2018-2019 University Catalog 
    Feb 21, 2024  
2018-2019 University Catalog archived

Academic Opportunities


Study On Campus

Journalism Ethics

In 1997, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded Washington and Lee one of the foundation’s prestigious endowed professorships. Supported by the Knight grant, the University has established the Knight Program in Media Ethics. The primary mission of the program is to advance the study and development of standards and values in the mass media professions.

The Department of Journalism and Mass Communications believes that reliable journalism and other forms of mass communications are essential for the sustenance of a diverse world community. In the 21st century, effective journalism and mass communications will depend upon professionals whose perspectives are global and who are educated in the liberal arts and not merely trained in a craft. We respond to this new global environment by exploring the legal and ethical issues that transcend national, continental and socioeconomic boundaries.

Toward that end, the Knight program conducts two-day seminars and sponsors lectures that involve students, professional journalists and other mass media professionals, and the public. The professionals come from newsrooms, public relations and advertising firms and other organizations around the country — print, broadcast and online. They bring with them for examination cases from their own experience. These events, called “Institutes on the Ethics of Journalism” and “Institutes on Media Ethics,” are held in the fall and winter terms, respectively. Further information is available from the Knight Professor’s office in Reid Hall.

Leyburn Scholars in Anthropology

The Leyburn Scholars Endowment is a permanent endowment at Washington and Lee University established by alumni and friends in 1981 to improve the teaching of anthropology at the University, including the support for undergraduate students doing research in anthropology.  The Leyburn Scholars Endowment is administered by the tenured and tenure-track faculty with appointments in anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology with the approval of the Dean of the College.

A founding donor to the Leyburn Scholars Endowment was Eileen McDaniel, mother of Professor John M. McDaniel ‘64.  Other alumni provided additional support.  Donors established this endowment in part to recognize the enduring contributions that James G. Leyburn made to Washington and Lee.  It was Dr. Leyburn who introduced anthropology to Washington and Lee and who played a role in the development of teaching and research in anthropology.  The program received a national award in the 1990s as “a remarkable example of effective undergraduate teaching.”

Based on the intentions of the donors and with the agreement of tenured and tenure-track faculty with appointments in anthropology and with the approval of the Dean of the College, income from this endowment will

  • provide stipends to undergraduate students to support research in anthropology. While the primary intention is to support student field research in the summer, it is acceptable to support student research during the academic year. The objective is to provide students the opportunity to develop skills in research design, data collection, field work, analysis, and report preparation. As many of these activities require travel, students may also receive Leyburn Fund support for transportation, lodging, and other travel costs associated with their anthropological research
  • fund faculty travel to support or visit students working in the field
  • support, beyond current students, Washington and Lee alumni and students from other institutions who have made a commitment to W&L projects in anthropology
  • purchase equipment necessary to complete supported student research
  • help fund publication of supported student research if any funds remain after covering the actual student research or equipment needs. Leyburn Scholars should be either authors or co-authors
  • support the travel of outstanding students in anthropology to attend national meetings with faculty including the opportunity but not the requirement to present papers in specific areas of anthropology. When deemed appropriate by anthropology faculty, student travel to visit laboratories or faculty at other institutions relevant to one’s research
  • expose students to the latest research and scholarship in anthropology through visiting lectures in anthropology.

Tenured and tenure-track faculty in anthropology might suggest in the future additional, meaningful, and creative ideas to fund anthropology beyond the primary ways outlined above.  Such additional uses are appropriate if agreed to by tenured and tenure-track faculty in anthropology in consultation with and approval of the Dean of the College.

Faculty Sponsored Undergraduate Research Program

Under the distinctive Summer Research Scholars (SRS) program, funds are available to encourage well-qualified and strongly motivated students to become familiar with research tools, techniques and methodology. Participation is an enriching and broadening experience. It is particularly valuable to students who intend to pursue graduate work, for they are introduced to the kind of research activities they will encounter at the graduate level.

