Division I is designed for exploration and for learning new ways of working across a variety of academic disciplines. In Division I, students are exposed to a wide range of critical, scientific, and creative approaches from across the College. They are encouraged to explore connections among subject areas and asked to engage in collaborative projects that maintain and improve the Hampshire campus community outside of the classroom. Students are mentored by an advisor who will guide them through the selection of courses and other activities both academic and co-curricular. Because project-based work is an important component of Hampshire's pedagogy, students take an active role in their learning. They deepen their ability to ask and answer authentic questions, sparking a love of learning and preparing them for for a well-conceived individualized concentration in Division II. Division I generally covers the first two semesters of enrollment during which time students' advisors will periodically review academic progress to identify developing areas of strength as well as indicators of the need for further study.
To complete Division I, students must complete satisfactorily at least seven faculty-evaluated courses (which may include independent study), four of which must meet areas of distribution in four of the five distribution areas, 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). Distribution requirements must be satisfied with Hampshire courses with the exception of CHL, which may be satisfied with a Five-College language course. Two dance technique courses designated as half courses may fulfill one elective.
The five distribution areas, which faculty have identified as characteristic of and fundamental to Hampshire's distinctive academic program, are: