2022-23 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Apr 12, 2024  
2022-23 Undergraduate Catalog

About the University

Castleton University

Castleton, Vermont 05735

Castleton University is accredited by the
New England Commission of Higher Education.


To understand the Castleton Way, which guides the university in all its endeavors, is to engage in respectful relationships in an inclusive, student-centered environment; to appreciate our learned and compassionate faculty and dedicated and caring staff; to strive to learn, use, and teach sustainable environmental practices; and to participate in strong community partnerships.

Castleton's transformational education emphasizes undergraduate liberal arts and professional studies while also offering graduate programs. The university prepares its diverse students for relevant and meaningful careers in a global economy, advanced academic pursuits, and responsible citizenship.


The curriculum and overall campus experience is designed to realize five learning goals:

  1. Castleton University provides a broad range of knowledge in the liberal arts as well as deep knowledge in one of our many academic disciplines.
  2. Castleton University develops students' facility with skills necessary for their academic studies, professional development, and life-long learning.
  3. Castleton University helps students to clarify their values and learn how to collaborate productively with others by recognizing and respecting diverse perspectives.
  4. Castleton University teaches students how to make connections between various intellectual and social domains and to apply their knowledge in critical and creative thinking and expression.
  5. Castleton University prepares students to take meaningful action in their personal, professional, and civic lives.

Adopted in 2016 and following the provisions of Castleton's 10-year strategic plan, these goals offer a roadmap for the objectives and learning outcomes that are realized in diverse ways throughout the Castleton education. No single program is expected or required to fulfill all of these goals. Rather, these goals are achieved through the thoughtful integration of learning in the student's coursework in the General Education Program, the major or professional program, and the many varieties of experiential learning offered by the university. As such, these goals represent the collective aspirations of educators across campus for all students of Castleton University.


Castleton is located in an area that has long been recognized for its beauty, tranquility, and abundant four-season recreational resources. The natural environment of Vermont blends easily with the educational environment of Castleton to create the setting for a unique living and learning experience.

The university's 165-acre campus is situated in the village of Castleton. One of Vermont's largest cities, Rutland, lies 12 miles to the east; New York State is six miles to the west. The internationally-known ski resorts of Killington and Okemo are just forty minutes away along the crest of the Green Mountains. Montreal, Boston, Hartford, Albany, and New York City are all within easy driving distance on major highways and are accessible by air, bus, and/or train service.

Faculty and Curriculum

Castleton provides an academic experience that draws from two of the university's greatest strengths. On the one hand, students can enjoy the benefits of small classes in a rural setting and Castleton's two hundred years of tradition. On the other hand, they can profit from contact with highly qualified faculty who are strongly encouraged to develop their teaching skills and research interests. These attributes of the institution receive support from fine academic facilities, particularly an excellent Information Technology Services Center whose growth in recent years in quality and quantity of hardware and software is matched by student and faculty interest.

These ingredients, combined with a diverse population of in-state and out-of-state students, provide variety and challenge for all on a very personal level.

Castleton is primarily a teaching institution whose faculty is dedicated to the preeminence of student learning in the life of the university. Castleton faculty comprise a community of scholar-teachers whose academic and artistic endeavors enlarge and enrich the lives of their students, their colleagues, and the university. Ninety-three percent of the faculty hold doctoral or appropriate terminal degrees in their field of academic specialty. Excellence in teaching requires that professors continue to learn to reexamine established canons of thought and belief, and to expand the frontiers of knowledge through continued study, scholarship, and research. The chief beneficiary of faculty scholarship is the Castleton student, whose classroom experience is heightened by the shared excitement of the professor's own pursuit of knowledge.


Castleton University was founded in 1787 (the same year that the Constitution of the United States was written). We are Vermont's first institution of higher education and the eighteenth oldest college in the United States.

Founding Day was October 15, 1787, when the General Assembly of the Republic of Vermont honored the petition of a group of veterans of the Green Mountain Boys and the Continental Army and chartered the Rutland County Grammar School in the village of Castleton. (In the eighteenth century, a grammar school was the first step in higher education, a link between the local common schools and the few colleges in New England.) In 1818, the Grammar School was joined by a neighbor, the Castleton Medical College, the first medical college in Vermont. Until it closed in 1862, the Medical College conferred some 1400 medical degrees, more than any other New England medical school. Students came from throughout the United States and Canada, and from distant lands including France, Cuba, Ireland, and Brazil. At least two African Americans graduated and went on to distinguished careers. When the Medical College closed, its distinctive cupola-topped building (known today as "The Old Chapel") was absorbed by the original school. Today, the Old Chapel still houses classrooms along with exhibits from the days when it was the anatomical theater of the Medical College. It also features the oldest photograph of medical education taking place in the United States.

