Amherst College

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School Overview

Amherst College is a privately owned and operated liberal arts college located in the city of Amherst, in the State of Massachusetts, USA. Amherst is an undergraduate institutions that provides a comprehensive selection of four-year bachelor degree programs in over 35 fields of study. It has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the No.2 liberal arts college in the nation. Forbes ranked Amherst 13th among all colleges and universities in the United States.

Amherst College has several unique qualities that attract students from around the nation and world. For example, Amherst College requires students to take only a few general requirements, a process known as open curriculum. Students are only required to complete credits for their major and a freshmen seminar. Most classes at Amherst College average 15 students. As a result, professors are more accessible to students.

Students have plenty of opportunity to socialize and mingle at Amherst College since there are over 100 student organizations on campus. Starting new clubs at Amherst College is simple and available to all students. Most students live on campus, so it’s also easy to make new friends at Amherst College.

Higher education is expensive; however, Amherst College is dedicated to making college affordable for admitted students. Scholarships, loans, and federal grants are available for students relying on financial assistance.

Amherst College adheres to needs-blind admissions. Every applicant, regardless of their socio-economic status, is considered solely on academic merit and potential for success. In other words, even students without the ability to pay for school will be considered for admittance at Amherst College.

Amherst belongs to the Five College Consortium, comprised of four liberal arts colleges and one university, which include Amherst, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. While each member of the consortium are independent they work together to provide mutually beneficial programs for their students. Students enrolled at any one of the institutions belonging to the consortium can often take courses offered at other member institutions.

Surprisingly, Amherst has a close relationship with its arch rivals Williams College and Wesleyan University. Together these three colleges form an unofficial athletic conference known as the “Little Three”.


Amherst College offers accredited Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in over 36 fields of study which comprise over 850 individual courses. Amherst offers programs in the arts, sciences, social sciences, classics, mathematical sciences, computer sciences, humanities, foreign languages and various multi-/interdisciplinary fields, including premedicine. Unlike most other undergraduate liberal arts colleges and unversities, Amherst employs an open curriculum model. Students are not required to take any core curriculum courses and in many cases are able to design their entire major from start to finish. Many classes include a distribution of both freshmen and seniors, as Amherst students are free to take any course offering they choose, regardless of level.

The only universal academic requirement is that freshmen participate in one of about twenty “First-Year Seminars” that are offered throughout the year. The seminars are small (typically no more than 15 students) and address a number of topics and focus on helping student develop critical analysis, writing and verbal communication skills. The remaining 31 courses required for graduation are chosen by the students themselves. While students are not required to fulfill any core curriculum requirements, they are still require to complete the departmental course requirements for their major, and pass all exams at a satisfactory level.

Each major department employs faculty advisors that focus on helping students through the process of selecting and organizing their major courses. Advisors are assigned to no more than 5 freshmen students at a time to ensure each student receives adequate attention. Students are able to turn to their advisor for advice and counsel throughout their undergraduate education at Amherst.

Many of the students at Amherst complete double majors. In fact, over 33% of the graduating class in 2007 were double majors. A few students even triple major and others work with their advisors to develop unique interdisciplinary majors. Over half of Amherst students write a thesis during their senior year. Each student who writes a these is assigned an additional advisor (faculty member) who has expertise in the area addressed by the selected thesis topic. Nearly 80% of Amherst students go on to attend graduate school sometime after graduation.

Intensive writing is a skill stressed at Amherst College. In fact, intensive writing is a priority at all levels of instruction and is integrated into courses taught in all majors across campus. Undergraduate students at Amherst can expected to develop and enhance the form, depth, substance and logic of their writing throughout their undergraduate education. Second only to intensive writing, quantitative analysis is another skill faculty and professors stress in their classes and curriculum.

As students are open to develop their own unique curriculum, Amherst has a relatively high number of students that pursue degrees in interdisciplinary fields. Amherst was the first undergraduate college to have interdisciplinary majors in Neuroscience; American Studies; and Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought. It also offers several up-and-coming interdisciplinary majors in Asian Languages and Civilizations.


