Academics

Location
South Hadley, MA
Undergrads
2,290
Tuition
$41,456
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews

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4 College Freshman

Academics: I don't have a declared major yet, but i know that anything in Mount Holyoke includes a heavy workload. I find that students like to be stressed, and discuss their workloads constantly which gets real irritating. And although the workload is heavy, it's manageable if you are responsible and organized. Science/math majors I've found to stress students out the most. Workload and manageability truly depends on your major and the amount of extracurriculars but expect to be busy if you attend this school.

4 College Freshman

Academics: Professors will make or break your experience. But if there is one thing to say about Mount Holyoke, is that its faculty is impressive. All professors are more than willing to help you if you are struggling, are insightful, and passionate about their subjects. Professors are not afraid to break the professional "professor-student" relationship which makes the experience all the more special. The classroom experience is really stimulating. It is easy to encounter powerful, intelligent, insightful women in all your courses. The only drawback is that the stimulating, and powerful discussions that go on in the classroom are hard to find beyond this setting.

5 College Freshman

Academics: The workload at Mount Holyoke can be intense if you don't know how to manage your time. My friends who attend state colleges and less exclusive liberal arts colleges brag about being "able to only spend around 2-3 hours on homework per night". Needless to say, this is not something to expect at MHC. Women who attend Mount Holyoke know what they are getting themselves into, and expect to be pushed and challenged academically.

5 College Freshman

Academics: Despite having prolific writers graduate from Mount Holyoke, such as Emily Dickinson and Wendy Wasserstein, to major in English is always overshadowed with job prospects and the cliche of wanting to become an English teacher. What you can receive from this major and the reputable English department, is quality writing that can go beyond teaching in a classroom. From Creative Writing classes to Journalism-themed courses, this department well-prepares you to analyze, critique and write exceptionally well.

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5 College Freshman

Academics: Professors are among the best. From those who have taught at Ivies to some that have worked for The New York Times, the connections and work that you will receive from these professors is exceptional. You trust that every professor is not only passionate about what they teach, but also that they will force you to learn and grow with every revision. In reference to the English department, if you plan on double majoring in English prepare to only get through the requirements. If you want a more in depth, writing intensive not just literature based taste of this major, consider to double major in something else that does not have as many requirements such as International Relations. In general, the professors care about every individual student and put forth as much effort as they do. If you stay in contact through email, office hours, and try in class they will intend to help you through any difficult material.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 9th
    Professors Most Interested in Classes
  • 16th
    Most Caring Professors
  • 16th
    Smartest Professors
  • 96th
    Best Technology in the Classroom
  • 98th
    Best Use of Teaching Assistants

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Alessandra Hickson
Hometown
Philadelphia, PA
Major
Art History
View all previous student authors

Mount Holyoke’s academics are top-notch. The workload is very intense, sometimes surprisingly so, and burnout is a very real possibility if you don’t balance your academic obligations with extracurriculars, social time, cultural events, and speakers. However, the flip-side is that you’ll know you’re getting one of the best educations possible. It’s almost impossible to just lay back and take easy classes where you’re assured good grades, unless you’re a senior and have completed most of your credits and distribution requirements. In general, the sheer volume of requirements, both distribution and major and minor requirements, tend to make this unlikely. Because you will probably have to take at least one class in a subject outside your comfort zone, you will be exposed to things you wouldn’t normally have encountered. Quite often, exposure of this sort will change a student’s perspective on that subject, or on some aspect of life in general. She might call home newly informed on the role of racism in contemporary society or on the possibility of majoring in art history, and tell her dazed parents that she is planning to join the Peace Corps or create an art show in her hometown. No one is going to stop her.

The professors play a big role in the sort of life-changing academic experiences you’re likely to have at Mount Holyoke. Because this is a relatively small school, you’re much more likely to get to know one or several professors on a more personal level than just as “that guy who stands up there and lectures.” Some of these relationships continue beyond graduation, as the professor becomes a mentor to the student. In general, if you cultivate such relationships, they will pay off. Knowing that MHC has such an outstanding academic reputation is not the same as taking full advantage of it. If you complain that you have too many papers and finals, then maybe Mount Holyoke isn’t for you. If you take the challenge in stride, knowing that you will have difficult moments, then you will do well. There will always be other students to commiserate with or professors to give you extensions (or at least moral support).

