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Our Academic Philosophy

  A Hands-On Education
  student on field study
  Students commonly combine several traditional disciplines or examine an issue or problem from a variety of academic perspectives.

Hampshire is Personalized
Students design their own programs of study instead of following predetermined academic pathways (no "off-the-shelf" majors here).

Hampshire’s divisional system
provides the breadth of a liberal arts education and the depth of individualized areas of concentration.

Hampshire is Active
Students learn to be producers and creators of knowledge, rather than passive consumers of information.

Hampshire students engage in substantial independent research and creative work as they explore the questions that most concern them (rather than simply responding to questions posed by teachers).

Hampshire’s learning process is

  • active, collaborative, inquiry-based;
  • discussion-rich, project-driven, writing-intensive;
  • challenging, pushing students beyond what they think they can achieve.

Hampshire is Multidisciplinary
The curriculum at most colleges is organized around traditional academic disciplines, such as biology, history, or mathematics, in separate departments. This departmentalization of subject areas artificially fragments the curriculum and disconnects ideas that are inherently linked.

Hampshire’s curriculum is organized around five broadly interdisciplinary Schools:

Students are not bound by the Schools, often taking courses among several of them simultaneously.

Hampshire Uses Narrative Evaluations Instead of Grades
Because the purpose of evaluation is to give students meaningful, constructive feedback, faculty members provide extensive written feedback on papers and projects.

Detailed written evaluations reflect students' engagement and performance in courses, internships, field work, projects, study abroad, and other evaluated learning activities.

Our narrative evaluation system eliminates competition, enhancing Hampshire’s collaborative learning community.

Graduate schools and employers appreciate Hampshire’s comprehensive narrative transcript, which offers a level of detail not reflected on traditional transcripts.


Contact Us

Office of Communications
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Fax 413.559.5720

© 2014 Hampshire College 893 West Street Amherst, MA 01002 . 413.549.4600