Geography professor Peter Klepeis discusses the ways the environment sustainability initiatives affect emotion in GEOG 306: The Geography of Happiness.


What makes learning at Colgate so exceptional is academic quality at a remarkably personal level.

Every single class is taught by distinguished faculty — never teaching assistants. Professors truly get to know and mentor their students, with classes kept small enough to ensure it. At the same time, Colgate’s larger scale provides an enviable choice of majors, research, and global study. The hallmarks of a Colgate education have stood for centuries: critical inquiry, knowledge across disciplines, rigorous preparation for the world. Graduates have a profound ability to summon reason, gather facts, solve problems, and communicate with power. This is the choice for students who are sophisticated, driven, and eager for transformative teaching.

Scholars Programs

Colgate offers scholars programs for first-year students based on qualities demonstrated in their admissions applications. All of these students receive valuable support toward learning, research, and global travel as they begin their Colgate life.

Alumni Memorial Scholars

Students with an exceptional academic record who will thrive by contributing to the intellectual community

Office of Undergraduate Studies Scholars

Students who have shown creativity, determination, and intellect in the face of significant challenges

Anthropology and peace and conflict studies professor Nancy Ries listens to students in her class War in Lived Experience.
Professor Enrique Galvez was named an Optical Society Fellow.
Renowned author Jonathan Franzen speaks to students in the Living Writers course.
Student-to-faculty ratio
Classes taught by faculty who are leaders in their field
Retention rate (students returning as sophomores)
Art and art history professor Lynette Stephenson explores creative visual modes of expression in her studio art class.


Colgate’s core curriculum teaches not just topics but habits of mind.

The core takes students through an intellectual exploration of questions that every educated person will need to deal with at some point in their lives. Gathered in lively small-group discussions, students go in surprising directions of discovery as they dive into history and challenges of modern life. The courses cross all majors, reflecting a Colgate liberal arts education that teaches the whole person, and a world that never fits neatly into just one discipline.

Although it's one small slice of a student's coursework (five of the 32 credits needed to graduate), the core unites everyone in a common academic experience. And even though its tradition runs more than 90 years, the core is distinctive for never aging. With intensity and care, the faculty debate each year how to keep the core fresh, ensuring that it is constantly relevant.

Core Requirements

Legacies of the Ancient World

Explore ancient texts that articulate perennial issues: the nature of the human and the divine; virtue and the good life; truth, justice, and beauty; the difference between subjective opinion and objective knowledge.

Challenges of Modernity

Think about how our world has been shaped by long-standing debates over gender, psychology, identity, imperialism, morality, race, science, urbanization, and violence.

Scientific Perspectives of the World

Examine how science illuminates our understanding of issues in the world around us.

Communities and Identities

Introduce yourself to processes and factors that fashion communities and identities around the globe.

A Global Engagement Selection

Investigate the conditions and consequences of intercultural and global interactions from a variety of intellectual and methodological approaches so as to confront responsibly the challenges of the 21st century.

Areas of Inquiry

In addition to the core itself, students also choose two courses each from these three areas: Human Thought and Expression; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; and Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents.

Professor Rebecca Ammerman discusses aspects of early Greek life including art, architecture, and culture.
Students perform experiments in an intro biology class in Olin Hall.
Antonio Barrera, Associate Professor of History and Africana and Latin American Studies, lectures to his class in Alumni Hall.


Minors are offered in most majors.

  • Africana and Latin American studies
  • Anthropology
  • Applied mathematics
  • Architecture
  • Art and art history
  • Asian studies
  • Astrogeophysics
  • Astronomy/physics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Chinese
  • Classical studies
  • Classics
  • Computer science
  • Computer science/mathematics
  • Creative writing
  • Economics
  • Educational studies
  • English
  • Environmental biology
  • Environmental economics
  • Environmental geography
  • Environmental geology
  • Environmental studies
  • Film and media studies
  • French
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • German
  • Greek
  • History
  • Humanities
  • International relations
  • Japanese
  • Jewish Studies
  • Latin
  • LGBTQ studies
  • Linguistics
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematical economics
  • Mathematical systems biology
  • Medieval and Renaissance studies
  • Middle Eastern and Islamic studies
  • Molecular biology
  • Museum studies
  • Music
  • Native American studies
  • Natural sciences
  • Neuroscience
  • Peace and conflict studies
  • Philosophy
  • Philosophy and religion
  • Physical science
  • Physics
  • Political science
  • Psychological science
  • Religion
  • Russian and Eurasian studies
  • Social sciences
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Theater
  • Women’s studies
  • Writing and rhetoric

Minor only

The Colgate University theater department presents R & J & Z, a zombie-inspired play by Melody Bates, starring student actors from a variety of academic interests and class years.

Off-Campus Studies

Colgate opens up the world to students by giving them an extraordinary chance to see it.

Over its history, Colgate has long been moving outward, encouraging its students to learn the cultures and perspectives of foreign places. What came of that commitment is one of the most revered off-campus programs anywhere. The sheer scope is remarkable, led by more than 100 approved study-abroad programs in 50 countries.

Students can also do semester-long off-campus study groups, or short-term faculty-led trips with a professor after the semester ends. The majority of students study somewhere else in the world. From Cuba to China, Uganda to Jamaica, Australia to Argentina, Colgate classrooms are everywhere.

Percentage of Colgate students who take part in off-campus study

Bali, Indonesia

The National University Singapore Study Group explores diverse and dynamic Southeast Asia, including a week-long trip to Bali.

