Williams College

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Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
Carnegie Classification
Baccalaureate Colleges: Arts & Sciences Focus
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Not applicable

Williams College is a private Little Ivy liberal arts college, located in Williamstown Massachusetts. Founded in 1793 with funds from the estate of Colonel Ephraim Williams, the school awards baccalaureate and masters degrees. Williams College was originally established as a men’s institution, but became co-educational in 1970, during which time fraternities also faded away. Williams College was recently named the number one liberal arts college in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report, and the school boasts a long list of notable alumni, including James Garfield, 20th President of the United States, as well as multiple foreign heads of state, and several United States Congressmen.

Academic Programs

Williams offers over 30 undergraduate majors, in the areas of humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Two master’s degrees are also offered, in art and development economics. No specific courses are required, however students must take at least three courses in arts and humanities; two writing-intensive courses; and one course designed to improve ability to reason mathematically and abstractly. In addition, students are required to take at least one course that examines how groups, cultures, and societies interact with, and challenge, one another in an effort to promote diversity.

Williams’ education is modeled after the tutorial systems of Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Originally geared towards upperclassmen, the tutorial program was expanded after a vote to do so was carried out in 2001. A diverse offering of tutorials now cater to the needs of students in all class years. Students meet with professors in pairs on a weekly basis and take turns developing independent work and critiquing it. Professor offers support and guidance as the students sharpen their critical thinking skills, improve their writing, develop ideas and defend positions. 60-70 tutorials are offered each year and more than half of Williams’ students take at least one tutorial during their stay.

Student Life

Out of Williams College’s 2,000+ enrollment figure, nearly all are undergraduate students. First-year students live in the larger residence halls within Frosh Quad and Mission Park, while Upperclass students are given the choice of a variety of residence halls. Seniors also are given the option of co-op housing and living off-campus. Numerous student organizations exist and most students become involved with at least one student-lead group.

Williams College sponsors over 30 men’s and women’s varsity teams, and the campus is also home to an active club and intramural sports program which offer a wide array of sports including equestrian, ultimate Frisbee, rugby, cycling, fencing, sailing, volleyball, water polo, and more. Over 60% of students participate in at least one varsity, junior varsity, or club team – Williams students are also required to take four physical education credits and pass a swim test in an effort to encourage students to develop healthy habits. William’s athletic teams are nicknamed the Ephs (rhyming with “chiefs” – a shortened version of founder Ephraim Williams’ name) and the college is a member of the NCAA Division III and the New England Small College Athletic Conference.

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