Eastern Connecticut State University is a liberal arts university, and as such focuses on general knowledge and skills such as critical thinking, rather than technical or vocational courses.
The university opened as a teacher training school in 1889 with just thirteen students, all female, who studied in a class at the Willmantic Savings Institute. The first male student enrolled in 1893 and two years later the school opened its first own dedicated building. The educational offering of the school broadened over the years, and in 1967 it was renamed Eastern Connecticut State University to reflect this change.
There are three schools at the university: the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Education and Professional Studies, and the School of Continuing Education.
The liberal arts core curriculum includes grounding in such subjects as mathematics, health and wellness and literature and thought.
Eastern Connecticut State University’s Global Field Courses is a scheme of study abroad programmes lasting one to five weeks, suitable for students unable to spend a semester abroad. The courses take place on five different continents, with exchanges in countries like Iceland, China, Italy, Ghana and Brazil. International students are also welcome at the university, which organises support and recreational activities for any students coming from abroad.
The town of Willmantic, where the university is located, lies halfway between Boston and New York City. It is known for several festivals and public events, most famously its Boom Box Festival where residents bring their own sound equipment to provide music for the event.