At Williams, scholars and students learn from each other—often one-on-one—in a small, close-knit community. Faculty include scholars from diverse backgrounds with specialties ranging from medieval European literature to African art to music theory and analysis. Students are encouraged to participate in the arts regardless of their major, affirming the arts’ role in an open, creative, and flexible education both inside and outside of the classroom.
Making and studying art go hand in hand for students in the art department, renowned for its wide-ranging curriculum, exceptional faculty, and accomplished alumni. Many classes engage with the collections and practices of the Williams College Museum of Art and the Clark Art Institute, and students may also take classes in the graduate art history program as undergraduates.
A dynamic faculty and numerous first-rate performance and composition opportunities set Williams’ music program apart from those at most other liberal arts colleges. The music department is noted for its orchestra, choirs, jazz groups, and Symphonic Winds Ensemble. Student-run groups, such as a cappella groups, instrumental combos, and bands are also prominent.
The theatre department combines artistic practice with scholarly inquiry, with each season representing a broad range of dramatic literature and theatrical style. The department is a laboratory for the profession, exposing students to theatre at the highest level, with both professional and student-run initiatives.
The dance department provides opportunities for students to study technique, choreograph, perform, and research both ancient and contemporary forms. The department sponsors professional artists in concerts, workshops, master classes, and residences that bring participants together for unique cultural experiences in a wide variety of dance forms.
The study of English allows students to explore the critical role language and literature play in shaping human culture and social experience. Creative writing courses are taught predominantly by the English department, although playwriting is also offered by the theatre department. Student-run organizations, like the Williams Writers Overground, host open workshop sessions, and student publications, like Parlor Tricks and the Williams Literary Review, produce print issues of student work.
The Williams Graduate Program in the History of Art provides exemplary preparation for careers in the academy, museums, and associated fields. Its graduates credit their time here as a defining scholarly and professional experience. The constellation of instructors who participate in the Program includes professors, researchers and curators. Other staff at Williams, the Clark, WCMA and MASS MoCA, along with the Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professorship and other visiting appointments also assist the program.