Division II is the core of the student's academic experience at Hampshire. It is a generative time when students articulate their questions and interests and acquire the knowledge and skills that not only help them gain purchase on their questions, but also prepare them to carry out an extensive independent project in Division III.
Division II consists of a self-designed concentration pursued through courses and other appropriate learning experiences, such as special projects (internships, community-based projects with an organization, and practica), independent studies, field study, and study abroad. Students are asked to consider the multiple cultural perspectives that relate to their work and to integrate the knowledge gained from community involvement into their academic program (see Community Engaged Learning or CEL-2 requirement).
The challenge for Division II students is to continually think across their courses and other experiences to integrate their learning. Doing so requires ongoing communication with their advisor and regular reflection. As such, students’ Division II concentrations evolve as they develop and deepen their interests, while finding new points of intersection.
Each student develops a Division II contract outlining their concentration and program, which is periodically reviewed and revised as the student’s program of study evolves. The contract supports the student in thinking about the questions that drive them, the goals they have for their learning in Division II, and their plan to accomplish their goals. Students’ goals might include acquiring content knowledge and skills (e.g. research, writing, quantitative, production, project management, creative expression, cultural perspectives, collaboration skills), learning a language, or other educational goals. The contract asks students to outline the kinds of courses and out-of-classroom experiences that will help them reach their goals.
A strong Division II concentration is a highly individualized program of study that gives the student a solid foundation in knowledge and techniques, the broader concepts behind them and the contexts from which they emerge, and critical, analytical, and creative skills. Division II is typically four full semesters of academic work, culminating in the production of a Division II portfolio and a final meeting with the committee.