Frances Perkins Program

Nontraditional Age Students

Mount Holyoke continues to support the philosophy of its founder, Mary Lyon, who believed that a Mount Holyoke education should be available to any talented woman who could benefit from it. Recognizing that the quest for knowledge does not end, Mount Holyoke College welcomes women who follow unconventional paths to its gates and through The Frances Perkins Program opens the nation's oldest women's college to students of nontraditional age.

The Frances Perkins Program is a specially designed program for women of non-traditional age who wish to complete the requirements for a Bachelor of Arts degree. The Program enables women who are 25 years old or over  to earn a first-rate degree that meets all the requirements of the undergraduate program and at the same time offers the option of electing either a full or part-time (two courses) schedule. Women who have dependents or are veterans are also eligible to apply for admission through this program.

Each year approximately 90 diverse and intellectually curious women enroll at Mount Holyoke as Frances Perkins scholars (FPs). Most Frances Perkins students matriculate with between thirty and sixty four transferrable credits. These students enhance Mount Holyoke's excellence by bringing extensive work and life experiences to campus. Their contributions to the academic and social climate of the College are embraced by their traditional-aged classmates as well as the College's faculty and staff. Together FPs form a close community that supports them as scholars and women.

Since the Frances Perkins Program was founded in 1980, FPs have gone on to earn master's degrees and doctorates in such fields as anthropology, biology, chemistry, divinity, education, English, history, library science, pharmaceutical science, psychology, social work, and studio art. A number have earned degrees in law, medicine, and veterinary science.