Core Curriculum

All Sterling College students take classes that help foster relationships with each other, explore the land and communities around Sterling College, and explore the rugged landscape of Vermont.

A Sense of Place

First year students begin their Sterling career with a two-week intensive called A Sense of Place. The course is an introduction to the ecology, society, and culture of northern New England. Classes include botany, human history, land- use practices, and visits to local artists and farms. Students participate in outdoor challenge activities and small group work, learn about establishing norms of social conduct, build community, and initiate conversations about what it means to live sustainably.

Experiential Education: Bounder and Expedition

First year and transfer students also take Experiential Education I—nicknamed “Bounder”—where they learn advanced outdoor skills such as shelter and fire building. Bounder culminates with the Winter Expedition—a 50 year Sterling tradition. Expedition is a four-day, three-night trek in December undertaken by students, with faculty guides. Expeditioners climb Mt. Bigelow and along the ridge of the nearby Lowell Mountain Range.

Read more about 50 years of Expedition


All students at Sterling College are required to complete an internship. The sophomore year Internship Experience is a precursor to upper level work during which juniors and seniors shape their academic path with their faculty advisor and prepare for the Senior Capstone Project, the culminating academic experience at Sterling.

Other core courses required:

Community Building through Winter Recreation (Bounder II)
Writing & Speaking to the Issues
Environmental Science
Work Search
Writing & Communications
Senior Seminar

For more information about Sterling’s core curriculum, please visit the online course catalog.