Prepared by the Williams College Office of Communications, March 2013
Data supplied by 2012-2013 Common Data Set, Course catalog, Williams College IPEDS reports
Established in 1793 with funds bequeathed by Colonel Ephraim Williams, the college is private, residential, and liberal arts, with graduate programs in the history of art and in economic policy. The undergraduate enrollment is approximately 2,000 students.
Williams admits U.S. students without regard to their ability to pay, and offers a generous financial aid program for international students. The College commits to meeting 100 percent of every admitted student’s demonstrated financial need for four years.
There are three academic divisions (languages and the arts, social studies, science and mathematics), 25 departments, 35 majors, plus concentrations and special programs. The student:faculty ratio is 7:1. The academic year consists of two four-course semesters plus a one-course January term.
Fraternities were phased out beginning in 1962. Coeducation was adopted in 1970. The school color is purple. The mascot is the Purple Cow. Sports teams are called “Ephs.”
Williamstown is located in the Berkshires in northwestern Massachusetts, 135 miles from Boston and 165 miles from New York City.
Ph.D. (1991) Harvard
Total number of instructional faculty: 334
Tenured faculty as a percentage of total faculty: 61%
Percent of the faculty hold doctorates or other terminal degrees: 92%
Research and Teaching
Williams consistently ranks among the nation’s top liberal arts colleges, and its faculty are noted for the quality of their teaching. Faculty at Williams have won teaching awards such as the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teachers, the Carnegie/CASE U.S. and Massachusetts Professors of the Year, Princeton University’s 250th Anniversary Visiting Professorship for Distinguished Teaching, the Mathematical Association of America Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award.
Williams faculty have also been recognized for their scholarship and professional achievements. Their awards include the Henry Adams Book Prize, the American Physical Society Prize, the Bancroft Prize for American History and Diplomacy, the Davis Center Book Prize in Political and Social Studies, the International Quantum Communication Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Rappaport Prize in Art, the Story Prize, and the Kurt Weill Book Prize.
Virtually all faculty members engage in research activities that complement their commitment to teaching, and many faculty research projects include the active participation of student assistants. Faculty are successful in winning support for research from many sources, including federal and state governments, corporations, foundations, nonprofit agencies, and individuals.
Since 2006, faculty have been awarded research grants from foundations and organizations such as: the American Chemical Society, the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Leveraging Investments in Creativity, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the New England Foundation for the Arts, Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the Spencer Foundation, and the Whiting Foundation. Government grants have been awarded by the Fulbright Scholar Program, NASA, NEH, NIH, NSF, the National Institute of Standards & Technology, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010, grants and awards for faculty research at Williams totaled $4.3 million.
Administrative Staff: 276 FTE
Support Staff: 388 FTE
Enrollment (Fall 2012)
Undergraduate Non-U.S. enrollment: 7%
Undergraduate U.S. minority enrollment: 36%
Class of 2016 Admission Statistics
Percent admitted: 17.0%
Early decision as % of entering class: 44%
American students of color: 38%
Geographically, New York is the largest state represented, followed by Massachusetts and California.
2013-14 Comprehensive Fee
Board, room, & fees: $12,570
Study away fee (as applicable): $1,500
Class of 2016 Financial Aid Statistics
Percent receiving Williams aid: 53%
Average financial aid award: $44,508
Range of awards: $5,100 – $61,400
Range of family income of students assisted: $0 – $251,243
Major Fields of Study
The five-year average distribution of majors, 2008-12:
|American studies: 10
Arabic Studies: 4
Asian studies: 8
Comparative Literature: 5
|Computer Science: 16
Environmental Policy: 2
Literary Studies: 3
Political Economy: 16
Political Science: 58
Women’s & Gender Studies: 5
(Note: Approximately 38% of students graduate as double majors.)
Of the 534 first-year students who entered in 2006, 91% graduated from Williams within four years and 96% within five years.
The Williams Tutorial Program
The Tutorial Program offers students a distinctive opportunity to take a heightened form of responsibility for their own intellectual development. Tutorials place much greater weight than do regular courses — or even small seminars — on student participation. They aim to teach students how to develop and present arguments; listen carefully, and then refine their positions in the context of a challenging discussion; and respond quickly and cogently to critiques of their work. Since the program’s inception in 1988, students have ranked tutorials among the most demanding — and rewarding — courses they have taken at Williams.
Experiential courses and programs at Williams challenge students to become more personally engaged in their learning through fieldwork whether it is research, placement in community organizations or special projects. Courses with experiential components provide students with guided opportunities to encounter firsthand the issues they study, requiring them to apply academic learning to nonacademic settings. Williams encourages students to link their community interests to their academic learning through a wide range of curricular and extracurricular programming.
Experiential off-campus curricular programs include the Williams Mystic Maritime Studies Program, the South Africa Cape Town Policy in Action Program and the Class of 1959 Teach New York Winter Study Program. Locally based experiential programs include the Williams Elementary Outreach Program, Williams Center at Mt. Greylock Regional High School Writing Fellows, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program and the Museum Associates Program at the Williams College Museum of Art.
