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Division III


In their final two semesters, students undertake a major independent project with the guidance of a committee. Typically, Division III projects explore a specific aspect of the student’s Division II work in depth. Division III students devote the majority of their time to the independent project.

We expect scholars and artists to move beyond the boundaries of their particular fields of expertise and to participate in the collective activities that help to define and invigorate intellectual and artistic life. In a similar way, students are expected to engage in two Advanced Educational Activities concurrent with their Division III independent project that have the dual goal of broadening the scope of their intellectual endeavor and making their more mature skills and viewpoints available to the College at large.

Division III Requirements

The Advanced Independent Project

Each student designs, implements, and completes a two-semester advanced independent project that encompasses a sophisticated and complex set of questions, concepts, skills, and abilities. The completed project should clearly demonstrate the student’s ability to perform advanced work. The culmination of the Division III advanced independent project—whether a thesis, portfolio, film, exhibit, computer program, performance, or committee-approved combination of these—must be in a form that can be evaluated by the student’s faculty committee. Judgment of the quality and scope of the advanced independent project is the responsibility of a student’s committee.

Division III Advanced Educational Activities

In addition to their Division III projects, students must complete two Advanced Educational Activities approved by their Division III committees, referred to in the following as the primary AEA and the second AEA. Students should consider the following points carefully.

  • The primary AEA must be an advanced-level academic course or supervised teaching assistantship (TA) for a full academic course.
    • An advanced-level Hampshire course is defined as a course offered by one of the five interdisciplinary schools numbered 250 or higher. The schools are Cognitive Science (CS), Critical Social Inquiry (CSI), Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies (HACU), Interdisciplinary Arts (IA) and Natural Science (NS).
    • An advanced-level Five College course is defined as a course numbered 300 or higher taken at one of the other four institutions in the consortium.
    • An advanced-level course taken at an institution outside the Five College consortium is one that is defined at the host institution as an advanced or upper-level course. 
  • The second AEA may be a full academic course; a supervised teaching assistantship; an independent study; facilitation of an EPEC course registered as an independent study, or a special project such as an internship.
  • All AEAs must be at least three semester credits or the equivalent.
  • Hampshire courses must be successfully completed and evaluated. Any courses taken for a traditional grade used for either AEA must be graded C or better or its equivalent from an international institution. They may not be audited, taken pass/fail, satisfactory/unsatisfactory, or any other binary grading scheme. 


Students studying away from campus on field study or an exchange program in Division III should carefully plan with their committees how they are going to satisfy their AEAs in keeping with the above definition. They may not use the entirety of their field study as an AEA but may use a component, such as a special project or a course. Students should check the planning guides for study away from campus and discuss them with their faculty. Two courses may not be combined to satisfy one AEA.The work for all AEAs must be completed by the end of the Hampshire advising and progress review period in the student’s final semester. Formal awarding of the degree will be delayed if documentation of completion of one or both AEAs is not received prior to the degree award date. Students may not negotiate an incomplete in the final semester for any AEA. Failure to complete an AEA will result in the student having to complete an advanced-level course at another institution, pre-approved by the Division III chairperson in a revised contract. The student’s graduation date will be delayed until after receipt of a transcript documenting successful completion of the substituted course.

Field Study:

Students studying away from campus on field study or an exchange program in Division III should carefully plan with their committees how they are going to satisfy their AEAs in keeping with the above definitions. They may not use the entire field study as an AEA but may use a component, such a special project or a course. The component used for the Advanced Educational Activity will be registered separately and evaluated or certified as complete by the Division III chair.

If the student is using a special project, they must submit a special project form to Central Records and submit documentation of completion to their Division III chair. Although not required, a site supervisor evaluation may be submitted to Central Records for inclusion in the student’s Hampshire transcript. If the student is using a course, they must submit an official copy of their transcript to both Central Records and their chair.

Teaching Assistantship (TA) Definition:

A student is considered a TA if they are assisting in the planning of and engaging in teaching activities in a course approved by the Division III committee. This course must be a full academic course, or a course equivalent in level of activity and time commitment to a full academic course. Please note that TA responsibilities differ significantly from the duties of a work-study or office/course assistant position, which are more limited in scope. Examples of the responsibilities of a teaching assistant might include: leading discussions, holding office hours for student appointments, and providing feedback on papers or other assignments.

Special Project Definition:

“Special Projects” are robust supervised or mentored learning experiences that students have at or away from Hampshire with organizations (such as schools, labs companies, or nonprofit organizations) or with community groups. They can be internships, practica, or other independent projects that are evaluated by a qualified supervisor at the organization or community group and approved by the student’s advisor. They must engage a student in learning for 180 hours or more. Students must fill out a special project form (obtained from the Central Records office). Declaration of a special project must occur by the add/drop deadline in the student’s final semester.