Introduction to UMSL


The University of Missouri-St. Louis is one of four campuses that constitute the University of Missouri. Established in Columbia in 1839 on the ideals of Thomas Jefferson, the University of Missouri became a land-grant institution upon passage of the Morrill Act by Congress in 1862.

When the University of Missouri System was organized in 1963, the St. Louis campus was the only one that started as an entirely new university. The University of Missouri-St. Louis began as a consequence of the national movement to create public universities in metropolitan centers. UMSL was designed to educate the area’s professionals through research, coursework, and hands-on experiences in the region’s businesses, schools, hospitals, agencies, and the arts.

According to the campus’s history, The Emerging University: The University of Missouri-St Louis, 1963-1983, faculty were hired from prestigious universities with a vision of creating a university where graduates would be able to confront urban issues through research, critical thinking, and creativity. More than traditional workforce development, these leaders’ vision for UMSL was to educate students for lifelong learning, which would produce good citizens and effective leaders in the region’s organizations. That legacy continues because those early leaders created a culture of faculty excellence that persists today.

Since the doors of the old Administration Building opened on a golf course almost 50 years ago, UMSL has grown to encompass 350 acres of beautifully landscaped rolling hills. The campus is now St. Louis’s largest university in the number of students and is the third largest in the state.

Out of pride in the successes of our students, faculty, and staff and our culture of quality improvement, the campus posts on the Web recent highlights on the UMSL home page, detailed information on the About UMSL site, and student achievement data on the College Portrait.



The University Missouri-St. Louis will be known as a premier metropolitan public research university and as a university of choice for undergraduate, graduate and professional students.


The University of Missouri-St. Louis provides excellent learning experiences and leadership opportunities for a diverse student body. Outstanding faculty and staff, innovative research, and creative partnerships foster synergies that advance the welfare of our students and other stakeholders and benefit the global society..

Academic Structure

UMSL's academic units include the following.

College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most diverse college at UMSL. In its continued efforts to improve and deliver the academic core for the campus, CAS’s long-range plans have included various initiatives intended to strengthen the foundational coursework in the liberal arts. Also central to the college’s mission is faculty and student collaboration in research and scholarship. Both undergraduate and graduate students participate in a community of scholars that promotes excellence in teaching, critical thinking skills, collaborative learning, and strong research and scholarship across a range of disciplines.

College of Business Administration
Through its undergraduate and graduate degree programs, the College of Business Administration expands student capability in communication, analysis, and judgment, enabling its graduates to deal effectively with today's complex economic environment. The college maintains a balance between the specialization of professional courses and the diversity of liberal arts.

College of Education
Consistently among the top institutions in the state in preparation of educators, the College of Education provides undergraduate and graduate programs to support and sustain educational leaders. Its programs emphasize state-of-the-art technological applications to enhance teaching and learning as well as collaboration among university, school, agency, and corporate partners.

College of Fine Arts and Communication
Faculty, students, and alumni of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, which includes the departments of Art and Art History, Communication, Music, and Theatre, Dance and Media Studies, have distinguished themselves as scholars, visual artists, teachers, and performers. The university’s $55 million Touhill Performing Arts Center that opened in the fall of 2003 provides two world-class venues for performances. In addition, three galleries on campus offer space for display of student and faculty artwork as well as visiting exhibitions.

Graduate School
The Graduate School provides leadership to graduate programs across campus. In contrast to those in traditional universities, UMSL's graduate programs reflect the campus's mission as a public metropolitan research university: our faculty and students’ scholarship advances understanding of their disciplines in rapidly changing local, regional, and global contexts.

College of Optometry
The College of Optometry, one of 17 such programs in the United States, provides professional optometric education and clinical experience. Facilities are furnished with equipment and technology for the enhancement of both teaching and research. The college operates the University Eye Center on campus, the Optometric Center of St. Louis in the city's Central West End, the Harvester Eye Care Center in St. Charles County, and the East St. Louis Eye Center, jointly owned and operated by the UMSL College of Optometry and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

Pierre Laclede Honors College
Students in the Pierre Laclede Honors College major in any of the campus's undergraduate programs and share a commitment to a challenging, innovative general education curriculum. In the Honors College, students and faculty work together to foster an intellectual climate in which democracy, diversity, civility and excellence are fundamental values. The Honors program offers small seminars that emphasize critical reading and open discussion upon which students National Student Exchange

College of Nursing
The College of Nursing offers programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing is available for a student wishing to pursue a program of study leading to eligibility to complete state licensure examinations to become a registered nurse (R.N.). The Master of Science in Nursing offers studies in adult, children, and women's health along with nurse educator and nurse leader tracks. Nurse practitioner options are also available (adult, family, pediatric, and women) as part of the MSN program. Doctoral students may choose between the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or the Ph.D. in Nursing.

UMSL/Washington University Joint Undergraduate Engineering Program
The University of Missouri‑St. Louis and Washington University joined forces to offer accredited Bachelor of Science degrees in mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering. Students who enter the program take about half of their course work--mathematics, physics, chemistry, humanities and social sciences, and some elementary engineering subjects--at UMSL. The remaining program consists of engineering courses and laboratories taken at Washington University. Students register for all courses at UMSL, pay tuition at UMSL rates (plus a small surcharge on engineering courses), and receive their degrees from the University of Missouri.

School of Professional and Continuing Studies
School of Professional and Continuing Studies provides a wide variety of credit courses and noncredit professional development programs that help adults keep abreast of new developments in their field, prepare them for a career in a new field of endeavor, or enrich their personal and family life. Courses leading to undergraduate and graduate programs are also offered on the campuses of the St. Louis Community College South County Education Center, St. Louis Community College at Wildwood, St. Charles Community College, Jefferson College, and Mineral Area College.

Student Life

Numerous student organizations at UMSL, from the Accounting Club to Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, seek members and leaders. Guest speakers, concerts, film series, plays, exhibits, recitals, and a host of informal gatherings crowd each week's schedule. The St. Louis area offers still more recreational sports and cultural events.

The university offers a wide range of varsity and intramural sports for students, whether as players or spectators. On the varsity level, the Tritons compete in most major sports, including men's soccer, basketball, baseball, and golf and women's basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball, and tennis.

Students participate in fitness activities, both organized and individual, on campus. The Mark Twain athletic facility offers a recently renovated fitness center, weight room, swimming pool, and basketball, volleyball, handball, and racquetball courts. Outdoor facilities include tennis and handball courts, a fitness trail, and baseball, soccer, and softball fields. Intramural sports are available to all students, with schedules designed for maximum participation.

UMSL Alumni

The university has over 84,000 graduates living in all 50 states and several foreign countries. Of these alumni, more than 77 percent live and work in the St. Louis metropolitan area and reflect the area’s diversity. The university is a major force in providing the region with a highly educated and diverse work force. UMSL alumni can be found making contributions in companies and communities throughout the United States and internationally.