Hampshire College

Hampshire College students in a greenhouse

“Today no college has students whose intellectual thyroids are more active or whose minds are more compassionately engaged.
Colleges That Change Lives

Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, Massachusetts 01002
413.559.5471 / 877.YES.HAMP
⋅ 1,400 students
⋅ 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio; average class size: 15
⋅ Students of Color & Interntional Students: 24%
⋅ 85% of students from out of state
⋅ Students are from 48 U.S. states and territories and 23 countries.
⋅ Tuition: $53,030 / Tuition, Room, and Board: $68, 214
⋅ Annual financial aid budget: $30 million
⋅ Students receiving financial aid: 91%
⋅ Average financial aid package: $40,087; Range of packages: $5,500-$64,552
⋅ 63% of students receive Hampshire grants
⋅ Average need-based grant: $35,941

Hampshire College campus on a summer day

Hampshire College student in a sound booth

Hampshire College student meets with a professor

Hampshire College students in a science lab

Hampshire College students enjoy a meal together

  • The idea for Hampshire originated in 1958 when the presidents of Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, appointed a committee to reexamine the assumptions and practices of a liberal arts education. Hampshire aims to graduate lifelong learners with the courage to challenge boundaries, ask questions, and ignite knowledge with creativity.
  • Hampshire is unique among colleges for its divisional academic system, which is designed specifically to support students in creating their own concentration. Instead of completing a preset major, students pursue a personalized, integrative, and active program of study with the support and guidance of a faculty advising committee. A Hampshire education culminates in original work, comprising a major independent study and other advanced educational activities. All students complete Division III during their final year, working with their professors as colleagues and collaborators. Their projects take many forms including: research papers, portfolios, exhibits, experiments, performances, products, prototypes, installations, novels, films, animations, software, and beyond.
  • “At Hampshire, we approach learning differently. We believe that students learn best when they progressively acquire the ability to teach themselves. We put this belief into proactive through our divisional system and by engaging students in active inquiry and original work. We educate for change, equipping our students to continue their education throughout their lives — and that enables them to improve the world around them. Our graduates live Hampshire’s motto, Non Satis Scire (to know is not enough).”— Eva Rueschmann, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, Professor of Cultural Studies
  • One of the core principles of a Hampshire education is that students learn more from a teacher’s thoughtful reactions to their work than from a letter or number grade. At Hampshire students receive meaningful written and oral feedback on their academic work. The absence of traditional letter grades enhances collaboration and refocuses academic work on learning.
  • “Narrative evaluations are immeasurably better academic tools than grades. Yes they require a fair amount of work, however, reading even a single narrative evaluation of a student’s progress in a course will teach you more about a student’s individual strengths and weaknesses than an entire transcript from a grade-based institution….”—Chris Perry, Professor of Media Arts and Sciences

Worth Noting
  • Hampshire College is one of five colleges and universities chosen from more than a hundred nominations to share in the 2014 Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards presented by the Washington Center and the New York Life Foundation. Recipients were chosen based on their leadership and innovation in civic engagement.
  • Hampshire College student Allison Waite and alums Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich and Meredith Lackey are  winners of 2014 Princess Grace Awards. This is the third consecutive year that a Hampshire College student has won a Princess Grace Award to support a film project: Devyn Manibo won in 2013 and Erick Msumanje in 2012. Josh Weissbach received an award in 2009.
  • Hampshire College is among the top 50 schools whose graduates go on to receive a Ph.D. in science or engineering, according to a 2008 report by the National Science Foundation.
  • Hampshire College is number 10 on Sierra Magazine’s list of the nation’s “coolest” schools, selected for their efforts to stop global warming and operate sustainably. The magazine’s September/October cover story “spotlights the schools that are making a true difference for the planet.”
  • “With all of the environmental challenges we face, it’s heartening to see the leadership schools like Hampshire College demonstrate when it comes to protecting the planet,” said Michael Brune, the Sierra Club’s executive director. “This generation of students cares deeply about protecting the environment, stopping global warming, and increasing our prosperity through innovation.”
  • Hampshire College has received LEED Gold certification for the Ken Burns Wing of the Jerome Liebling Center for Film, Photography, and Video. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System, overseen by the U.S. Green Building Council, is internationally recognized as one of the highest ratings for sustainable building construction. The 6,700-square-foot Ken Burns Wing was formally opened for fall semester 2009. It is Hampshire’s first LEED Gold certified building.
  • The Association of American Colleges and Universities recently named Hampshire a “Leadership Institution” for its visionary campus-wide innovations in undergraduate education. Hampshire was chosen as a model of best practice for its emphasis on critical thinking about complex problems, effective communication, and making meaningful contributions to a diverse society.
  • Other unique programs include: Civil Liberties and Public Policy (CLPP); Community Partnerships for Social Change; the Center for Design; and Five College Program in Peace and World Securities Studies (PAWSS).
  • Hampshire grads have gone on to win numerous prestigious academic fellowships including 14 Fulbrights, Mellon and Javits fellowships, and a Guggenheim fellowship, among others.

Faculty & Academics
  • 96% of faculty have a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree; there are no teaching assistants.
  • 11:1 Student-to-faculty ratio
  • Faculty of color: 28%

Areas of Study

For the most current listings, please check the college website.

Build Your Own Education
At Hampshire you and your professors will work together to design a customized program of study. You won’t choose a major the way you might buy a product. Rather, you’ll build a concentration out of your interests and intellectual curiosity, in close consultation with your faculty advisors.

