Hampshire helped invent the notion of interdisciplinary education, based on the idea that questions and issues are best examined from multiple perspectives.
Students may want to combine talents within the arts, such as writing and photography, with a particular cultural interest. Or they may want to address problems of war and peace, of environmental policy, or of the uses of new information technology, which demand scientific as well as political, economic, and ethical understanding.
Instead of traditional, single-discipline departments, Hampshire's curriculum is organized into five interdisciplinary schools:
The School of Cognitive Science (CS) engages students with interests ranging from psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience to animal behavior, child development, computer science, digital multimedia, and linguistics.
The School of Critical Social Inquiry (CSI) includes students and faculty interested in a diverse array of fields such as Africana studies, anthropology, Asian studies, history, psychology, economics, sociology, politics, law, philosophy, and education, as well as many more. Students also engage with many College-wide programs such as Community Partnerships for Social Change (CPSC) and the Childhood, Youth, and Learning Program (CYL). What unites CSI is a common commitment to understanding the processes of social and cultural formations and their implications.
The School of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies (HACU) engages students with interests ranging from philosophy, literature, film, video, photography, history, dance, painting, art history, cultural theory and history, critical theory, religious studies, studio arts, to ancient studies, music, American studies, media studies, environmental design, and architecture.
In the School for Interdisciplinary Arts (IA), students and professors work across boundaries of art forms such as theatre, sculpture, creative writing and literary arts, children's theatre, creative drama, entrepreneurship, art and technology, arts education, and arts and social action.
School of Natural Science (NS) students involve themselves in original scientific research. Areas of interest include environmental sciences, agricultural studies, health sciences, and more. Students can—and do—concentrate in almost every branch of science, from astronomy and bioengineering to marine ecology and genetics.