Ecological Thinking and Action
Sterling College is a private college focused on the human relationship with the natural world. Because we know that the most critical issues of our time involve our climate, soil, water, food, energy, wilderness, and estrangement from nature, Sterling offers ecologically focused bachelor’s degrees in only four areas—Ecology, Environmental Humanities, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems, and Outdoor Education (or a program you design yourself)— to equip you for lives and careers that live up to your values.
Use Your “Outside Voice”
Our community and classes are small, tight-knit, and intense. They will invite you to share, risk, lead, learn, and grow. And trust that we will know your name. Everyone is on a first-name basis here. You can be sure that you will receive the tools, guidance, and support you need to become your finest self.
Learn more about our Community
The Sterling Work Ethic
Everybody has a job at Sterling.
Sterling College is one of only nine federally recognized Work Colleges in the country, and the only one in New England. This means you offset part of your tuition—and get career experience—by working a part-time job on campus. Whether you’re working on the Sterling College farm caring for our livestock and vegetables, preparing amazing meals in the kitchen, making Sterling’s very own maple syrup, mentoring students in the community, or something else entirely, one thing is for sure:
Hard Work Makes a Difference
Valuable job skills and new understanding for the kind of work you find meaningful are immeasurable gifts. Plus, your résumé will thank you. Interested to talk to a current student about their work life at Sterling?
Why choose Sterling College?
- Because we are committed to offering a revolutionary and authentic education that explores the nexus between humanity and nature.
- Because we still marvel at watching the sun cast shadows on winter’s first snow, or hearing the song of the Hermit Thrush, Catharus guttatus, outside the dining hall, or watching a student rock climb for the first time.
- Because we will help you take on new challenges with grit and grace and confidence.
- Because we will help you build the foundations for your dreams, whether you want to work in the green economy, start an organic farm business, or write better environmental policy for our nation.
Get ready to roll up your sleeves and dig into the adventure of a lifetime.
The Sterling College Story
Sterling College was one of the first colleges in the world to focus exclusively on cultivating ecological thinking and action in our students—people who love, work in, and actively care for the environment.
Founded in 1958 as a boarding school, Sterling College evolved into a one- and then two-year experiential college program in rural resource management, looking at the complex relationships between agriculture, conservation, and education. We were locavores before there was even a name for it.
Today, Sterling College is an accredited four-year institution and America’s leading advocate for ecological thinking and action, educating students from all over the world in the science, philosophy, and skills of ecological thinking and action. We offer four environmentally focused undergraduate majors and a self-designed major in the context of an ecology-inspired education. Our mission is to prepare coming generations in the “whys” and “hows” of personal and professional environmental stewardship.
Sterling is also proud to serve as a beacon for ecological education and campus sustainability where nature is the measure. Sterling College was one of the first colleges in the country to have a farm. We were the third college in the nation, and the first in Vermont, to divest our endowment from fossil fuel investments, and we have received a STARS Gold Rating in recognition of our sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).