Projects are chiefly of two types: assisting a professor in research or carrying out a student planned project under the supervision of a professor. In either case, the supported work is conducted during the summer months.

Students are nominated in early February for grants-in-aid by the professor with whom they will work the following summer.

All students receiving SRS grants will be known as Summer Research Scholars.  Funding for the SRS program comes from a variety of endowed funds.  The Robert E. Lee Research Fund was established in 1960 through a gift from the late Dr. Gustavus Benz Capito, an 1899 graduate of Washington and Lee. Additional support has come from various sources, including the Christian A. Johnson Foundation and the E.A. Morris Foundation. Several outstanding students will receive special designation as Christian A. Johnson Scholars, E.A. Morris Scholars, a Megan E. Rigdon Scholar, or a J. Peek Garlington Scholar.

Students may also do research for credit during the academic year. 

Global Learning Courses

Global learning is an important part of our mission as a university. By global, we mean of or related to substantial interactions across national borders or substantial comparisons between different nations. Global learning is the acquisition of the skills and knowledge needed to understand those interactions or comparisons. Many departments and programs offer special opportunities for students to develop and explore their interests in this area. In addition, the faculty have developed a set of outcomes to distinguish courses in every discipline that meet global learning objectives. See specific teaching objectives and courses approved for the GL designation at Global Learning (GL) .

Perspectives Courses

The Perspectives designation was proposed by students who wanted to affirm the importance of developing awareness, skills, and knowledge of others’ perspectives. Many departments and programs offer opportunities for development in this area. The faculty have approved a set of learning outcomes to distinguish courses that meet the Perspectives objectives. See specific teaching objectives and courses approved for the PERS designation at Perspectives (PERS)  .

Undergraduates Taking a Course at the Law School

Juniors and seniors may approach the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the School of Law for permission to take one course in both the fall and/or winter terms (law fall and spring semesters). Only certain courses will be available, and approval must be granted by the instructor, the undergraduate faculty adviser, and the law dean. Attendance in the class is required on the same schedule as law students, so students must be aware of calendar differences (e.g., course start and end dates, different holiday and examination schedules) and workload. If approved, the course content is listed as an undergraduate Legal Studies course (LEGL 295  ). See the form available on the University Registrar’s website at registrar.wlu.edu/forms.

Writing Program

The Washington and Lee Writing Program, with its WRIT-100 seminars, helps students write effectively and prepares them for personal and professional writing they will do later in their lives. The ability to write clearly, persuasively, and elegantly is a skill necessary for college-level academic work. The program includes various components that support the faculty in helping students to achieve these goals. 

The Writing Center offers individual tutorial assistance to students on any college writing task, from papers and lab reports in any stage of completion to résumés and application essays. Open evenings on the main floor of Leyburn Library, the center is directed by an English Department faculty member and staffed by juniors and seniors in various major and minor fields chosen for their superior writing and teaching abilities. Writing tutors do not proofread or edit student work; rather, they help students analyze and strengthen their own writing process so they become more articulate and confident. In keeping with the Honor System, students who come to the center must acknowledge Writing Center help on any project they submit for a grade.

Study Off Campus

Exchange Programs in the U.S.

Washington and Lee University participates with Hampden-Sydney, Mary Baldwin, Randolph-Macon, Randolph, Sweet Briar College, and Hollins University in the Seven-College Exchange. The program is designed primarily for juniors. Additional information and catalogs of the participating colleges are available in the Office of the University Registrar. Interested students can also visit the website information at registrar.wlu.edu.

Washington and Lee also has exchange agreements with Bates College in Lewiston, Maine; Morehouse College and Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia; and the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. Additional information is available from the Office of the University Registrar and on the website at Credit from Away: Exchange Opportunities.

Students must have a 2.500 cumulative grade-point average in order to apply for any exchange program sponsored by the University. Grades received while on an exchange program are included in a student’s Washington and Lee cumulative grade-point average.


