Sterling College is a small and progressive liberal arts college in northern Vermont. The college's small size, its environmental focus, and its commitment to grassroots sustainability all make the college unique. Sterling College knows that the most rewarding learning is hands-on learning. Whether offered on campus in a laboratory or seminar room, on the side of a mountain, or in a barn or pasture, classes at Sterling are small and foster experiential learning and deep inquiry through close relationships between faculty members and students.
Sterling College removes the barriers between living one's life and learning. It is for the student who wants to commit to becoming an environmental steward and looks forward to the rigor and challenge of working with both hands and mind.
Sterling College offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in ecology, environmental humanities, outdoor education, sustainable agriculture, and sustainable food systems. Students can also choose to design their own majors, and some examples include "Agroecology," "Environmental Justice," "Conservation Education," and "International Agriculture and Business."
The typical class size at Sterling is 10, and the student-to-faculty member ratio is 7 to 1. Sterling's faculty is composed of 17 full-time members and 17 part-time members. Eighty-five percent of the professors hold advanced degrees. All new students, accompanied by 5 to 6 faculty members, take part in Winter Expedition, a 4-day, 3-night trek along the ridge of the nearby Lowell Mountain Range. Expedition is a 48 year tradition at Sterling College.
Sterling was among the very first colleges in the United States to link the liberal arts to ecology, outdoor education, environmental humanities, and sustainable agriculture. Sterling believes that the wellbeing of humanity depends on small, interconnected communities, committed to conscientious practices in agriculture and energy use, and in stewardship of the air, soil, and water.
In 2013, Sterling College became the 3rd college in the US, and the first college in Vermont, to announce its intention to divest its endowment from fossil fuels.
Students are part of the daily work of the college. Regardless of financial need, all students work on campus, whether in the kitchen, on the farm, in the woodshop, or elsewhere. Sterling College is one of only 7 colleges recognized by the federal government as a Work College -- a college where student work is an integral and mandatory part of the educational process, as opposed to being an appended requirement. Sterling is also the only Work College in the northeast.
A highlight of the Sterling education is a 10-week, 6-credit internship anywhere in the world. Internships in agriculture, cross-cultural education, ecotourism, environmental education, hydrology, land and resource management, outdoor education and leadership, and wildlife rehabilitation and research are popular options.
At Sterling, students, faculty members, and staff members not only live together, they work to create community together. Sterling College strives to be an educational community in which people of all backgrounds and identities feel at home, where differences are embraced, and where individuals take responsibility for furthering the dignity of all.
Sterling is small, and will remain so by design. It is the only college in the nation where the entire community of students and faculty members sit together each week for community meeting. Everyone is on a first name basis, including the president, deans, and faculty members.
Community life is informal. Sterling College students aren't as interested in the kind of structured events and clubs found on most campuses -- they're more likely to enjoy a long weekend of hiking, a lively evening of contra dancing, caring for beehives with friends, snowshoeing at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, or sitting by a bonfire at the college's lean-tos above the Black River. However, there are three athletic teams on campus: Nordic skiing, mountain and trail running, and shooting sports.
Location and Campus
Sterling's rural location is one of the college's most prized characteristics. The campus boasts 130 acres, with an additional 300 acres of boreal research forest. The campus has 16 residential, administrative, and classroom buildings. Facilities include a woodshop, a darkroom, 2 computer rooms and an environmental science computer lab, 2 greenhouses, and the Brown Library. Outdoor teaching facilities include a challenge course with a climbing wall, a managed wood lot, recreation and nature trails, large organic gardens, and a diverse livestock farm with solar- and wind-powered barns. Students spend about 40% of their class time outside the traditional classroom setting.
This region of Vermont is known as the "Northeast Kingdom," and is an international destination for outdoor sports and adventure. There are 4 ski areas within 45 minutes of the college. When city life beckons, however, Burlington is about an hour or so away.
Location & Contact
Craftsbury Common, VT 05827
Majors & Degrees
|Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, And Related Sciences||Associate||Bachelors|
|Agroecology And Sustainable Agriculture|
|Plant Sciences, Other|
|Biological And Biomedical Sciences||Associate||Bachelors|
|Ecology, Evolution, Systematics And Population Biology, Other|
|Liberal Arts And Sciences, General Studies And Humanities||Associate||Bachelors|
|Liberal Arts And Sciences, General Studies And Humanities, Other|
|Natural Resources And Conservation||Associate||Bachelors|
|Environmental/natural Resources Management And Policy, Other|
|Natural Resources And Conservation, Other|
|Wildlife, Fish And Wildlands Science And Management|
|Parks, Recreation, Leisure And Fitness Studies||Associate||Bachelors|
|Parks, Recreation, And Leisure Studies|
|Type||Application Closing||Notification Date||Rolling Admissions|
|Fall freshmen||Not reported||Not reported||Yes|
|Other early decision plan||Not reported||Not reported|
|Transfer||Not reported||Not reported||Yes|
Tuition & Fees
Other Payment Considerations
|Guaranteed tuition plan offered||No|
|Tuition pre-payment plan||No|
|Black or African American||1.61%|
|White or Caucasian||71.77%|
|Two or more races||2.42%|
Freshman car parking
|% of undergrad students who live in college housing||85%|
All College Work Day, Town Meeting and Wood and Art Show
Nordic Ski Team, Trail Running Team, Shooting Club, Environmental and Social Justice Club and Outdoor Club