Human Development, School of Law, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and School of Graduate Studies (offering the doctorate in 38 programs, the specialist’s degree in one program, and the master’s degree in 63 programs).

In the fall of 2016, about 35 percent of UND’s students were residents of North Dakota and about 34 percent were from Minnesota, with the remainder representing every other state, Canada, and about 50 other countries. Some 77 percent were enrolled in UND’s undergraduate programs. The University awarded 3,304 degrees in 2015-2016, including 2,115 undergraduate degrees, 740 master’s degrees, 134 doctoral degrees, 75 law degrees, 73 M.D. degrees, and 86 post-bachelor/post-master certificates.

The University received a total of $118.4 million in external research awards in fiscal year 2016. UND's sponsored research programs had a state and regional economic impact of $197.2 million in fiscal year 2015.

Faculty at the University number 810, with a total workforce of 2,643.

UND’s 521-acre campus, regarded as one of the most beautiful in the region, includes 244 buildings and more than 6.8 million square feet of space. Facilities include the Gorecki Alumni Center, the gateway to campus, the Wellness Center, and the Ralph Engelstad Arena, home of the University’s NCAA Division I ice hockey program. The Alerus Center, a 22,000-seat events and conference facility, joins such venues as the Fire Hall Theatre, Empire Arts Center, and North Dakota Museum of Art, as well as UND’s Chester Fritz Auditorium, Burtness Theatre and Hughes Fine Arts Center in bringing cultural, entertainment, and athletic programming to the community. New construction includes a four-story School of Medicine and Health Sciences, renovation and addition to the School of Law, Wilkerson Commons, the Collaborative Energy Complex, and the Athletic High Performance Center.

Brief History of UND

The University of North Dakota at Grand Forks was founded in 1883 by the Dakota Territorial Assembly, six years before North Dakota became a state. The cornerstone for the first building was laid that autumn. Four faculty members met the 11 students who entered the University on opening day, September 8, 1884. The first class was graduated in 1889. Unlike most state institutions of higher education west of the Mississippi, UND did not begin as an agricultural school or only as a teachers college. Organized initially as a College of Arts and Sciences, with a Normal School for the education of teachers, UND soon evolved into a full-fledged multi-purpose university. Instruction of graduate students (the first master’s degree was awarded in 1895) and the conducting of research were under way before the end of the 19th century. The University has withstood multiple challenges to prosper as an institution of national caliber.

The University today would be recognizable to its founders. UND was the only institution of higher education in the state to be originally established as a university, with all of the implications of that title. A university has an obligation to preserve knowledge, to disseminate knowledge, and to create new knowledge. The University of North Dakota has served as a capstone for the entire system of public education in the state, and from its earliest year has embraced all levels of higher education—undergraduate, professional and graduate—and maintained an active program of research and service. The University has created a tradition in instruction, research, and service which has served as a model for other institutions. Consistent with the intent of the founding legislators, the University serves as a standard-bearer and leader for higher education in the state.

Mission of the University

The following mission statement is on file with the State Board of Higher Education:

The University of North Dakota, as a member of the North Dakota University System, serves the state, the country and the world community through teaching, research, creative activities, and service. State-assisted, the University’s work depends also on federal, private, and corporate sources. With other research universities, the University shares a distinctive responsibility for the discovery, development, preservation and dissemination of knowledge. Through its sponsorship and encouragement of basic and applied research, scholarship, and creative endeavor, the University contributes to the public well-being.

The University maintains its legislatively enacted missions in liberal arts, business, education, law, medicine, engineering and mines; and has also developed special missions in nursing, fine arts, aerospace, energy, human resources and international studies. It provides a wide range of challenging academic programs for undergraduate, professional, and graduate students through the doctoral level. The University encourages students to make informed choices, to communicate effectively, to be intellectually curious and creative, to commit themselves to lifelong learning and the service of others, and to share responsibility both for their own communities and for the world. The University promotes cultural diversity among its students, staff, and faculty.

In addition to its on-campus instructional and research programs, the University of North Dakota separately and cooperatively provides extensive continuing education and public service programs for all areas of the state and region.


The University of North Dakota has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since the Association was organized in 1913. UND received its most recent reaffirmation of institutional accreditation in 2013-14. Many individual colleges, schools, and departments are members of accrediting associations in their respective fields. The address and telephone number for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association are: Higher Learning Commission, 230 S. LaSalle St., Suite 7-500; Chicago, IL 60604-1411; telephone numbers are (800) 621-7440 or (312) 263-0456; fax number is (312) 263-7462; website address is:; e-mail address is

Office of the Registrar

Tel: 701.777.2711
Fax: 701.777.2696

Twamley Hall Room 201
264 Centennial Drive Stop 8382
Grand Forks, ND 58202-8382