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Metropolitan State University (Metro State) is a public university in the Minneapolis–St. Paul, Minnesota. It is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.[4][5]

Metropolitan State University
MottoWhere life and learning meet
Academic affiliations
Minnesota State System
Endowment$3.2 million (2016)[1]
Budget$99 million (2017)[2]
PresidentGinny Arthur, JD
Academic staff
750 community faculty
174 resident faculty
Location, ,
United States

44°57′25″N 93°4′26″W / 44.95694°N 93.07389°W / 44.95694; -93.07389Coordinates: 44°57′25″N 93°4′26″W / 44.95694°N 93.07389°W / 44.95694; -93.07389



New Main on the Saint Paul campus

The institution was founded in 1971 as Minnesota Metropolitan State College with a mission to educate non-traditional students from the Twin Cities metropolitan area whose needs were not served by other existing institutions like the University of Minnesota.[6] David E. Sweet was appointed the university's first president[7] and the school admitted the first class of 50 students in 1972 on a rented building located in Minneapolis. When Metropolitan State began, it was a college for working adults. It was strictly an upper-division college where students could only complete their junior and senior years of academic study.[8] The university initially followed a non-traditional course: students could design their own degree plans, instructors wrote 'narrative evaluations' instead of using traditional letter grades, and much of the teaching was done by 'community faculty' who had advanced degrees as well as extensive practical work experience in their respective fields.

During the 1980s, enrollment grew from around 1,000 students to over 2,500 students. The university expanded its programs to 30 baccalaureate programs as the state increased funding for the institution.[8]

The university began admitting freshmen and sophomores and calculating grade point averages in 1994. Letter grades have always been offered at Metro State, but have never been required. Prior to the fall of 1998, Metro State operated on the quarter system. After this, the university adopted a trimester format. In 1992, the main campus of the university moved to a larger campus that is located in the Dayton's Bluff section of east Saint Paul.[8] This change eventually led to the distributed campus system that exists today with the main campus located in Saint Paul, and additional campus facilities located in the Midway neighborhood and in Minneapolis. Metropolitan State currently has four campuses.

Although Metro State adopted a more traditional format in the 1990s, it still has the College of Individualized Studies (CIS). On July 1, 2012, Metro State's 'First College' was renamed the CIS. The CIS allows students to design their own individualized and/or interdisciplinary majors (typically called 'focuses') and curriculums. The individualized degrees are a popular alternative for students who are not interested in traditional 'structured' degrees.

During the 2009–10 school year, Metro State enrolled 6,000 full-time equivalent students. From 2008 to June 30, 2014, Dr. Sue K. Hammersmith was Metro State's president. Under Dr. Hammersmith's leadership, the number of degrees conferred increased by 38% during her six-year tenure. Dr. Hammersmith believes that Metro State can serve 20,000 students per year by the year 2020. Dr. Devinder Malhotra became Metro State's president on July 1, 2014. During the 2014–2015 school year, Metro State served 12,000 full and part-time students. Since 2012, Virginia Arthur has been Metro State's provost. Dr. Arthur became Metropolitan State University's president on July 1, 2016.


  • Dr. David E. Sweet (1972–1977)
  • Dr. Reatha King (1977–1988)
  • Dr. Charles Graham (1988–1989)
  • Dr. Tobin Barrozo (1989–1992)
  • Dr. Richard Green (1993–1993)
  • Dr. Susan Cole (1993–1998)
  • Dr. Dennis Nielsen (1998–2000)
  • Dr. Wilson G. Bradshaw (2000–2007)
  • Dr. William Lowe (2007–2008)
  • Dr. Sue Hammersmith (2008–2014)
  • Dr. Devinder Malhotra (2014–2016)[9]
  • Dr. Virginia Arthur (2016–present)[10]


As part of its mission to educate working adults and non-traditional students, Metro State previously had an open admissions policy with rolling applications accepted throughout the year.[8] Metro State has been classified as 'less selective', and has historically had a near 100% acceptance rate.[11]