Washington and Lee awards degree credit “for education, not experience.” Credits are awarded only for internships that contribute toward learning, as specified by departments and programs listing all internship experiences as a 450- or 460-level course. Departments and programs are responsible for approving each internship in advance, designating faculty supervisors, requiring appropriate graded work securing evaluations from work supervisors, ascertaining that the student worked sufficient hours assigning a grade for the course, and retaining records on each individual’s performance for evaluation purposes. Where credit is appropriate for an internship, it does not depend on whether or not there is a salary or stipend.

Credits may be awarded to students for internships as follows: up to nine credits for winter or fall term; up to four credits for spring term; and up to three credits for summer experiences. A maximum of nine credits of internship, exclusive of student teaching facilitated by W&L Teacher Education faculty, may be used to meet degree requirements.

Not all summer-work experiences qualify for degree credit. The value of summer work lies in experience and networking. The requirement of some employers that students must receive academic credit in order to be considered for employment has absolutely no bearing on the academic department or program’s decision regarding degree-credit approval. The decision to award degree credit will be based on the educational merits of the internship experience as determined by university faculty or qualified staff.

Clearly, some instances of summer experience may qualify for degree credit based on subsequent work in a fall term supervised by a department or program. Faculty or qualified staff should be involved in the planning, execution, and evaluation of the internship. Summer transcripting – only of off-campus, C&D-approved summer courses – is permitted.   Students seeking credit outside of an academic department are encouraged to apply for the one-credit, experiential-learning internship overseen by the Career and Professional Development Office and listed as CPD 451.

The student will register for the internship in the summer term. The degree credit awarded and conditions of the summer-term academic work, and any additional work required during subsequent terms at W&L, will be determined by the sponsoring department or program and faculty or staff member.

Marine Science Education

Washington and Lee biology majors, usually in their junior or senior year, may spend fall term or winter and spring terms studying through The Marine Science Education Consortium at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, North Carolina, or internationally. All credits successfully completed will apply toward a major in biology and/ or a degree from Washington and Lee. Summer study is also possible, subject to the Summer Transfer Credit rules (see Summer Transfer Credit  ). Contact the Department of Biology  for additional information.

Study Abroad

International experience is viewed as an important part of a comprehensive Washington and Lee education. There are numerous opportunities to participate in an overseas project or study program during the academic year or the summer. Students are encouraged to work with faculty and the Center for International Education to identify appropriate programs which will complement their academic, personal and professional goals. Applications for receiving credit for study abroad, as well as information on application deadlines, are available through the Center for International Education.

The purpose of study abroad is to further one’s knowledge of the world and its cultures and to expand the opportunities and arenas for academic inquiry. To fulfill this purpose, W&L offers a range of study abroad options supported by the resources necessary to ensure a suitable international experience for any student. Approval of particular study abroad programs is based upon quality of instruction, range and appropriateness of curricular offerings, opportunities for cultural integration, and strength of administrative and structural support. Students usually select from programs already approved by W&L’s Center for International Education.

In considering programs for approval, the following characteristics are considered:

  • intellectual engagement of students and faculty
  • quality of academic programs as determined by national ratings or rankings, home-country or U.S. accreditation, breadth and depth of the curriculum available to visiting students, appropriate language instruction, and reputation among peer departments or disciplines
  • cultural exposure determined in part by the locale and the proportion of home country students, non-U.S. students, and U.S. students in the program
  • quality of faculty and administrative relationships
  • availability of “home stays” or other housing options which can maximize cultural learning
  • returning-student evaluations and reports from on-site visits by W&L faculty and staff. 

