UMass Lowell is a gem about forty minutes away from Boston! This regional campus of the University of Massachusetts system has about 12,000 undergrads majoring in disciplines in six different colleges. Lowell is a cute college town, and the picturesque campus is bisected by the Merrimack River. Half of the academic classes at UMass Lowell have fewer than 20 students.
The new University Crossing building is home to Admissions, the campus bookstore, the Chancellor’s office, a Starbucks, the campus wellness center, and the “Club Hub,” the home of the Office of Student Engagement, where UMass Lowell’s 230 student organizations are headquartered. The UC is also the connection point between the three sections of the campus: South Campus is home to the Humanities, Nursing, the social sciences and music, and North Campus is home to engineering, the sciences and business. East Campus is primarily residential; about 90% of freshmen live on campus, and about half of all students live on campus. UMass Lowell is constructing more on-campus housing and a new dining hall to meet the demand, and guarantees housing all four years.
Academics at UMass Lowell
Having started as the Lowell Textile Institute in the 1890’s, UMass Lowell stays true to its strong engineering heritage. UMass Lowell is one of only 8 colleges in the United States with both a nuclear reactor AND a particle accelerator on campus. The Francis College of Engineering offers 11 different majors, all ABET-accredited. If you enter as a non-engineer, you would likely be able to transfer into any engineering program with the exception of mechanical engineering, the most competitive program. UMass Lowell has the highest mid-career salary for engineers of any college in the Northeast. Engineering students have access to a thriving maker-culture here, with the unique “Difference Makers” program encouraging students to team up and create problem-solving technology and compete for funding to build real companies.
UMass Lowell gives engineering students – especially women – an alternative to the smaller, heavily-male polytechnic colleges; here they will partake in the ‘traditional’ college experience while pursuing their engineering studies.
The College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences boasts a strong music program, where students can earn a Bachelor of Music degree (music performance), or Bachelor of Arts degrees in either music industry/business or sound recording technology (UMass Lowell was the first college to offer a Master’s degree in sound recording). Both of these programs require at least one internship, and both can claim an impressive 100% job placement for their graduates.
UMass Lowell’s theatre program has seen lots of new energy in the past few years, with many alumni involved on Broadway. The school also offers BFA degrees in graphic design, painting, sculpture, drawing and photography.
The Manning School of Business emphasizes global business opportunities as well as entrepreneurship, and there are close connections between business and engineering here. The approximately 2,000 business majors spend much of their time in the super-modern Tong Business Center, opened in winter, 2017. Business majors have access to a variety of professional clubs, as well as a business-dedicated living/learning community for first-year students.
Admission to UMass Lowell
True to its mission as a public state university, UMass Lowell offers a test-optional path to admission for every major, including business and engineering. Admission is holistic here; UMass Lowell is looking for at least a 3.0 unweighted GPA for out-of-state students. Those who don’t submit test scores are asked to write 3 short essays. All students should have some extra-curricular activities, and those who have overcome some adversity are appreciated here!
The total cost of attendance at UMass Lowell, including room and board, is about $44k, and the top merit scholarship for out-of-state students is about $20k. All students with an unweighted 3.25 GPA will be considered for merit scholarships.
Betsy and Evelyn visited UMass Lowell in Spring, 2018. You can scroll through all of their photos below.