Division II is the core of the student’s academic experience at Hampshire. It consists of a self-designed concentration pursued through courses and learning activities, as well as the multiple cultural perspectives requirement and the Community Engagement and Learning (CEL-2) requirement. It is typically four full semesters of academic and outside work, culminating in a Division II portfolio and final meeting with the committee (see below).
Each student designs and carries out their own self-designed concentration with the guidance and supervision of two Hampshire faculty, known as the committee. The committee has a chair and a member; the chair is the student’s official advisor, although both chair and member actively advise the student throughout the Division II. Students may invite a Five College faculty member, or a community member in their field, to serve as a third member of the committee, if appropriate.
Within the limits of the resources of the Five College consortium, and the ability of the student and the committee to locate resources, there is great latitude in the design of a concentration. The concentration proceeds on the basis of a plan of coherent body of studies, and builds from foundational to advanced work.
In the concentration, the student seeks to achieve a solid foundation in particular knowledge and techniques, the broader concepts behind them, and critical and analytical skills. A concentration may range from a plan of study similar to a major at a traditional college, to a highly individualized program of study that encompasses several disciplines or areas of conceptual thought and understanding. The concentration is not the whole of a student’s work in Division II; additional studies outside the area are an important part. It may include a number of learning activities, including independent studies, projects, courses, internships, field study, or study abroad. Along with the work related to the concentration, the student is expected to pursue academic interests that are not related, much as a student at a traditional college would take courses outside their major.