Total Undergraduate Enrollment: 889
Institutional Type: Private
Curricular Flexibility: Somewhat Flexible
Academic Rating: 5
Mathematical and Computational Biology
Mathematics and Statistics
2. The Aerospace Corporation
5. Farmers Insurance
5. information Technology
4. Northrop Grumman
1. Los Angeles
2. San Francisco
4. San Diego
5. New York City
College Scorecard (Early Career): $88,800
EOP (Early Career): $82,400
PayScale (Mid-Career): $158,200
To the average college-bound teen, Harvey Mudd may not have the name recognition that other schools of its caliber enjoy. However, the smallest of the colleges within the illustrious Claremont Consortium (Pomona, Claremont McKenna, Scripps, and Pitzer are the others) is routinely rated one of the best liberal arts colleges in the entire country and one of the top STEM institutions in the world.
A little under 900 undergraduate students occupy this tiny 33-acre campus; however, it is surrounded by theafore mentioned affiliated colleges, giving the experience a less claustrophobic feel. Only six majors are offered: biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, and physics. All are incredibly strong. Students also have the option to combine certain disciplines into what amounts to a double major. In preparing a small army of future engineers and scientists, Harvey Mudd has been at the forefront of preaching a balanced education. The school requires a significant amount of coursework in the humanities, backing up its stated belief that “technology divorced from humanity is worse than no technology at all.”
Class sizes are not always as small as the school itself. While 57 percent of courses have an enrollment under twenty, another 37 percent enroll between twenty and thirty-nine students. Regardless, Mudd prides itself on offering graduate-level research opportunities and experiential learning to all undergrads. The college backs up its philosophical stance with cold, hard cash, allocating three million dollars annually to facilitate student-faculty research. Students can participate during the school year or during the Summer Undergraduate Research Program that entails ten weeks of full-time laboratory work. The Clinic Program groups juniors and seniors and lets them work on a real-world problem for corporate or agency sponsors for 1,200 to 1,500 hours over the course of one year. It is not uncommon for participants to end up with their name on a patent.
The college routinely produces winners of scholarships from the National Science Foundation, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the Watson Fellowship, and the Mindlin Prize for Innovative Ideas in Science. The faculty also regularly receive accolades for their teaching. The National Science Foundation recognized the Chemistry Department as the top per capita producer of chemistry PhDs in the country.
Outside the Classroom
Campus life at Mudd is, in part, defined by the fact that you are not confined to one campus. After all, Pomona, Pitzer, Scripps, and CMC all share the same 560 acres of land, not to mention a whole lot else. For athletics, Harvey Mudd, Claremont, and Scripps combine forces to compete in twenty-one NCAA Division III men’s and women’s sports.
Club and intramural sports from ultimate Frisbee, equestrian, and roller hockey to water polo are available as well. Both cross-consortium and Mudd-only clubs and activities are plentiful and diverse, ranging from a poker club to alettuce-eating competition (seriously). With Los Angeles just a half-hour drive away, Claremont is located in close proximity to all of the restaurants, museums, theaters, and even Disneyland, if you so desire. Mudd’s dorms are known for having district personalities, but one common thread is that the college is known, in general, to be a friendly and accepting place.
HMC’s Career Services Office has four full-time professional staff members working on grad school/career advising and employer recruitment. That equates to a 222:1 student-to-advisor ratio, which is among the best of any college featured in this guide. Career Services is highly accessible to students, and it even offers walk-in hours from 1 to 4 p.m. each week day. Staff members are more than happy to offer one-on-one attention, and students take advantage as the office held 891 sessions, just over one per student, in the last year.
Harvey Mudd hosts a Fall Software Fair, a Fall General STEM Fair, and a Spring Fair that can be attended by all members of the consortium, which can draw as many as 160+ employers per year. The three fairs draw almost 2,000student participants per year. Companies that recruit on campus comprise a who’s who of tech royalty: Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Space X, and Uber. In fact, many of those companies, along with other major corporations, conducted interviews on HMC’s campus. Undergrads routinely land summer internships at an equally impressive array of technology companies. In examining the breakdown of where Mudd grads end up receiving job offers, there is a clear correlation with the employer relations efforts of the Career Services Office. Overall, HMC’s career services earn stop grades from the AP Guru staff.
The highest number of recent Harvey Mudd graduates is scooped up by the following companies (in order of representation): Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Northrup Grumman. Across all graduating years, significant numbers of alumni also can be found at Apple, Raytheon, Intel, Boeing, and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Software and technology is, by far, the career field of choice with aerospace a distant second. HMC grads end up in high-paying jobs that are directly related to their major as the 95 percent of seniors who report landing a job related to their college major confirms. The most common job titles held immediately out of college are software engineer, industrial engineer, and electrical engineer. Graduates average an impressive $87,500 starting salary, a phenomenal number even when accounting for the preponderance of STEM majors. By some measures, that is the highest graduate starting salary of any institution in the United States.
Many Harvey Mudd grads—close to one-quarter—go directly into graduate school programs. The highest number of last year's grads pursued advanced degrees at the following institutions: Stanford (6), Cornell (5), USC (4), UC-Santa Barbara (2), Columbia (2), and the University of Washington (2). One student from the same class attended each of Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Caltech, and Johns Hopkins. The most pursued graduate field of study at those elite schools are computer science, mathematics, physics, and engineering. A healthy 72 percent of those attending grad school are presently working toward a PhD.71
• “We have access to the mountains and are fairly close to Joshua Tree. You can also get into LA in about an hour.” [Joshua Tree is two hours to the east, and the San Gabriel Mountains can be seen from campus.]
• “The weather is really nice.”
• “It’s a fairly safe town, and the weather is super nice. It gets a little colder in the winter than I expected, but my definition of cold being from San Diego is like 50 degrees.”
• “We are part of the consortium, so we have the other colleges right here which provides a unique environment.”
• “There are no bars or clubs around so everyone has to party within the school, and it gets lame pretty fast.”
• “You have to have a car to get anywhere, and Uber gets expensive.”
• “It’s a problem when it rains because no one knows what to do, and it’s hard to get to my Pomona classes. I usually bike there because I have 10 minutes between classes. If it’s raining I can’t bike and then it would take me 20 minutes to walk, and I’ll be late.”
• “If you’re trying to get off campus it’s pretty far from anywhere lively. We’re about an hour from downtown L.A., but then again, we’re pretty busy.”
• “The professors here are super helpful. If you need to use them outside of class, they are super helpful in figuring out what classes you need to take and how to structure your schedule.”
• “Everybody here is always super respectful of each other. I’ve never gone to another college, but Mudd has policies called the Honor Code, and they are guidelines for what you should and shouldn’t do in order to be a good person. Take home tests are a nice byproduct of the honor code, because teachers trust that you aren’t going to
cheat yourself through the test.”
• “The dining halls. As a student of the 5 C’s, you have access to the dining halls on any of the 5 C campuses. There are seven dining halls, and you can go to any of them if you want, and the food is very good.”
• “Because it’s mostly made up of STEM majors, you have a lot in common with most everybody around you.”
• “It’s rigorous, and I have friends who have not done so well in the core classes and will probably have to retake them. It depends on your high school background for how well prepared you will be.”
• “If you want to go to a school that has lots of social people who are always willing to go out, or who ditch work to party, that’s not the culture here.”
• “If you want to meet new people all the time, this place might not be good for you.”
• “You can get stuck in the Mudd bubble, so you might not see a lot of people off campus.”
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