Study On Campus
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 include representatives of news organizations and governmental agencies and companies with specialists in strategic communication from around the country. 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 Emeritus 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 qualified, motivated students to become familiar with research tools, techniques, and methodologies. Participation is an enriching and broadening experience for students regardless of their career goals.
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.
STEM students are nominated in December, and other students are nominated in early February by the professor with whom they will work the following summer. Students receive a weekly stipend and university housing is available.
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.
Select students may also continue their research 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 (PERS) 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).
Writing Intensive Courses (WI)
Writing is a core skill of any education and, like a language, must be practiced frequently to be retained. In writing intensive courses, writing is comprehensively and substantially embedded so that a student enrolled in the course has multiple occasions to build and refine written skills. Writing intensive courses do more than require large quantities of writing; they provide students with processes for improving their writing through all stages of the course. Individual departments and programs offer opportunities for students to increase their writing skills, but additionally, the faculty have developed a set of outcomes to distinguish courses in every discipline that meet writing intensive objectives. See specific teaching objectives and courses approved for the WI designation at Writing Intensive (WI).
Community-Based Learning (CBL) Courses
Community-based Learning gives students an opportunity to integrate learning that occurs in the classroom with learning in the community. Many departments and programs offer Community-Based Learning courses and opportunities that connect students with a variety of disciplines, community partners, and social causes. See specific learning outcomes for the CBL designation at Community-Based Learning (CBL).
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. Priority is given to law students first, then to undergraduates minoring in Law, Justice, and Society, and then to other undergraduates.
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. See the application form on the University Registrar’s website at registrar.wlu.edu/forms.
The process of an undergraduate registering for a law school course is complete only when the student has delivered the form, with all required signatures, to the University Registrar. If approved, the course content is listed as an undergraduate Law, Justice, and Society course (LJS 295). The faculty’s policies governing whether a law course may be taken by undergraduates on a Pass/Fail basis can be found at my.wlu.edu/university-registrar/courses-and-registration/registration-help-for-students/passfail-declaration).
Consistent with the mission of Washington and Lee University, the Writing Program, with its WRIT-100 seminars, is dedicated to developing students’ writing, close reading analysis, critical thinking, and research skills that they need to succeed in upper-level courses at the university and later in their lives. Students receive instruction and experience in analyzing individual works, exploring pertinent and interconnected issues, developing independent ideas, synthesizing multiple sources, and crafting arguments that exhibit awareness of field, genre, audience, and purpose. The Writing Program fosters an understanding of the multiplicity of individualized composing processes of designing, drafting, and revision. Through immersive courses and experiences in an intellectually rich and academically rigorous culture, the Writing Program prepares students for life-long learning as responsible and engaged citizens in a global and diverse society.
The Writing Center offers individual and group tutorial assistance on any college writing task, from papers and lab reports in any stage of completion to resumes and application essays. The Center is directed by an English Department faculty member and staffed by professional writers and instructors as well as students from various major and minor fields chosen for their superior writing and teaching skills. Consultants do not proofread or edit student work; rather, they help students analyze and strengthen their own composing process, so they become more articulate and confident. In keeping with the Honor System, students 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 an exchange agreement with 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.
International experience is an important part of a Washington and Lee education. Students work with faculty and the Center for International Education to identify appropriate programs that will complement their academic, personal and professional goals. Applications for study abroad, as well as information on application deadlines, are available through the Center for International Education, go.wlu.edu/study-abroad.
Washington and Lee expects that students who return from abroad will be able to:
- analyze ways that human actions influence the natural and human world;
- identify and explain multiple perspectives (such as cultural, disciplinary, and ethical) demonstrating respectful interaction with varied cultures and worldviews; and
- identify their personal growth in response to experiences in another culture that challenge their world views.
Accordingly, the International Education Committee reviews and approves study abroad programs based on the following criteria:
- 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 housing options that maximize cultural learning;
- evaluations and reports from returning students and site visits by W&L faculty and staff.