Facts & Statistics

Student-Faculty Ratio
10:1
Full-Time Instructional Faculty
231
Part-Time Instructional Faculty
51
Total FT Faculty
231
Faculty with Terminal Degree
86%
Average Faculty Salary
$87,947
Full-Time Retention Rate
92%
Transfer-Out Rate
14%
Graduation Rate
81%
Programs/Majors Offered
49
Academic/Career Counseling?
Yes
Remedial Services?
No
Class Sizes
  • Fewer than 20 Students: 64%
  • 20 to 49 Students: 33%
  • 50 or More Students: 3%
Instructional Programs
Occupational: No
Academic: Yes
Continuing Professional: No
Recreational/Avocational: No
Adult Basic Remedial: No
Secondary (High School): No
Special Credit Opportunities
Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: Yes
Dual Credit: Yes
Life Experience Credits: No
Degrees Awarded
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Master's degree
  • Post-bachelor's certificate
Most Popular Majors
  • Biology and Biological Sciences: 4%
  • English Language Studies: 4%
  • International Relations and National Security Studies: 3%
  • Political Science and Government, General: 3%
Special Study Options
  • Study abroad
  • Teacher certification (below the postsecondary level)
Best Places to Study
  • Dorm common areas
  • Kendade Atrium
  • Library
Tips to Succeed
  • Ask questions in class; don't be afraid to look stupid.
  • Don't pay for cable TV in your room-you probably will barely watch it. Most people wind up in the TV room for communal TV watching.
  • Get to know at least one of your professors outside of class time.
  • Get your distribution requirements out of the way as soon as possible. That way, you won't be a senior still scrambling for a PE class, and you'll have more leeway to change your major halfway through your college career.
  • Go for the workshops, the fellowships, the internships, the lectures, the cultural opportunities in the area. You only get to go to college once, and you may not ever have this many great opportunities at your fingertips again.
  • Go to class! Going to class is 10 times more helpful than doing the reading.
  • If you're not already an e-mail fiend, become one. Some communication happens lightning-fast, and you'll be out of the loop if you haven't checked your e-mail in the last five hours.
  • Try at least one thing you've never tried before. Allow your friends to drag you places you would never have gone to on your own.
  • Understand that you can't do everything. Go to the activities fair at the beginning of the year, gather information from all the clubs you desire, heck, even put your name on all the mailing lists you want, but don't try to participate in everything that interests you-you'll spread yourself too thin. Pick one or two things, and really devote yourself to them. You'll be much happier in the long run.
Did You Know?
  • Mount Holyoke students can take courses for credit at any of the other Five Colleges (Smith College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, and UMass Amherst) at no additional cost.
  • Approximately 40 percent of Mount Holyoke students study abroad during their four year career.
  • Each year, a small group of incoming first-years are selected for participation in first-year tutorials. These are opportunities to work closely with a professor and a few other students in an area of interest. Tutorials may involve research or special projects, and are two credits per semester (most tutorials go for the entire first year).
  • Many students design their own major or choose an interdisciplinary major.
  • The Frances Perkins Program allows women who are older than the traditional college age to attend Mount Holyoke. "FPs," as they're called, add spice to classes with their more experienced perspectives.
  • At the end of every course, students have the opportunity to complete a course evaluation, either anonymously or signed by the student. Academic departments take these very seriously when evaluating particular courses and professors.
  • Mount Holyoke provides the option of self-scheduled final exams. Students sign up to work one or more exam shifts (there are three exam sessions in a day) so that their classmates can choose when to take their exams. Most exams are scheduled this way, although a few are pre-scheduled. The entire system runs on the Honor Code, and students are not supposed to discuss their exams until the entire finals period is over.

Student Polls

Rate your school's academic environment on the following topics    Based on 37 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Academic advisers
  • Class availability
  • Consistency in grading
  • Course subject variety
  • Curriculum flexibility
  • Gen-Ed requirements
  • Manageability of workload
  • Online course options
  • Quality of teaching assistants (TAs)
  • Scheduling/registration process
  • Technology in the classroom

Rate your school's professors on the following topics    Based on 42 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Accessibility
  • Communication skills
  • General knowledge
  • Interest in class subjects
  • Interest in students
  • Time spent in classroom
  • Use of teaching assistants

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