Students also assume responsibility for ensuring the productivity of their experiences abroad. Washington and Lee expects that students who return from abroad will:

  • demonstrate inter-cultural understanding by displaying intercultural communication skills and recognizing cultural differences
  • comprehend and speak a foreign language more proficiently when studying in a country where the language of the university and/or program differs from student’s native language(s)
  • identify their personal growth in response to experiences in another culture that challenge their world views

Study Abroad Programs

Many Washington and Lee students elect to study abroad through programs offered by other U.S. institutions or through direct enrollment as a visiting student at an overseas university or college. They may study for a term, a summer, or a full academic year. Most financial aid, scholarships, and grant assistance received by students can be used for study abroad. Study abroad programs already approved by the Center for International Education are listed on its website internationaleducation.wlu.edu/, and the office also maintains a comprehensive library of catalogs of study abroad programs and foreign institutions. The Study Abroad Adviser works with students individually to find a study program most suited to that student’s needs. The Committee on International Education, comprised of faculty, staff, and students, approves programs, while individual Washington and Lee departments authorize credit for courses taken abroad. Students pay an administrative fee for the term(s) during which they study abroad but are not charged tuition by W&L; most financial aid is transferable to study abroad.

Washington and Lee also offers a number of courses which include overseas study through its Spring Term Abroad program. These have included courses in Bolivia, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Russia, Senegal, and Spain. Students enroll for these as they would for any other spring term course on campus. As with many upper-level courses, there may be specific prerequisites. Travel costs for these spring term courses will be in addition to the regular comprehensive tuition and will be borne by the individual student. Students who qualify for financial aid may be eligible to receive assistance to help cover the cost of the program

In addition to its spring courses, Washington and Lee also directly administers the following programs:

The Washington and Lee/St. Andrews Partnership Program, enables students to spend a semester or year at this highly ranked and ancient British university. Students studying chemistry and biology enjoy special opportunities through this program. A special track offers those preparing for medical school in the U.S. an opportunity to complete their required studies in a manner acceptable to the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), while still enjoying the benefits of a quality study abroad experience. The program is open to any W&L sophomore, junior or senior with the prerequisite background and with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.000 or better; for the health professions program a grade of B (3.0) or better in the first-year general chemistry or biology courses is required. Students on the program are enrolled through W&L as regular, full-time visiting students at St. Andrews. W&L students may choose from a broad spectrum of science and humanities courses in the St. Andrews curriculum to complete a full course of study while studying in Scotland.

The Virginia Program at Oxford (go.wlu.edu/VPO) is a Washington and Lee-sponsored, interdisciplinary summer school program based at St. Anne’s College, Oxford University. The program, which is open to students of any major after their first year, examines the history and literature of Renaissance England. Instruction follows the English system of higher education, combining daily lectures by renowned, British scholars with small, weekly tutorials. Students, drawn from a six-school consortium of small Virginia colleges and universities, earn three credits in history and three credits in English. These credits may be used to fulfill Washington and Lee’s FDR requirements in literature and humanities and may also be applied toward a major (unlike most summer credits) in English, history, or medieval and renaissance studies.

Certificate of International Immersion

Students who show significant commitment to and understanding of global interaction may apply to have their
experiences recognized with a Certificate of International Immersion, noted on the transcript and in the listing of
honors at Commencement. The faculty’s International Education Committee awards the certificate after considering a student’s overall academic record (minimum 3.000 cumulative grade-point average), a senior essay and presentation. The purpose of this process is to allow you to reflect deeply on the value of your experiences.

In general, students who have invested significant time (more than a 13-week term) in study abroad living with native speakers, taking coursework in the target language and/or volunteering, participating in community service or working in an internship are eligible to submit an application for the Certificate in International Immersion. Those students who have combined experience abroad through more than one of the global learning categories and reach the equivalent of a full-year immersion are also eligible to apply.

W&L Study Abroad Policy

Only work comparable to that at Washington and Lee in level, nature, and field may be accepted for degree credit. In order to receive Washington and Lee credit, all documentation (official transcripts, required W&L forms, etc.) must be received by the University Registrar before the end of the first term in which the student is enrolled at W&L or, for students returning from study elsewhere, before the conclusion (last day of classes) of the first 13-week term completed by students upon their return to W&L.

No more than 60 of the 120 credits required for the W&L degree may be earned elsewhere or by any other means than through courses offered at W&L or through formal exchanges (e.g., VMI, Mary Baldwin, Spelman). In other words, first-year incoming credits, transfer credits, courses taken abroad, etc., will not count in the 60 credits to be taken at W&L.

