UNCW Welcomes a Record Number of Graduate Students, Total Enrollment Nears 18,000

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Setting a new enrollment record, UNCW will welcome 17,915 students, including a record 3,265 total graduate students, this semester. UNCW’s graduate student population continues to grow at double-digit rates, a sign of the high demand for the university’s quality programs. The university led the UNC System in enrollment growth from 2009-2019 at a rate of 35%, and the next decade looks to be even more promising.
“The value of a meaningful education has never been more important, as both employment opportunities and the applicants available to fill them become increasingly competitive,” said Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli. “UNCW continues to offer its graduates a distinct advantage, providing an exceptional and accessible education, and helping our expanding region fill employment gaps in its most pioneering industries.”
As a doctoral university recognized nationally for high research activity, the growth in graduate programs corresponds with the university’s commitment to expanding advanced degree options to support and enhance North Carolina’s highly skilled professional workforce in the sciences, arts, humanities, health, business, education and social sciences.
Although undergraduate enrollment declined slightly this fall, UNCW’s transfer numbers were almost the same as last year, and the undergraduate RN-to-BSN program has been a huge success for the university. As of Sept. 2, enrollment in this program reached a historic high of 1,671 students, which is 121 students more than projected, even in the face of a pandemic. Making high-quality UNCW degrees such as the RN-to-BSN program available to working professionals has never been more important than it is now. This dynamic program led UNCW to be named as offering one of the top 10 best online bachelor’s programs in the nation.
In graduate programs, each of UNCW’s four colleges saw growth, particularly the College of Health and Human Services, boasting 200 more new students in its post-baccalaureate programs, including the Doctor of Nursing Practice and the Masters in Healthcare Administration.
“We have very popular programs, in both online and face-to-face formats, that are offered at very competitive prices,” said Chris Finelli, dean of UNCW’s Graduate School. “People realize the great value they are getting in a UNCW graduate degree. The Graduate School is very proud to welcome another record class of new graduate students.”
UNCW currently offers 4 doctoral, 36 master’s and 56 majors as well as certificate and add-on licensure programs for individuals to choose from. Graduate degree options range from nursing and educational leadership to marine biology and film studies. The programs are all in areas with increased opportunities for post-graduate career placement, a priority identified in UNCW’s Strategic Plan.
“When we consider that only one in 10 Americans have a master’s degree and one in 50 have a doctoral degree, we recognize the commitment of our graduate students to excellence and to being life-long learners,” said Finelli. “We look forward to helping all of our graduate students to succeed and to flourish.”

-- Christina Schechtman