Academic Catalog

A Message from the President

Dear Students:

Welcome to Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college. Located in the beautiful Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, MCLA’s campus is in North Adams, a city in the midst of a stunning revitalization. Being right in the middle of a community known for its vibrant culture, art, and seemingly endless opportunities for natural recreation adds another dimension to the educational experience you will have at MCLA.

President Birge

MCLA’s engaged community produces transformative learning experiences fostered through a combination of classroom and hands-on learning. Our size and our focus on liberal arts will provide you with endless opportunities to learn from a dedicated and talented faculty who are invested in your success. In classes that are small and personalized, MCLA faculty will know your name and share your dreams.

The academic experience at MCLA empowers you and prepares you to deal with complex and diverse issues while pursuing in-depth achievement in a specific field of study. We provide a wide range of engagement opportunities both in and out of the classroom, including research projects, internships, service projects, and study abroad. These experiences will strengthen and refine your critical thinking, communications, and leadership skills — a foundation crucial to success in the global economy and engaged citizenship in your community.

Our campus continues to expand in dynamic ways. In 2013 we opened the Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation, a state-of-the-art, LEED Gold-certified facility that provides students, faculty, and the education community of Berkshire County with new opportunities for teaching, learning, and discovery. In 2015 we opened the newly renovated and technologically advanced, LEED-certified Bowman Hall, which houses a student-centered art gallery, art studios, PRESS Gallery, and hardware and software labs as well as the math, computer science, arts management, and visual arts departments.

In 2018, we opened the Design Lab in downtown North Adams at 49 Main Street. Outfitted with five separate workstations, each equipped with interactive short-throw projectors and ample whiteboard space, the Design Lab is uniquely suited for collaborative problem-solving, while its open, flexible floor plan is an ideal space for curricular and co-curricular innovation, as well as a multi-purpose venue for the College and the community.

In 2019, MCLA completed a $3 million renovation of the Centennial Dining Room. And in 2020, we opened a new fitness center in Amsler Campus Center with state of the art equipment.

MCLA is an increasingly diverse and inclusive academic community committed to creating a campus climate as well as a culture that values, represents, and honors diversity in our society. We actively endeavor to recruit and retain diverse students, faculty, and staff.

At MCLA, we continue to innovate, affect change, and achieve success through the dedicated efforts and commitment of our entire campus community. That work is reflected in this catalog. You will find information here about programs that meet your interests and exceed your expectations. As an MCLA student, you should reference the information in the catalog guide as you continue your academic journey.

Welcome, again, to MCLA, where I am certain you will discover a supportive, enriching, challenging, and inclusive community — right from the start!

Sincerely,

President Signature

James F. Birge, Ph.D.
President