Amherst Facts


The Chronicle of Higher Education called Amherst College the “best of the best” for supporting low-income, high-talent students, citing a report from the New America Foundation.

  1. Founded: 1821
  2. President: Biddy Martin
  3. Location: Amherst, Massachusetts, population 35,000, in the heart of the Pioneer Valley
  4. College motto: Terras Irradient (“Let them give light to the world”)
  5. Enrollment: 1,785 students from 49 states, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico, and 54 countries
  6. Demographics: 51 percent men, 49 percent women; 95 percent live on campus
  7. Student/faculty ratio: 8:1
  8. Fulltime instructional faculty: More than 200
  9. Average class size: 16
  10. Classes with fewer than 30 students: 90 percent
  11. Fields of study: 38 majors in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences
  12. Student organizations: About 100
  13. Average financial aid package in 2015-16: $50,255 (Amherst follows a no-loan policy for all financial aid recipients and is need-blind for both domestic and international students)
  14. Percentage of students receiving financial aid: 58
  15. Size of campus: 1,000 acres, including a Wildlife Sanctuary of about 500 acres
  16. Library holdings: More than 1,517,000 volumes and more than 595,296 other media materials, including 330,394 e-books
  17. Performance spaces: Several, including Kirby Memorial Theater, Holden Experimental Theater, Webster Hall (with an audio lab, a design resource library and four performance studios) and Buckley Recital Hall
  18. Laboratory and computing space: Dozens of teaching and research laboratories, as well as a confocal laser, an ICP-mass spectrometer and an NSF-funded computational cluster with more than 124 processors
  19. Endowment: $2.19 billion, or $1.2 million per student
  20. Number of living alumni: 22,500
  21. Percentage of Amherst students who will study abroad: 40
  22. Distance from home of the average Amherst graduate: 1,361 miles, or 2,091 kilometers
  23. Percentage of students who will graduate within six years: 96
  24. First-year retention rate: 98 percent.
  25. Percentage of U.S. students who self-identify as students of color: 43
  26. Percent of international students in the student body: 10
  27. Number of courses at Amherst: More than 850, with more than 6,000 available through the Five College Consortium
  28. School colors: Purple and white
  29. Farms on campus: One, the Book & Plow Farm, which produces high-quality organic vegetables while hiring student workers and interns
  30. Year The Amherst Student was founded: 1868, making it the oldest independent weekly college publication in the country
  31. Major building projects: The construction of a new science center, new dormitories and a landscaped walkway that will transform the east campus
  32. How to get the coolest dorm room: Through Lip Sync, an annual show in which students perform skits and dances set to popular songs, all to get the highest Room Draw Number
  33. Number of NCAA titles won: 76 Division III individual titles and 11 team championships (and our Athletics program is the oldest in the country)
  34. Alumni attending professional or graduate school within five years: 90 percent
  35. Number of museums: four, the Emily Dickinson Museum, Folger Shakespeare Library, Beneski Museum of Natural History and Mead Art Museum

For more information about Amherst, see our Frequently Asked Questions, Common Data Sets and our Reports to Secondary Schools.

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