Notre Dame de Namur University
1500 Ralston Avenue
Belmont, CA 94002
Established in 1851, we are the fifth oldest college in California. NDNU is a Catholic, not-for-profit, coeducational university, located on the San Francisco peninsula in Silicon Valley. With more than 2,000 students from 32 states and 28 different countries, NDNU exposes students to broad interests and perspectives through others with diverse backgrounds.
Notre Dame de Namur University offers a rich variety of programs for traditional undergraduates, adults returning to complete their undergraduate degrees, and graduate students.
The Financial Aid Office at Notre Dame de Namur University offers a complete array of financial and support services which are designed to help you with the education-related expenses involved in obtaining your educational goal.
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Notre Dame de Namur University
1500 Ralston Avenue
Belmont, CA 94002
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2016-2017 Catalog > Introduction to Notre Dame de Namur University
If there is one single word that describes Notre Dame de Namur, that word is community. Like other universities, we are a community of teachers, scholars, and learners committed to excellence and dedicated to the pursuit of truth in the Catholic intellectual tradition. At NDNU, we have a strong commitment to providing high-quality professional education that will equip our graduates to immediately take their place in society or prepare them for more advanced study. That education is built on a liberal arts foundation that helps broaden students’ worldview and develop critical thinking skills.
But an equally strong commitment to the Catholic social justice tradition and the Hallmarks of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur means that we are acutely aware of the needs of the larger society that surrounds our campus. Hence, NDNU also seeks to develop in its students a deep commitment to becoming valued, contributing members of whatever community in which they find themselves members as they go through life. And that commitment begins at our doorstep: the larger community that exists right outside the gates of the University, up and down the San Francisco Peninsula, and throughout the Bay Area. We take our responsibilities to that community seriously; so seriously, in fact, that undergraduate students, staff, and faculty routinely devote 100,000 hours or more a year to a variety of community service projects.
Our engagement with the community goes beyond community service projects; NDNU has always been committed to giving our students the opportunity to learn from, and give back to, the community in which they live by offering everything from community-based learning courses to service opportunities and internships with local businesses as well as community service and other nonprofit organizations. In 2007, we launched the Dorothy Stang Center for Social Justice and Community Engagement to be the focal point for the University’s community engagement activities, including training of faculty and student leaders. Sr. Dorothy was a Sister of Notre Dame who was martyred in Brazil in February of 2005 for her work defending indigent farmers and the environment in the Amazon rain forest. She inspires us to continue the work of social justice. In recent years, we have built an academic plan that embeds community engagement in the fabric of the academic environment through which our students pass. It is our goal to give every student—traditional day, undergraduate, evening intensive, and graduate—the opportunity to learn from and contribute in a meaningful way to the community.
The University, the third oldest in California, was founded in 1851 by the Sisters of Notre Dame, Catholic nuns from Namur, Belgium, who educated young women displaced by the French Revolution. Later, they established schools for women and children in Oregon and California at the outset of the California Gold Rush.
Today, NDNU is a fully accredited master's university with a student body of nearly 1,800. The University is big enough to host three separate schools—the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business and Management, and the School of Education and Psychology—offering 20 liberal arts and career preparation undergraduate programs, 10 graduate degrees, four credentials, and 1 doctoral program yet it is small enough to boast a 12-to-1 student-teacher ratio. Our size allows our students to form strong, personal bonds with fellow students and teachers. It is in those bonds that community begins.
Founded upon the values of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and rooted in the Catholic tradition, Notre Dame de Namur University serves its students and the community by providing excellent professional and liberal arts programs in which community engagement and the values of social justice and global peace are integral to the learning experience. NDNU is a diverse and inclusive learning community that challenges each member to consciously apply values and ethics in his/her personal, professional, and public life.
Notre Dame de Namur University will be recognized in the San Francisco Bay Area as a leader in integrating community engagement into high-quality academic programs. NDNU’s programs will be widely known for their innovative synthesis of liberal arts learning, professionally-oriented learning, and core values.
Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU) is the only four-year accredited university in San Mateo County.
Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1851, NDNU is a Catholic, not-for-profit, coeducational institution serving about 1800 traditional age and adult students from diverse backgrounds. The university is fully accredited and offers 35 undergraduate, graduate, and teacher credential programs. The 50-acre campus is located in the city of Belmont on the San Francisco Peninsula in Silicon Valley.
The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur came to the San Francisco Bay Area from their mission schools in Oregon. While visiting the Bay Area they established an institute of higher learning, College of Notre Dame, in the city of San Jose. The school was chartered in 1868 as the first college in the state of California authorized to grant the baccalaureate degree to women.
The Sisters soon outgrew their facility in the South Bay and moved the campus to Belmont in 1923. They purchased Ralston Hall, the country estate of William Chapman Ralston, San Francisco financier and founder of the Bank of California. Ralston Hall became the center of the campus and in recent years has been designated as a California Historical Landmark.
