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Designing an Open Liberal Arts Curriculum at Amherst

Amherst College appears in our ranking of the 50 Most Affordable Colleges that Meet Significant Financial Need.

Boasting 96 percent retention, Amherst College delivers 850+ courses each term at an interactive 8:1 student-professor ratio for customizing 38 Bachelor of Arts options without core requirements. For example, the Architectural Studies Major launched in 2012 encompasses the history and technical design of building construction. Chaired by Dr. Elen Boucher, the European Studies Major broadens cultural awareness with one junior semester abroad from Sweden to Slovakia. The Film & Media Studies Major participates in the Annual Five College Student Video Festival for hands-on artistic practice curating movies. Partnered with the Beneski Museum of Natural History, the Geology Major surveys Earth’s diverse surfaces via six-week field camps. Other Amherst majors include Astronomy, Computer Science, Philosophy, Music, Latin American Studies, Theatre & Dance, Classical Civilization, Economics, Jurisprudence, Biophysics, Religion, Mathematics, Asian Languages, and Sociology.

About Amherst College

Amherst College originated in December 1814 when Amherst Academy opened in honor of the Seven Years’ War Commander-in-Chief Jeffrey Amherst. On August 18, 1818, its Board of Trustees approved the building of a Christian liberal arts school. By 1821, Rev. Zephaniah Swift Moore was welcoming an inaugural class of 47 men to Amherst Collegiate Institution. Chartered in 1825, Amherst erected Morgan Library in 1853 with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s donation. In 1881, it became one of America’s first colleges awarding Latin honors. In October 1963, President John F. Kennedy made his last public appearance at its 1,000-acre Pioneer Valley campus with the Dickinson Homestead. Coeducational since 1974, Amherst College also launched the first-ever neuroscience and Black studies programs that year. Endowed for $2.24 billion, Amherst now employs 209 full-time faculty teaching 1,849 Mammoths and runs 150+ clubs like Pride Alliance.

The U.S. News & World Report ranked Amherst the second best national liberal arts college, eighth most innovative school, and 16th best undergrad institution. On Niche, Amherst boasts America’s fourth most diversity, ninth best English degree, 13th top history department, and 22nd best athletics. Times Higher Education placed Amherst College 22nd overall. Forbes picked Amherst for the 15th best private education and 10th most value-added tuition. Money magazine deemed Amherst the 70th top value with a 20-year PayScale ROI of $406,000. The Princeton Review noticed Amherst College for the 15th best financial aid. College Factual honored Amherst with the country’s 79th best statistics, 50th top legal studies, and 48th best anthropology programs. WalletHub positioned Amherst 30th for faculty resources and 20th for student selectivity. LinkedIn also proclaimed Amherst College the 12th best choice for investment bankers.

Amherst College Accreditation Details

On April 15, 2018, Amherst College hosted an evaluation team from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) to restart the 10-year Level II accreditation cycle under its 19th president, Dr. Biddy Martin, who earned a Society for the Humanities Faculty Fellow Award. Based 86 miles east via Massachusetts Route 2 in Burlington, this superb six-state Northeast accreditor is authorized by the U.S. Education Department to give Amherst baccalaureates Federal Title-IV eligibility. Its Five College Consortium is an approved member of the Association for Consortium Leadership (ACL). The Mead Art Museum at Amherst is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) too.

Amherst College Application Requirements

Enrolling at Amherst College is classified “very difficult” by Peterson’s because just 1,198 of the 9,285 Fall 2017 applicants were welcomed for selective 13 percent acceptance. First-year Mammoths venturing into the Class of 2021 represented 222 high schools with strong college-prep diplomas. Ninety-four percent of freshmen ranked in the top quartile of their graduating class. Taking four years each of English and Math plus AP courses is preferred. On average, undergrads present a 4.07 GPA with straight As. For the SAT, admitted students report a median 720 Reading and 710 Math mark. Scoring between 30 and 36 on the ACT also qualifies. Bachelor’s transfers need 32 liberal arts credits from other accredited colleges and 3.0 GPAs or higher. International learners from 50+ nations prove English ability with a minimum 600 TOEFL pBT, 100 TOEFL iBT, or 7.5 IELTS composite score.

Amherst College enforces a November 1st Early Decision and January 1st Regular Decision deadline for freshmen. Undergrad transfers have until November 1st for Spring and March 1st for Fall enrollment. Full-time visiting students of the Twelve College Exchange can only apply for Spring Term until December 1st though. Hopeful Mammoths submit the QuestBridge, Coalition, or Common Application online for $65. Students from families making under $65,000 request the QuickPass fee waiver. Official transcripts and school reports get mailed to 220 South Pleasant Street in Amherst, MA 01002. For test results, use SAT code 3003 or ACT code 1774. Attach items like the Writing Supplement, counselor recommendation, two teacher evaluations, Early Decision Agreement, extracurriculars list, and SlideRoom portfolio. Forward any questions to admission@amherst.edu or (413) 542-2328.

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2018-19, Amherst College is charging full-time bachelor’s tuition of $27,760 per semester or $55,520 annually. Undergrads pay a $120 residential life fee, $84 Campus Center fee, and $702 activities fee each year. Unless waived, full-year health insurance costs $1,938. Optional tuition insurance is $81 for nine months. Living at the Hampshire County campus’ 34 dorms like Charles Pratt Hall adds $7,990 for housing. Standard meal plans for Valentine Dining Hall are priced $6,750 extra. Amherst budgets $1,000 for learning supplies, $1,800 for personal items, and $2,500 for travel. Annual attendance equals around $75,954 on-site and $61,214 at home.

According to the NCES College Navigator, the Financial Aid Department in Converse Hall gets 62 percent of full-time Amherst Mammoths big packages averaging $48,235 each for $52.67 million total. Rather than academic merit, the Amherst College Scholarship provides need-based funds by CSS Profiles coded 3003. Submitting the FAFSA application with code 002115 evaluates for Federal Pell and FSEOG Grant eligibility. The Federal Work-Study program pays at least $11/hour at campus employers, such as Frost Library and the Alumni Office. Borrowing Federal Direct Stafford, Parent PLUS, and Amherst Student loans could fill gaps. Section 529 College Savings Plans are another useful tool. Massachusetts residents could pursue the $2,500 Gilbert Matching Grant, MASS Grant, DCF Foster Tuition Waiver, September 11th Tragedy Tuition Waiver, and Christian Herter Memorial Scholarship. The QuestBridge College Match Scholarship offers four-year, full-tuition awards at partners, including Amherst. Many students also achieve top fellowships like the Fulbright Grant, Beinecke Scholarship, Rhodes Scholarship, Udall Scholarship, and Critical Language Grant.

Learn more about the engaged, inquiry-based bachelor’s academics at the Amherst College website.