La Salle College was founded in 1863 as a small, liberal arts institution whose faculty were members of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. The curriculum focused on classics, English composition and literature, and mathematics. The college added courses in the sciences and engineering in the late 1800s and offered both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. It began to offer graduate degrees in 1902. Regardless of their course of study, all students also took classes in religion, philosophy, literature, history, and foreign language.
In 1870, the Commercial Department (later called the School of Commerce and the Department of Commerce) was added. It offered a courses in subjects such as bookkeeping and business administration, and awarded certificates but did not grant degrees. In the mid-1920s, La Salle did begin to offer a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, and later in Business Administration. The School of Business Administration was formed in 1932.
In the 1880s, the college divided courses into areas of study, and in 1912 into departments. However, departments and areas of study were reorganized and renamed frequently throughout the decades. The Evening Division was established in 1946 (though some evening classes were offered earlier).
Though the college offered different courses of study through a School of Arts and Sciences and a School of Business, administratively there were no academic divisions within the college, besides the division between day and evening students.
After WWII, the College expanded rapidly. In 1955, the Middle States Association recommended that the college restructure itself and create a School of Arts and Sciences and a School of Business Administration. Each school would be responsible for their own day and evening students and be headed by their own deans. This took effect during the 1955-1956 academic year.
Courses in biology have been taught at La Salle since the school's inception. The Department of Biological Sciences was established in 1912, in 1929 the name was changed to the Biology Department.
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Chemistry has been taught at La Salle since the 1860s. The Department of Chemistry was established for the 1917-1918 academic year. Biochemistry classes were introduced in 1961. In 1992, it was renamed the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
The Communication Department was established as the Communication Arts Department in 1986, 'Arts' was dropped from the name in 1988.
Economics courses were first taught at La Salle in 1917 as part of the Economics, Social, and Political Science Department. In 1928, this department was renamed the Economics and Sociology Department. The Department of Economics was established circa 1929.
The Department of Education was established circa 1922.
The Fine Arts department was established in 1972.
Foreign Languages and Literatures
Courses in History have been taught at La Salle since its inception. In the early 1920s, the Social Science Department was formed and history classes were offered through that department. The History Department was established circa 1926.
Mathematics and Computer Science
Mathematics was one of the main focuses of La Salle's original curriculum. The Department of Mathematics was established circa 1922. Computer science classes were introduced in the 1970-1971 academic year. In 1979, the department began offering a dual major in math and computer science. It was renamed the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science in 1994.
Philosophy courses were part of the original La Salle College curriculum. The Philosophy Department was established circa 1922. The name was changed to the Department of Philosophy and Psychology in 1943 and back to the Department of Philosophy within the Area of Philosophy and Religion in 1945. It appeared within the Area of Philosophy, Psychology, and Religion in 1948, the Area of Philosophy and Religion in 1951, and was renamed simply the Area of Philosophy in 1954. In 1956, it was renamed the Philosophy Department.
Courses in psychology were first offered as part of the philosophy program starting in the 1860s. Beginning in 1913, other psychology courses began to be offered within the Economics, Social, and Political Science Department, and in the 1920s, through the Education Department. The Psychology Department was established circa 1949.
Courses in political science have been taught at La Salle since its inception and were offered through the history and social science programs. The Political Science Department was established in the mid 1930s, but the name was changed from Political Science to Government in the early 1950s. In 1962, the name reverted back to the Political Science Department.
Sociology and Criminal Justice
Courses in business administration were first taught at La Salle in 1870, when the Commerical Department (later called the School of Commerce and the Department of Commerce) was formed. It offered courses in subjects such as bookkeeping and business administration, and awarded certificates but did not grant degrees. In the mid-1920s, La Salle did begin to offer a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, and later in Business Administration. The School of Business Administration was originally formed in 1932, and in 1955 it was placed in its current administrative structure. It was renamed the School of Business in 2003.
Business Systems and Analytics
Management and Leadership
The Nursing program began in 1974 as a partnership between La Salle's Evening Division and Gwynned Mercy College. The program was only available to continuing education students until 1992 when the School of Nursing formed, and undergraduate programs were added. In 2000, the Nutrition program and the Speech-Language-Hearing Department (now Communication Sciences and Disorders Department) were established and the school was renamed the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.
A Bachelor of Science Nursing was first offered in 1974 through a partnership between Gwynned Mercy college and the La Salle Evening Division. It was designed for students who were already Registered Nurses but who wanted to earn a bachelor's degree. In 1992, when the School of Nursing was established, the Nursing major was made available to all undergraduates.
The Bachelor of Science in Nutrition was first offered in the 1998-1999 academic year through the Biology Department. In 2001, it the Nutrition program was established as part of the School of Nursing.
Communication Sciences and Disorders
The Communication Sciences and Disorders Department was established in 2000 as the Speech-Language-Hearing Science Department within the School of Nursing.The department offers a Master's degree program as well as a fve year undergraduate-to-graduate program, preparing students for certification by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. It was renamed the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department in 2015.
Courses dedicated to the study of Public Health were first offered at La Salle in 1989 through the Nursing program. The Public Health program was established as part of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences in 2013.
Evening Division/School of Continuing Studies/Office of Continuing Studies/College of Continuing and Professional Education
The Evening Division was established at La Salle College in 1946. However, there were a few, short-lived attempts to offer similar programs earlier in La Salle’s history. The first attempt at offering evening classes was in 1874. Though the program was popular, it only lasted one year because of the burden that teaching both day and evening courses had on some faculty members. A second attempt was made in 1915, though this program was dropped in the midst of World War I. Evening classes were offered again in the early 1940s but the program was again cancelled
At the end of World War II, La Salle College expanded its facilities to accommodate the expected surge in enrollment of returning veterans. The school decided to expand its course offerings to include an evening program at this time as another form of accommodation. Dr. Joseph Sprissler was named the Evening Division’s first director, and classes began with 36 students in the fall of 1946.
Initially, the Evening Division had a vocational focus and only offered courses in business administration. A large percentage of students in the early years of the Evening Division received some form of tuition aid from their employer—mostly local Delaware Valley businesses. As enrollment grew to over 1,000 by the early 1950s, the Evening Division expanded its science offerings. By 1953, students could earn degrees in business administration, chemistry, and physics. In the 1960s, courses of study in the liberal arts were added.
The Evening Division continued to expand its program offerings through the decades. In the spring of 1967 it began offering enrollment to women, three years before La Salle College as a whole went coeducational. In 1974 it also established the Continuing Education for Women program. Though the Evening Division was already open to female students, this program was aimed at women over age 25 who wanted to resume their college career, or begin college courses for the first time. The program offered opportunities for women to return to school after an extended absence and placed an emphasis on counseling these students.
The Evening Division added weekend classes and summer sessions in the early 1970s. Off-campus sites were added in others areas of the city of Philadelphia and in Bucks County in the 1980s.
In 1991, the Evening Division was renamed the School of Continuing Studies and was further restructured as the Office of Continuing Studies in 1995.
In 2005, the Office of Continuing Studies was again restructured and renamed the College of Professional and Continuing Education.
In 2015, the College of Professional and Continuing Education was closed.