Amherst College, founded in 1821, is the 23th ranked school in the United States. Located in Amherst, Massachusetts, the private not for profit offers Bachelor’s degrees. All 1,900 students are undergraduates.

Amherst got its start as an off-shoot of Williams College. Founder Zephaniah Swift Moore left the struggling Williams after the school did not head to the city of Amherst as planned, taking fifteen students with him. Built out of the secondary school, Amherst Academy, it became the third oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts and has maintained a rivalry with Williams College ever since.

Early on, Amherst had trouble receiving its official charter from the state. Even though the school was officially non-denominational, it had a strong connection to Calvinism, causing debate within government. The college finally received its official charter in 1825, hence the date on the seal. Amherst quickly grew, actually rivaling Yale for size in the 1830’s.

Amherst experienced many monumental moments throughout the years, becoming the first undergraduate neuroscience program in the United States in 1973 and also introducing the Charity Fund, early financial aid to help poorer students. In 1975, the school became coeducational. Amherst’s motto is Let them enlighten the lands (Terras Irradient). The college is also part of the Five College Consortium, a local school grouping of one university and four colleges, giving students the opportunity to attend classes or resource buildings at any one of the five schools.

Today, there are about 20,000 living alumni. Past graduates have included US and foreign leaders (including former president Calvin Coolidge), Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, the inventor of the blood bank, astronauts, and more. David Foster Wallace, Henry Ward Beecher, Dan Brown, and Charles H. Houston can also be counted among the alumni of Amherst College.

Campus Overview

  • Locale Suburb: Large

  • Highest degree offered Bachelor's degree

  • Academic calendar Semester

  • Religious affiliation Not applicable

Student Enrollment

Total Students
1,898 (100%)
Undergraduate Students
Male 911
Female 986
Graduate Students
Not Reported

  • Campus Location

    Boltwood Avenue Amherst, MA 01002

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