Throughout the nineteenth century and beyond, the school in Castleton evolved to meet the needs of society. Over the years, the institution repeatedly benefitted from the vision of several outstanding leaders, including Solomon Foot, principal in the 1820s (and later president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate during the Civil War); the force of nature known as Harriet Haskell, Castleton's first woman principal in the 1860s (and later a nationally known feminist); and Captain Abel Leavenworth, principal in the 1880s (and hailed as the hero who had led the first Union infantry into Richmond in 1865 and personally raised the stars and stripes over the capital of the Confederacy).

Castleton entered its first Golden Age in the 1920s and 1930s under the leadership of Caroline Woodruff, a friend of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt and the first woman president of the National Education Association. Woodruff helped save the school after a devastating fire in 1924. Demonstrating the resilience that typifies Castleton, Woodruff vowed that "the glory of the latter house shall be greater than that of the former." And, indeed, under Woodruff's guidance the school flourished. She modernized the curriculum, hired excellent staff, and exposed her students to the wider world through guest speakers like Robert Frost, Helen Keller, Norman Rockwell, and Alexander Woollcott (whose home on a lake in Castleton served as the summer headquarters of the Algonquin Round Table in the Roaring Twenties).

In the 1960s, Castleton entered its second Golden Age under President Richard Dundas, a quiet visionary who doubled enrollment, bolstered the caliber of the faculty, embarked on a building boom, and expanded the curriculum until the school offered a full-fledged liberal arts education. The student population, which traditionally had been rural women, now included significant numbers of men, and Castleton became a national power in men's soccer. In 1962, Castleton became a state college and a member of the newly formed Vermont State Colleges System.

Beginning in 2002, Castleton entered its third Golden Age under the charismatic leadership of President David Wolk. The college invested over $75 million in infrastructure improvements, increased research opportunities for faculty and students, expanded programming in athletics and the arts, increased the number of international students, pursued a diversified portfolio of entrepreneurial ventures, and added a number of graduate programs. Accordingly, after more than a decade of unprecedented growth and improvements, in 2015 the VSCS Board of Trustees unanimously approved modernizing Castleton's name to Castleton University.

Today, Castleton University has a total enrollment of more than 2,000 students. Vermont residents make up the majority of the student body, though our out-of-state and international populations continue to grow. Per our Mission Statement, a Castleton education is transformational for our students. The University consciously strives to meet their special needs through close faculty-student interactions and by enveloping them with a sense of care, support, and opportunity that we refer to as "The Castleton Way."

When Green Mountain College closed its doors in 2019, Castleton accepted its students with open arms. Later that year, when Southern Vermont College and then the College of St. Joseph ceased operations, Castleton again agreed to teach-out their students. And we continue to stand by, ready to provide New Englanders with the skills, training, and support they need to permanently improve their lives and the lives of their families.

We also expanded our footprint in 2019 by adding new campuses in Killington (for our Resort & Hospitality Management program) and Bennington (for our Nursing program).

We say that "All students can earn straight As at Castleton," because they have unparalleled opportunities to excel in the three "A"s: Academics, Arts, and Athletics. Our alumni regularly state that the four years they spent at Castleton were the best years of their lives. That's not surprising, as our campus is truly an exhilarating place: hundreds of eager young adults studying, learning, debating, going to plays, cheering at football games, starting clubs, performing internships, conducting experiments in our new million-dollar science labs, skiing at Pico Resort (our students ski for free at Pico), working on projects in our state-of-the-art graphic design studio, and, most importantly, preparing to make the world a better place when they graduate.

Although much has changed in 234 years, Castleton retains its historic commitment to our students and to Vermont. Like Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys, who convened in Castleton just twelve years before our founding, we do heroic things with minimal means. The transformative education Castleton provides is needed now more than ever before, as we offer vital programming to educate the future scientists, nurses, social workers, educators, business persons, and thinkers who will tackle the myriad challenges facing our state, our nation, and our planet. 


Castleton University has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) was established to help expand students' access to educational opportunities and ensure more efficient, consistent, and effective regulation of distance learning programs.
Two critical components of our mission are:

  1. to assure students are well-served in a rapidly-changing education landscape, and
  2. to increase the quality and value of higher education credentials earned through distance learning programs.




Castleton University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (formerly the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.).

Accreditation of an institution of higher education by the Commission indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality periodically applied though a peer review process. An accredited college or university is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation.

Accreditation by the Commission is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution.

Inquiries regarding the accreditation status by the Commission should be directed to the administrative staff of the institution. Individuals may also contact:

New England Commission of Higher Education
3 Burlington Woods Drive, Suite 100, Burlington, MA 01803-4514
(781) 425 7785
E-Mail: info@neche.org