Our Academic Philosophy

Hampshire is Personalized

Students design their own programs of study instead of following predetermined academic pathways (no "off-the-shelf" majors here).

Hampshire's divisional system provides the breadth of a liberal arts education and the depth of individualized areas of concentration.

Hampshire is Active

Students learn to be producers and creators of knowledge, rather than passive consumers of information.

Hampshire students engage in substantial independent research and creative work as they explore the questions that most concern them (rather than simply responding to questions posed by teachers).

Hampshire's learning process is

  • active, collaborative, inquiry-based;
  • discussion-rich, project-driven, writing-intensive;
  • challenging, pushing students beyond what they think they can achieve.

Hampshire is Multidisciplinary

The curriculum at most colleges is organized around traditional academic disciplines, such as biology, history, or mathematics, in separate departments. This departmentalization of subject areas artificially fragments the curriculum and disconnects ideas that are inherently linked.

Hampshire Uses Narrative Evaluations Instead of Grades

Because the purpose of evaluation is to give students meaningful, constructive feedback, faculty members provide extensive written feedback on papers and projects.

Detailed written evaluations reflect students' engagement and performance in courses, internships, field work, projects, study abroad, and other evaluated learning activities.

Our narrative evaluation system eliminates competition, enhancing Hampshire's collaborative learning community.

Graduate schools and employers appreciate Hampshire's comprehensive narrative transcript, which offers a level of detail not reflected on traditional transcripts.

A Hands-On Education

Students commonly combine several traditional disciplines or examine an issue or problem from a variety of academic perspectives.