Amherst is one of the most selective undergraduate liberal arts colleges in the nation. For the entering class of 2016, Amherst received about 8,500 applications. From that pool of applicants it accepted just over 1,100, about thirteen percent. Most entering freshmen have entrance test scores that place them in the top fifth of those for freshman applying to bachelor degree granting institutions nationwide. About half (49%) of entering freshman are male and the remaining are female. Over 80% of entering freshmen are in the top 10% of their graduating class in high school and nearly all rank in the top 25% of their high school class. The median SAT score for entering freshmen at Amherst falls between 670 and 770 for critical reading, 670 and 760 for writing, and 670 and 760 for math. The median ACT composite for entering freshman falls between 30 and 34.

For transfer students, the admissions process is even more selective. For 2012, the admission rate for transfer students was just over 4%. Of the roughly 500 transfer students that applied to Amherst College only 21 were admitted.


Since U.S. News and World Report started ranking colleges many years ago, Amherst College has been ranked the No.1 liberal arts college in the nation more than ten times. As recent as 2013, U.S. News ranked Amherst second overall out of 266 liberal arts colleges, outranked only by Williams College.

Just a few years ago Forbes ranked Amherst College No.13 on its list of best colleges and universities in the United States. That same year Amherst was ranked No.4 by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance publication on its list of best value liberal arts colleges in the country.

The National Collegiate Scouting Association which ranks colleges based on various factors relating to student-athlete academic performance (e.g., graduation rate, GPA/academic strength, etc.) ranked Amherst College No.2 in the nation among peer institutions.

In several rankings produced by The Princeton Review, including “Top 10 Best Value Private Schools”, Amherst College has been ranked among the top 20 higher education institutions in the nation. The Washington Monthly ranked Amherst No.7 in the nation based on the amount of research the college performs, grants awarded to the school, percent of students who attend graduate school after graduation, and for the level of public service the school provides.

Amherst is one of a growing number of colleges and universities across the U.S. that participates in the University and College Accountability Network (U-CAN), a system that provides students and their parents with comparative information on colleges and universities nationwide. Students can compare different higher education institutions based on a number of criteria such as cost of tuition, majors/programs, financial assistance, admission rates, campus safety, etc. U-CAN was developed by the National Association of Independent Colleges and University (NAICU).

Commitment to Excellence in Teaching

Amherst College serves a shining example of excellence in higher education teaching. The college facilitates a very high level of interaction between its students and professors and is recognized by most in higher education academia for its superior quality of teaching. Other top institutions, including Columbia and Harvard University, have reviewed Amherst’s teaching model when reviewing their own teaching models.

Amherst maintains a very low student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1 and a class size that averages no more then 15 students, whereby ensuring that each students receives the individual attention they need to excel academically. Amherst recognized that the highest level of teaching and learning occurs when the time students and professors interact is maximized. Where many institutions of “higher learning” rate their professors based on scholarly work and research, Amherst gauges the quality of its professors by the scholarly work they perform as well as the success of the student they teach. Amherst professor strive to help their students learn, explore and create by finding new teaching methods that are engaging and innovative.

General Information

Admission Office
PO Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2328
Fax: (413) 542-2040

Contact: Katharine Fretwell
Director of Admission & Senior Associate Dean of Admission
Main Address
PO Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2000

Total undergrads: 1,697
First-time degree-seeking freshmen: 439
Degree-seeking undergrads: 1,697

Rural setting
Large town (10,000 – 49,999)
Residential campus

Degrees offered:


Tuition & Fees

Estimated Annual Expenses 2008-’09 2009-’10 2010-’11 2011-’12 % change 2010-’12
Tuition and fees $36,884 $38,310 $38,928 $40,862 +4.97%
Books and Supplies $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 0.00%
Living Arrangement – On Campus
Room and Board $9,420 $9,790 $10,150 $10,660 +5.02%
Other $1,700 $1,800 $1,800 $1,800 0.00%
Living Arrangement – Off Campus
Room and Board $0 $0 $0 $0 0.00%
Other $0 $0 $0 $0 0.00%
Total Expenses 2008-’09 2009-’10 2010-’11 2011-’12 % change 2010-’12
In-state On Campus $49,004 $50,900 $51,878 $54,322 +4.71%
In-state Off Campus $37,884 $39,310 $39,928 $41,862 +4.84%
In-state with Family $37,884 $39,310 $39,928 $41,862 +4.84%

