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, mathematics, 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 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 and Russian Studies programs are 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:
Cognitive and Behavioral Science
East Asian Languages and Literatures
Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Romance Languages, French emphasis
Romance Languages, Spanish emphasis
Russian Area Studies
Sociology and Anthropology
Bachelor of Science Degree
The College offers the following majors leading to the Bachelor of Science degree:
Cognitive and Behavioral Science
The College offers the following minors:
Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies
Data Science - Business Analytics
Digital Culture and Information
East Asian Studies
Film and Visual Culture
Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Law, Justice, and Society
Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Middle East and South Asia Studies with Language Emphasis minor
Middle East and South Asia Studies without Language minor
Poverty and Human Capability Studies
Russian Language and Culture
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, 2020)
William Carlyle Dudley, Ph.D., President of the University
Elizabeth Goad Oliver, Ph.D., Interim Provost
Lena Hill, Ph.D., Dean of The College
Frederick J. LaRiviere, Ph.D., Associate Dean of The College
Beth A. Speidel, Associate Dean of The College
Nancy McIntyre, M.Ed., Senior Director of Development
Jamie D. Kipfer, D.E.L., University Registrar
The College Faculty are listed under their respective disciplines.
Art and Art History (ARTH, ARTS)
Africana Studies (AFCA)
Chemistry and Biochemistry (CHEM)
Classics (CLAS), Greek (GR), Latin (LATN)
Cognitive and Behavioral Science (CBSC)
Computer Science (CSCI)
Cultural History and Museum Studies
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)
Environmental Studies (ENV)
Film and Visual Culture (FILM)
Journalism and Mass Communications (JOUR)
Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS)
Law, Justice, and Society (LJS)
Literature in Translation (LIT)
Medieval and Renaissance Studies (MRST)
Middle East and South Asia Studies (MESA)
Physical Education and Athletics (PEA)
Physics and Engineering (PHYS, ENGN)
Poverty and Human Capability Studies (POV)
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)