World War II

Paying close attention to the events that led up to World War II, Northeastern opened a Civilian War Training Program in 1939 with the aim of allowing groups of reserve military students to complete their college educations before going on to national service. In January 1941, the university also started an engineering Defense Training Program “designed to meet the shortage of engineers with specialized training in fields essential to the national defense” by providing additional intensive engineering training.

By 1943, when the United States was deeply involved in the conflict, Northeastern was authorized and funded by the War Department to expand the program into the Engineering, Science, and Management War Training Program. The expanded program was meant to boost the numbers of men educated in business and particular scientific disciplines, for example, the use and theory of ultra-high frequency radio waves, which the United States military felt were going to be critical to the war effort. The emergency training programs also included accelerated engineering, mechanical drawing, and mechanics courses. The Army was not the only branch of the military on campus; United States Navy also had several training programs.

First Husky Fatality
Enrollment Statistics

These wartime training programs were significant because they paved the way for opening the Evening Division’s Bureau of Business and Industrial Training. World War II, however, also left a more personal mark on the campus; over 5,000 Northeastern students fought in the war and more than 200 died.