Students work closely with their faculty advising committee to design and carry out this personalized academic concentration. This can range from a plan of study similar to that of a traditional college major to a highly interdisciplinary program of study that encompasses several disciplines. For example, a student may build a concentration in behavioral economics that incorporates coursework in economics, psychology, and anthropology.

Possible areas of study include (this list represents the breadth of courses and faculty scholarship at Hampshire that you may draw from to build your concentration):

Africana Studies
Agricultural Studies and Rural Life
American Studies
Animal Behavior and Cognition
Animation and Digital Art
Anthropology / Archaeology
Applied Design
Architecture / Environmental Design
Art History
Asian Studies
Biological/Life Sciences
Childhood, Youth, Learning
Cognitive Science
Communications/Media Studies
Computer Science
Creative Writing
Culture, Brain, Development
Digital Media
Environmental Studies / Sustainability
Feminist Studies
Film / Video / Photography
Game Design and Development
Globalization / Third World Studies
Health and Pre-Medical Studies
International Relations
Jewish Studies
Language Studies
Latin American Studies
Legal Studies / Pre-law
Marine Science
Middle Eastern Studies
Native American Studies
Peace and World Security Studies
Psychoanalytic Studies
Queer Studies
Social Change
Southwest Studies
Studio/Visual Arts

Five College Programs
Beyond offering Hampshire students thousands of courses and sponsoring field research trips, student symposia, and shared lecture funding, the Five College Consortium offers a range of cooperative academic departments and programs combining the strengths of the five institutions.

Five College Interdisciplinary and Area Studies Programs
African Studies, Coastal and Marine Sciences, East Asian Languages, Film and Video, Native American Indian Studies, Peace and World Security Studies, and more

Five College Certificate Programs (similar to a minor)
African Studies; Culture, Health, and Science; International Relations; Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies; Middle Eastern Studies; and more

Campus Life
  • Hampshire students take ownership of everything that connects their lives on campus. Being part of Hampshire is a whole new way of life, centered on community. Our students merge their social, personal, political, recreational,  and intellectual lives through passionate participation in a varied array of clubs, organizations, and activities.
  • 85% of students live on campus.
  • 85% singles on campus, 80% entering students in singles
  • Over 100 clubs, sports, and organizations

Varsity Sports

Hampshire College is a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) and the Yankee Small College Conference (YSCC) and has a competitive intercollegiate athletic program that offers student-athletes an opportunity to compete on both the regional and national levels.

Our teams compete for championships in three sports as members of the USCAA and YSCC. In 2011, its first year as a member school, Hampshire’s women’s soccer team qualified for the USCAA National Tournament and also won the YSCC League West Division title by being undefeated in regular-season play. Hampshire student-athletes have received special recognition for YSCC League All-Stars for their outstanding accomplishments year after year. Athletic programs include: men’s and women’s soccer; men’s and women’s cross country; and men’s and women’s basketball.

The YSCC is made up of 15 schools from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and now Massachusetts. Current intercollegiate sports offerings for men and women at Hampshire include:
• Basketball
• Cross Country
• Soccer

Club Sports
Hampshire also offers club sports, which compete with other colleges but are not associated with the YSCC/USCAA. Club sports include:
• Co-ed Ultimate Frisbee
• Co-ed Fencing

Recreational Athletics
Recreational athletics offers a range of activities in beginning as well as more advanced levels, including classes, weekend seminars, and semester long co-curricular courses. Current activities include a wide range of choices.

• Adult swimming courses
• Kayaking instruction and rolling sessions

Certification courses:
• American Red Cross courses in CPR/AED and Standard First Aid are held on  advising days.
• Wilderness First Aid
• Defensive Driving
• Lifeguarding

Martial Arts:
• Aikido
• Hatha Yoga
• Kyudo (Japanese archery)
• Shotokan Karate
• Iaido (Japanese swordsmanship)
• Yang style T’ai Chi
• Women’s self defense (R.A.D.)

Life After College
  • Hampshire’s pedagogy develops each student’s ability to question, research, analyze, write, negotiate, and undertake substantial independent projects — competencies that graduate schools and employers seek in their ideal candidates. The skills and experiences Hampshire graduates acquire from negotiating their education with a faculty committee, initiating projects, formulating solid proposals, and engaging in internships translate into the ability to seek careers in areas that reflect their passions. Employers love Hampshire graduates because they know how to work well with others, take initiative, self-direct, solve problems, communicate effectively, and take risks.
  • In the past few years, Hampshire alums have won Academy Awards, received Macarthur Fellowships, written best-selling books, been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and led corporations. Fifteen Hampshire alums have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships in the past ten years.
  • 1 in 4 Hampshire alums start a business, organization, or non-profit.
  • Top 1% of all colleges and universities in the nation for the number of graduates who go on to earn a doctorate degree
  • 65% earn an advanced degree within 10 years of graduation
  • 89% report receiving a job offer within one year of graduation
  • Graduate institutions most frequently attended: Columbia, University of Massachusetts/Amherst, New York University, Harvard University, Yale University, Boston University, University of California/Berkeley, Cornell University, Smith College, University of California/Los Angeles, University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Northeastern University

Academic Profile of Entering Class
  • Applications received for Fall, 2014: 2,671
  • First-year matriculants for Fall 2014: 395
  • Average HS GPA of first-year students: 3.44