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    Wentworth earns university status, will keep its focus

    Boston, MA 12/14/10 Wentworth Institute of Technology is planning a major expansion of its campus. The park at Huntington Avenue and Ward Street is photographed, on Tuesday, December 14, 2010. (Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff); Reporter: Casey Ross; Section: Business; Slug: 15wentworth Library Tag 12152010
    Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff, file 2010
    Wentworth Institute of Technology was photographed in 2010.

    Wentworth Institute of Technology, which started out as a technical school more than a century ago, has obtained university status, school officials announced Friday.

    The designation from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education allows the school to market itself as a university with several graduate-degree programs to prospective students.

    “This reflects the progress that Wentworth has made academically,” said Zorica Pantic, Wentworth’s president.

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    Wentworth, which is based in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, won’t be changing its name or mission, school officials said. Wentworth enrolls about 4,300 students, and many of its undergraduate degrees are focused in math, science, computer science, and engineering.

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    It opened in 1911 as a mechanical arts school for “serious-minded boys.”

    But in recent years, Wentworth has also tried to appeal to graduate students, adding six new master’s programs, including in applied computer science, architecture, civil engineering, construction management, facility management, and technology management. Wentworth’s governing board has approved another graduate program for the spring of 2018, according to its application for university designation.

    In approving the designation, state officials said that Wentworth demonstrated that its graduate studies are a distinct part of the campus with enough faculty, facilities, and resources for “sound” programs.

    But Massachusetts higher education officials noted that Wentworth will have to come back for approval if it eventually wants to change its name or add additional master’s programs.

    Deirdre Fernandes
    can be reached at deirdre.fernandes@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @fernandesglobe.