Metro State offers 62 'structured' undergraduate degrees, a self-designed B.A. degree in liberal arts, a self-designed/individualized B.A. degree and three undergraduate certificates through its four colleges and three schools: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Management, the College of Health, Community and Professional Studies, the School of Nursing, the School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, the School of Urban Education and the College of Individualized Studies.[12]

Metropolitan State University offers 25 'structured' master's degree programs, an MA or MS degree in individualized studies and an interdisciplinary master of arts degree in liberal studies. The university also offers eleven graduate certificate programs. In 2007, Metro State began offering an applied doctor of nursing practice degree. Metro State launched the first applied doctorate in business administration within the MnSCU system during fall semester 2010. Although a number of schools in the region — such as the University of Minnesota — offer Ph.D.s in Business Administration, there are only seven regionally accredited universities in the entire upper-Midwest that offer Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) degrees. With nearly 900 declared accounting majors, Metropolitan State University's Bachelor of Science in Accounting program is the largest in Minnesota. Moreover, graduates of Metro State's accounting program consistently place among the top-10 finishers in Minnesota's exacting CPA examination.[13] Altogether, Metro State offers a total of 108 undergraduate and graduate academic degrees and certificates—this does not include any undergraduate minor programs.[14]


The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP),[15] the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)[16] and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).[17] Metro State is also accredited by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB), the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). In addition, Metro State has received recognition and endorsements from the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and from the National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.[18][19]


Based upon data from the 2016-2017 academic year, 45% of Metropolitan State University's student body are students of color, while 4% are from out-of-state and 2% are international. 42% of students were male, and 58% were female.[20] Metro State's students range in age from 15-84. Metro State's Class of 2015 had an 82% licensure exam pass rate. Metro State has a 67% six-year graduation rate.

Student accommodationsEdit

Metropolitan State University accommodates the needs of working adults by scheduling many of its classes in the evening and on weekends. The number of daytime course offerings have been increasing in recent years because of the growing demands of students. It is possible for recent graduates of Minneapolis and St. Paul public high schools to attend Metro State tuition free.[5]

Each student attending Metropolitan State University pays a .43 cent per credit fee to fund the Minnesota State University Student Association, a student-led non-profit that advocates on behalf of all Minnesota state university students. In 1995, Metro State won a highly coveted National (Theodore) Hesburgh Award for innovative and outstanding faculty development. Former President Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony.


In 2002, the Minnesota legislature approved funding for the construction of a library at the St. Paul campus; the building opened during spring semester 2004. The library also houses a branch of the Saint Paul Public Library. This is the only university/public library partnership in the state of Minnesota and one of only a few nationwide.[citation needed]

In order to encourage the spiritual development of students and members of the community, the library built the David Barton Community Labyrinth and Reflective Garden, named in honor of the library's first dean. The labyrinth is open to the public and has been the setting for several events.[21]

Notable alumniEdit

Metro State's first graduating class consisted of 12 people on February 1, 1973. As of April 27, 2019, Metro State has 48,348 alumni. Notable alumni include:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Metropolitan State University Foundation 2016 Impact Report: Making a Difference" (PDF). Metro State University Foundation. Metropolitan State University. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  2. ^ "2017 Minnesota State Legislative Databook" (PDF). Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System website. Minnesota State System. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-07-08. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  3. ^ "MnSCU Viewbook 2014" (PDF). Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  4. ^ "Majors and Programs". Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  5. ^ a b Metropolitan State University: Minnesota State Colleges & Universities Archived 2006-02-17 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Dr. David E. Sweet, 51, Dies; Head of Rhode Island College". The New York Times. 1984-09-18.
  8. ^ a b c d
  9. ^ "Foundation Report 30 Years" (PDF). Metro State University Foundation. Metro State University. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Dr. Ginny Arthur Appointed President". Metro State News. Metro State University. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Undergraduate Programs". Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  13. ^ "Top 10 Merits of Metropolitan State". Retrieved 2015-07-07.
  14. ^ "Majors and programs". Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  15. ^ "Details - ACBSP". Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  16. ^ Retrieved 2019-02-20. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ "Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) - Directory". Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  18. ^ Retrieved 2019-03-08. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ "Map | CAE Community". Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Senator Kenneth S. Kelash DFL District 63". Retrieved 2010-08-30.

External linksEdit