University Designation

Simmons College became Simmons University on September 1, 2018 and introduced a new academic structure, including four new colleges led by four deans.

The new academic structure was the result of an intensive two-year process that involved the entire Simmons community in designing a forward-looking organizational design that honors Simmons’ ongoing commitment to women’s education while serving the entire student population.

Simmons University continues to offer an undergraduate program for women as well as numerous graduate programs open to all in nursing and health sciences, education, liberal arts, management, communications, social work, public health and library and information science.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a college and a university?

Simmons has qualified as a university for many years, but we recently took the legal steps to apply officially with the state and were granted permission to represent ourselves as a university.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has clear requirements for institutions to achieve university status. The state has concluded that Simmons has satisfied all requirements, including “offering more than 50 degree programs in no less than four distinct professional fields of study,” and also “because graduate studies is a distinct element within the institution with faculty, facilities, and resources necessary to support sound graduate programs.”

Why did Simmons make this change?

Simmons underwent an inclusive, comprehensive reorganization of our academic offerings. In doing so, we consolidated from five schools to four colleges. We have deliberately restructured to encourage interdisciplinary and inter-professional study and research, to better prepare our graduates for the dynamic professions of our modern world economy.

We recognize higher education is as competitive as it has ever been, and as we continue to look to the future of Simmons, we believe the appeal of a small but comprehensive university will build on our strong reputation of excellence.

Does this mean Simmons is moving toward a co-ed undergraduate program?

No. Our commitment to an undergraduate program for women is unwavering. While our graduate programs have always been open to all, our undergraduate programs will continue to admit only those who were assigned female at birth and/or who self-identify as women.

How does the status as a university benefit students and alumnae/i?

University is simply a more accurate reflection of who we are and who we have been for dozens of years. 

  • It benefits students because we are – at the same time – simplifying our processes and systems so that students can have all programs in the university open to them for majors, double-majors, and minors.  Students will have easier access to faculty in both undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • Cross collaboration between students, faculty and alumnae/i will be better supported by this more unified structure. 
  • Simmons University’s interdisciplinary focus will strengthen and broaden the professional networks for our students and alumnae/i, while also preparing our graduates for the changing and complex modern-day workforce.
  • Beyond being an undergraduate, regional institution, Simmons has grown to have both a national and international profile (e.g., MNP in Israel, and International Simmons Women’s Leadership Conference). Moreover, many international students from Europe and elsewhere consider a “college” to be a high school.  Therefore, the term “university” is a more accurate representation to the world. 
  • The Simmons academic redesign has attracted extraordinary scholars from the academy nationally. We have recently hired three new accomplished and talented deans. Their enthusiasm for taking their respective Simmons University Colleges forward in the coming decades is inspiring faculty and staff across the University. These deans, along with Dean Judy Beal, who has accepted the position of Dean of the College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, are practiced in forging productive relationships with individuals and institutions to strengthen professional networks benefiting our students and alumnae/i.  

Does this mean the institution is trying to grow in size?

Not for undergraduates. In fact, Simmons has determined that the optimal undergraduate class size for us is between 425-450 students – that’s the best number to accommodate our commitment to keeping classes small and intimate, our living spaces comfortable, and our support services readily accessible.

Our graduate programs, particularly those offered online, have continued to grow over the years in a way that we welcome.

Will classes still be small?

Yes. We are committed to providing students with the same intimate class size that leads to a more enjoyable and successful experience at Simmons.

Will Simmons' signature graduate schools maintain their identities in the new structure?

In short, yes. Remember, however, that we renamed the School of Management the Simmons Business School last year when the first of our four colleges – the College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences – was launched in July 2017.

The School of Library and Information Science is also part of the College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Science. The School of Social Work will live inside the new College of Social Science, Policy, and Practice. The School of Nursing will live inside the new College of Nursing, Health, and Behavioral Science.

What will degrees and transcripts say? Should alumnae/i say that they are graduates of Simmons University?

Only degrees conferred after the September 1, 2018, effective date will be from Simmons University.

Over time, as the world begins to know us as Simmons University, alumnae/i may want to refer to us on their resumes or bios as “Simmons University (formerly Simmons College).”

Any transcripts ordered after September 1, 2018, will say Simmons University, but will include a footnote that makes clear we were formerly Simmons College.

Will this change our athletics NCAA division?

No. Simmons University will remain a proud member of the Division III Great Northeast Athletic Conference. Simmons will become the sixth university in the conference (Johnson & Wales University, Norwich University, Rivier University, Suffolk University, and University of Saint Joseph being the others), joining seven colleges.

Will this change how financial aid is received?

The name change has no effect on financial aid. 

Will Simmons still be a part of the Colleges of the Fenway?

Yes. The name change has no effect on our continued participation in and commitment to the Colleges of the Fenway.

Will the Simmons logo change?

Yes. The new primary Simmons University logos will be slightly different in color and font to the previous logo, but will maintain the signature tree symbol.