  1. Eligibility for Study Abroad:
    1) In order to apply for study abroad for W&L credit, students must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.500 and at least a 2.500 GPA in the most recently completed fall or winter term. 2) Students are not eligible to study abroad while on academic or conduct probation. Students placed on academic probation that will be in effect during their planned term abroad may submit a request for an exception to this rule to the Committee on Courses and Degrees by contacting the faculty member who serves as Associate Dean of The College. Students placed on conduct probation that will be in effect during their planned term abroad may submit a request for an exception to this rule to the International Education Committee by contacting the faculty member who serves as Associate Dean of The College. Students accepted into study abroad programs who are then placed on academic or conduct probation will be liable for the full costs of the program even if they withdraw from the program.

    Students must consult with their academic adviser(s) to ensure that their proposed course of study will enable them to make normal progress toward completion of major and degree requirements in a timely fashion. To study abroad, students must consult with the Director of International Education or Study Abroad Adviser, attend on-campus orientations, and, upon their return, complete an evaluation of their study abroad experience for the Center for International Education. Students will be expected to disclose relevant information regarding physical or mental health-related conditions and/or treatment needs so that appropriate consultations can occur with deans, Student Health and Counseling Services, etc., to determine whether all critical needs can be met during the student’s time away from campus. Seniors engaged in approved study abroad will have the first term of the three-term senior residency requirement waived.

  2. Program Approval: Undergraduate students seeking to study abroad for W&L degree credit must submit an Application for Degree Credit for Off-Campus Study to the Director of International Education by the specified deadline for the period in which they plan to be absent from campus. They must submit a petition and receive program approval from the International Education Committee and pursue a full-time course of study as defined by both the host institution and W&L. Program approval is based upon a variety of factors, including student learning objectives, precedent, past experience, faculty, departmental and administrative knowledge and recommendation of a program, and/or site visits, whenever possible, to the program by a W&L faculty member or administrator. Students and faculty are referred to the Study Abroad area of the Center for International Education website, www.wlu.edu/center-for-international-education for information on approved programs.
  3. Course Approval: Students studying abroad are required to seek approval in advance from the appropriate department head, departmental designee (or academic dean when no W&L equivalent) and academic adviser for all courses to be attempted while abroad. Such approval is granted only through the signature of that department head or academic dean on the student’s Application for Degree Credit for Off-Campus Study. Students must maintain a full-time load of academic course work comparable to that at Washington and Lee in level, nature, and field, applicable to a W&L degree program. Course approvals must be secured prior to taking the course(s) so that the student is clear on the transferability of all courses and credits. Should students’ course selections change for any reason after submission of their application, substituted courses are not transferable unless approved by an appropriate Washington and Lee department head (or academic dean or designated person) and academic adviser. Such approval must be sought immediately (e.g., e-mail, fax); copies of any such correspondence should also be directed to the Director of International Education. Credit will not be transferred for any course for which a student has not obtained preapproval unless retroactive approval is granted by the appropriate department head or dean after the student’s return.

    Such retroactive approval is not guaranteed and must be obtained before the conclusion of the first 13-week term completed by the student upon his/her return to W&L. Any exceptions to this policy must be obtained from the Committee on Courses and Degrees.

  4. Award of Credit Hours: The approval of credit hours applied to major requirements and the level at which they are applied (100, 200, etc.) will be determined only by the appropriate department head or departmental designee if W&L equivalent or dean for nonequivalent courses at W&L, as recorded on the student’s Application for Degree Credit for Off-Campus Study. Those credits approved as equivalent to a specific W&L course number will meet the same requirements that W&L course does. Those credits approved as non-equivalent electives may be applied to major requirements with permission of the department head, but in order to meet general education (foundation and distribution) requirements will require a separate petition to the Committee on Courses and Degrees.

