About Us

    Founded in 1782, Washington College was the first college chartered in the sovereign United States of America. General George Washington gave permission to use his name and contributed 50 guineas toward the founding of the College. The core values of the College then remain true today—integrity, determination, curiosity, civility, leadership, and moral courageall of which contribute toward our mission to challenge and inspire emerging citizen leaders.  

    Intellectually Challenging

    Washington College’s reputation is built on outstanding faculty and the quality of our rigorous academic programs. Whether you are engaging in a class discussion with students from diverse backgrounds, presenting research, or continuing a discussion with a professor after class, we offer opportunities to expand your mind.  Here, you learn how to connect the knowledge and skills you gain in class and discover how they apply in the real world.  

    With a favorable student-faculty ratio and small average class sizes, Washington students get to know their professors, and professors their students. Faculty are respected experts in their fields who love to teach. Professors work closely with our students as advisors, research partners, and mentors, and they actively motivate students to achieve beyond their personal expectations.  

    There are three Washington College centers for excellence on campus—The Center for Environment and Society, The Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, and the Rose O’Neill Literary House—which provide opportunities, both on and off campus, for students in all majors to engage in internships, research, and civic engagement programs to build their résumés and gain real-world experiences.

    Empowering Your Future

    At Washington College, we prepare you to take control of your future. Experiential learning opportunities take classroom learning into the real world, showing students how to turn their education into a career. Research, internships, field study, civic engagement, study abroad, and more give our graduates an incredible résumé before beginning their careers and make them strong candidates for the jobs or graduate programs in their field.  

    The Center for Career Development and individual academic departments provide support, through both advice and funding, for many students who pursue such beyond-the-classroom learning on their own, lining up internships that align with student interests or opportunities at institutions that allow students to build on their depth of knowledge and experience. 

    Research opportunities are available to students in all majors, inside and outside the classroom. Students can assist with faculty research or pursue their own lines of inquiry. Ultimately, all graduating students complete a Senior Capstone Experience (SCE)—a research paper, comprehensive exam, professional portfolio, artistic creation or performance, or another active-learning project—to demonstrate mastery and intellectual accomplishment beyond their coursework. The SCE is also valuable for graduates applying for professional or graduate school, adding a degree of academic achievement not often evident among undergraduates. 

    Mind & Body

    We take a holistic approach to education, caring for and nurturing the mind and body. With a wide range of clubs and organizations; varsity, intramural, and club sports; live theatre, dance, and music performances; volunteer opportunities; leadership roles, and more, our students pursue their interests and find their communities.  

    From the moment first-year students set foot on campus and participate in their Explore! orientation program, students are connecting with one another, getting to know Chestertown and the Eastern Shore, and pursuing their interests.  

    The College provides deep support for students’ academic needs, physical health, and mental well-being including an array of counseling options. Not only are these professionally staffed programs available to students, but students participate as peer mentors, wellness advocacy coaches, writing tutors and more, providing another level of support while also building their résumés and skillsets. 

    A Place Like No Other  

    The College is located in the historic town of Chestertown, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Our 112-acre main campus, the Hodson Boathouse and Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall on the Chester River waterfront, and the 5,000-acre River and Field Campus provide students with enriching opportunities. Faculty and students take advantage of our location with outdoor lectures, field work, labs, field trips, and more. Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia are each less than a 2-hour drive away, making cultural and professional opportunities at nationally significant institutions accessible to Washington students.  

    Working closely with partners in Chestertown and along the Eastern Shore affords our students unique opportunities to participate in a range of civic engagement activities that make a real difference in the lives of those in the region. Our location also puts us at the forefront of building resilience in both the environment and civic life. At Washington, we believe that caring for our environment grows from nurturing healthy, sustainable communities. Our holistic approach to education includes combining environmental efforts, civic engagement, and service to create a healthy community for our students, faculty, and staff on campus and for our neighboring communities.