Science Leadership

Mount Holyoke is an excellent place for students who love science. Our curriculum will challenge you. Our faculty will guide you. And our science facilities will give you hands-on experience with equipment you'd only expect to see at a large research university. But don't be fooled by the new facilities—science leadership is nothing new at Mount Holyoke. Our founder Mary Lyon was a chemist, and many of our most notable alumnae made their mark in the sciences. Mount Holyoke's early emphasis on learning in the laboratory is widely credited with setting the standard for modern science education.

Today our thriving science programs continue to set us apart. The National Science Foundation (NSF) ranks Mount Holyoke among the top colleges in the nation for the achievements of our faculty, students, and graduates.

Mount Holyoke’s Expert Faculty

Mount Holyoke’s faculty are active scientists who invite students to collaborate on award-winning research. Along with being dedicated teachers and mentors, they consistently win grants for academic research in the sciences. In fact, data from the NSF shows that:

  • From 2000 to 2005, Mount Holyoke science faculty were awarded more NSF grant money—$8,122,015—than any other leading liberal arts college, which translates into unique research opportunities for students.
  • Our science faculty mirrors our diverse student population: Of our 51 full-time science faculty members, 57 percent are women, and 22 percent are individuals of color.

MHC Leadership: More Doctorates in the Sciences

Nearly a third of our students major in science or mathematics. They leave here exceptionally well prepared for graduate work at the nation’s most rigorous and prestigious universities. According to NSF data, our science students are consistently among the most productive in the country.

  • From 1966 to 2004, according to the NSF’s Survey of Earned Doctorates, Mount Holyoke graduated more women than any other liberal arts college who went on to get U.S. doctorates in the physical and life sciences (356 and 109, respectively). This puts Mount Holyoke in the top 2 percent of all colleges and universities--even major research universities with at least double the enrollment and faculty.
  • Among all colleges and universities, Mount Holyoke ranks eighth (tied with Stanford and Wellesley) in the number of graduates who earned U.S. doctorates in physics from 1966 to 2004; ninth in chemistry; and sixteenth in biology.

Mount Holyoke’s Diversity in the Sciences

Mount Holyoke has long been known for its diverse, global community. We’re also known as a leader in educating international and minority students in the sciences. NSF data shows that:

  • From 2000 to 2004, Mount Holyoke produced more international (non-U.S. citizen) female graduates who went on to receive U.S. doctorates in the physical and life sciences than any other college or university. Twenty-three MHC alumnae received U.S. doctorates in life or physical sciences, compared with 21 women from the University of California-Berkeley, 19 from Harvard, and 17 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Among elite liberal arts colleges, Mount Holyoke ranks first in graduating minority women who went on to receive U.S. doctorates (22 total) in life and physical sciences from 2000 to 2004.