Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary field devoted to the study of the mind, the brain, and computing technology. Hampshire's diverse program serves students with interests in many areas, including psychology, philosophy, linguistics, neuroscience, biology, animal behavior, computer science, anthropology, education, child development, learning, digital multimedia, and the social effects of new information technology.
Hampshire's educational approach emphasizes individual choice and development. Just as the college attracts creative students who question the status quo, it also appeals to professors who are excited about opportunities to experiment with innovative methods of teaching and learning and are keen to co-teach with colleagues. Hampshire's flexible academic structure gives professors the freedom to explore connections and develop courses related to their own and their students' scholarly interests.
Because Hampshire's curriculum is deliberately not fixed many of Hampshire's courses change each year. Courses descriptions that follow reflect a sampling of those that have been offered at Hampshire over the past three years. Students may expect to see a similar choice during their time here.
Hampshire College courses are divided into three levels. The 100 (Exploratory) and 200 (Foundational) courses are open to all students. The 300 (Advanced) courses, designed primarily for upper-division students, require previous background.
First-Year Tutorials: First-year tutorials are small classes taught by a students' academic advisor, and are designed to introduce first-year students to Hampshire and to college life. Organized as small seminars, tutorials are offered by faculty in each of the schools, and are designed especially for entering students. Tutorials develop academic content areas, cultivate methods of inquiry, and introduce students to the larger academic life of the college. They are also devoted to developing foundational intellectual skills essential to the pursuit of learning. For example, students will examine how to work through an analytical process, assay evidence and inference, and organize an argument; read thoughtfully, critically, and imaginatively; write with clarity, economy, and cogency; and make efficient use of resources and the tools of research documentation.
First-year tutorials are also the focus for Division I advising. Each tutorial will be led by a faculty member who serves as the academic advisor for each student enrolled in the course. The advisor is responsible for monitoring and evaluating each advisee's academic progress throughout the Division I process. Advisors also provide general academic advice to aid in course selection, academic development, and the transition to advanced study in Division II and III.
100 Exploratory Courses: Often seminars, these courses are designed to introduce students to the conceptual tools necessary for college work in general and the Hampshire examination process in particular. Besides providing specific subject content, these courses emphasize individual attention to students' needs and interests, engage students directly in the excitement of learning, and allow the opportunity for close faculty/student relationships and evaluation of students' skills and preparation.
200 Foundational Courses: These courses explore subject matter needed by students in any division. These can be "skills courses" (statistics, computer programming, and dance techniques); they can be general survey or introduction-to-the-field courses, designed to convey a large body of information (e.g., introduction to economics); they can be "foundational" in that they present the combination of skills and concepts that are required for any further work in the area (e.g., Film and Photo I); or they can cover a body of central theories or methodologies.
300 Advanced Seminars and Courses: These are taught on an advanced level and presume some background or experience on the part of the student.