Metropolitan State University

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Metropolitan State University
MottoWhere life and learning meet
Established1971; 50 years ago (1971)
Academic affiliations
Minnesota State System
Endowment$6.0 million (2019)[1]
Budget$108 million (2019)[2]
PresidentGinny Arthur
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

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


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, with offices above a drug store in downtown St. Paul, admitted the first class of 50 students in 1972. The university did not have a campus and offered classes in rented space throughout the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul) metropolitan area. 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: it offered competence-based learning whereby students were recognized for learning gained outside the classroom—including prior learning through experience. Letter grades were available, but they were always optional. Instead of mandatory letter grades instructors wrote 'narrative evaluations' and recorded only what students "knew and could do." Students designed their own degree plans. Most of the teaching was done by 'community faculty' who held advanced degrees and had extensive practical 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 adopted general education requirements and a grading policy with grade point averages in 1994. In the Fall of 1998, Metro State along with all public higher education in Minnesota, moved from a three quarter to a two semester scheduling system. In 1992, the main campus of the university moved to a permanent campus that is located in the Dayton's Bluff section of east Saint Paul.[8] Despite this change the university maintained a commitment to offering classes in leased space throughout the metropolitan area. Today the main campus is located in Saint Paul, and additional campus facilities are located in Midway, Minneapolis and Brooklyn Park.

Although Metro State adopted a more traditional format in the 1990s, it continues to give students the opportunity to create their own individualized/self-designed degree programs through the College of Individualized Studies (CIS). On July 1, 2012, Metro State's 'First College' was renamed the CIS. The individualized degrees are a popular alternative for students who are interested in unique or interdisciplinary degrees instead of 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. During Dr. Hammersmith's six-year tenure, the number of degrees conferred increased by 38%. 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. Virginia Arthur was Metro State's provost from 2012 until 2016 when she became the university's president.


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

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 alumni[edit]

Metro State's first graduating class consisted of 12 people on February 1, 1973. As of May 8, 2021 - Metro State has 50,254 alumni. Notable alumni include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian 2019 NTSE Participating Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2019 Endowment Market Value, and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised)". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  2. ^ "2019 Minnesota State Legislative Databook" (PDF). Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System website. Minnesota State System. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  3. ^ Hertel, Nora (October 22, 2019). "How has enrollment at Minnesota State schools changed in a decade?". St. Cloud Times. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  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 "University history". Metropolitan State University. Retrieved Apr 20, 2021.
  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. ^ "Labyrinth – Library and Information Services: Metropolitan State University". Retrieved Apr 20, 2021.
  22. ^ "Senator Kenneth S. Kelash DFL District 63". Retrieved 2010-08-30.

External links[edit]