The University of Rhode Island: All You Need to Know

Looking for the right college can feel overwhelming. With so many options to choose from, how do you even begin to narrow it down? Well, the University of Rhode Island should definitely be on your radar. Nestled in the small beach town of Kingston, URI offers big opportunities. From top-notch academics to Division 1 athletics and an active campus life, this flagship state university has everything you need and more. With a reasonable price tag and renowned programs in the sciences, engineering, nursing, and oceanography, URI checks a lot of boxes. Keep reading to learn all about this underrated gem and find out if the University of Rhode Island might just be the perfect fit for you.

Overview of the University of Rhode Island

The University of Rhode Island (URI) is a public research university with its main campus in Kingston, Rhode Island. Founded in 1892, URI is the largest public higher education institution in Rhode Island, with over 18,000 undergraduate and graduate students across 80 undergraduate majors and over 70 graduate programs.


URI offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs across diverse fields of study, including business, engineering, environment and life sciences, nursing, pharmacy, and the arts and sciences. URI has several interdisciplinary centers and institutes promoting research and education across academic fields. The university has over 500 student organizations, from arts and culture to community service, student government and Greek life.

Campus Life

URI’s main campus spans over 1,200 acres in rural Kingston, about 30 minutes south of Providence. The campus features a blend of historic and modern architecture, with facilities for research, recreation, housing, dining, arts and athletics. Over 9,000 students live on campus in dorms and apartments. URI has Division I athletic teams competing in the Atlantic 10 Conference, with popular sports including football, basketball, ice hockey and soccer.

Admissions and Financial Aid

URI received over 23,000 applications for undergraduate admission in 2020. Admission is selective, with admitted students typically having above-average high school GPAs and standardized test scores. URI offers generous financial aid and scholarships, with over 80% of students receiving some form of financial assistance. In-state tuition and fees were $14,138 for the 2020-2021 academic year, while out-of-state tuition and fees were $33,358.

Looking Ahead

URI aims to expand its research profile and partnerships, strengthen its commitment to diversity and inclusion, and enhance the student experience. A new College of Arts and Sciences building is set to open in 2021, and URI recently launched a new general education program promoting interdisciplinary learning. With strong academics, an engaging campus environment, and proximity to Providence and Boston, URI offers an excellent university experience at an affordable price.

Academic Programs at the University of Rhode Island

Undergraduate Degrees

The University of Rhode Island offers over 80 majors for undergraduate students across nine colleges. Whatever your interests, you’ll find exciting areas of study at URI. Some of the popular majors include:

  • Business Administration: Prepare for a career in accounting, finance, marketing, management and more. URI’s College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

-Communication Studies: Learn how to craft and distribute messages to audiences through print, digital media, public speaking, and interpersonal communication.

-Psychology: Explore the human mind and behavior. URI’s psychology program provides a solid foundation in the social sciences and opportunities for hands-on research.

-Nursing: Become a nurse through URI’s highly ranked College of Nursing. Nursing majors enjoy small class sizes, clinical experiences beginning freshman year, and a state-of-the-art nursing simulation center.

Graduate Degrees

For graduate students, URI offers over 70 master’s and doctoral degree programs, as well as graduate certificates. Some of the most popular graduate majors are:

-MBA: Advance your business knowledge and open up more career opportunities with a Master’s in Business Administration. URI’s MBA program is designed for working professionals and can be completed full-time in 16 months or part-time in 2-3 years.

-Education: Become a teacher, school counselor, or educational leader. URI’s College of Education and Professional Studies offers master’s and doctoral degrees in areas like elementary education, secondary education, counseling, and educational leadership.

-Ocean Engineering: Focus on the development and application of engineering knowledge relating to the ocean environment. URI’s Department of Ocean Engineering is internationally recognized for its research in areas like renewable ocean energy, coastal resilience, and maritime cybersecurity. Doctoral degrees are also available.

With a solid foundation in the liberal arts and over 200 student clubs and organizations, URI provides opportunities for both academic excellence and personal growth. Their goal is to prepare students to lead purposeful lives as ethical and informed citizens of an increasingly complex world.

Campus Life and Student Activities

Get Involved

The University of Rhode Island offers over 200 student clubs and organizations to get involved in. Whether you’re interested in student government, Greek life, academic clubs, cultural clubs, or recreational clubs, there’s something for everyone. Getting involved in campus activities is a great way to meet new friends, gain valuable leadership experience, and become a part of the URI community.

Catch a Show

The URI Theatre and Music departments put on many shows, concerts and performances each semester that are open to students and the public. From musical theater productions to concerts, dance performances, and comedy shows, there’s always entertainment on campus. Student tickets are always discounted, so take advantage of the opportunity to experience the arts during your time at URI.

Sports and Recreation

URI has 18 Division I sports teams that compete in the Atlantic 10 conference. Attending football, basketball, hockey, and soccer games are always a fun social experience. If you’re not into the big sports, URI has clubs for sports like rugby, lacrosse, volleyball, and more. For recreation, the Mackal Field House and Boss Ice Arena are open to students for activities like swimming, rock climbing, and ice skating. The URI campus also has outdoor facilities for activities such as hiking, jogging, and Frisbee golf.

