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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. Read more here >>


To complete Division I, students must complete satisfactorily at least seven faculty-evaluated courses, two of which must be Division I seminars, and 40 hours of Community Engaged Learning (CEL-1). Five College courses graded C or better may be used to satisfy Division I electives (generally not taken in the first semester of enrollment). The Divisional Seminars are a cornerstone of Hampshire’s Divisional system, and support students’ growth across their academic trajectory, including at key transitions between Divisions.

Students take two Div I seminars, innovative courses taught by teams of 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 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. Div I seminars are large enough to creatively shift between small and larger groups 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 Div 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 Div I, students must finish seven courses (or supervised learning activities)—two Division 1 seminars and five 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, 20 hours will involve participation in campus education events focused on diversity, inclusion, equity and access in order to expand intercultural competencies; and 20 hours will consist of campus activities/projects of students’ 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 it in the Division I retrospective essay.

Learn more about Division I requirements

More Information

CEL-1 Requirement 
Div I Requirements 
Procedures for Div I 
Role of the Advisor 
Important Dates and Deadlines
Div II 
Advising Office

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Hampshire College
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Amherst, MA 01002