The 12th-oldest independent liberal arts college in the nation and one of the most selective, Colby offers a rigorous academic program rooted in the deep exploration of ideas, enriched by partnerships with world-class faculty scholars, and deliberately and thoughtfully connected to the world.
Colby is home to a community of 2,000 dedicated and diverse students from more than 65 countries. Students pursue intellectual passions, choosing among 55 majors or developing their own.
The academic experience is built around students and professors working in tandem, pushing intellectual boundaries, testing hypotheses, and creating new approaches and solutions to complex scenarios. Research opportunities across the curriculum provide an ideal setting for student-faculty mentorships and often result in coauthoring peer-reviewed articles or presenting research together at conferences. Each year the Colby Liberal Arts Symposium (CLAS) brings the Colby community together for a full day of performances, presentations, and papers that celebrate student scholarship.
Founded in 1813, Colby has a deep and defining history of inclusiveness. In 1833 students formed the nation’s first college-based anti-slavery society. Colby alumnus Elijah Parish Lovejoy, Class of 1826, became known as the nation’s first martyr to freedom of the press when he was killed in 1837 for publishing abolitionist editorials. In the fall of 1871, Colby was the first all-male college in New England to accept women students, and several buildings on campus are named for early female graduates.
At Colby, a diversity of cultures and perspectives enriches the educational experience in and out of classrooms, and academic and residential life provide opportunities to share views and experiences across cultures. Colby is an inclusive community characterized by mutual respect and open communication, and it is actively committed to attracting and retaining faculty, staff, and students with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
The Colby campus and its location in Waterville, Maine, provide unparalleled research opportunities. Undergraduates enjoy easy access to world-class research institutions through partnerships with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, The Jackson Laboratory, and Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. Ongoing study of the Belgrade Lakes provides students additional research experiences within minutes of campus.
Through programs such as the Buck Lab for Climate and Environment, the Linde Packman Lab for Biosciences Innovation, and the Pulver Science Scholars Program, students and faculty are provided resources to pursue cutting-edge research in critical areas relating to climate change and human health.
The Colby Museum of Art, one of the finest college art museums in the country, is an integral resource for the College, with between 100 and 150 academic courses across the curriculum using it as a place for teaching and learning, bringing more than 1,000 students to learn firsthand from the art on view or selected for study. The Lunder Institute for American Art advances the museum to another level of scholarly and creative production and global community interaction.
The Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center, opened in 2020, is among the finest Division III facilities in the nation. It’s best-in-class facilities include an indoor competition center with a 200-meter track, Maine’s only Olympic-sized pool and New England’s only Myrtha pool, a multi-level fitness center, spaces for yoga and fitness classes, among other competition spaces. The Outdoor Competition Center includes outstanding facilities for soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, baseball and softball, and other varsity and recreation play.
Colby connections extend beyond Mayflower Hill to all parts of the world. About two-thirds of students study abroad, choosing from 200 programs in more than 60 countries. A robust, global community of alumni and parents—plus partnerships with companies, nonprofits, and international institutions—offer students opportunities for internships, civic engagement, and research. A new residential complex in downtown Waterville, the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, further supports local civic engagement partnerships and opportunities.
Colby is engaged in a broad revitalization effort with Waterville to bring energy and economic opportunities to the city. The Lockwood Hotel now anchors the south end of Main Street along with a new arts collaborative, a dynamic arts and cultural destination housed in a historic building. Plans are underway for the Paul J. Schupf Art Center, also on Main Street.
Colby’s innovative DavisConnects program supports internships, research, and global experiences, transforming the liberal arts model with experiential learning that informs students’ intellectual pursuits and encourages connections that put students at a distinct advantage as they enter the workforce or attend graduate school and throughout their lives.
The College remains committed to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated need and to its policy of replacing loans in financial aid awards with grants. Each year Colby awards more than $46 million in grant funding to approximately 45 percent of the student body.
Academic calendars, maintained online, list official schedules for Colby’s academic terms.