Financial Aid

Full-time Beginning Undergraduate Students
Type of Aid Students Percent Amount Average Per Student
All students financial aid 305 70%
Grant or scholarship aid 221 50% $7,822,195 $35,395
• Federal grants 74 17% $351,277 $4,747
• Pell grants 57 13% $217,277 $3,812
• Other federal grants 69 16% $134,000 $1,942
State/local government grant or scholarships 17 4% $34,196 $2,012
Institutional grants or scholarships 221 50% $7,436,722 $33,650
Student loan aid 73 17% $393,861 $5,395
• Federal student loans 56 13% $244,136 $4,360
• Other student loans 25 6% $149,725 $5,989

All Degrees and Programs

Total of All Education Programs 514
Area, Gender, Cultural, Ethnic, and Group Studies 37
African-american/black Studies 13
American/united States Studies/civilization 5
Asian Studies/civilization 12
European Studies/civilization 2
Women’s Studies 5
Biology and Biomedical Sciences 34
Biology and Biological Sciences, General 20
Neuroscience 14
Computing and Information Sciences 9
Computer Science 9
English Language, Composition and Literature/letters 52
English Language and Literature 52
Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 54
Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 4
Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Other
French Language and Literature 26
German Language and Literature 2
Latin Language and Literature
Russian Language and Literature 4
Spanish Language and Literature 18
History 37
History 37
Mathematics and Statistics 21
Mathematics 21
Multi-/interdisciplinary Studies 6
Multi-/interdisciplinary Studies, Other 6
Natural Resources and Conservation 10
Environmental Studies 10
Physical Sciences 34
Chemistry 14
Geology and Earth Science 12
Physics 8
Psychology 55
Psychology 55
Social Sciences 135
Anthropology 12
Economics 57
Political Science and Government 56
Sociology 10
Visual and Performing Arts 30
Art/art Studies 14
Drama and Dramatics/theatre Arts 5
Music 11
Above data represents first majors only.
(-) Indicates that a program is not offered at this level.

Admissions Information

Application Fee

College has an application fee: Yes

Regular application fee: $60

Online application fee: $60
Enrollment Rates

Percent applicants admitted: 13%

Admissions Considerations
Secondary school GPA: Recommended
Secondary school rank: Recommended
Secondary school record: Required
College-prepartory program: Recommended
Recommendations: Required
Demonstration of competencies: Recommended
Admission test scores (SAT/ACT): Required
TOEFL: Required

Undergraduate Admissions Fall 2011
Number of Applicants: 8,460
Percent Admitted: 13%
Percented Admitted Who Enrolled: 41%

Test Scores: Fall 2011

SAT Critical Reading

  • 660 (25th Percentile)
  • 760 (75th Percentile)

SAT Math

  • 660 (25th Percentile)
  • 770 (75th Percentile)

SAT Writing

  • 670 (25th Percentile)
  • 770 (75th Percentile)

ACT Composite

  • 30 (25th Percentile)
  • 34 (75th Percentile)

ACT English

  • 31 (25th Percentile)
  • 35 (75th Percentile)

ACT Math

  • 29 (25th Percentile)
  • 34 (75th Percentile)

Enrollment Statistics

Undergraduate Attendance Status

Undergraduate Student Gender

Undergraduate Student Age

Undergraduate Student Residence

Undergraduate Race/Ethnicity

Retention and Graduation Rates

Retention Rates for First-Time Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees

Overall Graduation and Transfer-Out Rates for Students

Graduation Rates for Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees

6-Year Graduation Rate by Gender for Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees

6-Year Graduation Rate by Race/Ethnicity for Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees

Undergraduate Majors

Area, Ethnic, Cultural, & Gender Studies

African Studies B
African-American Studies B
American Studies B
Asian Studies B
Central/Eastern European Studies B
European Studies B
Western European Studies B
Women’s Studies B

Arts, Visual & Performing

Dance B
Drama/Theater Arts B
Fine/Studio Arts B
Music – General B

Biological & Biomedical Sciences

Biology B

Computer & Information Sciences

Computer Science B

English Language & Literature

English Language & Literature – General B

Foreign Language & Literature

Classics B
French B
German B
Greek, Ancient B
Latin B
Russian B
Spanish B


History – General B

Law & Legal Studies

Law & Legal Studies – General B


Mathematics – General B

Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies

Mathematics/Computer Science B
Neuroscience B

Philosophy & Religion

Philosophy B
Religion/Religious Studies B

Physical Sciences

Astronomy B
Chemistry B
Geology B
Physics B


Psychology – General B

Social Sciences

Anthropology B
Economics B
Political Science/Government B
Sociology B

Degree levels for each major are designated by the following letters:

    A = Associate degree
    B = Bachelor’s degree
    C = Certificate or diploma

*We do not guarantee the accuracy of information on this page. All information is subject to change. You should confirm all information with a college admissions officer.

