Harvey Mudd College is the STEM school of the five undergraduates schools within the Claremont Colleges, joining Pitzer, Scripps, Claremont McKenna, and Pomona. These schools, plus two graduate institutes, lie within a square mile 35 miles east of Los Angeles. With about 6,000 undergraduates among them, the Claremont Colleges share 2,000 courses for cross-registration and run the same schedule. In other words, a 9:00 class at Pitzer gets out at the same time as a 9:00 at Harvey Mudd. 

Harvey Mudd dubs itself the Liberal Arts College of Engineering, Science & Mathematics. One-third of your coursework will be in your major, one-third in the core, and one-third in humanities, social sciences, and arts (HSA). The “core” classes are in a set order and taught in rotation by all professors. Faculty lean on materials covered in the core, and writing is taught across the curriculum, aided by an 8:1 student-faculty ratio.

Learning is collaborative. When learning to program in computer science, you will be paired with a partner. Because all students have been through the core curriculum, students ahead of you are there to help. Living communities disperse freshman throughout, so you can find someone in a room nearby to help you with that linear algebra work.

Core Curriculum for 2022-23

Semester 1: calculus, chemistry, computer science, special relativity, and writing

Semester 2: linear algebra, biology, mechanics and HSA 10 (writing-focused critical inquiry)

Semester 3: engineering systems

Because, as admissions directer Peter Osgood said, “high school students don’t really know what engineering is,” you don’t declare a major until the end of your second year. You learn engineering “from the ground up” and your B.S. will be in engineering rather than in a particular discipline within engineering.

One hundred percent of Harvey Mudd students will do undergraduate research while at HMC; about 200 to 250 get paid summer research jobs. Senior capstone projects can be either clinical or thesis-based.

Osgood said that last year the applicant pool soared and that for that reason Harvey Mudd’s acceptance rate dropped to 10 percent. They are test-optional through 2022. Faculty will determine whether to continue that policy or not. Sharing test scores did not improve a student’s odds of admission.

If you apply to Harvey Mudd College, know that your choices senior year will be heavily considered. Did you choose a rigorous schedule or did you coast? They also will look closely at your “Why Harvey Mudd?” essay. Focus less on courses and clubs, more on processes and people. Show that you understand the spirit and mission of Harvey Mudd College.

Harvey Mudd combines liberal arts, STEM