Hampshire’s pedagogy develops each student’s ability to question, research, analyze, write, negotiate, and undertake substantial independent projects, competencies that graduate schools and employers seek in their ideal candidates. Hampshire's interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to education produces remarkable results.
100% of students completed at least two community-engaged learning activities (CEL-1 and CEL-2) , which involve combining formal classroom study of a particular issue with direct real-world exposure to that issue in a community setting.
93% of students completed at least one internship, research assistantship, or similar activity. 70% of students completed two or more before their graduation.
65% of our alumni earn advanced degrees within ten years of graduating.
89% of Hampshire alumni report receiving a job offer within one year of graduation.
Top 3% of the nation’s colleges whose graduates go on to earn a research doctorate.
1 in 4 of our graduates have started their own business or organization.
Six Ways Hampshire's Academic Program is Different
1. Hampshire offers no traditional majors; instead, students design their own program of study, commonly examining questions through the lenses of several disciplines. Hampshire is often described as a graduate school model for undergraduates. Students do not progress through a freshman-through-senior cycle; instead, the College’s Divisional System guides the student year-by-year as they develop their own academic concentration, negotiate their studies with faculty advisers in a rigorous environment, and complete a yearlong advanced study project in their final year that is the capstone of their undergraduate experience.
2. Faculty advise students more intensively than at other colleges, as our professors give them choices in pursuing significant questions of interest and then challenge them to justify those choices. “We meet with students in committees, two faculty to every one student through their second, third, and fourth year of study. In their final year, they have to design and carry out a year-long project over which they have a great deal of agency, advised by a committee of faculty they recruit. This sounds a lot like graduate school, and our students are not daunted by the thought of graduate school. They know what it is and how to do it.”
3. Courses are not the only sites of learning for Hampshire students, who engage in a variety of learning activities and environments including independent study, internships, community engagement, social action, lab work, and teaching assistantships. “Students often act as a TA in their fourth year, or earlier,” “So, they have some experience in the roles of educator and leader, and can imagine themselves in those roles beyond Hampshire.”
4. Hampshire professors do not give grades but instead assess each student’s performance by writing narrative evaluations. The College has found that a written report on progress is exponentially more informative for learning, giving students meaningful, constructive feedback they can learn from and act on, with a long-term benefit of a more thorough and insightful transcript after graduation.
5. Since it was founded in 1970, Hampshire has given applicants the option of not submitting SAT or ACT scores. In 2014, the College's research revealed the scores did not predict success at Hampshire, so the College stopped accepting standardized test scores for admissions altogether, becoming the only college in the U.S. not accepting the scores for admissions.
6. The College is committed to education as a vehicle for social impact, and each student incorporates multiple cultural perspectives and performs community-engaged work, such as through internships and research assistantships.
In 1958, a committee representing the presidents of four distinguished institutions--Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts--wrote “The New College Plan,” the basis for Hampshire’s philosophy and pedagogy. Hampshire remains partnered with its four founding institutions as the Five Colleges, one of the oldest and most successful educational consortia, which enables students at each institution a breadth of shared academic and extracurricular resources.
In Hampshire’s Divisional System, students complete three divisions of progressively more self-directed study: Division I (year 1), exploration; Division II (years 2 and 3), concentration; and Division III (year 4), creation and advanced study. Mentored each year by faculty advisers, the student develops competence in their concentration as well as in four key College-wide learning goals: analytical writing and research, quantitative analysis and reasoning, independent project-based work, and multiple cultural perspectives.
Hampshire’s results extend to other notable outcomes:
Here is a link to some of the rationale behind a Hampshire's educational benefits