Reed College

Reed College students sit on the campus lawn together

“If you’re a genuine intellectual, live the life of the mind, and want to learn for the sake of learning, the place most likely to empower you is … the most intellectual college in the country — Reed, in Portland, Oregon.
Colleges That Change Lives

Reed College
3203 SE Woodstock Boulevard
Portland, Oregon 97202-8199
503.777.7511 / 800.547.4750
⋅ 1,410 students
⋅ 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio
⋅ Average class size: 15
⋅ Students come from all across the U.S. (35 states) and from 35 countries; 15% from the Northwest and 29% from California.
⋅ Comprehensive Fee: $67,870
⋅ Roughly half of students received need-based awards, which cover 100% of evaluated need.

Reed College students conduct experiments together

A Reed College professor talks with students

An aerial view of the Reed College campus

Reed College burn their notes as part of the Renn Fayre celebration in the spring

A Reed College student studies among stacks of books

  • Private, independent, coeducational college of liberal arts and sciences founded in 1908.
  • Beautiful 115-acre campus located in a safe, tree-lined residential neighborhood, 20 minutes from downtown Portland, OR, which was recently described by Outside magazine as one of “The Best Towns in the U.S.”
  • Self-directed, intellectually curious, creative, passionate students love Reed.
  • Nationally known education and career advisor Donald Asher ’83 characterizes Reed as “an extremely liberal student body wedded to an extremely conservative curriculum … liberal in the old sense of free and conservative in the old sense of guarding a known good.”

Worth Noting
  • The Hidden Ivies guidebook writes, “Reed has remained true to its original mission to provide intelligent, intellectually passionate young men and women with a first-rate education in an atmosphere of free inquiry and reflection … A premium is placed on the quality of teaching and advising since intellectual dialogue and study is the key point of the Reed experience.”
  • Reed is skeptical of numerical college rankings and, as a result, does not submit data to U.S. News & World Report for their so-called “America’s Best Colleges” issue.
  • One of the nation’s top producers of future Ph.D. recipients as a percentage of all graduates; 70% of alumni earn a graduate degree.
  • 32 Rhodes Scholars to date.
  • While Reed maintains a traditional transcript for students, feedback from professors is qualitative and does not include letter grades.
  • Reed is the only college in the country with a research nuclear reactor that is staffed primarily by undergraduates. The Reed reactor has more female reactor operators than all other research reactors combined.

Faculty & Academics
  • No classes taught by graduate teaching assistants.
  • Extensive faculty/student collaborative research opportunities: students research and write a thesis during their senior year.
  • Small, interactive conference-style classes demand students’ active participation.

Areas of Study
For the most current listings, please check the college website.

American Studies
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Chemistry – Physics
Chinese Studies
Classics – Religion
Computer Science
Creative Writing
Dance – Theatre
Environmental Studies
Literature (general)
Literature – Theatre
History – Literature
International and Comparative Policy Studies (ICPS)
Mathematics – Economics
Mathematics – Physics
Political Science

Dual Degree and Special Programs
Applied Physics and Electronic Science
Computer Science
Computer Science and Engineering
Forestry – Environmental Sciences
Pre Medical and Pre Veterinary program
Visual Arts

Campus Life
  • More than 80 ever-changing student organizations funded by student vote
  • 10 volunteer-coached athletic teams and a P.E. requirement, but no varsity sports
  • Exclusive organizations are not permitted (no fraternities or sororities).
  • Frequent lectures, readings, theatrical performances, and community events.

Varsity Sports

While Reed does not participate in varsity sports, Reed has active teams in basketball, rugby, soccer and Ultimate Frisbee. These teams compete regularly against other schools in intercollegiate and club competition.

Furthermore, all Reed students are required to fulfill a physical education requirement that includes a variety of activities, ranging from sailing to soccer, from Ultimate Frisbee to yoga, from juggling to fencing.

Life After College
  • In addition to the second-highest number of Rhodes Scholars from a liberal arts college (32) and 174 National Science Foundation Fellowship winners, Reed College also has two Pulitzer-Prize winning alumni: Edward Cony (1961) and Gary Snyder (1975).
  • A large percentage of Reed alumni continue their education after leaving Reed: 70% attend graduate, law, or medical schools, and a quarter of Reed graduates continue on to earn a Ph.D. But Reed is more than just “Ph.D. prep.” Thirty-one percent of Reed alumni have found careers in business and industry, creating small tech start-ups, contributing to major corporations, and working in national security advising, policy, law, and management.

Academic Profile of Entering Class
  • Middle 50% SAT composite Math: 670-760
  • Middle 50% SAT Evidence-based Reading and Writing: 670-750
  • Middle 50% ACT composite score: 30-33
  • Average GPA: 3.9
  • 11% of students are in the first generation of their family to attend college.
  • 30% of freshmen are from historically underrepresented minority groups.