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Undergrad Profile

Anyone who’s ever been here will tell you: Eckerd College definitely has a secret sauce. The list of ingredients begins with a first-rate faculty, a vibrant internship program, an impressive array of study abroad terms, and a breezy waterfront location in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

But that’s just the beginning. One of only 40 American liberal arts colleges included in Loren Pope’s Colleges That Change Lives, Eckerd offers a close and friendly community that values volunteer service, environmental activism, and creative self-expression. The College is nationally known for its environmental studies, marine sciences, creative writing, international relations, and global affairs programs. 

Eckerd students have their pick of more than 200 internship placements carrying academic credit and more than 300 destinations for study abroad in English. Amazingly, this little college of 1,800 students often leads the nation in the percentage of students who travel during their undergraduate years.
In addition to its listing in The Princeton Review’s The Best 379 Colleges for 2015, Eckerd also appears on The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges. And yes, it’s true—Eckerd College has a pet dorm, home to three dozen students and their dogs, cats, ferrets, and reptiles.

Barefoot and brainy
The College’s 1,800 students come from 48 states, 40 countries, and every background, belief, and personality type imaginable. Eckerd students have been described as “barefoot and brainy”—intrigued by ideas and serious about learning, but fun-loving and adventurous too.

While other colleges devote three or four days to new student orientation, Eckerd dedicates three whole weeks to it. New students take one for-credit class, spending the rest of their time getting to know other students, the campus, and St. Petersburg.

Autumn Term is one reason Eckerd was named to a list of just 13 “Institutions of Excellence in the First College Year,” issued by the Policy Center on the First Year of College.

Teachers and friends
Each new student is assigned a mentor—a faculty member whose job it is to guide and support them through that first big year. New students take both the Autumn Term course and a sequence of two first-year courses with their mentors. These relationships often last well beyond the student’s first year.

The intellectual atmosphere at Eckerd is engaging, open-minded, and innovative. The average class has 19 students, and there are no teaching assistants, so students get one-on-one attention from highly trained professors day in and day out. Ninety-six percent of Eckerd professors hold a Ph.D. or the highest degree in their field.

Research experience
One of the most exceptional opportunities Eckerd provides is joint student-faculty research and scholarly projects. Students work closely with faculty to design original studies and gather, analyze, present, and even publish their findings. For example, the College recently sent five students to China for faculty-directed research, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s International Research Experience for Students (IRES). Another 30 students stayed on the Eckerd campus last summer to do research along with their Eckerd professors. Most of this research takes place in our newly opened, $25 million James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences.

Galapagos and Antarctica
There are endless opportunities at Eckerd to travel. Sixty to 65% of Eckerd students study abroad—many more than once. Eckerd has semester- and year-long programs and maintains its own study center in London.

The four-week winter term offers fascinating and original courses ranging from an economic course in which students travel to Cuba to compare their economic system with ours to a biology course that explores the ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands.

A fun, active campus
Eighty percent of our students live on campus in one of 11 air-conditioned dorms, which include theme residences (community service, substance- free, all-female, environmental awareness, and pet). All dorms are within easy walking distance of the Armacost Library, classrooms, and labs, as well as the cafeteria, beach, boathouse, and fitness center.

In an average week, Eckerd hosts 100 campus activities, from the arts to sports and religious to political events. Everyone turns out for popular annual events like the Howl-O-Scream and Kappa Karnival in May.

Eckerd’s deep commitment to the environment can be seen everywhere on campus. Take Iota Complex, for example, a four-building residence hall built to U.S. Green Building Council standards. To reduce car use,the College also provides yellow bikes for student, faculty, and staff to use around campus.

Climate matters
Our beautiful campus is located on 188 bay-front acres on the Gulf of Mexico. The Sunshine City has more than 300 days of sun a year, with average temperatures that rarely fall below 70.

St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bayarea boast shopping and dining of every kind, major league sports teams (including the Rays, the Buccaneers, the Lightning, and an active spring baseball scene), plus white sand beaches, theme parks, and areas of natural beauty that make it one of the top tourist destinations in the country.

After graduation
In a recent survey, 69% of Eckerd graduates were working full time in fields such as marine science, photojournalism, finance, social work, and environmental consulting within a year of graduation. The rest were enrolled in graduate programs at places like Yale, Tufts, Johns Hopkins, Harvard Law School, and the San Francisco Art Institute. Eckerd College alumni include best-selling authors, professional athletes, teachers, lawyers, physicians—even circus performers!

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• American Studies
• Ancient Studies
• Anthropology
• Art
• Biochemistry
• Biology
• Business Administration
• Chemistry
• Communication
• Comparative Literature
• Computer Science
• Creative Writing
• East Asian Studies
• Economics
• Engineering (3-2)
• Environmental Studies
• Film Studies
• French
• Geosciences
• History
• Human Development
• Humanities
• Interdisciplinary Arts
• International Business
• International Relations and Global Affairs
• International Studies
• Literature
• Management
• Marine Science
• Mathematics
• Music
• Philosophy
• Physics
• Political Science
• Pre-dental
• Pre-law
• Pre-med
• Pre-vet
• Psychology
• Religious Studies
• Sociology
• Spanish
• Theatre
• Women’s and Gender Studies

• 4-1-4 calendar, fall semester, winter term (January), spring term
• B.A. and B.S. degrees
• Self-designed majors
• Phi Beta Kappa
• Honors Program
• Ford Foundation Fellows Program

Student Body
• Full-time enrollment: 1,800
• Minority students: 16%
• Students represent:
   - Florida: 21%
   - Mid-Atlantic: 21%
   - Northeast: 18%
   - Midwest: 12%
   - Southeast: 13%
   - West: 10%
   - International: 5%