2019-2020 University Catalog 
    Jul 23, 2024  
2019-2020 University Catalog archived

The College



 The College Mission

The College provides a liberal education in the arts and sciences and fosters a collaborative environment for faculty and student inquiry. Dedicated faculty members challenge students to sharpen their critical thinking skills and to develop their capacities for clear communication and creative expression. The College faculty is committed to advancing our teaching, curriculum, and campus culture in order to meet the educational needs and aspirations of students in a rapidly changing world.

The hallmarks of a student of The College include:

  • A resourceful intellect and talent for independent thinking
  • The capacity to evaluate information critically and to convey it effectively
  • Competence in many methods of defining, approaching and solving problems
  • A lively curiosity about and mature respect for varied cultures and intellectual perspectives
  • A lifelong commitment to learning, to health and well-being, and to the values that inform a W&L education.


The purposes of The College are several: to provide the essentials of a liberal education to all undergraduates before they separate into their fields of specialization; to offer courses and majors leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science; to encourage  independent work and scholarly investigation; and to present courses preliminary to professional training in such fields as engineering, journalism, law and health.

Students at Washington and Lee take their work in those studies which, in the opinion of the faculty, provide the fundamentals of a liberal arts education. The prescriptions of this first year make possible an intelligent freedom in later years of study and a wise choice of a major field. All first-years will consult with their initial faculty advisers in the selection of their courses for their first and second year.

The aim of the work of the first two years is the achievement of breadth; the work of the junior and senior years is directed toward the mastery of a particular study. Students who expect to receive the degree of Bachelor of Arts will do their major work in the liberal arts and humanities, the social sciences, or the natural sciences; students who expect to receive the degree of Bachelor of Science will take specialized work in the sciences, amthematics, or music.


The Departments of Art and Art History; Biology; Chemistry and Biochemistry; Classics; Cognitive and Behavioral Science; Computer Science; East Asian Languages and Literatures; English; Geology; German, Russian, and Arabic; History; Journalism and Mass Communications; Mathematics; Music; Philosophy; Physical Education and Athletics; Physics and Engineering; Religion; Romance Languages; Sociology and Anthropology; and Theater, Dance, and Film Studies comprise The College. The Education Studies program is also included in The College.

Majors and Minors Offered

Candidates for a degree with a major listed below will find departmental requirements outlined under those departments in the “Courses of Study” section.

Bachelor of Arts Degree

The College offers the following majors leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree:

Art History 
Cognitive and Behavioral Science  
Computer Science 
East Asian Languages and Literatures 
Environmental Studies 
Independent Work
Medieval and Renaissance Studies 
Romance Languages, French emphasis 
Romance Languages, Spanish emphasis 
Russian Area Studies 
Sociology and Anthropology 
Strategic Communication 
Studio Art 

Bachelor of Science Degree

The College offers the following majors leading to the Bachelor of Science degree:

Cognitive and Behavioral Science  
Computer Science 
Independent Work
Integrated Engineering  


The College offers the following minors:

Africana Studies 
Animal Biology 
Art History 
Computer Science 
Creative Writing 
Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies  
Data Science  
Data Science - Business Analytics  

Digital Culture and Information  
East Asian Studies 

Education Policy 
Environmental Studies 
Film and Visual Culture 
Latin American and Caribbean Studies 
Law, Justice, and Society  
Mass Communications 
Medieval and Renaissance Studies 
Middle East and South Asia Studies with Language Emphasis minor  
Middle East and South Asia Studies without Language minor   
Molecular/Cell Biology  
Poverty and Human Capability Studies 
Quantitative Biology 
Russian Language and Culture 
Studio Art 
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies  

Advice for First-Year Students

Entering students are expected to select courses that will assist them to begin satisfying Foundation and Distribution Requirements (FDRs) and enable them to explore possibilities for a major or to continue study in a field of special interest. To assist in the selection of courses, new students are assigned initial faculty advisers with whom they confer during the first week of the academic year and who remain available for consultation until a major is chosen. In certain fields, placement tests will be offered on an optional basis to entering first-years, and their results, along with any advanced placement reports, will be used in determining the level of work which should be pursued.

In choosing courses, first-year students should consider that the skills in mathematics and language study they have acquired may deteriorate if they do not continue work in them immediately. They should also be sure to take the courses prerequisite to later work they desire.  They should be aware that more spaces are reserved in science lab (SL) courses for first-years than for subsequent class years. If they are interested in working for the degree of Bachelor of Science or for the Bachelor of Arts with a major in science, including premedical work, they should register for mathematics and the appropriate introductory science sequence in their initial year. In most circumstances, students should not take two laboratory sciences simultaneously during the first year. All students, in planning their first year, should examine the requirements for any major of potential interest listed under “Courses of Study.”

Students considering graduate work should consult their advisers with regard to possible language and mathematics requirements for advanced degrees.

Administration of The College

 (as of July 1, 2019) 

William Carlyle Dudley, Ph.D., President of the University

Marc C. Conner, Ph.D., Provost

Lena Hill, Ph.D., Dean of The College

Frederick J. LaRiviere, Ph.D., Associate Dean of The College

to be named, Associate Dean of The College

Nancy McIntyre, M.Ed., Senior Director of Development

D. Scott Dittman, A.B., University Registrar


The College Faculty are listed under their respective disciplines.

Art and Art History (ARTH, ARTS) 
Africana Studies (AFCA) 
Biology (BIOL) 
Chemistry and Biochemistry (CHEM) 
Classics (CLAS), Greek (GR), Latin (LATN) 
Cognitive and Behavioral Science (CBSC) 
Computer Science (CSCI) 
Data Science (DS)  
Digital Culture and Information (DCI) 
East Asian Languages and Literatures (EALL), Chinese (CHIN), Japanese (JAPN) 
East Asian Studies (EAS) 
Education Studies (EDUC) 
English (ENGL) 
Environmental Studies (ENV) 
Film and Visual Culture (FILM) 
Geology (GEOL) 
German and Arabic (GERM, ARAB) 
History (HIST) 
Journalism and Mass Communications (JOUR) 
Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) 
Law, Justice, and Society (LJS)  
Literature in Translation (LIT)  
Mathematics (MATH) 
Medieval and Renaissance Studies (MRST) 
Middle East and South Asia Studies (MESA)  
Museum Studies 
Music (MUS) 
Neuroscience (NEUR) 
Philosophy (PHIL) 
Physical Education and Athletics (PEA)  
Physics and Engineering (PHYS, ENGN) 
Poverty and Human Capability Studies (POV)  
Religion (REL) 
Romance Languages (ROML) 
Russian Area Studies (RAS, RUSS) 
Sociology and Anthropology (SOAN) 
Theater, Dance, and Film Studies (THTR, DANC, FILM) 
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS)