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Carleton College

Carleton College is committed to providing a true liberal arts education—a curriculum that challenges our students to learn broadly and think deeply. Instead of training for one narrow career path, Carleton students develop the knowledge and skills to succeed in any walk of life.



Carleton is the fourth oldest private institution of higher education in Minnesota. Carleton was founded on October 12, 1866, by the General Conference of the Congregational Churches of Minnesota, which — after considering locations in Zumbrota, Mantorville, Cottage Grove, and Lake City — chose Northfield for the home of its new college.


The mission of Carleton College is to provide an exceptional undergraduate liberal arts education. In pursuit of this mission, the College is devoted to academic excellence, distinguished by the creative interplay of teaching, learning, and scholarship, and dedicated to our diverse residential community and extensive international engagements.

Global Student Satisfaction Awards 2019

GSSA 2019

The Global Student Satisfaction Awards empower students across the globe to determine the best universities of 2019. By rating institutions on a scale from 1 to 5, on multiple studies-related questions, we found the top educators in the world.

Learn more about the Global Student Satisfaction Awards


Housing services

90% of Carleton students (those who aren’t in an Off Campus Studies program, that is) live in college housing. And whether it's in a residence hall, a shared interest house, or one of the coveted campus townhouses, Carls pack a lot of life into their residential life! 

Most of Carleton's students — and all first-year students — live in one of the College's residence halls (dorms). Most floors have a diverse mix of people from all four classes, and Resident Assistants (RAs) are there to coordinate floor and hall activities and other social and educational events. All residence halls have lounges, TVs and laundry facilities. All campus buildings are smoke-free and most halls have substance-free floors.

Library services

The Laurence McKinley Gould Library is an active participant in the college’s mission to provide an exceptional undergraduate liberal arts education. In support of Carleton’s curriculum, we build collaborative partnerships that enrich the intellectual climate of the campus. 

ICT services

The computers behind the Research/IT Desk are always logged in and ready to go. Look up books and send files to the printer without waiting for a computer to turn on.Every lab computer can boot up as either a Mac or a Windows computer. Each computer is loaded with a full suite of software for Mac and Windows.

Medical services

Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) SHAC recognizes the challenges in navigating and accessing trans healthcare. The clinicians at SHAC are available to discuss any questions or concerns and help connect you with the best care to address what you need.

Student Life

Campus life

The college campus was created in 1867 with the gifts of two 10-acre (4 ha) parcels from local businessmen Charles M. Goodsell and Charles Augustus Wheaton. The  school campus is on a hill overlooking the Cannon River, at the northeast edge of Northfield. To the north and east is the 880-acre Cowling Arboretum, which was farm fields in the early years of the college. The area beyond the Arboretum is still largely devoted to agriculture.

Sports facilities

Set into a grassy hillside, Cowling Gymnasium includes practice areas for volleyball and basketball, an indoor tennis practice court, a dance studio, a sauna and a 25-yard pool.

Student clubs

Carleton has more than 200 student-run organizations that cover everything from arts to athletics to activism. So you’re bound to find plenty of things that pique your interest. You’ll try new things, make new friends, and take your passions to the next level. And if you can’t find your perfect activity within those hundreds of options, you're welcome to invent your own!


Carleton College has been accredited continuously since 1913.

Carleton’s regional agency is the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), which accredits degree granting institutions of higher education that are based in the 19-state North Central region of the U.S. Institutions that the HLC accredits are evaluated against the HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation, a set of standards that institutions must meet to receive and/or maintain accredited status. Carleton’s next comprehensive evaluation is scheduled for 2028-29.

Student Reviews

Outlines for Quality Research
Anonymous rated 4 out of 5 stars

The program opened my horizon on how to make a quality research.

A Home Away from Home
Anonymous rated 4 out of 5 stars

The classes are small and intimate. Professors care about their students' success and are very approachable.

The best decision I've made (thus far)!
Anonymous rated 5 out of 5 stars

Carleton helped me reach heights I never would have imagined before college, especially given my position as a low-income student. I studied abroad, completed an internship in Europe, did a Fulbright summer program, attended leadership seminars, and got involved in a wide array of other activities facilitated by the college.

Northfield, Minnesota, United States


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