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Diversity Profile

“Being a Reedie means participating in a passionate and ongoing discourse. It means joining a conversation that doesn’t stop when class ends but spills out into the hallways, through the trails of the canyon, and across the front lawn.”
— Alexi Horowitz ’13

Reed College is located just 10 minutes from downtown Portland, Oregon, a city The New York Times called “the most European of American cities, literate and small-scale, a pleasant surprise around every corner.” For more than a century, the College has been a haven for a diverse group of scholars who wrestle with big ideas and explore ways to apply those ideas to the world around them. Learning is cherished at Reed; it isn’t outside the norm to talk about your passions and discoveries. You will encounter the unexpected, learn to conduct independent research, and discover that the question is the first step in revelation.

With a student-faculty ratio of 9:1 and all classes taught by professors rather than teaching assistants, undergraduate education at Reed comes first. The conference method of learning brings together small groups of students to discuss great ideas, read primary texts by leading thinkers, and form opinions and defend them with skill and nuance. Guided by a thoughtfully constructed sequence of topics and architecture of ideas, students map an academic course that culminates in the senior thesis. They work alongside their professors, with whom they share a deep enthusiasm for scholarship, inquiry, and academic excellence. If you’re ready to look beyond the superficial, to seek the truth and discover unlimited possibilities, you’re ready for Reed.

Asking questions is a social activity for Reedies. You’ll overhear heated debates about Plato in the Sports Center and get caught up in string theory in the Quad. Students don’t compartmentalize who they are from what they’re learning. Whoever you are (even if you’re still deciding who that is), you’ll find that the Honor Principle supports differences and creates respect within the Reed community. Reed is a humanizing place of infinite subsets where you have an opportunity to reinvent yourself continuously. You’ll find your tribe in the classroom, exploring Reed canyon, or hiking in the Cascade Mountains.

Four years of college can seem like a long time and paradoxically like no time at all, but your time at Reed will leave an imprint on you that will extend throughout your life; once a Reedie, always a Reedie. Exposure to the primary disciplines of human knowledge prepares graduates to go on to fascinating professions in science, art, medicine, global politics, education, and the environment. Reed ranks among the top undergraduate institutions in the nation in the percentage of graduates going on to earn Ph.D.s in physics, engineering, and the life sciences. Distinguished alumni include Wikipedia cofounder Larry Sanger ’91; neuroscientist Kenneth Koe ’45, inventor of Zoloft; environmental chemist and mountaineer Arlene Blum ’66; attorney William Hohengarten ’84, whose arguments persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Texas laws against sodomy; beat poet Gary Snyder ’51; best-selling author Barbara Ehrenreich ’63; and geneticist Pamela Ronald ’82, who developed a strain of drought-resistant rice. (Notable dropouts include Steve Jobs.)

Student life
While there are club sports at Reed, there are no varsity athletic teams. The College encourages fitness and the cultivation of lifelong skills. Campus social life is open to all, with no exclusive clubs or organizations; there are no fraternities or sororities at Reed. Some of our organizations include the Black and African Student Union, KRRC-FM (the campus radio station), a constantly growing comic book library, the Reed Outdoor Club, Students for a Democratic Society, Oh For Christ’s Sake (Christian organization), Chabad (Jewish cultural organization), The Creative Review, the Feminist Student Union, and the Bike Co-op.  

The Office of Inclusive Community
The Office of Inclusive Community (OIC) seeks to sustain a campus environment that is welcoming and supportive for all students, staff, and faculty. The OIC has a particular investment in making sure the community is open to students interested in opportunities for identity exploration. This is accomplished through developing educational and social programs that facilitate dialogue and address issues of class, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and diverse social perspectives.

The Multicultural Resource Center
The Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) provides a supportive place for people of color at Reed and a space for all members of the community interested in exploring multicultural issues. In fulfilling its mission, the MRC hosts events and sponsors student-initiated activities. It offers a library of diversity-related books, music, and videos and supports activism related to social justice and human diversity. The operation of the space and its programs is supported by student staff and two professional staff members.

The Do-It-Yourself ALANA Studies student group collaborates with faculty from a variety of departments to enhance the diversity of Reed’s curriculum through talks and workshops that analyze and explore African and African American, Latino, Asian, and Native American identities. All members of the Reed community are invited to participate in these programs and events.

Peer Mentor Program
The Peer Mentor Program (PMP) assists first-year and transfer students with their college transition by pairing them with a peer mentor who provides guidance and support throughout the mentee’s first year at Reed. PMP seeks to support students from underrepresented communities and encourages the development of spaces for students to engage in conversations about the impact of diverse perspectives on the educational experience at Reed.

Financial aid
Nearly half of Reed students receive financial assistance from the College. A full need-based financial aid program makes Reed accessible to students from a wide range of economic backgrounds. The College guarantees it will meet 100% of demonstrated need (based on the FAFSA and CSS/PROFILE) for all admitted students who file their financial aid applications on time. For the 2014–2015 academic year, the average financial aid package (including grants, loans, and work-study opportunities) was approximately $44,147.

Reed welcomes applications from freshman and transfer candidates dedicated to the pursuit of a liberal arts education and a rigorous academic program. The College is committed to maintaining a student body distinguished by its intellectual passion yet diverse in its range of backgrounds, interests, and talents. We accept the Common Application with a short Reed supplement and do not charge an application fee. The Office of Admission is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific time) all year, except for major holidays. Students may apply online at

“Reed allows its students to broaden their horizons academically, socially, and culturally, all through conversation with and exposure to a huge variety of people. I’ve grown so much thanks to my experience at Reed!”
— Nora Jones ’12




• Student Body: 1,374
• Percentage of students from outside the Pacific Northwest: 86%
• Student-faculty ratio: 9:1
• Average class size: 15
• Reed is the only undergraduate college in the country with its own research nuclear reactor. The reactor is used for science courses and senior thesis research and is staffed primarily by undergraduates. Reed has more licensed student operators than any college in the world and more licensed female operators than all other research reactors combined.
• The College offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in 26 departmental majors, 13 interdisciplinary areas, and dual-degree (3-2) programs in engineering, computer science, forestry, and the visual arts.
• Among liberal arts colleges, Reed ranks fourth in the nation in production of future Ph.D.s in all disciplines. Among all institutions of higher learning, it ranks third in the nation in life sciences and third in the nation in social sciences (Higher Education Data Consortium, 2010).
• Graduate schools most frequently attended by Reed alumni for law, medicine, business, and other graduate study include the Universities of Chicago, California, Oregon, and Washington; Yale; Harvard; Stanford; Cornell; MIT; and Johns Hopkins.
• Reed has produced the second-highest number of Rhodes Scholars from a small college (31).

Sample Reed Theses
• “Keep Talkin’ Happy Talk: Civil Rights on Broadway in the Late 1940s”
• “Intersections of Global Capitalism and Indigeneity: Problems of International Environmental and Social Justice”
• “Roots and Wings: Reconstructing the Past in Two American Danza Azteca Groups”
• “Suspending the Plot of the Real: Narratives of Collective Action in Chicana/o Literature and History”
• “Maintaining a Terrifying Reality: Dialogue, Language, and Ethics in the Book of Job”
• “Islam on the Inside: An Ethnographic Case Study of Muslims in an Oregon Prison”
• “Language Revitalization and its Sociocultural Context: Chinook Jargon”
• “Speaking of Birth: The Intersection of International Development and Childbirth in Chiapas, Mexico”
• “The Flow of Absence: Asian Influence from Ezra Pound to Gary Snyder”
• “Overcoming Racial Inequalities: Recent Integrating Trends in the United States”