The Hamilton Plan for Liberal Education
The Hamilton Plan for Liberal Education provides highly motivated students with both the freedom and the responsibility to make educational choices that emphasize breadth and depth. Unique to this plan is a distinct capstone requirement at the conclusion of the concentration (The Senior Program) -- that serves as an integrating and culminating experience for students at a decisive point in their undergraduate careers.
A. General Education
As part of the Hamilton Plan for Liberal Education, the faculty has significantly strengthened the general education sequence by: (a) replacing distribution requirements with a series of recommended goals; (b) instituting special first- and second-year seminars; (c) reaffirming the centrality of writing; and (d) reinvigorating the advising system. Highlights of the general education program include:
- First- and Second-Year Proseminars -- to ensure a high level of engagement early in their studies, students will be encouraged to participate in four special classes: small, rigorous courses of no more than 16 that offer intensive interaction among students and between students and instructors, through emphasis on writing, speaking and discussion, and other approaches to inquiry and expression that demand such intensive interaction.
- The Writing Program -- all Hamilton students will be required to pass three writing-intensive courses, each taken in a different semester during the first three years of study.
- The Advising Program -- with the elimination of distribution requirements, the advising system will become less administrative and more substantive as faculty members help students develop their own academic programs and understand the implications of their choices.
B. The Concentration
The number of courses normally comprising a concentration is between eight and 10, depending upon the department or the program. In addition, each student is required to complete a senior program, as defined by his or her concentration. Many students also complete an independent study.
- The Senior Program -- Each department and program of concentration has designed a senior program to serve as an integrating and culminating experience for the concentration by requiring students to use the methodology and knowledge gained in their first three years of study. Building on their coursework and demonstrating their increasing ability to work independently in terms of both motivation and subject matter, seniors are required to produce a significant synthesis of knowledge by means of one of the following: a research project leading to a written, aural or visual creation; a seminar for concentrators, including a major presentation and research paper by each student; or comprehensive examinations ideally involving both written and oral components.