Amherst College Highlights

School Information

Phone Number: (413) 542-2000
Type of School: 4-year, Private non-profit
Apply Online:
Address: Boltwood Avenue, Amherst, MA 01002-5000
Setting: Suburb: Large
Campus Housing: Yes

Students & Programs

Student Population: 1,839
6-yr Graduation Rate (Bachelor's): 95%
Student-to-faculty Ratio: 7 to 1
Distance Learning Programs:
Distance Learning Students*: 1,839 (100% of total students)
Degree Levels Offered: Bachelor's

* Students taking at least 1 distance learning course

Tuition & Financial Aid*

In-state Tuition: $58,640
Out-of-state Tuition: $58,640
% of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 68%
Avg. Amount of Grant or Scholarship Aid Awarded: $57,627

* Full-time beginning undergraduate students. Financial aid is available to those who qualify.

Amherst College Programs

See the degree programs that are offered at Amherst College.

Degree Name Cert Assoc Bach Mast Doct
Architecture and Related Services 1
Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, and Group Studies 6
Biological and Biomedical Sciences 3
Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services 1
English Language and Literature/Letters 1
Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 5
History 1
Legal Professions and Studies 1
Mathematics and Statistics 2
Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 1
Natural Resources and Conservation 1
Philosophy and Religious Studies 2
Physical Sciences 4
Psychology 1
Social Sciences 5
Visual and Performing Arts 4
Grand total 39

* Based on programs that produced 2019-2020 graduates

Tuition & Financial Aid

See what it costs to enroll at Amherst College and how many students are receiving scholarships, grants, or loans as financial aid to help cover the costs of tuition.

Undergraduate Student Tuition

Average tuition and fees for academic year:

Tuition and Fees 2019-2020
In-state $58,640
Out-of-state $58,640
Books and supplies $1,000

Graduate Student Tuition

Average tuition and fees for academic year:

Tuition and Fees 2019-2020
In-state $0
Out-of-state $0

Undergraduate Student Financial Aid, 2018-2019

Full-time Beginning Undergraduate Students

Type of Aid Number Receiving Aid % Receiving Aid Avg. Amt. of Aid
Any student financial aid 337 68%
Grant or scholarship aid 305 62% $57,627
Student loan aid 89 18% $7,348

All Undergraduate Students

Type of Aid Number Receiving Aid % Receiving Aid Avg. Amt. of Aid
Grant or scholarship aid 1,107 60% $53,192
Federal student loans 291 16% $5,241

Admissions & Enrollment

See the admission requirements for Amherst College. Find out how many students apply and how many are accepted. View a graphical breakdown of the gender, age, and ethnicity of currently enrolled Amherst College students.

Undergraduate Admissions, Fall 2020

Total Male Female
Number of applicants 10,568 4,776 5,792
Percent admitted 100% 12% 11%
Percent admitted who enrolled 4% 5% 4%

Admissions Considerations

Required Recommended Optional
Secondary school GPA
Secondary school rank
Secondary school record
Completion of college-preparatory program
Formal demonstration of competencies
Admission test scores
Other Test (Wonderlic, WISC-III, etc.)
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language

Amherst College Enrollment, Fall 2020

Total Enrollment 1,839
Undergraduate enrollment 1,839
Graduate enrollment 0

Undergraduate Attendance

Undergraduate Gender

Undergraduate Age

Undergraduate Race/Ethnicity

Undergraduate Distance Education

Undergraduates taking 100%, Some, or No Distance Education

Graduate Distance Education

Graduate students taking 100%, Some, or No Distance Education

Amherst College Accreditation

This institution is accredited by New England Commission of Higher Education

Specialized institution accreditations:

*General information for this school has been gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) database, a service provided by the U.S. Department of Education. does not guarantee the accuracy of information on this page. All information is subject to change. You should confirm all information with a college admissions officer.

If you work for a school and would like to update your data please contact us.

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