Jul 14, 2024  
2017-2018 University Catalog 
2017-2018 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


The United States Department of Education, pursuant to 34C FR § 668.43(b), requires institutions of higher education authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act to make available for review to any enrolled or prospective student, upon request, a copy of the documents describing the institution’s licensure and accreditation. The institution must also provide its students or prospective students with contact information for filing complaints with its accreditor and with its state approval or licensing entity and any other relevant state official or agency that would appropriately handle a student’s complaint. Roger Williams University and Roger Williams University School of Law (collectively, “University”) provide the following information in accordance with the above requirements:

A Short History

Roger Williams University’s roots originate in 1919 when the Northeastern University School of Commerce and Finance opened a branch at the Providence YMCA. The next year, Northeastern University’s School of Law opened a Providence division. Northeastern’s presence in Providence grew again in 1938, when the University opened the Providence Technical Institute, offering a certificate program in mechanical engineering.

After an amicable agreement to separate from Northeastern in 1940, the YMCA Board of Directors established the Providence Institute of Engineering and Finance. The new Institute was only in its second year when the outbreak of World War II forced its closure for the duration of the war. The school reopened in 1945 as the YMCA Institute of Engineering and Finance, later shortened to the YMCA Institute. Over the next five years the Institute grew, serving veterans through both the evening division and day division. In 1948 the State of Rhode Island authorized the Institute to grant the associate degree.

In February 1956, the Institute received a state charter to become a two-year, degree-granting institution under the name of Roger Williams Junior College. The new junior college, the state’s first, began offering a liberal arts program in 1958. By 1964, the College offered the associate of arts as well as the associate of science degrees.

In the early 1960s, the institution, still based at the Providence YMCA, grew rapidly. As a result of that growth, the College, by that time a four-year institution, acquired 80 acres of waterfront land in Bristol and, in 1969, completed construction of its new campus. The Providence Campus, 1,000 students strong, continued to house the business and engineering technology programs. The new campus in Bristol offered a full liberal arts program leading to the baccalaureate and enrolled 1,500 students. In addition, the College offered continuing education evening
programs in both Providence and Bristol. In 1992, the Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the institution to Roger Williams University.

In the last decade, Roger Williams University has achieved unprecedented successes including recognition as one of the best colleges in the nation by Forbes, a College of Distinction by Student Horizons, Inc. and as both a best college in the Northeast and one of the nation’s greenest universities by The Princeton Review.

In the fall of 2014, Roger Williams University embarked upon the Vision Project - an ambitious, campus-wide undertaking to articulate a roadmap for the future of the University. The result was a new Core Purpose, a set of Core Values and a University Goal that was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees in the summer of 2015.

Building on its current strengths, bolstered by a commitment to affordable excellence and supported by its unique history, Roger Williams University is poised to expand its tradition of strengthening society through engaged teaching and learning in our endeavor to build the university the world needs now.

A Brief Description

Roger Williams University, located on the coast of Bristol, R.I., is a forward-thinking private university with more than 45 undergraduate majors spanning the liberal arts and the professions, where students become community-minded citizens through project-based, experiential learning.

With small classes, direct access to faculty and boundless opportunity for real-world projects, RWU students develop the ability to think critically while simultaneously building the practical skills that today’s employers demand. The University is an open community dedicated to the success of students, commitment to a set of core values, the pursuit of affordable excellence and providing a world-class education above all else.

Our student body is comprised of more than 5,100 students pursuing undergraduate and continuing studies programs, graduate and law degrees. RWU students come from more than 40 states around the country and more than 30 countries around the world. The University is dedicated to creating a challenging and supportive learning environment for each of them.

Full-time undergraduates take classes on the Bristol campus, and the majority live on campus. The student population is 48% male and 52% female. International students represent an increasingly significant portion of the student body.

In 2012, Roger Williams University articulated its commitment to Affordable Excellence - a comprehensive campaign to increase access to higher education for all and to tackle the issues of cost, debt and jobs. Roger Williams University added more than $15 million in financial aid and did not increase its tuition for an unprecedented five years, resulting in a significant reduction in cost (factoring in inflation). We continue our guarantee that tuition will not increase during any student’s four year undergraduate education.

In addition to addressing cost, the University has also committed to ensuring the value of a Roger Williams degree. This includes project-based learning opportunities, a diverse range of majors and minors, academic-based study abroad experiences and community engagement, and much more. The Community Partnerships Center, officially launched in 2011, provides students across all majors the opportunity to work with nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and moderate-to-low income communities in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts on real-world projects that will deepen students’ academic experience while benefitting the local community.

