Proudly called the birthplace of basketball – invented by faculty member James Naismith – Springfield College has a fascinating and unusual history. Springfield College became known early on as one of the centers of physical education and fitness in America; not only basketball, but competitive bodybuilding as a sport was invented at Springfield, and a Springfield alumnus invented volleyball. When it was founded in 1885, Springfield College was a simple 2-year training program for YMCA administrators, but when the school began expanding into physical education degrees, it became a pioneer in health and recreation. Today, Springfield College is ranked a top 30 regional college for the North by U.S. News & World Report, a status that has been rising steadily for years.
Academic ProgramsFrom its very beginnings as the International YMCA College, Springfield College’s curriculum has been driven by its Humanics philosophy – the classical triangle of physical, spiritual, and intellectual growth and development. For the most part, Springfield College operates as a traditional liberal arts college, with a small student body, low student:faculty ratio (13:1), and more than 40 undergraduate degree programs. Of course, Springfield’s School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation is one of the most trusted and acclaimed in the field, having influenced the field for nearly a century and a half. The School of Health is also a member of the American Kinesiology Association.
In addition to its highly-ranked undergraduate programs, Springfield College is known for its outreach to adult learners, with 8 extension campuses throughout the nation, from Boston, MA, as far away as Wisconsin and California. Graduate programs in areas like Art Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Physical Education – including doctoral degrees – are among Springfield’s greatest strengths. Springfield College also offers master’s degrees from the School of Professional and Continuing Studies (the Master’s in Human Services) and from the School of Social Work (the Master of Social Work).
Student LifeWith its student body of around 5000 – more than half of them traditional undergraduates – Springfield College has a strong collegiate student life that revolves around its central campus. In addition to the traditional campus, East Campus is made up of more than 80 acres of forest, a place for outdoor research and recreation just a mile from the main campus. With its Humanics foundation, Springfield takes community engagement very seriously; besides service learning opportunities written into the curriculum of various courses, Springfield has the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, the Center for Service and Leadership, and a community bike shop for outreach.
A sizeable student body means many opportunities for involvement, and more than 70 student-led clubs and organizations ensure that there’s a place for every student. Everything from student government and professional development to musical ensembles and recreation – like the ski and snowboarding club, or the Outing Club – are available to Springfield students. The Springfield College Pride compete in the NCAA Division III New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference. Obviously, Springfield has a long tradition of varsity basketball, but it is also home to one of the winningest wrestling teams, and a newly sponsored football program.