Get to Know Dickinson
Becoming a part of the Dickinson community means joining a team of outstanding students and dedicated faculty members committed to the continuous study of and engagement with other cultures and societies. The close-knit environment at the college encourages self-expression and growth while fostering an understanding and appreciation for the diversity of people who surround us.
What makes Dickinson different?
The mission of Dickinson College is to prepare students, by means of a useful education in the liberal arts and sciences, for engaged lives of citizenship and leadership in the service of society. So what does this mean to you? It means:
- classrooms filled with challenging, controversial and socially relevant conversations
- the opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture, be it in Carlisle or in another country during a study-abroad experience
- the expectation that you will emerge from your college experience as a more holistic and engaged human being
- and having the support system to remind you that you can make a difference in this world.
What is Dickinson known for?
Besides its proud history, strong academics and active approach to learning, Dickinson is known for its global outlook and commitment to environmental sustainability. When you come to our Carlisle campus to start your college education, you'll quickly learn that we encourage our students to step beyond the limestone walls of our campus. As a result, the dynamics of the campus constantly are changing and growing as students return with newly formed opinions and ideas as a result of abroad experiences, exchange programs, classroom excursions and internships.
What are some important accolades Dickinson has earned?
Dickinson was chosen by the National Association of International Educators (NAFSA) as one of six institutions in America that have internationalized their campuses.
A Wall Street Journal feature named Dickinson one of the country's "hot schools" in an article that highlighted the college’s approach to global education and the high percentage of its students who spend an entire year abroad. The article stated that Dickinson is a "college for a new era" and one of 16 colleges and universities throughout the country that are "poised to be players in the new landscape."
Time magazine's cover story, "Who Needs Harvard?", quotes a counselor from a highly selective private school in La Jolla, Calif., who observes that sophisticated students searching for the right college "see that schools like ... Dickinson really care about the quality of undergraduate life."
Discover more Dickinson in the news.
What is a liberal-arts education?
The words “college” and “university” have different meanings around the world, but in the United States colleges and universities are enough alike that the phrase “going to college” means undergraduate enrollment at either a college or a university. Dickinson is a highly selective liberal arts college where the global curriculum allows students the opportunity to make connection between and among academic disciplines. The Dickinson experience is more than a collection of credits. Students develop their own voices and they use education for consequential action and leadership.
What is the academic program at Dickinson like?
Dickinson has earned recognition as a top U.S. liberal-arts college with a close-knit community of approximately 2,400 students. International students attending Dickinson discover:
- a top-tier global curriculum taught by caring, committed professors
- an intellectually vibrant community where individuals are valued and supported
- state-of-the-art facilities on a historic campus
- life-long friendships in an environment that encourages free exchange of ideas and celebrates diversity.
At Dickinson, you have the freedom to choose from 42 majors, including innovative interdisciplinary programs and opportunities to take your studies into that field through hands-on learning and research. Sharpen your skills in global business through our international business & management major or explore opportunities for government or policy research through the international studies program. Throughout your education at Dickinson, you will begin to see that the world is interconnected, that seemingly disparate ideas are related and that there is a common paradigm for solving problems.
Additionally, you’ll work side-by-side with faculty members on exciting research and find yourself just as likely to be discussing topics with your professor at a local restaurant, coffee bar or backyard barbecue as in the classroom.
Where is Dickinson College located?
Dickinson College is located in Carlisle, Pa., a community of nearly 22,000 residents and home to shops and restaurants, mall and theatres, the Appalachian Trail and many other outdoor attractions. Carlisle is part of the metropolitan region of Harrisburg, the state capital, and the area grants easy access to all major East Coast cities--including New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.--and connections for air travel and interstate rail.
What is the weather like in Pennsylvania?
We are fortunate to experience all four seasons in Pennsylvania. You’ll enjoy a little bit of everything from warm sunny days and a crisp, colorful fall to a snowy winter wonderland followed by a bright spring thaw. Light clothing will be appropriate when you first arrive on campus in late August. You’ll use sweaters and light jackets in October and November. By December you’ll need warm coats and heavier shoes. Weather warms in the spring, usually in April.
How large are classes at Dickinson?
Dickinson classes are small, averaging 17 students. The student-faculty ratio is a remarkably low 10:1. By design, Dickinson is a community of scholars, a place where learning is active and study is hands-on.
What is Dickinson’s international community like?
Dickinson’s community is a diverse one, in which students bring their cultural, geographic and political perspectives to bear and can honestly voice competing opinions. Besides the many Dickinson students and faculty who return to campus having studied abroad, more than six percent of the student body is international. Forty-four states and territories and 41 countries are represented in our student body of nearly 2,400 students.
Dickinson also hosts a continuous flow of distinguished international students and scholars and symbols of the college’s global mission are everywhere on campus. Even the clocks in the library and student union give the time of day at Dickinson centers around the world.
How does Dickinson provide a global education to students?
