Joseph Duffey, the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities under President Carter, will be appointed chancellor of the University of Massachusetts' Amherst campus, subject to the approval of the university's board of trustees, according to university officials.

University President David C. Knapp is scheduled to present his recommendation of Duffey, chosen from more than 200 candidates, to the board today. It is expected to approve him.

"Joe Duffey is an ideal chancellor for the university in the 1980s," Knapp says in a statement due to be released today. "He is a person of national prominence who not only has a demonstrated record of support for research and scholarship but will also be effective in helping to broaden our base of fiscal support and strengthen our external relations in general."

Duffey, who is currently a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington, will take office Oct. 1. As chancellor, he will be chief executive officer of the Amherst campus and report directly to the president of the university whose offices are in Boston.

"The university is one of the major research institutions in the country," Sam Solomon, executive assistant to university president Knapp, said yesterday. "It's clearly a major executive position in higher education. We're very pleased to have Joe Duffey."

The Amherst campus is a residential campus with more than 25,000 students, including 7,000 graduate students. The university also has two other chancellors. Each presides over one of the university's two other campuses -- located in Boston and in Worcester. "Together, they and the president make university policy affecting all the campuses," Solomon said.

Duffey received his PhD from Hartford Seminary Foundation in 1969. He holds bachelor's degrees from Marshall University in West Virginia and the Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Mass. He also holds a master's degree from Yale University. Knapp said that Duffey brings to his post an understanding of New England. "The University of Massachusetts must play a leading role in aiding and encouraging economic growth in the New England region," Knapp says in his statement.

Duffey, who could not be reached for comment late yesterday afternoon, is married to Anne Wexler, a White House assistant in the Carter administration.