Academic Experience

Academics

In addition to all the things that make liberal arts colleges the global gold standard—small classes, attentive faculty, close-knit community—Williams offers unique opportunities like our renowned tutorial and research programs. Choose among 64 areas of study across the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. Your intellectual journey will be guided by accomplished scientists and scholars whose own work often transcends traditional academic boundaries.

What makes
Williams different?

From tutorials, where you and one other student conduct advanced work under the close guidance of a leading scholar in your field, to Winter Study courses on subjects ranging from podcast production to film criticism, Williams offers you academic opportunities far beyond the usual. This picturesque campus in the middle of one of the country's most naturally beautiful and culturally rich regions will become your home, muse and laboratory.

Tutorials

A Williams tutorial is your own personalized academic adventure: just two students and a professor meeting every week to read, research, analyze, debate and write at a level more common in graduate schools. Choose from among more than 65 topics across the curriculum, and you'll be guided and coaxed to reach for your most ambitious academic goals.

Students with professor in tutorial class

Research

A greater share of students conduct original research in the sciences, arts and humanities at Williams than at almost any comparable school. That's because our faculty are deeply committed to mentoring student researchers, and Williams backs them with the means and funding to support you. Whether you pursue your project on campus or abroad, during the academic year or over the summer, you'll find far more opportunities to pursue advanced projects here than just about anywhere else.

Students in science lab

Experiential
Learning

At Williams, education is about higher learning and the greater good. More than 1,200 students a year—roughly 60 percent of our student body—take part in experiential learning or community service projects, from repurposing dining hall food for local food pantries to educating communities about the refugee crisis. Whether you want to conduct research abroad or get involved in local issues, putting learning into action will be a defining component of your Williams experience.

Winter Study

January at Williams is Winter Study, an eclectic selection of courses, independent studies, internships and travel opportunities that take you beyond the limits of conventional semesters⁠. Move outside your educational comfort zone. By the time spring semester rolls around you’ll be recharged, refocused, and ready to dive back into your regular studies.

Study Away

From Lauterbrunnen to El Salar de Uyuni, Williams students crisscross the globe on academic adventures. Study with world-renowned mathematicians and computer scientists in Hungary, conduct human rights research in South Africa, or explore art history in Italy. Not to mention our Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford and the Williams-Mystic Program at historic Mystic Seaport. About half of all Williams students participate in Study Away. Once you explore the options, you'll want to, too.

Center for Learning in Action

Teach fourth graders about zebrafish and ocean ecology. Resettle refugees in nearby Pittsfield. Or study housing discrimination and advocate for the unsheltered. Every year the Center for Learning in Action connects more than 800 Williams students with a vast range of courses and extracurricular experiential opportunities that enrich learning and improve lives.