The college’s historic founding as a revolutionary college makes it an ideal setting for the study of United States culture and society. Students have countless opportunities to gain insight into global problems and solutions. Our international curriculum begins in the classroom with foreign language—the core of Dickinson’s distinctive global curriculum. The college offers language instruction in 12 languages. Language houses and the Global Community House offer immersive-living options and language tables in the dining hall enhance acquisition and mastery of speaking skills. Internationalization is key in the classroom and in other ways as well:
66 percent of courses taught have an international focus
26 percent of students graduate with an international major such as international business & management, international studies or East Asian studies
Globally integrated courses are offered on a rotating basis. This distinctive program combines a short-term study abroad experience with an on-campus course.
Dickinson is a great campus at which to experience the all-American small town with its rural surroundings and safe, close-knit campus. Our location offers access to the largest cities and attractions in Pennsylvania and on the East Coast. Students frequently take inexpensive trips to cities like New York City, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia.
The community at Dickinson will not only provide you with a perspective on the United States, but also on the wide range of cultures that comprise our global society. The internationalization you’ll find at Dickinson prepares you for a complex world where a perspective on the many rich cultures, languages, arts and political processes allows you to move freely outside of the confines of geographic boundaries.
Internationalism thrives in our classrooms as well through the college’s emphasis on foreign-language study—the core of Dickinson’s global curriculum. The college offers 12 languages, including modern Greek, Mandarin Chinese and Arabic. You’ll likely encounter someone who knows your language or would like to know it. Each week, students and faculty members come together for a meal and lively discussions in a language other than English. Joining Dickinson, you will know that your presence and viewpoint are welcome.
Am I able to study abroad or off-campus at Dickinson?
Yes. Dickinson has a long tradition of excellence in study abroad and has been nationally recognized for its accomplishments. The college sponsors 40 highly regarded programs on six continents in 24 countries. At the heart of this network are 14 Dickinson’s own program sites. In most cases, Dickinson’s programs are located in smaller provincial capital cities, where students are immersed in local culture in ways that would not be possible in larger tourism centers. More than 60 percent of Dickinson students study abroad before graduating.
International students may also opt to participate in the college’s off-campus study at institutions within the United States. Stateside programs include the Dickinson semester in Washington, D.C., and a semester of environmental science at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
What is the student experience like on campus?
Dickinson is a residential college, which means students live in college-provided, comfortable housing, ranging from traditional large college dormitories to independent apartment living to specialized small housing where students with specific interests come together.
You’ll have a telephone number and an e-mail address to keep in touch with your family and friends back home and to stay in close contact with the friends you’ll make in the United States.
You may bring your own computer or use one of the many computers you’ll find on campus. Most students eat in the cafeteria where food is served buffet-style. Vegetarian dishes always are available, and special dietary needs can be accommodated.
Because the college experience isn’t just about the classroom, you’ll have an opportunity to participate in many special-interest clubs, athletics, trips and other recreational activities. Participate in sports such as tennis, baseball, cricket, ping-pong, American football and futbol (soccer to Americans); hike a portion of the famed Appalachian Trail; pursue your musical interests by joining the college orchestra or a cappella group; attend guest lectures, concerts, films and theatre; debate current world politics; or enrich your knowledge about pressing global issues. The opportunities are endless.
Can I talk to a current student?
Absolutely. If you'd like to contact a current international student or member of our international community, please e-mail us
at and we are happy to connect you.
How do I decide which application program is right for me?
We encourage you to read more about our application programs
and the benefits of each.
When is the early decision program encouraged at Dickinson?
Early Decision is for students who have firmly decided that Dickinson College is their first choice. International students can and are encouraged to apply Early Decision if Dickinson is their top choice. ED applicants are given preference in the decision process. We value your commitment to Dickinson and find that students who are excited to apply ED become our most motivated students both inside and outside the classroom. In the smaller ED pool, students are evaluated individually on their own merits and are not in competition with a larger pool of students. ED is also the application plan in which Dickinson has the most ability to offer larger financial-aid packages.
Can I transfer from a foreign college/university to Dickinson?
Yes—international students are welcome to transfer to Dickinson
. In addition to a completed application form, certification of finances and secondary-school transcripts, transfer students must provide official transcripts for all completed college coursework, a statement indicating the reason for transfer, at least one recommendation from a professor and evidence of good academic and nonacademic standing as indicated by the Dean's Report Form or similar official statement. The application deadlines are April 1 for fall semester and November 1 for spring semester.
Do you accept transfer credits from non-U.S. universities?
Any student who has matriculated at a university must apply as a transfer
. There is no guarantee that university coursework will be transferable. A student who has taken classes at a university outside of the United States is required to have university transcripts officially translated and evaluated by World Education Services (WES) as part of the Dickinson College application process. WES is an international academic-credit evaluation agency. Dickinson College requires the Comprehensive Course-by-Course Report. .
What if I have more questions?
If you have questions about financial aid, standardized testing, application options and deadlines, how to fill out the various application forms or about the college in general, e-mail our international-admissions team