The 1940s were a time of upheaval and change for the students attending UNT. World War II meant that most of the men on campus, the students as well as their professors, were subject to the draft. Soldiers were also on campus for training. By the end of the war NT had hosted six Naval reserve and two Army reserve programs and Marine corps officers cadet class, Coast Guard reserve cadets, and an Army Air corps pre-flight training and Army special training programs. The women learned skills in civil defense and mechanical and industrial arts.
After the war soldiers returned to school on the G.I. Bill. The increased enrollment spurred the growth of campus and the building of a long sought after Union Building. Other structures that went up during this time were the Journalism Building, and Bruce Hall. The school also changed. A broader curriculum was offered as North Texas moved away from a teacher education base to majors that allowed students to pursue careers in science, industry, and the arts. The first jazz studies program in the nation was introduced by Gene Hall.
The final change in this decade was a new name, the fifth in the school’s history. North Texas State College became the new moniker in 1949.