Since then, the university has undergone a number of changes. In 1955, College of Notre Dame began offering its first evening classes, followed by the introduction of teaching credential programs in 1965. Initially a women’s college, the institution became coeducational in 1969; three men graduated as part of the class of 1970. The college expanded its offerings to include master’s degrees in 1972 and added evening undergraduate programs in 1988.
In 2001, the college established four schools: School of Arts and Humanities, School of Sciences, School of Business and Management, and School of Education and Leadership. The institution's name was changed to Notre Dame de Namur University that same year. In 2009, the School of Arts and Humanities and School of Sciences merged to become the College of Arts and Sciences.
In an effort to provide access to a greater number of students, the university began offering partnerships in specific degree programs with local community colleges in 2009, allowing students to complete an NDNU degree on the community college campus. NDNU first achieved its status as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, meaning its undergraduate population is at least 25% Hispanic, in 2009, and maintains that status to this day. In 2010, NDNU launched its Gen 1 program for first-generation students. Online degrees were added in 2012, and a new Ph.D. program in art therapy, NDNU’s first doctoral program and the first Ph.D. program in art therapy in the nation, was established in 2013.
It is fundamental to the health of an academic institution and ultimately to the health of a society at large that individual persons and groups of persons exercise their responsibility and freedom to search for the truth and to speak the truth as it is discovered. In a collegial community, the corporate person of the University and the persons of the faculty, staff, administration, and the student body bear mutual responsibility to exercise professional competence and to extend to one another the trust and respect that foster an environment for the exercise of academic freedom.
Specific information regarding student academic freedoms, code of student conduct, student judicial system, policy on harassment and discrimination and student grievance procedures is contained in the Student Handbook available from the Student Affairs Division. See the section on Student Academic Rights and Responsibilities.
Notre Dame de Namur University's educational services and employment opportunities are provided without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, marital status and other criteria protected by law except where there is a bona fide occupational or religious qualification. Any otherwise qualified student or applicant with a disability may request reasonable accommodation regarding the application process and services as a prospective or enrolled student. Requests for accommodation of a disability or any complaints by students related to student educational services or their employment opportunities should be directed to the Dean of Students, Notre Dame de Namur University, (650) 508-3459.
Notre Dame de Namur University is accredited by the:
WASC Senior College and University Commission
985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100
Alameda, CA 94501
Accredited and Approved Programs at NDNU
Education credential programs are accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
The MA Marriage and Family Therapy program (MA MFT) and the MA Art Therapy program (MA AT), both in the Art Therapy Psychology Department, are approved by the American Art Therapy Association. These programs are in compliance with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences requirements for programs leading to MFT licensure (MA MFT) and LPCC licensure (MA AT), respectively.
The MS Clinical Psychology program with the Marriage and Family Therapy concentration (MSCP/MFT), or with the Marriage and Family Therapy and Licensed Professional Clinical Counseling concentration (MSCP/MFT/LPCC), is in compliance with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences requirements for programs leading to MFT licensure (MSCP/MFT), or to both MFT and LPCC licensure (MSCP/MFT/LPCC).
The following business programs at Notre Dame de Namur University are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP): Bachelor of Science, Business Administration (BS), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Public Administration (MPA), and Master of Science, Systems Management (MSSM).
NDNU is authorized under federal law to enroll nonimmigrant students.
Higher Education Act Disclosures
Information that the University is required to disclose under the Higher Education Act and its amendments is available on the NDNU website at http://www.ndnu.edu/disclosures/.
This Catalog is a complement to the Student Handbook and to information on the University website ("documents"). Together, these documents serve as a guide to many of the student programs, policies, procedures, requirements and resources of the University. These documents do not form a contract with the student: tuition, student fees, course and course contents, curricular requirements and other matters referenced or set forth in these documents or otherwise related to students are subject to change at the discretion of the University at any time, during or after registration or course enrollment, and with or without notice or written confirmation.
Please note that only the President of the University may provide authorized final interpretation of the contents of these documents and definite determination of their appropriate application to the particular circumstances of any individual matter.
Additionally, the University assumes no liability, and hereby expressly negates the same, for failure to provide or delay in providing educational or related services due to a cause(s) beyond the control of the University. These causes include, without limitation, financial issues, power failure, fire, strikes, damage by the elements, other acts of God and acts of public authorities. While the University believes that the information contained in the Catalog and Handbook is accurate at the time of publication, the University does not guarantee absolute accuracy. Please direct questions to the appropriate administrator in case of doubt or confusion.
The catalog is a production of the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Registrar. Please direct any comments to the Office of the Registrar.
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1500 Ralston Avenue, Belmont, CA 94002
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