As part of the College’s open curriculum, students are encouraged to spend their first three semesters filling their schedules with a variety of classes before declaring a major or concentration. This freedom gives students the opportunity to discover new interests, delve into existing interests, or simply have fun with a diverse course load.
Zachary Booth ’25 decided to declare a double concentration in world politics and Hispanic studies and plans to focus his studies on Latin America. “As part of the world politics major, if you choose to focus on a region, you are supposed to also take the language of that region,” Booth said. “I think that a focus on Latin America in addition to my Hispanic classes will tie in really well together.”
Booth appreciates that the concentration requirements at Hamilton still allow students room to take advantage of the open curriculum. “I really enjoy the open curriculum at Hamilton, and it allows for a lot of exploration. The majors here don’t really require too many classes, so there’s a lot of freedom in what classes you can take,” Booth said.
Conversely, Austin Cipriano ’25 came to Hamilton planning to pursue a double concentration in economics and neuroscience, but ultimately decided to focus on economics. “I was able to take classes in both departments last year and ended up finding economics more interesting, specifically macroeconomics and innovation”, Cipriano said. He noted how even just one class is enough to ignite an interest in an area of study. “My favorite economics class has been Macroeconomic Theory with Professor Georges. I enjoyed it a lot because he was able to make the material come alive.”
Stella Essembaucher ’25 declared her concentration in geosciences. Although she came to Hamilton planning to focus in that area, Essembacher’s first three semesters confirmed her choice. “I was pretty dead set on my major when I came to Hamilton, but I really enjoyed taking a variety of geosciences classes and getting to meet all the people and professors,” she said. “My favorite part about the Geoscience Department is how easy it is to get involved with everything. A lot of my classes go on really cool field trips. For example, in the fall we went on a camping trip to Western Massachusetts for a geoscience conference and then I also went to Arizona over winter break.”
“I really enjoy the open curriculum at Hamilton, and it allows for a lot of exploration.”
While some students come to Hamilton with an idea of what they might declare as their concentration, many do not. Sadie Chase-Tatko ’25 believes she never would have considered a world politics major without the open curriculum. “Throughout high school, I thought I was going to be pre-med, so I thought I would concentrate in biology, but I ended up not enjoying STEM as much as I thought I would,” she explained. “The open curriculum is great because my academic advisor and I just picked a bunch of interesting classes. I really liked Comparative Politics and Everyday Islam, so I decided to go world politics with a focus on the Middle East.”
Although she has now declared her concentration, Chase-Tatko plans to continue exploring her options. “Even though I have now declared, I am still going to take a variety of classes. Last year, I took a class in the German Studies Department called Regarding the Pain of Others, and I never would have taken that class without an open curriculum. It’s probably been one of the best classes I’ve ever taken,” she noted.
Hamilton is one of the few U.S. colleges with an open curriculum, which means you’ll have the freedom to choose courses that reflect your interests, while still fulfilling the faculty’s expectation that you study broadly across the liberal arts.