The University’s undergraduate curriculum is a fusion of sound liberal arts studies and selective professional programs, is delivered by the faculty of our Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences and five professional schools. In addition, the School of Continuing Studies enrolls primarily working adults who join the University to expand their knowledge of their current fields or explore new careers.

The School of Law, which opened in the fall of 1993 and is accredited by the American Bar Association, is the only law school in Rhode Island and offers a world-class faculty, a strong and diverse student body, an extraordinarily close relationship with the local legal community, and a rigorous, personalized, marketable legal education. In 2014, the law school joined the commitment to Affordable Excellence by unveiling a nearly 18 percent tuition reduction and a three-year tuition guarantee for incoming students - the reduced tuition, now extended through 2017-18, makes RWU Law the best-priced, ABA-accredited private law school in the Northeast. In addition, the School of Law instituted an explicit guarantee that every qualified student will be afforded a substantial clinic experience through one of its in-house clinics or a clinical externship.

The University’s main campus in Bristol has grown considerably, especially during the last decade. New state-of-the-art facilities on campus include an Alumni & Admissions Center; a modern 350-bed residence village; an Expanded Marine and Natural Sciences annex; and Global Heritage Hall - a technology rich academic center that boasts heritage themed classrooms, a world languages center, Mac labs for graphic design communications and the Center for Career & Professional Development. Completed in the summer of 2011, the Bayside turf field has seating for 575, environmentally sensitive lighting, a new scoreboard and press box. RWU’s newest addition to the Bristol Campus is the Richard L. Bready Mount Hope Bay Sailing and Education Center, the University’s first completely donor-funded building. Perfectly situated on the edge of the Mount Hope Bay, the Bready Center serves as home to the nationally ranked RWU Sailing program and is available to the entire community for sailing and educational opportunities, including STEM and marine science programming for area school children. Throughout the design and construction process, creating environmentally friendly facilities has been emphasized.

The University Library houses the Library Learning Commons, including several academic support service agencies. The Library itself provides space for a collection of more than 300,000 volumes, digital resources and full-text databases, as well as cutting-edge technology that allows students to take advantage of the latest information-gathering and creation tools. Other facilities include a modern Recreation Center and a Performing Arts Center (more commonly known as The Barn), as well as a variety of academic and residence buildings.

The Providence Campus at One Empire Plaza in downtown Providence houses the School of Continuing Studies and graduate programs, and provides expanded space for RWU Law and its many Public Interest Law programs, as well as a growing array of University outreach and engagement programs, including the Latino Policy Institute, Housing Works RI, the Community Partnerships Center and the Business Partnerships Center. The new campus doubles the University’s footprint in the heart of downtown and increases access to enhanced learning and community engagement opportunities in the capital city for our law students, adult learners and undergraduates.

Roger Williams University’s location provides students easy access to a wealth of recreational and cultural resources. The Bristol campus is only 30 minutes by car from both Newport and Providence. Downtown Boston is about an hour by car or bus, and New York City is a three-and-a-half hour drive. Buses stop in front of the main gate of the Bristol campus.

This accessibility to off-campus activities, coupled with the array of on-campus athletic, social and other extracurricular events, enriches the Roger Williams University student. The total undergraduate experience prepares students for rewarding and productive lives here at the University and beyond.


Roger Williams University

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education accredits Roger Williams University.


The Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences
Interim Dean Robert A. Cole, Ph.D., School of Humanities, Arts and Education
Dean Benjamin Greenstein, School of Social and Natural Sciences

The American Chemical Society (ACS) accredits the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry.

The School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation
Dean Stephen White, AIA, Reg. Arch.

The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredits the Master of Architecture Program.


The Mario J. Gabelli School of Business
Dean Susan M. McTiernan, Ph.D.

AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredits the Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Economics, Finance, International Business, Management, and Marketing programs.

The School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management
Dean Robert A. Potter, Jr., Ph.D., P.E.

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredits the Engineering program and the Computer Science program.
The American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) accredits the Construction Management program.


The School of Justice Studies
Dean Eric Bronson, Ph.D.

The School of Continuing Studies
Dean Jamie Scurry, Ph.D.

The American Bar Association (ABA) approves the Paralegal Studies program.


The School of Law
Dean Michael J. Yelnosky, J.D.

The American Bar Association (ABA) approves the Law program.
Association of American Law Schools (AALS)