Universidad Metropolitana (UMET) was originally established as a secondary campus of the former Puerto Rico Junior College (1969). In 1980 the school gained autonomy under the name Colegio Universitario Metropolitano (CUM) and in 1985 received authorization to change its name to Universidad Metropolitana (UMET). In 1988 it offered the first graduate programs in Education and Business Administration.
At the end of the 1980â€™s, the institution revised its mission, giving priority to environmental studies and issues as a specialized area or institutional "niche." The Environmental Education Institute (EEI-1990) and the Caribbean Environmental Information Center (CEIC-1993) were created as a result.
During the 1990s, the school recognized the importance of offering educational services to non-traditional groups and adults through the creation of the School of Certified Professional Technicians, the School of Professional Studies (AHORA Program) and the use of Distance Education and Interactive Television (ITS) programs as education related strategies.
In 1995 the National Science Foundation (NSF) recognized UMET (among 10 other United States institutions and the only one in Puerto Rico), as a Model of Excellence Institution in the area of science.