    Credit for courses taken off campus will only be transferred once an official transcript for the work completed has been received by the Center for International Education office and approved by the W&L University Registrar and approval for all courses has been given by the appropriate department(s), as noted above. Approvals must be obtained and official transcripts received before the conclusion (last day of classes) of the first 13-week term completed by the student upon his/her return to W&L. Late submissions will be charged an initial fee of $100 and $50 per term beyond the deadline. Exceptions to this rule may be granted by appealing to the Faculty Executive Committee. Credits may be transferred only if a grade equivalent to a C (2.0) or better is received. The actual grade on an abroad course is not transferred to the student’s W&L record and therefore does not affect the W&L cumulative grade-point average.

  5. Number of Credit Hours: No strict correlation exists between contact hours in courses taken abroad and credit hours awarded by W&L.

    a. A student pursuing a fully approved, full-time course of study abroad for a period roughly equivalent to W&L’s fall or winter term will usually receive at least 13 credit hours from W&L upon the successful completion of all courses in this study.

    b. A student pursuing a fully approved, full-time course of study abroad for a term of approximately 14 weeks or more will usually receive at least 16 credit hours from W&L upon the successful completion of all courses in this study.

    c. A student pursuing a fully approved, full-time course of study abroad for a full academic year will usually receive at least 30 credit hours from W&L upon the successful completion of all courses in this study.

    In the event of a discrepancy between departmentally authorized credit hours under Section 4 above and the guidance offered under a, b, and c in this section above (12, 15 or 28 credits, respectively), a student may petition the appropriate academic dean for consideration of additional credit approval. Students are reminded that the faculty has limited to 60 the total of non-W&L credits which may be used to meet degree requirements.

  6. Language Study Abroad: Students studying abroad in a non-English speaking host culture will be required to study the language of that culture at an appropriate level during the period of their enrollment there. Exceptions to this requirement may be granted by the International Education Committee. This policy is not intended to cover W&L Spring Term Abroad programs.

    Students studying in a host culture whose language is taught at W&L are strongly encouraged to undertake at least one year of study of that language prior to their abroad experience. Language study abroad must be approved in advance by the head of the relevant language department at W&L, or if there is no department offering that language, such approval must be sought from the Dean of The College. Approval must be sought prior to departure; approval is not guaranteed if not obtained in advance. Students who seek credit for foreign language study at a program that has not been pre-approved may be required to take an oral, aural, and/or written test upon their return to W&L before a determination of credit approval is made.

  7. Financial Aid for Study Abroad: Financial assistance, both grants and loans, may be transferred to help cover the costs of approved study abroad for fall or winter term or full year. The level of assistance will be adjusted to reflect actual costs of the study-abroad program. Students are responsible for paying deposits required by the host institution or program.

    W&L does not pay the host institution or study-abroad program directly. Students are responsible for filing a refund form with the W&L Business Office directing payment to themselves or their parents. Normally, such payments are available by mid-September for the fall term and mid-January for winter term. In cases where full payment is required by the study-abroad institution or program prior to availability of financial aid funds, most programs will defer payment for the amount of the transferred financial aid upon the request of W&L. Students wishing to defer such payment should contact the W&L Financial Aid Office.

    The W&L Business Office will forward the student’s financial assistance disbursement after reducing it by any existing charges on the student’s account and the required study-abroad fee (included in calculating the student’s aid). Students should have a zero or positive balance on account at the time funds are transferred.

    Students (and parents) are encouraged to discuss the use of financial assistance for study abroad with the Director of Financial Aid prior to committing to attend any institution or program, so that the availability of assistance and the flow of funds are clearly understood.

  8. Special Rules for Summer Off-Campus Study:

    (Refer to Summer Transfer Credit)

    To receive credit for summer study abroad, a student must: 1) participate in a course of study of at least four weeks and 2) meet language study abroad requirement (see #6 above). For study abroad in an English-speaking location, at least one course must contain content specific to that host country or region.

  9. Study Abroad Fees: (Refer to University Fees)

    The student will pay the study abroad fee to W&L for non-W&L administered programs for each term abroad AND is responsible for paying all costs directly to the University or program abroad. It is important that a student ascertain which services are included in the program fee and the dates by which payments must be made. The student will pay the program fee or W&L tuition for W&L sponsored and administered programs.

