Marlboro College brought together young intellectuals on unique paths and taught them the skills needed for success, however they chose to define it.

Marlboro College was a liberal arts college founded in 1946 on the basis of a simple yet ambitious idea: that smart, motivated students can make decisions for themselves, and design a college education that meets their unique needs.

Since the first day of operation on a small farm in southern Vermont, Marlboro always ran on a community-governance model. Every member of the college community had a say, whether in collaboratively maintaining the miles of wilderness trails that surrounded campus or adding a group tutorial to the course list for the coming semester.

Marlboro’s faculty shared knowledge with mutual respect and high standards. Classes of fewer than 10 students were the norm, and undergraduates were treated more like colleagues than students.

As an independent, not-for-profit college rooted in progressive education, Marlboro offered an antidote to the conformity and conventional thinking that characterize many education environments.

In 2020, after years of struggling with dropping enrollment numbers and rising financial aid costs, Marlboro College formed an alliance with Emerson College and the Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies was established. Almost all tenured and tenure-track faculty as well as a majority of the remaining students shifted to Emerson’s Boston campus. 

The Marlboro Institute at Emerson strives to continue the pedagogical ethos of Marlboro College through a self-designed interdisciplinary major (IDS) grounded in the liberal arts. After exploring their academic interests in the first two years, students lay out their academic trajectory in collaboration with faculty. In their senior year, students complete a year-long capstone project of up to 16 credits. 

The community spirit developed in 70 years in Vermont continues to animate the Marlboro Institute in Boston.