Wells takes a unique approach to higher education that puts hands-on learning at the center of all we do. Classroom learning is directly connected to future careers in a global society. Our students have unique and diverse opportunities to conduct research with faculty members, hold internships, and study across the United States and abroad. Over 80% of our classes are less than 20 students, and 100% of our graduates complete at least one internship during their time at Wells.
And both during their time as on campus — and after they graduate — Wells students benefit from our experienced team in the Center for Academic and Career Advising, which assists them with career counseling preparation, internships, and post-graduate advising and services such as resume reviews.
Situated on more than 300 scenic acres overlooking Cayuga Lake in central New York, Wells College offers the simplicity and safety of village living and easy access to metropolitan and educational centers: ½ hour from Ithaca (home of Cornell University), 1 hour from Rochester and Syracuse, and 5 hours from New York City. The Finger Lakes are known for vast outdoor recreational opportunities and for a high concentration of outstanding colleges and universities. Map and Driving Directions >>
Wells College was established in 1868 by Henry Wells, who also founded the Wells Fargo and American Express companies. During the 2018–2019 year, Wells celebrated its 150th anniversary with a series of events, programs and other activities.
The mission of Wells College is to educate students to think critically, reason wisely, and act humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives. Through Wells’ academic program, residential atmosphere, and community activities, students learn and practice the ideals of the liberal arts. The Wells experience prepares students to appreciate complexity and difference, to embrace new ways of knowing, to be creative, and to respond ethically to the interdependent worlds to which they belong. Committed to excellence in all areas of its reach, Wells College equips students for lifelong learning and for sharing the privileges of education with others.
Jonathan Gibralter, Ph.D. has served as president of Wells College since July 2015. He came to Wells from Frostburg State University in Maryland, where he led efforts to improve student life, relationships with the community, enrollment, and fundraising. President Gibralter is a nationally recognized leader on issues of sustainability and student alcohol abuse. Read more about President Gibralter here.
85 percent of Wells faculty members have doctorates or terminal degrees in their disciplines. Faculty members hold degrees from Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, University of California–Berkeley, Brown, Cornell and Stanford, among others. Approximately 86% are tenured or in tenure-track positions.
As of September 2020, there are approximately 351 full-time students enrolled at Wells College (77% from New York state, 21% from other U.S. states, and 2% from seven countries other than the U.S.). The student body is 65% female, 34% male, and 1% nonbinary.
The Wells College student community is an increasingly diverse one. In fall 2020, the student body included 11.2% Black, 16.0% Hispanic, 2.8% Asian/Pacific Islander and 1.4% American Indian/Alaskan Native. These figures do not include the 4.5% of students who self-identify as having multiple ethnic or racial backgrounds, nor the 18.8% of students whose race or ethnicity was not reported to the College.
Wells College is highly ranked on a number of leading national surveys and indexes. Recently, it was:
In addition, Wells College has earned a number of accolades related to sustainability and environment:
A wide range of additional information about Wells, including our retention and graduation rates, can be found on our profile on the National Center for Education Statistics website. You can also read more about the College's sustainability efforts at wells.edu/sustainability.
Wells College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
Wells offers over a dozen locations for study-abroad opportunities, including our flagship program in Florence, Italy, as well as affiliated programs in places like Australia and New Zealand, Belize, Costa Rica, Ireland, South Africa, and Tanzania. Wells also participates in a study-away program at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine. Find out more >>
Through affiliations with the University of Rochester, Clarkson University, Columbia University, Binghamton University and other partner institutions, within five years students may earn both an undergraduate degree from Wells and a professional degree in business, chiropractic, engineering, nursing, pharmaceutical sciences, or teacher education from the affiliated university.
The following programs are available as pre-professional tracks: educational studies (elementary and secondary certification), engineering (B.A./B.S.), pre-law, health professions (including medicine, nursing, dentistry and veterinary medicine).
Wells and nearby Cornell University share a close academic and social relationship. Wells students may register for courses offered by any of the seven undergraduate colleges at Cornell. The College also has cross-registration agreements with Ithaca College, Cayuga Community College and Tompkins Cortland Community College.
The College is a Division III member of both the NCAA and the United East (formerly known as the North Eastern Athletic Conference), and 37% of all Wells students are also student-athletes. Many play more than one sport!
Wells offers the following intercollegiate teams:
More information on our intercollegiate athletics program may be found at the Wells Express website.
Approximately 99% of Wells students receive financial aid, with about 98% eligible to receive need-based aid and 78% receiving merit-based aid.