Off-campus study options
Williams students are enrolled in more than 150 off-campus programs worldwide, including the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford, Williams-Mystic Program in Maritime Studies, and the Williams in Africa Program. More than half of the junior class (276 students) participated in off-campus study options in 2010-11.
Approximately 44 percent of all students participate in intercollegiate sports (36 percent at the varsity level). There are 32 varsity intercollegiate teams (16 men’s and 16 women’s), 8 JV teams, 20 club teams, and a large intramural program.
The Office of Career Counseling is a resource center that provides easy access to people, programs, and information so that students may plan more effectively for life after Williams. The office organizes its counseling and information resources around specific career fields as well as hosting panels at which alumni/ae discuss careers, opportunities, and lifestyles in all career fields. In addition, the office schedules on-campus interviews with employers and graduate schools. We also provide a comprehensive website with databases containing thousands of job and internship opportunities.
There are 30,300 living alumni of record, and 70 regional alumni associations nationwide and overseas. Alumni participation in the 2011-12 Alumni Fund was 62.5%. More than 58% of the alumni from the classes of 1980 to 2000 have earned at least one graduate or professional degree. The most popular graduate disciplines for alumni are management, education, law, and health care.
Audited 2011-12 operating expenditures: $182,341,514
Gifts from private support (for 2011-12) : $49,124,000
Investment Pool (Market value as of 6/30/12): $1,799,376,647
450-acre campus and 2,900 outlying acres, including the Hopkins Memorial Forest (2,600 acres). The college operates more than 170 academic, athletic, and residential buildings including the new Williams College Child Care Center, Schapiro Hall, Hollander Hall, and the Paresky Center.
There are 906,454 volumes in the Sawyer and Schow Science libraries and 65,847 in Chapin Rare Books Library; 44,166 paper and electronic periodical subscriptions; 424,744 microtexts; 31,085 sound recordings; 12,868 videos; 303,862 government documents; and 4,945 cubic feet of archival material. Services include research and reference assistance, user education, and automated access to the collection and more than 350 databases. A cooperative program with the library of the Clark Art Institute, one of the major art reference and research libraries in the country, provides on-site use of the institute’s collections. Its resources include approximately 232,500 books, bound periodicals, and auction sales catalogues, with current journal subscriptions numbering around 670. Williams is also a member of the Boston Library Consortium, the Center for Research Libraries, and is a founding member of the NExpress consortium.
The Office for InformationTechnology (OIT) provides computer services, equipment, and infrastructure to serve the academic and administrative needs of the college. Virtually every room on campus has both wired and wireless access to central systems and servers and to the Internet. OIT staff help faculty with project development using technology in teaching and research. About half of all courses are taught using the centralized course management system. There are 115 software applications available campus wide, as downloads or for use in the labs. The OIT staff support 80 electronic classrooms, four media studios and 19 public computer labs. Around 1500 computers are maintained by OIT across campus, about 500 of which are available in student accessible labs. The email system delivers about 75,000 messages daily after rejecting about 1.6 million for spam and viruses. The faculty/staff and student help desks offer support over the phone, in Jesup Hall, and through office visits. The college uses the PeopleSoft suite from Oracle as its primary administrative system for office and for individual self-service.
Williams College Museum of Art
The museum houses over 13,000 works that span the history of art. The museum’s mission is to encourage multidisciplinary teaching and learning through encounters with art objects that traverse times and cultures. An active, collecting museum, its strengths are in modern and contemporary art, photography, prints, and Indian painting. The museum is noted for its stellar collection of American art from the late 18th century to the present and includes the largest collection in the world of works by the brothers Charles and Maurice Prendergast. Special exhibitions curated by museum staff, faculty, students, and guest curators focus on new scholarship and alternative perspectives. The museum commissions new art, and also emphasizes the development of innovative exhibitions that place art in a broad cultural context, explore the connections between past and present, and raise critical questions about the interpretation of art and the writing of art history.
The Williams College Children’s Center offers quality care and education for children from infancy through pre-school five days per week, full days from 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. In the summer and school vacations school age children are offered a full day program five days per week. If space permits, part time schedules will be accommodated either two, three or four days per week. Half days are available in the preschool only. A school age program is available for children ages 5-12 in the afternoon. We welcome Williams students to work in the program when positions are available and also encourage students to volunteer.
Summer programs on campus (Conferences and Events Office)
Include Williamstown Theatre Festival, Science Research Students’ Programs, Williams Summer Science Program, Williams Humanities and Social Science Program, Williams College Undergraduate Research Colloquium, Williams College Summer Institute in American Foreign Policy, Massachusetts Teachers Association, Midsummer Adult Piano Retreat, NSF Chemistry Program, NUSEA’s Urban Squash Championships, Overland Summer Programs, NIKE Golf, NIKE Tennis, Squash & Beyond, and many other camps and clinics run by US Sports Camps and Williams coaches, and alumni programs.
The Williams Directories contain up-to-date links to Williams websites where you can find email addresses and phone numbers.