Academics

Location
Undergrads
2,643
Tuition
$43,114
Admission Difficulty
Average
More statistics . . .
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Reviews

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4 College Junior

Academics: The professors in the Sociology department are fantastic. They all know their theory and seem to really care about how the students leave their classrooms at the end of the semester. Obviously, some of them are better than others and talking to older students helps when choosing courses. I was formerly a Film Studies major, and the program is rather disastrous. This is no fault of the FILM professors. Smith seems to believe that English professors are great substitutes for actually hiring film scholars. The program would benefit tremendously if they hired more professors like Lokeilani Kaimana.

4 College Junior

Academics: Overall, the professors are extremely thoughtful and help you to become a better thinker and student. There is a definite divide between students who study STEM versus those who do not. In fact, I can't even attest to the STEM programs at Smith. The programs such as Sociology and English are really great though. Visiting classes before applying would be really helpful at Smith.

5 College Sophomore

Academics: I am currently undeclared but I have a Liberal Art Advisor who helps give me direction when choosing classes. The ratio of work is generally for every hour you are in class there are two hours of homework.

5 College Sophomore

Academics: There is a very wide range of classes offered at Smith. Smith is also a part of the Five College Consortium, which means students can enroll in any classes at UMass Amherst, Amherst College, Hampshire College, and/or Mount Holyoke College.

3 College Junior

Academics: Speaking about professors, it really depends on the department. Some departments have GREAT professors that you will never forget their teachings in life time. Other department such as Math can be a mix: some extremely good professors and some people who totally do not know what they are teaching. Smith does offer a variety of curriculum and you can always choose to take courses at any of the 5-colleges. The registration process is fine even though different classes register with different priorities, most times you can get the permission from the processor to take a course which has already reached its enrollment limit.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 3rd
    Most Flexible Curriculums
  • 4th
    Professors Most Interested in Classes
  • 5th
    Smartest Professors
  • 31st
    Most Available Classes
  • 41st
    Most Caring Professors

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Dara Kagan
Hometown
Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Major
Government, with a minor in the Study of Women and Gender
View all previous student authors

There is no such thing as an “easy” class at Smith—the challenging and invigorating academic environment is what this College is best known for. Some students even say they settled for a less-attractive social scene in order to take advantage of Smith’s academic resources and opportunities. The academics here are Ivy League caliber and all-nighters are common, but the all-female environment often provides a supportive atmosphere that can ease the pain of a massive syllabus. The College’s open curriculum allows students to explore focused topics that pique their interest, which is the point of a liberal arts college. Many students' most rewarding academic experiences have come from classes outside of their major, and having the freedom to discover the class offerings from the Five Colleges consortium is a major perk of Smith.

The College’s professors are consistently regarded as one of the school’s best attributes. Smith has a tradition of hiring intelligent professors who are dedicated to their fields, and many go out of their ways to make the material exciting and relevant. Professors are accessible to all students, even those not in their classes. They will meet with students after class or respond to e-mails—sometimes with an almost frightening speed. However, not all students foster close relationships with their professors, mostly because the relationships are largely based on the amount of effort put in by the student. Some students complain that, much like the student body, the professors are too outspokenly political, causing discomfort to anyone who doesn’t agree with the views they express. However, in reality, while many professors express their views freely, very few are closed to hearing dissenting opinions. Smith professors are dedicated to the academic material and make sure students get the full picture—they rarely use class for merely preaching their personal opinions.

