Demystifying the Divisional System

An informal guide for the perplexed.

Division I

To complete Division I, first-year students must complete seven academic courses including their Division I seminar*. (*students who enter in the spring are not required as seminars are not offered in the spring).

  • The other six elective courses may be a combination of faculty-evaluated Hampshire courses and Five-College courses carrying 3 or more credits and graded C or better. No more than three Five-College courses may be used toward Division I course requirements. Two dance technique courses designated as half courses may fulfill one out of the five electives. OPRA courses and other courses labeled Co-curricular on TheHUB may not be used to fulfill Division I course requirements.
  • Concurrently, students also must complete 40 hours of Campus-Engaged Learning (CEL-1).In addition to the seven courses, students must complete one or more Campus-Engaged Learning Activities (CEL-1) totaling a minimum of 40 hours, 10 of those hours must fulfill engagement in Race and Power. An appropriate CEL-1 will be determined in consultation with the faculty academic advisor and activity sponsor. The student will document the fulfillment of the CEL-1 and include a reflection on it in the Division I retrospective essay.
  • After completing all the necessary courses as well as fulfilling the CEL-1, students pass Division I by 1) writing a retrospective essay that describes their intellectual development during Division I, and 2) handing in a portfolio of selected Division I work. The student’s advisor can set the specific conditions for the retrospective and portfolio (number of pages, format, etc.). Once the advisor receives them (usually early in the fall of the second year, unless the student still needs to finish one or more of the eight requirements), the instructor will schedule a final meeting with the student to discuss Division I, and then pass the student on TheHUB.

Division II

The second stage of a Hampshire education, which begins in the third semester, although Division I may not be passed until the middle of the third semester. With rare exceptions, students are in Division II for their entire second and third years; during that time, they develop a Division II concentration (roughly equivalent to what most schools call a “major,” but significantly different in that it is interdisciplinary and individually crafted by each student to meet his/her particular interests and needs) and also take courses outside the area of concentration to round out their liberal arts education.

  • Students begin to design their individual concentrations in the fall of their second year. They do this by talking with faculty in their area(s) of interest, working toward the goal of having a two- person faculty committee (including one chair and one member) who will oversee their Division II, and formulating a concise statement of what their concentration will be. Students will participate in the Division II committee request process in their third semester as the first step in putting together a Division II committee. They will be assigned a chair and member through this process. Once assigned, students will work on their Division II Contract, which include questions they plan to explore, the skills they plan to learn, the goals they hope to accomplish, the classes they want to take, and so forth. Both the committee and the concentration statement (which are part of the “Division II Contract”) have to be finalized by the beginning of the fourth semester.
    • During Division II, students must also complete a multiple cultural perspectives requirement, and a community service requirement, known as the Community Engaged Learning Activity (CEL- 2). The Division II contract will also include the plans to fulfill the Race and Power requirement, and a supported project.
    • Most students complete Division II by the end of their third year. Occasionally, the Division II committee feels they have done insufficient work in their area of concentration. To pass Division II (like Division I), they must write a retrospective essay and hand in a portfolio of Division II work, as specified by their committee. Once the committee receives these, there will be a final meeting with the student to discuss the Division II. The chair, with input from the member, writes an evaluation of the student’s Division II performance and passes the student into Division III.

Division III

Division III is the final stage —usually the final two semesters— of a Hampshire education. It includes a two-semester project or paper done during the fourth year. In addition to finishing this major project/paper, Division III students must also complete two Advanced Educational Activities, one each semester. These can be upper-level courses or relevant internships, teaching assistantships, etc.

  • Students begin to formulate their plans for Division III during the spring of their third year, or sixth semester, in a manner similar to their development of their plans for Division II two years earlier. They will participate in the Division III request process (similar to the Division II request) and will be assigned one chair and one member to oversee their Division IIIs. Students will to draw up, in collaboration with their committee, a Division III contract that describes their Division III plan. These are finalized early in the seventh semester.
  • The Division III committee usually interacts with the student considerably more often than the typical Division II committee does: it might meet with the student once every other week or even, particularly in the final semester, once a week, to supervise progress on the Division III project. When the project or paper is finished, the Division III committee has a final meeting with the student and the chair, with input from the member, writes an evaluation of the student’s Division III work. The Division III chair will pass the student and allow them to graduate.