Amherst College of Amherst, Massachusetts is a private Little Ivy liberal arts college and an exclusively undergraduate, four-year institution. Ranked as the second best liberal arts college in the nation (by U.S. News & World Report), Amherst College is the third oldest institution of higher education in the state of Massachusetts. Amherst sits on a rural 1,000 acre campus and has historically close relationships and rivalries with William College and Wesleyan University, which form the “Little Three”. An unofficial athletic conference that began in 1899, the competing universities were nicknamed the “Little Three” in 1920 in contrast to the “Big Three” (Harvard, Yale, and Princeton). Amherst alumni include an impressive list of Pulitzer Prize winners, National Medal of Science and National Book Award recipients, Academy, Tony, Grammy, and Emmy award winners, world leaders, three speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives, and one United States president, Calvin Coolidge.
Amherst boasts an unusually open curriculum with majors offered in the arts, sciences, social sciences, and humanities. In addition, students have the option to carry multiple majors, creating their own interdisciplinary major or engaging in independent scholarship. Nearly forty majors are offered, including American Studies; Anthropology & Sociology; Architectural Studies; Biochemistry and Biophysics; Black Studies; Computer Science; Environmental Studies; Geology; Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought; Mathematics & Statistics; Physics and Astronomy; Political Science; Psychology; Religion; Theater & Dance and many more. Approximately 40% of students study abroad, choosing from over 200 programs available around the world, living in countries ranging from Cuba to Sri Lanka, Mali to Madagascar.
Amherst is also a member of the Five Colleges Consortium, which allows students to attend classes at four other Pioneer Valley institutions, including Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Hampshire College and University of Massachusetts Amherst. All of the five schools are located within close proximity to one another, with buses connecting each campus. Through the Consortium, Amherst students are able to access over 8 million library volumes and have an expanded set of over 5,000 course options in addition to the 800+ courses already available on campus.
Over 1,700 students are enrolled at Amherst, and nearly all choose to live on campus. Student housing is guaranteed for all four years; first year students live in new or renovated residencies on the Main Quad. Self-described as fostering a proud, vibrant, and caring student life environment, approximately 100 different autonomous student organizations exist on Amherst’s campus including groups centered around activism and community service; religious and cultural affinity groups; intramural sports teams; arts clubs; newspapers and journals; debate team; radio station; and more.
Amherst College is said to have the oldest athletics program in the nation, pointing back to the compulsory physical fitness program that was begun in 1860. Today, over a third of Amherst students participate in varsity sports and the school has nearly 30 varsity teams, including football. Amherst’s faculties include playing fields, an 8,000-square-foot fitness center, a pool, courts and an ice rink. Amherst’s sports teams participate in the NCAA’s Division III, the Eastern Athletic Conference, as well as the New England Small College Athletic Conference.