About Carleton

Founded in 1866, Carleton College is a small, private liberal arts college in the historic river town of Northfield, Minnesota. Best known for its academic excellence and warm, welcoming campus community, Carleton offers 32 majors in the arts, humanities, natural sciences/mathematics, and social sciences.

Carleton at a Glance

  • Location: Northfield, Minnesota, population 20,000
  • Nearest cities: Minneapolis and St. Paul (40 miles)
  • Enrollment: 1,995 students from 50 states and 35 countries (9% international)
  • Demographics: 53% female, 47% male; 24% identify as people of color
  • Calendar: Trimester (Three ten-week terms)
  • Student/faculty ratio: 9:1 (average class size: 16 students)
  • Off-Campus: 75% study off-campus, both domestically and internationally
  • Financial Aid: 100% of demonstrated financial need is met for all admitted students
  • Religious affiliation: None

A true liberal arts education

Carleton College is committed to providing a true liberal arts education, a curriculum that challenges our students to learn broadly and think deeply. Instead of training for one narrow career path, Carleton students develop the knowledge and skills to succeed in any walk of life. The most important thing our students gain is how to learn for a lifetime. Critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, effective communication: these are the tools that transform a collection of facts and figures into a way of understanding the world. Learn more about academic life at Carleton.

Faculty passionate about teaching

Carleton's faculty members are highly respected scholars, researchers, and practitioners in their fields. But above all, their first priority is teaching. Every course at Carleton is taught by a professor, not a teaching assistant, in classes small enough to offer individual attention for our students. A student-faculty ratio of 9 to 1 ensures that Carleton students have plenty of opportunity for interaction with their professors.

Students passionate about everything

Carleton's student body is notoriously difficult to categorize, but if we had to choose just one word to describe them, it would be curious. They're an intellectually insatiable group that approaches learning with enthusiasm, energy, and a uniquely Carleton brand of playfulness. Broad-ranging interests are common, and friendships seem to cross all traditional boundaries.

A close-knit community

When people visit Carleton, they're often surprised by the warmth and closeness of the campus community. Somehow they expect a leading liberal arts college to feel more formidable and competitive. But as our students and alumni will tell you, there's just something different about Carleton. Maybe it's our small size (2,000 students). Or maybe it's the round-the-clock proximity of so many creative minds (most students live and socialize on campus). Whatever the reason, Carleton is a place where students are likelier to cooperate than compete—and where working hard doesn't mean forgetting how to play. Learn more about Carleton campus life.