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General Information

Degree Options

Nichols offers two undergraduate degrees – the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and the Bachelor of Arts.

Students may work in a number of concentration areas within the undergraduate degree programs:

Business Administration (BSBA)

With concentrations in:

  • Accounting
  • Criminal Justice Management
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Hospitality Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Integrated Marketing Communication
  • International Business
  • Management
  • Sport Management

Students seeking a broader business perspective may select a program in General Business.

Liberal Arts (BA)

With majors in:

  • Communication
  • Criminal Justice
  • Economics
  • English
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology


  • American College Health Association (ACHA)
  • Association of Governing Boards (AGB)
  • Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in ­Massachusetts (AICUM)
  • Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA)
  • Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)
  • International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)
  • National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU)
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • The College Board
  • The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC)
  • The Tuition Exchange Program (TEP)

Historical Highlights

1815    Nichols Academy was founded by Amasa Nichols, a wealthy Dudley industrialist. Early benefactors of the Academy included Samuel Slater, “the father of cotton manufacture in the United States,” who owned mills in the adjoining town of Webster; and Hezekiah Conant, another leading textile manufacturer. Nichols Academy closed in 1909.

1931    Nichols Junior College of Business Administration was founded by James Lawson Conrad. The first junior college exclusively for men in the East, the college also became the first junior college in Massachusetts to receive the authority to grant an associate’s degree in business administration. Nichols was closed during the latter part of World War II.

1946    Nichols Junior College was reopened under James Conrad.

1958    Nichols was granted the authority to become a four-year college and to confer the degree of Bachelor of Business Administration.

1965    Nichols earned accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

1970    The Board of Trustees voted to admit women to Nichols for the first time since the Academy days.

1971    The College was granted authority by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Higher Education to grant the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and Bachelor of Science in Public Administration.

1974    Nichols was given authority to grant the degree of Master of Business Administration.

1980    Nichols established the Institute for American Values (renamed the Robert C. Fischer Policy and Cultural Institute in 1999) as a division of the College, providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas.

1998    Dr. Debra M. Townsley was named Nichols College’s sixth and first female, president.

              Nichols established an innovative curriculum including a Current Issues Symposium and the Professional Development Seminars.

1999    The Educator Preparation Program (5-12) was re-established as an academic concentration.

2005    Nichols earned accreditation by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.

2006    Nichols Student Government Association celebrated its 30th anniversary.

              The Fischer Institute celebrated its 25th anniversary.

2007    Nichols was given authority to grant the degree of Master of Organizational Leadership and the degree of Associate of Arts in General Studies.

2008    Nichols became a “GreeNCampus” to increase awareness of “green” initiatives.

2010    The Board of Trustees appointed Trustee Emeritus Gerald Fels as Interim President and formed a President Search Committee.

              Attendance at the Fischer Institute passed the 50,000 mark.

2011    Susan West Engelkemeyer, Ph.D., was officially installed as the 7th president of Nichols College.

2012    The Fels Student Center, named in honor of Gerald Fels ’66 and Marilyn Fels, was dedicated on November 16, 2012.

2013    A Certificate in Entrepreneurship was initiated.

              The College received approval from the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education to retitle its Master of Organizational Leadership degree to Master of Science in Organizational Leadership.

              The Institute for Women’s Leadership was established with the goal of developing the leadership potential of female students, and serving as a resource and authoritative voice on women’s leadership for the community at large.

2014    The new Emerging Leaders program began with the introduction of the new LEAD 101 class.

              Nichols began the celebration of its Bicentennial.

              Nichols undergraduate day enrollment reached an all-time high of 1,213.

2015    An academic building, designed to be LEED certified and provides state-of-the-art team-building classrooms, opened in August.

              A significant renovation to the Recreation & Athletic Center opened in the fall.

              Nichols ends the celebration of its Bicentennial.

              The Legacy Campaign aiming to raise $45 million was announced.

              The Leadership Early Acceptance Program (LEAP) was launched.

College Resources


The faculty at Nichols College is one of our most important resources. Students are able to form close and lasting relationships with dedicated faculty members. Nichols’ small size, its student/faculty ratio of 17 to 1, and an institutional commitment to teaching make these relationships possible.

Members of the faculty represent a broad range of academic and professional interests and experiences. The faculty’s academic credentials have been earned through study at major graduate and professional schools in the U.S. and signify high levels of scholarly achievement. The faculty’s professional credentials include extensive service in both the business and public sectors. This blend of academic and professional experiences among the faculty gives the student a unique perspective on business and public service.


Nichols College has an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 1,200 full-time and 100 part-time students. Nichols draws most of its students from in region, with 85% hailing from New England states, but the reach is also broad with more than 30 states and 10 countries represented in the student population.

80% of Nichols undergraduate students identify as white, 7% as black or African American, 6% as Hispanic, and 4% as two or more races.

80% of Nichols full-time undergraduates are residents, while 90% of new students typically choose to live on campus.

