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The Academic Program

Instead of freshman year, sophomore year, and so on, Hampshire students qualify for a Bachelor of Arts degree by completing a full-time program composed of three levels, or Divisions, of study.

The underlying philosophy holds that after exploring widely and deeply, students become the architects and builders of their own academic programs.

The Divisional System at a Glance:

Division I: Basic Studies
Students pursue foundational studies in the liberal arts by designing a first-year curriculum in which they satisfy distribution requirements in various areas of study and develop competence in the four core cumulative academic skills. Semester 1
Semester 2
Division II: The Concentration
Students explore their chosen field(s) of emphasis (the concentration) through an individually designed program of courses, independent work, and internships or field studies. In addition to these requirements, students in Division II must include volunteer services to Hampshire or the surrounding community as a part of their Hampshire education and demonstrate an understanding or an engagement with multiple cultural perspectives as they relate to their course of study. Semester 3
Semester 4
Semester 5
Semester 6
Division III: Advanced Study
Students complete a major independent project centered on a specific topic, question, or idea as well as two advanced educational activities. In the advanced activities, students are asked to look beyond the specific focus of their work by integrating their work into the larger academic life of the College by engaging in advanced courses, internships, or teaching assistant positions. Semester 7
Semester 8


Cumulative Skills

The three levels or "divisions" of study serve the aim of accomplishing Hampshire's four core cumulative skills goals:

  • Write analytically and apply informed research practices
  • Understand and apply quantitative methods of analysis and reasoning
  • Successfully conceive and complete independent project-based work
  • Understand and incorporate multiple cultural perspectives on intellectual or artistic subjects


Students who entered Hampshire College prior to fall 2011 should refer to the previous academic program description.

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