Amherst College is located in Amherst, Massachusetts. A small town in the western part of the state, Amherst is home to 35,000 residents and the 1,000 acre Amherst College campus. Amherst College has come to be known as a premier liberal arts college among the nation’s best. Currently, about 1,700 students are instructed by over 200 full-time faculty members on campus.
Diversity is fundamental to the Amherst mission. According to Amherst College President Anthony W. Marx, “Our responsibility remains to select the best of diverse students, so that they may come here and learn from each other.” The student body includes men and women from all over the U.S. and more than 40 other countries.
With more than 20,000 graduates, Amherst has a distinguished group of alumni representing almost every walk of life including Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, a U.S. Supreme Court chief justice, and a U.S. President.
Amherst is a member of the Five Colleges, a consortium with nearby Smith, Mount Holyoke and Hampshire Colleges and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Students may take courses at any of the colleges, and the schools’ proximity adds to Amherst’s rich social and extracurricular life.
Amherst offers the B.A. degree in 36 fields of study including: American Studies, Astronomy, Computer Science, English, Film and Media Studies, Physics, Mathematics, Music, Theater, a number of foreign languages and more. Overall, more than 800 different courses are offered at the college. Distance Learning is not currently offered at Amherst but may be in the future.
To help students fully explore the liberal arts, faculty members and advisors offer guidance to students at every stage of their open curriculum. Open curriculum means that there are no core or general education requirements. Students take a First Year Seminar and classes required for their major. Beyond this, students are free to design their own curriculum. New students will have a group of about 50 professors as well as their own academic advisor to navigate the course selection process during orientation week.
First Year Seminar is taken by all incoming first-year students, who choose among 28 topics that range from Happiness to Thought Experiments in the Development of Physics. Students are encouraged by the seminar to venture into the unfamiliar and explore new ideas. Discussions based on interpretation of written text help students learn to develop analysis of argument in speech and writing.
The financial aid program at Amherst College is frequently cited as one of the best in the country. Amherst meets the full demonstrated need of every admitted student and offers generous scholarships. Students are not required to take out loans as part of their financial aid awards. Therefore, students graduate Amherst with no debt! This applies for international students as well.
Amherst is taking action to create opportunity for students to be engaged with the community. The Center for Community Engagement brings together Amherst students, faculty, alumni, and community partners. It creates opportunities for students to acquire the skills and experience necessary to become effective public problem solvers.
Amherst College seeks to foster a lifelong desire for learning in students. As part of its mission, Amherst also seeks to enlighten, care for, and advance society as a whole. The college’s motto of “let them give light to the world” and its Center for Community Engagement reflect this mission and help students become involved with the community. Students will enjoy the freedom of open curriculum, the peace of mind of being debt-free after college and of course, the beauty of Massachusetts when choosing to pursue a higher education at Amherst College.