“Today no college has students whose intellectual thyroids are more active or whose minds are more compassionately engaged.“
– Colleges That Change Lives
Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., is among the most innovative colleges in the country, asking students to pursue their passions by designing their own programs of study and recruiting a faculty committee to guide them on a rigorous path of intellectual discovery. Through active, engaged learning students become creators of knowledge and are encouraged to make connections between their academic work and the wider world. The mission of Hampshire College is to foster a lifelong passion for learning, inquiry, and ethical citizenship that inspires students to contribute to knowledge, justice, and positive change in the world—and, by doing so, to transform higher education.
893 West Street
Amherst, Massachusetts 01002
413.559.5471 / 877.937.4267
⋅ Student-to-faculty ratio: 13:1; average class size: 20
⋅ Students of Color: 32% (14.6% Hispanic/Latino; 8.1% two or more races; 7.3% Black or African-American; 4.5% race and ethnicity unknown; 1.6% Asian; 0.4% American Indian or Alaska Native; 0% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.)
⋅ First-generation college students: 30%
⋅ International students: 7.3%
⋅ Annual financial aid budget: $16.5 million
⋅ Students receiving financial aid: 99%
⋅ Average financial aid package: $46,818
⋅ Average need-based grant: $41,986
- 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.
- Our motto, “Non Satis Scire,” means “to know is not enough.”
- Every student customizes their program of study in concert with a faculty advising committee. Instead of picking a major from a list, students base their studies on great questions—questions that stimulate the mind, branch off into the unknown, and often connect deeply to communities of people. For example, a student may build a major in applied design, computer sciences, and biology surrounding the question, “Can a robot teach itself how to climb?”
- The Divisional System, our three-part academic framework, guides students through the process of finding great questions, harnessing the skills of introspection and reflection, and navigating uncertainty amidst exploration. The final division (Division III) culminates in a yearlong independent project mirroring a master’s thesis. These projects take many forms, including research papers, portfolios, exhibits, experiments, performances, products, prototypes, installations, novels, films, animations, software, and beyond.
- To build self-aware, lifelong learners, professors evaluate students through detailed narrative feedback at the end of each course and on every assignment. This shows students where they’ve done well, how they need to improve, and what steps to take next. Students also complete self-evaluations of their work, instilling a sense of purpose in every course they choose. The resulting classroom environment is simultaneously rigorous and collaborative.
- Hampshire is part of the Five College Consortium, which also includes UMass Amherst, Amherst College, Smith College, and Mount Holyoke College. Students can cross-register for classes and join clubs across campuses.
- Hampshire is on the Forbes Top 20 Most Entrepreneurial Colleges list, in part because of our million-dollar student Seed Fund for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
- Hampshire achieved Carbon Neutrality in early 2023—only the 12th college or university in the U.S. to do so.
- Hampshire was the first residential college committed to operating 100% solar for electricity from 19 acres of on-campus solar arrays.
- We have two living buildings on our campus: the R.W. Kern Center, and the Hitchcock Center for the Environment. Not only do these buildings generate their own energy and water, they’re built entirely with regional and non-toxic materials.
- Hampshire has one of the first college farm programs in the country. With 80+ acres, students are able to work with our CSA program, livestock, sugar shack, and even beehives.
- Hampshire grads have been awarded numerous prestigious academic fellowships and honors including Fulbright, Princess Grace, Gilman, Gates Millennium, MacArthur (“Genius Grant”) and others.
- Student-to-faculty ratio: 9:1
- More than 7,000 courses among the Five College Consortium, including graduate-level courses
- Over 9 million volumes available through the Five College Interlibrary Loan system
- Hampshire’s curriculum is organized around four Learning Collaboratives: groups of faculty, staff, and students that address and explore—in transdisciplinary ways—key questions, problems, and challenges that confront us in the 21st century. The LCs are engaged in collaborative inquiry and action both inside and outside the classroom. Each LC consists of a cluster of courses, events, team and community projects, and public forums for sharing work in progress. LCs for 2023: Environments and Change; In/Justice; Media and Technology; Time and Narrative
For the most current listings, please check the college website.
Customize Your Major
This list represents the breadth of courses and faculty scholarship at Hampshire that you may draw from to build your concentration. In addition, students have access to courses and programming among our Five College Consortium.
Agricultural Studies and Rural Life
Animal Behavior and Cognition
Animation and Digital Art
Anthropology / Archaeology
Architecture / Environmental Design
Biological / Life Sciences
Business / Entrepreneurship
Childhood and Youth Studies / Education
Communications / Media Studies
Culture, Brain, Development
Environmental Studies / Sustainability
Film / Video / Photography
Game Design and Development
Gender, Feminist, and Queer Studies
Global Studies and International Relations
Health and Pre-Medical Studies
Language, Linguistics, and Translation Studies
Latin American Studies
Legal Studies / Pre-law
Middle Eastern Studies
Native American Studies
Philosophy and Applied Ethics
Studio / Visual Arts
Writing / Creative Writing
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 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
- Being part of Hampshire is a whole new way of life, centered on community. Students are integral to every part of the College, serving on the Board of Trustees, hiring committees, FundCom (Hampshire’s student activities fund committee), and more.
- 85% of students live on campus.
- 100% of students in singles on campus
- Over 100 clubs, sports, and organizations, including ASL Collective, Blacksmith’s Guild, Circus Folk Unite!, GlowLime Games, and Wool People (a fiber crafts group)
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.
The YSCC is made up of 15 schools from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and now Massachusetts. Current intercollegiate sports offerings are basketball, soccer, cross country, and track and trail.
Hampshire also offers club sports, which compete with other colleges but are not associated with the YSCC/USCAA. Club sports include Rock Climbing, Ultimate Frisbee, and the Equestrian team.
Outdoor Programs provide students the opportunities to explore the outdoors through day-long and multi-day trips as well as semester-long classes, through hiking, camping, skiing, boating, and much more.
Recreational Athletics provide instructional offerings such as martial arts, yoga, and strength and conditioning. Students can also focus independently on their health and well-being by taking advantage of our various facilities including the fitness center and weight room, indoor track, indoor tennis courts, bouldering cave, and sauna; or, exploring the miles of trails on our 800-acre campus and nearby Mount Holyoke Range State Park.
- 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. Employers love Hampshire graduates because they know how to work well with others, take initiative, self-direct, solve problems, communicate effectively, and take risks.
- 90% report receiving a job offer within six months of graduation
- 65% earn an advanced degree within 10 years of graduation.
- Graduate institutions most frequently attended: Columbia, University of Massachusetts Amherst, New York University, Harvard University, Boston University, Yale University, University of California Berkeley, Cornell University, Simmons College, and Smith College.
- Top 3% of colleges and universities sending their alums to earn research Ph.D.s
- 1 in 4 Hampshire alums start a business, organization, or non-profit.
- 23 of our alums have received Fulbright Awards since 2011, among the most in the country. Others have been recognized with Emmy, Academy, Peabody, and Grammy Awards; Pulitzer and Hillman Prizes; and many other honors.
- Hampshire alumni changing lives include award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, Duolingo co-founder Jose Fuentes, comedian Eugene Mirman, and author Jon Krakauer.
- First-year applications received for Fall 2022: 2,100
- First-year matriculants for Fall 2022: 247
- Don’t bother sending your SAT or ACT scores—standardized testing is not considered as part of your admissions candidacy. Hampshire was test-optional at its founding in 1970, and since 2014 we’ve been “test-free” for domestic (U.S.) students.