Manchester, England

Students visit Chethams Library in Manchester, England, as part of their course Technology, Science & Culture in the History of Manchester.

Florida Keys

Gillian Schutt ’20 participates in cognitive and behavioral research of marine mammals on the Florida Keys Extended Study trip.
Off-campus study programs unlock endless opportunities for learning at locations all over the world.

More Than 70 Countries Visited

In any given year, Colgate students study economics in London, England; education in Seoul, South Korea; geography in Wollongong, Australia; and society and culture in Trinidad — often led by Colgate professors. Options for domestic programs include the National Institutes of Health, where embedded students contribute to advanced research, and Washington, D.C., where they can dig into the operations of executive agencies, think-tanks, and congressional committees.

Outdoor Education

Colgate loves the outdoors, and it sure tends to attract students who feel the same way.

The University’s outdoor education program is regarded as one of the nation’s best. For first-time students, it begins even before they do; more than a quarter of incoming students take a pre-orientation trip in the New York wilderness, hiking, climbing, and paddling with trained leaders. That symbolizes a commitment to get people outside, have fun, and earn credit in the backyards of natural settings around the region. Outdoor classes capture the driven nature of Colgate students. The lessons learned — leadership, teamwork, personal growth — capture Colgate itself.

Colgate is also committed to protecting the environment. In 2019 it became the first college or university in New York to be carbon neutral — meaning it offsets its own greenhouse gas emissions by reducing or removing emissions elsewhere, such as by planting trees that absorb carbon as they grow. Colgate students participate in a “tree climbing for break” class in the woods along the Darwin Thinking Path on the former ski hill on Colgate campus. The class was run by Outdoor Education for students who remained on campus during the autumn break.

Colgate’s Outdoor Education program travels to Cochise Stronghold, a rock climbing destination in the backcountry of Southern Arizona, for spring break. Staff, guides, and students came together to enjoy the spectacular landscape of rugged canyons and towering granite domes.
Professor of Geography Peter Klepeis takes students of his on a snowshoeing walk in the woods around Colgate as part of an exercise in happiness and paying attention to details in nature.
Incoming freshman students participate on a sea kayaking Wilderness Adventure led by Outdoor Education on Cranberry Lake in the Adirondacks.
Outdoor Education ice climbing trip to Keene Valley in the Adirondacks.


Colgate’s research is distinguished in quality, respected by peers, and honored by awards, but the real surprise is who gets to do it: an overwhelming majority of undergraduate students.

The access to research opportunities is a true differentiator at Colgate, where students can typically work directly with top scholars simply by asking.

With no teaching assistants at Colgate, undergrads get doctorate-level opportunities without competing with graduate students for those chances. The research covers the entire spectrum of Colgate liberal arts, from the sciences and social sciences to the arts and humanities. Some students even get research published before they graduate. The intellectual experience of teaming with faculty in discovery is transformative.

$2.1+ million
in approximate funding designated for students participating in summer research in the last three years

Bolivia as a Case Study for Trade Policy in Developing Nations

Jackson Coleman ’22

The Ecophysiology of Polyploidy in the Fern Genus Dryopteris

Jacob Watts ’21

Descendants of the Underground Railroad

Megan Nicholson ’21

Dark Matter and Stellar Evolution

Jillian Paulin ’23

Architecture and Culture during the Venetian Plagues of 1576 and 1630

Raina Jung ’23
Students in the lobby of Benton Hall, the home of Career Services, the Office of National Fellowships and Scholarships, and the Thought Into Action entrepreneurship program’s administrative office


The students of Colgate carry its values.

And one day they carry out the value of a Colgate degree, which opens doors with its reputation for excellence. The finest employers and most competitive graduate schools all know what it means to meet someone who went to Colgate. This university teaches people to grow in both confidence and humility. To challenge themselves and others with reason and respect. To communicate clearly. To see many perspectives. To embrace responsibility and engage in society. Those are the skills employers want. They reflect well-rounded people who can help, compete, and win in the real world. They are Colgate graduates.

Top Employers of Recent Graduates

  • AlphaSights
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Barclays
  • Colgate University
  • Ernst & Young
  • Guidepoint
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • National Institutes of Health
  • NBC Universal
  • Peace Corps
  • UBS
  • Vettery
Class of 2019 who secured jobs, grad school admission, fellowships, military service, or volunteer work within 9 months of graduation

Lauryn Poysner ’21

Observed and helped aid juvenile clients through her work as a legal intern at the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, a nonprofit legal organization in Evanston, Ill.

R Wynter Schnell ’22

Researched the intersection of user experience, marketing, product design, and management at UX Bureau to improve the company’s image as a consultancy for other companies.

Akshara Ramaseshan ’22

Assisted in a number of capacities while an intern at Mediators Beyond Borders International including research to finalize the 2020 Economic and Social Council and piloting a new youth action group.

Jared Collins ’21

Assisted the wetland specialist at Memorial Park Conservancy in Houston, Texas in the areas of environmental engineering and park design while conducting independent research.

Bella Crow ’21

Developed art skills and style along with portfolio pieces in an intensive arts program at the Mount Gretna School of Art in preparation for graduate school.
With support from Colgate’s Thought Into Action Incubator, entrepreneur Uyi Omorogbe ’19 created African-inspired clothing company NaSo. Profits from sales fund renovations and supplies for Nigerian schools.

Choose a Colgate education

Colgate offers rigorous preparation for the world at a remarkably personal level. Students at Colgate are challenged to be enlightened thinkers and global citizens who will thrive in life and in work — and you can be one of them.