Williams seeks to provide the finest possible liberal arts education by nurturing in students the academic and civic virtues, and their related traits of character. Academic virtues include the capacities to explore widely and deeply, think critically and connect ideas creatively.
Established in 1793 with funds bequeathed by Colonel Ephraim Williams, the college is private, residential, and liberal arts, with graduate programs in the history of art and in development economics. The undergraduate enrollment is approximately 2,000 students.
Williams admits U.S. students without regard to their ability to pay. The college meets 100 percent of every admitted students demonstrated financial need for four years. More than half of all Williams students receive financial aid from the college.
There are three academic divisions (languages and the arts, social sciences, and science and mathematics) that encompass 25 departments, 36 majors, and several concentrations and special programs. The academic year consists of two four-course semesters plus a one-course January term.