Is Amherst a Liberal Arts College?

A discussion of the political leanings of Amherst College, and whether or not it can be accurately classified as a “liberal arts college.”

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Most people know that Amherst is a liberal arts college, but what exactly does that mean? A liberal arts education is based on the idea that a well-rounded person needs to know a little bit about everything. That’s why at Amherst, you’ll take classes in a wide range of subjects, from English to math to history. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore your interests through independent research and study abroad programs.

The History of Amherst

Amherst College is a private liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts. Founded in 1821 as an attempt to transition students away from religious orthodoxy, Amherst is considered one of the pioneering institutions of higher education in the United States. The college’s curriculum emphasizes independent study, interdisciplinary learning, and close relationships between students and faculty members. Students are free to take any course offered at the college, and there are no “core” requirements.

The Academics of Amherst

Amherst is a highly selective liberal arts college with an acceptance rate of 13%. The college is need-blind and meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need of all students. Located in Amherst, Massachusetts, the 1,000-acre campus features state of the art academic buildings, a historic downtown, and beautiful mountains nearby.

Amherst offers 36 courses of study and awards the B.A. and B.S. degrees in 24 majors. The most popular majors are English, Economics, Psychology, Biology, and History. Amherst also offers an Five College Consortium which gives students access to 500 courses at four other colleges: Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The student to faculty ratio at Amherst is 8:1 and the average class size is 15 students. The college has a semester-based academic calendar and uses a 5-4-4 schedule (5 courses per semester for 4 years).

The Student Body of Amherst

Amherst College is a private liberal arts college located in Amherst, Massachusetts. Founded in 1821 as an attempt to reconcile Congregationalist and Unitarian students, Amherst is the third oldest institution of higher education in Massachusetts. The college requires all students to complete a liberal arts curriculum, but allows for students to focus on specific areas of study within that curriculum. As of 2016, Amherst’s student body consisted of approximately 1,800 students from 48 states and 42 countries.

The Social Scene of Amherst

When it comes to the social scene of Amherst, some students say it’s pretty intense. The college is described as a “rat race” where everyone is trying to get ahead. The school has a reputation for being very competitive, and some students feel pressure to conform to a certain type of student. The social scene can be cliquey, and some students feel that they need to party in order to fit in. However, there are also many students who say that the social scene is what you make of it. There are lots of opportunities to get involved on campus, and there are a variety of different types of people at Amherst. It’s up to you to find your niche.

The Pros of Amherst

There are many reasons to believe that Amherst is a liberal arts college. For one, Amherst is a member of the prestigious Five Colleges consortium, which also includes Smith, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire, and Wesleyan. This means that students at Amherst have access to a broad range of courses and resources. Additionally, the Amherst curriculum includes a strong emphasis on the liberal arts, with required courses in subjects like English, history, and foreign language. Finally, Amherst is known for its commitment to social and economic diversity; nearly 20% of students at Amherst identify as people of color, and over 30% of students receive financial aid.

The Cons of Amherst

There are a few potential drawbacks to consider before deciding if Amherst is the right school for you. First, the cost of attendance is high, which may not make it a viable option for everyone. Second, the class sizes can be large, which some students may prefer to avoid. Finally, the school is located in a rural area, so there may not be as many off-campus dining and nightlife options as there would be at a school in a more urban area.

In Conclusion

While Amherst is a renowned liberal arts college, it is also one of the top colleges in the country for STEM majors. With a commitment to excellence in both academic fields, Amherst provides a well-rounded and diverse education for all students.


Q: What is a liberal arts college?
A: A liberal arts college is an institution of higher education that emphasizes undergraduate programs in the liberal arts. The liberal arts include the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Q: What is Amherst College?
A: Amherst College is a private liberal arts college located in Amherst, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1821 and is a member of the Five Colleges Consortium, which allows students to take courses at four other colleges in the Pioneer Valley: Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Q: Is Amherst a liberal arts college?
A: Yes, Amherst is a private liberal arts college.


The term “liberal arts college” is used to refer to a type of educational institution. In the United States, a liberal arts college is one that offers an undergraduate education with an emphasis on liberal arts disciplines such as English, History, and Philosophy. These types of colleges are often smaller than research universities and focus on educating their students in the traditional humanities disciplines.

Amherst College is frequently referred to as a liberal arts college, and it does offer an undergraduate education with a focus on the liberal arts disciplines. However, Amherst is also a research university, and it offers graduate programs in fields such as business, education, and science. As a result, Amherst is not strictly a liberal arts college, although it shares many characteristics with those institutions.

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