The College tracks retention and graduation rates each semester. These student success measures are examined and distributed internally via the College Retention Task Force and the Recruitment and Retention Committee of the Board of Trustees. This data is also reported to IPEDS annually. In 2016, Nichols reports a first-year retention rate of 71%, and a four-year graduate rate of 50%.

Nichols also participates in the National Survey of Student Engagement bi-annually, and has conducted a student satisfaction survey (CLASS) each spring since 2011. This student-response data is reviewed by the College Assessment Committee.

Cultural Life

The Robert C. Fischer Institute for Policy and Culture (see ACADEMIC PROGRAMS: Special Programs), located in the Fels Student Center, develops and administers the Cultural Enrichment Program. The Fischer Institute programs forward the mission of Nichols faculty to develop students. The Fischer Institute provides a way for students to connect to the world through national and international programs that bring students together with leaders in business, government and society. The Institute also sponsors events in the arts and sciences to enhance the richness of a Nichols education. Students are asked to think critically about contemporary issues and ideas through Fischer Institute-sponsored events.

The Campus

Nichols College is located in south-central Massachusetts, in the town of Dudley, a rural New England community. The main road through campus follows the crest of a ridge overlooking picturesque valleys and hills in all directions. The campus encompasses close to 200 acres of land.

Major Buildings

Currently Nichols College owns and maintains 33 buildings and structures including administrative/academic buildings, residence halls, and student life buildings. The gross square footage for these buildings totals approximately 503,225 square feet. The oldest building on campus, the Guest House, dates back to 1792. The most recent addition is the Academic Building, which opened in 2015.

Academic Building 2015  The Academic Building houses campus academic services, the Registrar, Academic Advising, Learning Services, and Faculty offices. The building is also home to the Institute for Women’s Leadership and five classrooms. A video editing suite and sound stage with cyclorama wall complete the building.

Academy Hall 1881  Academy Hall houses Graduate and Professional Studies and eight classrooms.

Admissions Center 1965  A former residence, this structure houses the Admissions Office.

Athletic and Recreation Center 2000  This building is a performance gym for varsity basketball and volleyball. The Athletic and Recreation Center contains a suspended jogging track, two racquetball courts, a squash court, an indoor climbing wall, and four varsity locker rooms.

Auditorium 1880  This building houses the Eaton Foyer, which can accommodate gatherings of up to 40 people in an elegant setting for many functions. Through the foyer is the Daniels Auditorium, a flexible space that can accommodate 330 people in a theater setting. The hall is equipped with theater lighting, an LCD projector, surround sound audio system, dressing areas for performers, and a stage. The room can easily convert to a banquet hall able to seat 100 guests.

Chalmers Field House 1965  The multipurpose Chalmers Field House contains multiple levels and a clear span gymnasium of 120’x120’x35’. It has a basketball court, locker rooms, athletic offices, and equipment storage. The facility was remodeled and renovated in 2015 to include a weight room, fitness center, athletic training room, and aerobics/dance studio.

Chapel 1883  Originally a library and an astronomical observatory, the present Chapel stands as a tribute to all faiths. It is a place for meditation and community gathering. The lower level of the Chapel is home to a classroom tailored for art and music classes.

Conant Hall 1885  Named after Hezekiah Conant, one of the benefactors of Nichols Academy, Conant Hall was originally a residence facility for the Academy. The building has since become home to Academic Affairs, the Professional Development Seminar program, and faculty offices.

Conrad Hall 1956  Named in honor of the College’s first President, James L. Conrad, this building is centrally located on the upper campus and serves as the primary administrative building for the institution. Conrad Hall houses the Office of the President, Student Financial Services, Human Resources, Financial Operations, and Advancement & Alumni Relations.

The Currier Center 1890  Located on the College Green, this building once housed a public school house, and later the College’s infirmary. In 1996, Fredrick P. Currier, founder of the Market Opinion Research of Detroit, Michigan, provided a gift to renovate the structure. In 2013 the building was completely renovated to house the Academic Resource Center.

Davis Hall 1991  This building contains 10 classrooms, two lecture halls, a seminar room, several faculty offices, a café, and a student lounge area. For enhanced instruction, each classroom is equipped with standard classroom technology which is part of the campus network. The structure is dedicated to a generous Nichols benefactor, the Davis Family of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts.

Fels Student Center 2012  The Fels Student Center opened in the Fall of 2012. Situated in the heart of campus, the Fels Student Center offers alternative dining options for students, including grab and go meals in the student lounge and coffee house items in the café; the campus bookstore and post office; the Student Life suite, which includes the offices of Residence Life and Student Involvement; the Fischer Institute; the Office for International Engagement; radio station WNRC–LP 97.5 FM; three seminar rooms; a trading room; and various administrative offices and conference rooms.

Library 1962  This four story building, which overlooks a beautiful New England valley and landscape, houses Conant Library, Davis Business Information Center, a computer lab, faculty offices and the College Archives. The Davis Business Information Center is the administrative and academic computing hub of the campus. It houses the Information Technology department which oversees the College’s administrative computing, its networking hardware, and its academic computing systems.

