In 1939 it became a four-year institution, a change followed in 1941 by a new name: Pembroke State College for Indians. The next year, it began to offer bachelor's degrees in disciplines other than teaching. In 1945 the college was opened to members of all federally recognized tribes. A change of name to Pembroke State College in 1949 presaged the admission of white students, which was approved in 1953 up to forty percent of total enrollment; the Brown vs. Board of Education decision of the following year eliminated all race restrictions.
In 1969 the college became Pembroke State University, a regional university which was incorporated into the University of North Carolina System in 1972. Its first master's degree program was implemented in 1978. On July 1, 1996, Pembroke State University became the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
As of 2003 UNCP has 204 full-time faculty members and an enrollment of 4,472 students. It offers fifty-five undergraduate programs and fifteen graduate programs.