Pre-Professional Advising

In addition to the faculty contacts listed below, the Office of Career and Professional Development (CPD) provides advising services and professional-development opportunities to students interested in a variety of professions. Students should meet individually with a career adviser to explore career paths, develop professional documents, and discuss industry-specific preparation.  For more information, visit the CPD website at go.wlu.edu/careerdevelopment or log in to Handshake at go.wlu.edu/Handshake to schedule an appointment.

Preparing Students for Careers in Architecture

Students who wish to enter a graduate, three-year professional program in architecture – including landscape architecture, planning, and urban design—are encouraged to talk to Professor Kuehner or Professor Bent as they plan their curriculum. While any undergraduate major leading to either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science will help prepare students for architecture school, the most common majors are in Studio Art, Art History, or Engineering. Though admissions criteria vary by graduate program, students are generally advised to take basic-level courses in mathematics, physics, studio art, and art history. The following courses are specifically suggested: Mathematics 101 , 102 , Physics 111 , 112 , 113 , 114 ; Engineering 203 ; Studio Art 111 , 131 , 231 ; and Art History 101 , 102 , and any 200-level course.

Preparing Students for Engineering

The work in engineering is designed to meet the needs of students who wish to enter the field directly after graduation or who will enroll in a graduate program in engineering or the sciences.

Students interested in engineering should consult with a professor in the Department of Physics and Engineering during orientation to discuss an appropriate curriculum. Typically, a student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in either Engineering or Integrated Engineering will complete Mathematics 101  and 102  and Physics 111 , 112 , 113 , and 114  by the end of the first year.

Students Preparing for Health Professions

The training represented by a bachelor’s degree is required for students who are interested in a career in medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine, as well as other health careers. This degree allows for the specific work in the sciences required for admission to these schools and also provides a sound liberal arts education focusing on the development of cultural awareness and social consciousness, as strongly urged by health professions educators.

A major in any academic department (see department concerned for requirements) is acceptable for admission to graduate schools in health professions, provided their entrance requirements are met.

The medical, dental, and veterinary school admissions requirements vary only slightly from school to school. The minimum admission requirements for most of these schools in the United States and Canada are a year of each of the following: general biology with lab, general chemistry with lab, organic chemistry with lab, general physics with lab, and English. In addition, most programs require or recommend a course in biochemistry. In addition to the science course content listed previously, the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) also tests content from biochemistry and introductory psychology and sociology courses, so premedical students should plan to include coursework in those areas. These courses should be completed by the end of the junior year or prior to taking the MCAT. Most students take the required standardized test for entrance to graduate schools in health professions in the spring or summer following the junior year.

Additional courses may be required for specific schools or programs: for example, anatomy, physiology, and statistics for pharmacy, physical therapy, and physician assistant programs. Since the entrance requirements vary from one school to another, pre-professional students should acquaint themselves with the admission requirements of the schools in which they are interested and select a course of study accordingly. This planning should be done as early as possible, certainly before the end of the sophomore year.

Students desiring a study abroad experience with pre-health professional studies should plan carefully beginning in their first year. The Washington and Lee/St. Andrews Educational Partnership for premedical students is one opportunity for students to study abroad in Scotland during the academic year while completing the first term of organic chemistry and/or upper-level biology courses. Students have more flexibility to study abroad during a 13-week term or for an entire academic year if they plan to take a gap year after graduation and before matriculating to a health professions program.

As soon as a student becomes seriously interested in a health professions career, and not later than the end of the sophomore year, that student should visit the Coordinator of the Health Professions Advisory Committee, Professor Lisa Alty. She can share information about specific schools, as well as general requirements for admission to most health professions programs, including medical, dental, veterinary, physical therapy, physician assistant, pharmacy and optometry schools, as well as graduate nursing programs.

A descriptive brochure on pre-medicine at Washington and Lee is available from the Office of Admissions, or visit our Health Professions website at go.wlu.edu/health-professions.