Facts & Statistics

Student-Faculty Ratio
9:1
Full-Time Instructional Faculty
297
Part-Time Instructional Faculty
74
Total FT Faculty
297
Faculty with Terminal Degree
98%
Average Faculty Salary
$104,899
Full-Time Retention Rate
93%
Graduation Rate
85%
Programs/Majors Offered
68
Academic/Career Counseling?
Yes
Remedial Services?
No
Class Sizes
  • Fewer than 20 students: 67%
  • 20 to 49 students: 28%
  • 50 or more students: 5%
Instructional Programs
Occupational: No
Academic: Yes
Continuing Professional: Yes
Recreational/Avocational: No
Adult Basic Remedial: No
Secondary (High School): No
Special Credit Opportunities
Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: Yes
Dual Credit: No
Life Experience Credits: No
Degrees Awarded
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Doctorate - Research/scholarship
  • Master's degree
  • Post-bachelor's certificate
  • Post-master's certificate
Most Popular Majors
  • Economics and Econometrics: 3%
  • Political Science and Government, General: 4%
  • Psychology: 4%
  • Social Work: 6%
Graduation Requirements
Writing-intensive course
Special Study Options
  • Study abroad
  • Teacher certification (below the postsecondary level)
Other Academic Offerings
  • Accelerated program
  • Cross-registration
  • Double major
  • Exchange student program (domestic)
  • Honors program
  • Independent study
  • Internships
  • Student-designed major
Best Places to Study
  • Atrium in the Brown Fine Arts Center
  • Campus Center (try to get the comfortable booths in the cafĂ©)
  • Neilson Library, especially the alcoves
Tips to Succeed
  • Don't be afraid to go to your professor when you're struggling. They're usually very understanding about individual circumstances and are happy to offer extra help or extensions.
  • Don't be afraid to take a class pass/fail. It lets you experiment and enjoy the class without worrying about your GPA.
  • Get involved. There are a ton of organizations on campus and at the other local colleges. Getting involved helps you meet different people and makes the school feel more like home.
  • Get off campus once in a while. Even if you're not taking a trip to Boston or going home for the weekend, go to events downtown and at the other local colleges. It's very easy to get sucked into the Smith bubble and then feel really claustrophobic.
  • Research professors before taking their classes. There are two survey databases online where you can read reviews from former students. These are invaluable in finding out which professors to stay away from and which ones to make an effort to take a class with.
  • The Smith alumnae network is truly incredible. Many Smithies find summer internships and jobs after college through Smith alums, so use them as a resource early and often!
Did You Know?
  • Smith students can take classes at any of the other schools in the Five Colleges consortium (Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Amherst College).
  • Smith's founder, Sophia Smith, was encouraged to leave her fortune to Amherst College. Instead, she stipulated in her will that the money be used "for the establishment and maintenance of an institution for the higher education of women." Smith opened in 1875 with 14 students and six professors, and today, it is the largest women's college in the United States.
  • In 1999, with the founding of the Picker Engineering Program, Smith became the first women's college to offer a program in engineering. In spring 2004, Smith graduated the first class of all-female engineers.

Student Polls

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?    Based on 34 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • The academic advisers are helpful.
  • It is easy to get the classes you want.
  • Grading is generally consistent and fair.
  • There are a variety of interesting courses to take.
  • Students are encouraged to explore a wide range of courses and topics.
  • My Gen-Ed requirements are worthwhile and meaningful.
  • The workload is easy to manage.
  • There are plenty of good online course options.
  • Teaching assistants (TAs) are used effectively.
  • The course scheduling/registration process is efficient and student-friendly.
  • Classrooms/labs are up-to-date and incorporate new technologies effectively.

Who are the most notable alumni from this school?    Based on 5 responses

  • 21% Julia Child - chef, cookbook author, TV host
  • 17% Gloria Steinem - feminist writer, founder of Ms. Magazine
  • 12% Tammy Baldwin - U.S. representative (D-WI)
  • 12% Barbara Bush - former first lady
  • 12% Otelia Cromwell- first black graduate
  • 8% Sylvia Plath - poet and author of "The Bell Jar"
  • 8% Nancy Reagan - former first lady
  • 4% Madeleine L'Engle - author of "A Wrinkle in Time"
  • 4% Betty Freidan - author, feminist
  • 0% Cynthia Voigt - author
  • 0% Ann M. Martin - author

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements regarding the professors at this school?    Based on 35 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • Professors are approachable and helpful when needed
  • Professors are engaging and easy to understand.
  • Professors are experts in their field.
  • Professors are passionate about the topics they teach.
  • Professors care about their students' success.
  • Professors put a lot of effort into teaching their classes.
  • Professors use teaching assistants (TAs) effectively.

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