Lombard Dining Hall 1974  The dining hall provides dining facilities for the campus community. The lower level houses Facilities Management.

South Hall 2007  This single level building located within the heart of the residential community houses Public Safety and Health Services.

Residence Halls

All Nichols College Residence Halls have 24/7 monitored life safety systems and card access entry. Each residence hall room has wireless internet and cable television connections. Every residence hall is also equipped with an onsite laundry facility and recycling center.

Budleigh Hall 1932  Budleigh Hall is a historic traditional style residence hall located atop a small hill affectionately named “Budleigh Hill.” This residence hall accommodates 86 students, with single gender per floor.

Center Hall 2007  Center Hall was built in the summer of 2007 and sits between Remillard and Budleigh Halls. Center Hall is a single story, single gender facility. The building has a large common room with television. Center Hall features double and triple occupancy rooms with easy access to recreation facilities.

Copper Beech Apartments I & II 2008, 2009  The Copper Beech Apartments, located directly on Center Road, are two residence halls primarily available for upperclassmen. These facilities feature apartment style accommodations: each has a full kitchen, living area, and dining area. The apartments are configured to house either 4 or 6 students. Students who live in a 6-person apartment have 4 bedrooms and 2 baths; students living in 4-person apartments have 2 bedrooms and 1 bath. Copper Beech I has a staff office and a market available to all students. Copper Beech II houses common vending for all residents.

Kuppenheimer Hall 1970  This residence hall was completely renovated in 2013. Suites are furnished with a spacious common room and private suite bathroom. Kuppenheimer houses 43 students in 11 unique layouts.

North Hall 2007  North Hall was built in the summer of 2007. It sits between Remillard and Center Halls. North Hall is a single story, single gender facility. North Hall is the closet residence hall to the Athletic and Recreation Center. It overlooks the Francis J Robison Jr. Tennis Court Complex.

Olsen Hall 1969  Named in honor of Herluf V. Olsen, a former member of the Board of Trustees, this residence hall houses 65 students. It has a staff apartment and a student lounge. This building was completely renovated in three stages with completion in the summer of 2008. These renovations made Olsen Hall one of the greenest buildings on campus. The green initiatives included low VOC paint, recycled flooring, occupancy sensors for all public space, an insulated building envelope, energy star appliances, and energy recovery heat ventilators. The entire building is heated and cooled with a geo-thermal system so that no fossil fuels are used in the process.

Remillard Hall 2000 Remillard Hall accommodates over 200 students, making it the second largest residence hall on campus. It has a lounge/recreation room and staff apartment located on the ground floor. It is a “cluster” style residence hall: two spacious rooms share a common bathroom. Each room is climate controlled.

Shamie Hall 1991 Shamie Hall, the largest residence hall on campus, houses more than 360 students. All rooms have private bathrooms and individually controlled heating and cooling. Common lounges and study rooms are located on each of the three floors. There is a staff apartment on the third floor, and a fitness facility on the first floor.

Winston Hall 1945  Winston Hall houses 16 students. Extensive renovations in the summer of 2007 included a shared kitchen and a common lounge. Students find the small parking lot located directly behind the building convenient.

Outdoor Sport and Recreation Facilities

Vendetti Field  This multipurpose, synthetic turf field with lights includes an eight lane track, a press box and bleacher style seating. It was dedicated in 2005 in honor of Coach Michael J. Vendetti. It is the primary game field for many NCAA competitions.

Francis Robinson Jr. Tennis Court Complex  Six tennis courts, named for former Nichols Trustee Francis “Pat” Robinson Jr. ’38, were dedicated in 1992 as part of an outdoor sport and recreational complex. The tennis courts underwent a complete renovation in 2014-2015. Located next to the Chalmers Field House, the complex includes a basketball court, a volleyball pit, and lighting to enjoy outdoor facilities into the evening.

Athletic Fields  To complement the full array of NCAA varsity sports, Nichols maintains several outdoor athletic fields, which include baseball, softball, and soccer.

Residence Hall Recreation Areas  In addition to the amenities featured in the residence halls, there are many outdoor areas for recreation and relaxation. A wiffle ball field, a basketball court, a horseshoe pit, a 9-hole disc golf course, and several open-space quads complement the full residence hall experience for Nichols students.

Off Campus

Nichols College, located in Dudley, a small Central Massachusetts community just twenty minutes south of Worcester, is within an hour’s drive of Boston, Springfield, Hartford or Providence. The College community has easy access to historical museums and sites such as Old Sturbridge Village.

The Greater Worcester area, home of thirteen colleges and universities, is a vibrant and creative region in the midst of an exciting revitalization, and the country is taking notice. Historic Worcester has been named among the top ten best small cities to live in by Forbes magazine.

Whether catching a concert at the DCU Center, sampling restaurants on Shrewsbury Street, exploring the region’s many cultural offerings, watching a play at the Hanover Theater, or attending local sporting events, the Greater Worcester area offers plenty of college town activity.