Preparing Students for Law

Washington and Lee offers neither a pre-law major nor a pre-law curriculum, believing instead—as does the Association of American Law Schools (as expressed in its statement on pre-legal education)—that no single series of courses can accurately be said to be “right” for every student who intends to enter law school. Accordingly, a pre-law student at the University may select any major offered in The College or in the Williams School.

Washington and Lee views a broad-based foundation in the liberal arts, perhaps supplemented by specific pre-professional training, as the best intellectual preparation for the study of law. The University encourages pre-law students to select courses that will provide them with an understanding of the history and nature of contemporary society, develop their critical abilities to the fullest, and train themselves to articulate conclusions and reasons clearly, concisely and precisely.

The University offers a course in legal ethics PHIL 348 - Legal Ethics , designed specifically for the undergraduate senior who intends to enter the legal profession. Some law-related courses include:

The pre-law student’s academic adviser will be a faculty member in the department in which the student chooses to major. Pre-law students will also want to consult with Lorri Olán, the University’s pre-law advising coordinator. Refer to the Pre-Law Studies resources at go.wlu.edu/prelaw.

Preparing Students for Ministry

In concert with The American Association of Theological Schools, the University encourages pre-ministerial students to undertake a broad liberal arts and interdisciplinary preparation for their graduate studies.

Preparing Students for Teaching

Students at Washington and Lee can earn a Virginia state license in elementary, middle or secondary education. Washington and Lee, through the CAEP-accredited Rockbridge Teacher Education Consortium (RTEC) with Southern Virginia University, offers all coursework required for licensure. The Teacher Education website, teachereducation.wlu.edu, provides detailed information on each area of certification. Students should meet with education faculty to discuss course and fieldwork requirements.

A liberal arts education provides excellent preparation for elementary and secondary school teaching. All states require professional education courses for licensure to teach in public schools, although requirements differ from state to state. In most cases, students who meet the requirements for a Virginia license will receive initial licensure to teach in all other states through reciprocal agreements among state departments of education. In addition, many private secondary schools favor applicants who have been licensed through a state-approved program.

Students with an interest in education who lack the time to pursue a teaching license may take a selection of professional studies courses of their choice or complete either an education minor or education policy minor. Opportunities also exist for varied field experiences in the local area schools. Information on all of the program options within Teacher Education is available on the website at teachereducation.wlu.edu.

Students hoping to teach at the college level should contact the appropriate academic department for information about graduate study.

Thirteenth Term Teaching

Students who have the approval of the director of teacher education may return following graduation at reduced tuition for one fall or winter term in order to complete their student-teaching requirements.


Information regarding fellowship opportunities is available from the designated associate dean in the Office of the Dean of The College. Post-graduate opportunities include the Fulbright and Luce for study or work abroad; the Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, Churchill, and Gates Cambridge fellowships for graduate school in the United Kingdom; and the Beinecke, Truman and Soros for graduate school in the United States. Other fellowships support summer research and internships, undergraduate tuition, and study abroad (DAAD RISE, Goldwater, and Boren, respectively). Interested students should speak with their advisers and the designated associate dean of The College early in their college careers, even during the first year. There are opportunities students can apply for in their first-, second-, or third-years, and applications for most post-graduate opportunities should be started no later than the spring of the junior year. Information about various fellowships is available on the Web at fellowships.wlu.edu.

John and Mimi Elrod Fellowship

The Elrod Fellowship is a competitive program that places high-achieving recent Washington and Lee University graduates in paid positions with innovative public service organizations that address significant social issues such as health care, law, education, economic development and housing. The Elrod Fellowship offers non-profit and government organizations access to a pool of highly qualified and committed candidates while providing Washington and Lee graduates the opportunity to explore the public sector. Elrod Fellows are paired with W&L alumni mentors in the city in which they are placed. Current placements are in Baltimore, Houston and Washington, D.C. Further information about the Elrod Fellowship is available from Wendy Lovell in the Shepherd Program office.