Oct 04, 2023  
2023-2024 University Catalog 
2023-2024 University 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., as both a best college in the Northeast and one of the nation’s greenest universities by The Princeton Review, and as a leader in community-engaged work and civic scholarship with the highly-selective Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

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.

Evolving this work, the University more recently began a community-wide strategic planning process that has culminated in an action plan that connects into our Core Values and embeds our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives into every aspect. The Strategic Action Plan identifies five core priority areas, and is designed to ensure our students are prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing world.

Building on its current strengths, bolstered by a commitment to excellence, sustainability, and inclusivity, 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 50 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, and providing a valuable, 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. The University added more than $15 million in financial aid and kept tuition frozen for an unprecedented five years.

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, University College 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. The Richard L. Bready Mount Hope Bay Sailing and Education Center, the University’s first completely donor-funded building, is perfectly situated on the edge of the Mount Hope Bay, and serves as home to the nationally ranked RWU Sailing program. The Bready Center is available to the entire community for sailing and educational opportunities, including STEM and marine science programming for area school children. The most recent addition to campus is the Richard L. Bready Applied Learning Laboratories. This state-of-the-art building houses a hub of labs, project rooms, and open spaces dedicated to hands-on, collaborative teaching and learning. It supports our School of Engineering, Computing, and Construction Management (SECCM) programs, as well as collaborative and community-wide learning. 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 University College 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 is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

Individual school accreditations:

Cummings School of Architecture

Dean Stephen White, AIA, Reg. Arch.

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


Feinstein School of Humanities, Arts and Education 

Dean Jeffrey Meriwether, Ph.D.,

  • Rhode Island Department of Education accredits the Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, Secondary Education and the Master of Arts in Special Educaiton


Feinstein School of Social and Natural Sciences

Dean Benjamin Greenstein, Ph.D.

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


Mario J. Gabelli School of Business

Dean Diya Das, 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.


School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management

Dean Robert Griffin, Ph.D.

  • The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET (https://www.abet.org) under the General Criteria and the Computer Science Program Criteria. 
  • The Bachelor of Science in Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET under the General Criteria and the Engineering Program Criteria. 
  • The American Council on Construction Education accredits the Bachelor of Science in Construction Management.


School of Law

Dean Gregory Bowman, J.D.

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


University College

Dean Gena Bianco, J.D.

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