Not long after the arrival of Mormons in Utah, Brigham Young established a Board of Regents to establish a university to meet the growing demand for education. There was especially a need for school teachers and Young had the idea to create a university that would train young men for those positions. The group did not have a significant amount of funding but began plotting land for a large campus. The lack of funding meant they could not build any buildings, so they built a stone wall around the university. They made plans to construct what was later to be called the 13th Ward Schoolhouse that would provide a location for classes until the larger campus could be finished.

The Board of Regents were impatient, however. They decided not to wait for the schoolhouse to be constructed and what was then the University of Deseret began classes in November 1850 at the home of Mrs. John Pack, a local resident. For the first quarter that the university existed, the Pack house was the campus with one teacher, Dr. Cyrus Collins, who taught courses based mainly in sciences. Only men could enroll and tuition was $8 per quarter.

The second quarter found the campus in a different house, The Council House on the corner of main and South Temple. A second teacher was hired, W.W. Phelps and the school began to admit women. When the schoolhouse was completed in the fall of 1851, the campus moved to that location. Enrollment was growing and a third teacher, Orson Pratt, was hired to teach astronomy, mathematics and algebra.

Financial difficulties arose during the third quarter the school was in existence. By 1852, crop failures and drought had left people more concerned with food and survival than higher education. In addition, the legislature came to the conclusion that the university was self-sustainable and withdrew an annual $5,000 grant for its operation.

The 1860s were a better time in Utah with the arrival of the railroad which ended the state’s isolation. The economy was boosted by arriving non-Mormons which also increased the need for a university. In 1868, the University of Deseret reopened at the Council House location. The Timpanagos branch opened in 1870 in Provo, the only institute of higher learning in Utah County until 1877 when it was replaced by Brigham Young Academy. By 1884, University Hall was completed and, in 1892, the Legislative Assembly changed the school’s name to the University of Utah. In 1894, Congress deeded 60 acres of Fort Douglas Land and a new campus was built at the new location. The first students attended the new campus in 1900.

Today, almost 32,000 students attend the University of Utah,

University of Utah Accreditation Details

The University of Utah is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and has been since 1933. Accreditation indicates that the university meets NWCCU standards that indicate educational quality and effectiveness. It also indicates that the university has defined and appropriate educational objectives while also operating under conditions that are conducive to achieving those goals. Accreditation also indicates that the university accomplishes objectives and is organized to promote success in their students. Programs in the university are also accredited by the following industry organizations or associations:

  • ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission
  • Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
  • Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education
  • Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
  • Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant
  • American Bar AssociationAmerican Board of Genetic Counseling
  • American Chemical Society
  • American College of Nurse – Midwives
  • American Physical Therapy Association
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Commission on Dental Accreditation
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
  • Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Preparation
  • Council on Academic Accreditation
  • Council on Education for Public Health
  • Council on Social Work Education
  • Keck Graduate Institute
  • Liaison Committee on Medical Education
  • National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
  • National Architectural Accreditation Board
  • National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration
  • National Schools of Dance
  • National Association of Music
  • NRPA’s Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions
  • Planning Accreditation Board

University of Utah Application Requirements

Students who are about to graduate from high school or who have graduated and have no college credits after graduation are considered freshmen. Students must complete the online application and pay the application fee. Official transcripts as well as SAT or ACT scores must also be submitted.

Students who have earned 30 or more transferable semester credits are considered transfer students. They must complete an online application and pay the fee. Official transcripts must be sent from all colleges and universities attended. Students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.6 or higher while students who have earned an associate’s degree from an accredited college or university may be admitted with a GPA of 2.35 or higher. Students with less than 30 transfer credits must follow the same requirements as freshmen applicants.

Graduate students must have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university with an undergraduate weighted GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students must complete an online application and upload an official copy of all college transcripts as well as any other documentation required by the program the student is applying to attend.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time undergraduate tuition at the University of Utah is $1,230.04 per credit hour for freshmen and sophomores. For juniors and seniors, tuition is $1,239.91 per credit hour. Graduate tuition varies depending on which program the student plans to enter. Financial aid is available through the University of Utah. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to qualify. Aid may be in the form of grants, scholarships, loans or work-study programs.

Online Degree Programs Available

Electrical and Computer Engineering

The University of Utah offers an online Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering program. Courses are taught by the same high-quality faculty members that teach on-campus classes. The program uses a coursework track that does not include a thesis or research requirement. Instead, students take additional coursework. Tuition for the program is $10,258 for a 12-hour credit load per semester. Graduates often earn between $67,000 and $70,000 in their first year after finishing the program. Students must complete a minimum of 32-hours of coursework with at least 18 hours at the 600 or 7000 level. Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 on all coursework to remain in the program.

Students are prepared for leadership positions in the engineering sciences and is designed for students who want in-depth training in the industry. Graduates can demonstrate strong knowledge in electrical and computer engineering as well as competence in specialized areas of the field. Students are given the tools and knowledge necessary to assume leadership roles in the field of electrical or computer engineering.


The University of Utah offers a Master of Science in Gerontology that is available online. Students are prepared for leadership roles in the field of aging in order to meet the needs of a growing aging population. The program addresses issues in the care management, education, research and long-term care needs of older people. Students develop an understanding of biological, psychological and social dimensions of aging. They are also able to understand concepts, theories and approaches that are common with older adults. Information is provided regarding healthy aging and students are encouraged to view aging as a time of life that includes variability, opportunities and challenges.  Students must have a bachelor’s degree or higher to apply and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in order to apply.


The University of Utah offers an online Master of Business Education designed to work with working adults. The program prepares students for leadership positions in a wide range of industries. Students are able to apply the fundamentals of finance, accounting, marketing and management to resolve issues common in the business world. Students are able to communicate in a coherent, informative and persuasive manner in both written and oral form. Students demonstrate leadership and a focus on the entrepreneurial world of business while working effectively in teams. Students are provided knowledge in professional integrity and ethics.

Tuition for the program is $1,225 per credit hour and financial aid is available. There are no prerequisites for the online MBA program. Students must complete 48 total credits and there is a three-day on-campus residency requirement that is scheduled for August each year.

The University of Utah offers several online programs with flexible schedules that are designed for working adults who may want to move into a new career or advance in a current career, but have work, family or social obligations that prevent them from taking traditional classes.