History of NMSU Carlsbad


New Mexico State University Carlsbad “NMSU Carlsbad” was established in 1950 as the State’s first community college and was named the Carlsbad Instructional Center.  Ten years later, the Center was renamed as a branch campus of New Mexico State University. In 1980, the campus was relocated to a new building, which was expanded with an additional wing of classrooms in 1987 and was expanded again by the addition of a computer facility wing for occupation in 1996. The newest building, the Allied Health Center was added in 2011.

Throughout its history, the campus has been responsive to the changing academic needs of the region and the immediate Carlsbad Community. It has offered courses which apply directly to the University’s Las Cruces campus for graduation at the baccalaureate level. Some upper division and graduate courses are delivered by the University’s Las Cruces faculty on site at the Carlsbad campus.

Mission of the College

The mission of New Mexico State University Carlsbad is to provide students the resources necessary for them to fulfill their educational potential so that they may help meet the needs of their community as well-trained, well-educated, and productive citizens.

Vision Statement

NMSU Carlsbad, a diverse and community-centered institution dedicated to excellence and student success through transformative discovery.

Institutional Values

New Mexico State University Carlsbad is committed to and demonstrates:

  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Accountability
  • Excellence
  • Discovery
  • Engagement


NMSU Carlsbad is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and in 2018 the college was transitioned from the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) to the Open Pathway model of accreditation. The associate degree program in nursing offered by NMSU Carlsbad is accredited fully by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Both the certificate and associate degree programs in nursing are approved by the State of New Mexico Board of Nursing. All vocational programs offered by NMSU Carlsbad are reviewed and approved by the New Mexico State Department of Education’s Division of Vocational, Technical and Adult Education.

Professional Associations

The college holds membership in the New Mexico Community College Association, the American Association of Community Colleges and the American Association of Higher Education. In addition, courses offered by NMSU Carlsbad have been approved for enrollment by those veterans and dependents that qualify for higher education benefits under the various sections of the Veterans’ Education Assistance Act.

NMSU Carlsbad Graduation and Retention Rates

These rates may be found on the NMSU Institutional Research web site at: https://oia.nmsu.edu/data-reports/natrept/ipeds/.

Gainful Employment

At a public and private not-for-profit institutions, gainful employment programs are Title IV-eligible certificate programs. Effective July 1, 2011, the U.S. Department of Education requires schools with Gainful Employment programs to disclose certain information about these programs. This information can be found at https://carlsbad.nmsu.edu/about-nmsu-carlsbad/gainful-employment/.

Operating Agreement

The Board of Regents of New Mexico State University, hereafter called “Regents” and the Board of Education of the Carlsbad Municipal Schools District have entered into the following agreement concerning the operation of NMSU Carlsbad.

  1. Act in an advisory capacity to the Regents in all matters relating to the conduct of NMSU Carlsbad.
  2. Approve an annual budget for NMSU Carlsbad for recommendation to the Regents.
  3. Certify to the County commissioners the tax levy.
  4. Conduct the election for tax levies for NMSU Carlsbad.

The Regents, through appropriate representatives, shall have full authority in relation to all academic and administrative matters at NMSU Carlsbad, although the Board of Education will serve in an advisory capacity in such matters.

Why Students Choose NMSU Carlsbad

Most students choose to attend NMSU Carlsbad because the campus is close to their homes. In contrast to attendance at larger institutions, students attending NMSU Carlsbad receive more individual attention from faculty and staff to encourage their academic success, and they can earn credit in lower-division courses—equivalent to those offered by NMSU Las Cruces—at a lower cost. Many students also have the opportunity to complete their high school instruction, and to complete their college education at an associate level on the same campus. The college offers classes at times convenient to full-time as well as part-time students. Academic programs and related services are expanding regularly to meet the demands of the changing student body and local community. Students have access to a multitude of valuable services offered on-campus to meet their educational and career goals. Entertainment and cultural events are sponsored regularly. Students are equipped with the knowledge, competencies and skills to enter the work force immediately or to transfer to baccalaureate-granting institutions anywhere in the country.

Become a Part of the University

NMSU Carlsbad is the principal public institution for associate-level study in Eddy County. Our foremost purpose is to provide quality academic programs, facilities, and resources to accommodate the needs of our richly diverse student body. Here students have the opportunity to learn from a dedicated and diverse group of faculty and college instructors who regard excellence in teaching as their principal goal. The campus’ low student-to-faculty ration encourages the individual attention and personalized instruction often unavailable at larger institutions. The low tuition associated with enrollment at NMSU Carlsbad, compared to costs to attend larger campuses, often permits students to economize the cost of higher education.

Students who need to complete their high-school equivalency requirements can attend special courses at NMSU Carlsbad through the Adult Education “A E” and General Educational Development “GED” preparation programs. Students who are still enrolled in high school can take college courses at NMSU Carlsbad through special articulation and advanced placement programs. Students who are working either full-time or part-time can still attend NMSU Carlsbad because classes are offered fourteen hours per day, Monday through Friday, and additional classes are offered on Saturdays as well as online. Students may also pursue their post-secondary education and job training through special courses contracted with industries and businesses in the regions.

A variety of resources and services are made available to students who attend NMSU Carlsbad. These include the assessment of academic preparation for college-level instruction, placement in courses intended to address academic weaknesses, tutorial assistance, financial assistance, career guidance and wellness programs.

Most academic credit courses offered at NMSU Carlsbad duplicate those offered at NMSU Las Cruces, and may be used for the total credit requirements for baccalaureate graduation. Academic programs at NMSU Carlsbad are expanding continually in response to the needs of our students and in reflection of the changing world in which our graduates will live, work and contribute to global welfare. The campus’ excellent certificate and associate programs and faculty are supported by state-of-the-art technology, including computer-assisted instruction in specific liberal arts and vocational-technical courses, as well as access to the Internet. Students benefit by gaining access to these technologies as well as to the campus library, which serves as a hub to connect students to global and local resources in digital and print formats.

NMSU Carlsbad also provides excellent fine arts facilities for instruction and accommodates several entertainment and cultural events annually. Drama students enroll at NMSU Carlsbad participate in Carlsbad’s community theatre. Students who have recently moved to the region will find numerous recreational activities and facilities associated with the Pecos River and park system. In addition, Carlsbad hosts a number of art galleries, the Carlsbad Museum and Art Center and the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park. The city has a regional airport and is located ten miles from the entrance to the world’s eighth wonder, the Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Residents are also within driving distance of a number of other national parks and sightseeing areas, which are accessible nearly all year due to the region’s mild and pleasant winters and its warm and dry summers.

Placement of our graduates in meaningful careers is important to the economic stability of the region. Our Counseling and Student Development Center announces opportunities for students to engage in cooperative education and internship experiences; it also provides job information and related services to students who seek help defining and choosing their careers.