Division I

Division I is designed for exploration and for learning new ways of working across a wide range of critical, scientific, and creative approaches through our transdisciplinary curriculum.

Students learn and practice academic, interpersonal, and collaborative skills to engage in meaningful work with others, including campus-engaged learning. Students are supported to develop skills for engaging in project-based learning, deepening their ability to pose and pursue authentic questions through collaborative or other mentored projects. Students are mentored by an advisor who will guide them through the selection of courses; and are also mentored through advising networks of students, staff, and faculty. 


To complete Division I, students must satisfactorily complete at least seven faculty-evaluated courses, one of which must be a Division I seminar, and 40 hours of Community Engaged Learning (CEL-1). Five College courses graded C or better may be used to satisfy Division I electives (but are generally not taken in the first semester of enrollment).

Students take one Division I seminar, an innovative course taught by faculty in different fields, all focused on a single question of contemporary relevance. Each seminar embeds different disciplinary approaches, enabling students’ learning about a wide range of skills and approaches to the topic. Staff educators on the teaching teams support skill building in communication, collaboration, and intercultural competence, and also organize workshops that orient students to Hampshire’s academic program and available resources, and peer mentors additionally support students’ learning inside and outside of the classroom. Division I seminars are sized in order to shift between small and larger cohorts to enable flexibility in facilitating cohort-based experiences of learning in community with others.

Since exposure to curricular areas including the sciences, culture and human experience, the arts and design, and race and power are built into the transdisciplinary approaches of the Division I seminars, there are no additional distribution requirements in the first year. Students in their first year choose at least five additional courses based on their own interests.

To complete Division I, students must finish seven courses (or supervised learning activities), one Division I seminar, and six elective courses.

In addition to the seven courses, students must complete campus-engaged learning activities (CEL-1) totaling a minimum of 40 hours, approximately equal to course contact hours. Of these, 10 hours will involve participation in campus educational events focused on diversity, inclusion, equity and access in order to expand intercultural competencies; and 30 hours will consist of campus activities/projects of the student’s choice that meet the goals of the requirement to work collaboratively in community and meet a community need. The student will document the fulfillment of the CEL-1 and reflect on their CEL-1 experience in the Division I retrospective essay.