Events and Traditions

Some of the major campus events and traditions at URI include Spring Weekend, Winter Weekend, the URI 125th Anniversary Bonfire, and more. These events feature live music, food, games, and bring the campus community together. Traditions like painting the cannon before the annual football game against rival Rhode Island College and ringing the Victory Bell after big wins are experiences unique to URI. Participating in campus events and traditions is a great way to gain a sense of school spirit during your time as a Rhody Ram.

With so many opportunities beyond the classroom, you’ll never run out of ways to get involved and make the most of your experience at the University of Rhode Island. Get out there, meet new people, and become an active part of this community.

Athletics at the University of Rhode Island

Athletics play a major role in campus life at URI. Whether you’re a die-hard sports fan or just looking to get some exercise, URI has something for everyone.

Division I Sports

URI is part of the Atlantic 10 conference in Division I. The Rams field teams in basketball, football, baseball, soccer, and more. The men’s basketball team in particular has had success, making multiple NCAA tournament appearances. Football games at Meade Stadium and basketball games at the Ryan Center draw big crowds, especially when conference rivals come to town.

Club and Intramural Sports

If varsity sports aren’t your thing, URI offers many club and intramural sports. There are clubs for sports like rugby, lacrosse, volleyball, and tennis. Intramural leagues include everything from dodgeball and kickball to basketball and softball. Leagues are co-ed and there are different levels for competitive and recreational players.

Campus Recreation Center

The school’s Campus Recreation Center provides top-notch facilities for students. It includes cardio and strength training equipment, an indoor track, swimming pools, basketball courts, and more. The Rec Center offers group fitness classes like yoga, Zumba, and spin. Students can use the facilities for free and membership options are available for faculty, staff, and alumni as well.

Outdoor Recreation

Rhode Island’s location provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The school’s Outdoor Adventure program organizes trips for activities like hiking, camping, kayaking, rock climbing, and skiing/snowboarding. The program provides equipment and transportation to recreation locations around the state. URI’s proximity to beaches, parks, and wooded areas means you can also easily organize your own outdoor adventures with friends.

From Division I athletics to club sports and outdoor recreation, URI offers a wide range of athletic activities to suit different interests and abilities. Getting involved in sports is a great way to stay active, meet new people, build school spirit, and make the most of your time at URI.

Frequently Asked Questions About the University of Rhode Island

How big is the campus?

The main campus of URI spans over 1,200 acres, so there’s plenty of room for recreation and activities. The campus features green quads, historic buildings, and modern facilities. Even though the campus is large, you can easily walk or bike across it in about 15-20 minutes. URI also has shuttle buses that provide transportation around campus for students and faculty.

What majors does URI offer?

URI offers over 80 undergraduate majors spanning a wide range of disciplines like engineering, business, nursing, and marine biology. Some of the most popular majors are nursing, psychology, journalism, and marketing. URI is also well known for its premier engineering and oceanography programs. Whether you’re interested in the humanities, sciences, or professional fields, URI likely offers a major that matches your interests and strengths.

What student life is like at URI?

Student life at URI is vibrant and active. There are over 200 student organizations to get involved in, like sports clubs, Greek life, academic clubs, and volunteer groups. URI also has an active arts and music scene, with theater productions, art exhibits, and concerts throughout the year. For sports fans, URI competes in Division I athletics and has popular hockey, basketball, and football teams.

On the weekends, many students head to the beach or explore the coastal towns near campus like Narragansett and Newport. The natural surroundings, combined with an active campus community, make for an engaging student experience at URI.

How much does it cost to attend URI?

For in-state residents, URI is very affordable. Annual tuition and fees for Rhode Island residents are around $13,000. Room and board costs about $12,000 per year.URI offers generous scholarships and financial aid for those who need it. They award over $150 million in aid each year, with the average financial aid package around $17,000. For out-of-state students, tuition and fees are higher at around $30,000 per year, but many students still receive aid and scholarships. Overall, URI provides a great value for the cost.

To summarize, URI is a large, public university with a scenic campus, affordable tuition, active student life, and a variety of majors. If you’re looking for a balanced college experience at an affordable price, URI is worth considering. Let me know if you have any other questions!


And there you have it – the inside scoop on everything you need to know about the University of Rhode Island. From its picturesque campus and top-ranked academic programs to the amazing student life and activities, URI offers an exceptional college experience. Sure, the winters can get cold and the campus is pretty isolated, but with so many pros over the few cons, URI is definitely worth serious consideration. The engaged professors, state-of-the-art facilities, and vast research opportunities give students all the tools they need to succeed. With an impressive alumni network and career prep services, URI grads are ready to take on the real world. So if you’re looking for a medium-sized school by the ocean with strong academics and activities galore, URI just might be the perfect fit for you.

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