Information on approved programs is available at the Center for International Education Website: go.wlu.edu/global.
W&L Study Abroad Policies
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). First-year incoming credits, transfer credits, courses taken abroad, etc., will not count in the 60 credits to be taken at W&L.
Eligibility for Study Abroad:
a. Students are not eligible to study abroad while on academic or conduct probation.
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.
b. Students placed on academic or conduct 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.
c. 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.
d. 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.
e. To study abroad, students must make an appointment and consult with the Study Abroad Adviser in the Center for International Education.
f. Upon their return from non-W&L programs abroad, students must complete an evaluation of their study abroad experience for the Center for International Education and the reflective essay required for INTR 298 .
g. To determine whether all critical needs can be met during time away from campus, students are expected to consult with Student Health and Counseling Services for information regarding physical or mental health-related conditions and/or treatment needs.
h. Seniors engaged in approved study abroad will have the first term of the three-term, senior-residency requirement waived.
Application Process: Undergraduate students seeking to study abroad for W&L degree credit must submit an application to study abroad at go.wlu.edu/studyabroad by the specified deadline for the period in which they plan to be absent from campus. If a student wishes to study on a program not approved by W&L, they must submit a petition and receive program approval from the International Education Committee. For students studying abroad during winter term, if your program overlaps at all with spring term, your approval for study abroad will be noted as winter and spring and you may not register for a spring course at W&L.
Course Approval: To ensure the transfer of credits, students are required to seek approval in advance from the appropriate department head, departmental designee (or academic dean when there is no W&L course) and academic adviser for all courses to be attempted while abroad. Such approval is granted only through the course approval website, go.wlu.edu/studyabroadcredit. Students must maintain a full-time load of academic course work comparable to that at Washington and Lee in level, nature, and field. Should students wish to change course selections after submission of their application, they must also seek approval from the figures noted above. Such requests for approval should be sought immediately (through the course approval site). 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. 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.
- Award of Credit Hours: 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 elective credits may be applied to major requirements with permission of the department head. But in order to meet general education (Foundation and Distribution) requirements, courses require additional approval via a separate petition to the Committee on Courses and Degrees.
a. Documentation: Credit for courses taken off campus will be awarded only when an official transcript for the work completed has been received by the W&L University Registrar (subject to approvals noted above).
b. Timing: Approvals must be obtained and official transcripts received before the conclusion (last day of classes) of the first 13-week term completed by students upon their 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.
c. Grade: Credits will be awarded 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.
- Number of Credit Hours Abroad: 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 and the guidance offered under a, b, and c in this section above, a student may petition the appropriate academic dean for consideration of additional credit approval. Remember, the faculty has limited to 60 the total of non-W&L credits which may be used to meet degree requirements.
- Language Study Abroad: Students studying abroad in a host culture whose primary language is not English are required to complete a language course of that culture, transferable as a minimum of 3 W&L credits, during the period of their enrollment. Students seeking exceptions to this requirement must submit a petition to the International Education Committee prior to the study abroad application deadline. This policy does not apply to summer study abroad or W&L Spring Term Abroad programs.
Students studying abroad in a host culture whose primary language is English are strongly encouraged to complete the equivalent of a W&L three-credit course about the host culture or otherwise intentionally immerse themselves in that culture through activities such as host family stay, student clubs, and other co-curricular programs.
- Study Abroad Housing Policy: All enrolled students studying abroad during the W&L academic year must secure housing vetted by and provided through the host university or the approved study abroad provider. Students may not opt to use independent housing.
- Financial Aid for Study Abroad: Financial Aid awards may be transferred to help cover the costs of approved study abroad for fall term, winter term, full year, or spring term abroad. The Financial Aid Office adjusts the level of assistance to reflect actual costs of the study-abroad program. Students are responsible for paying deposits required by the host institution or program. Students (and parents) should 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.
- Special Rules for Summer Off-Campus Study: Summer study abroad programs must be approved in advance. To receive credit for a summer study abroad course, the course must have contact hours consistent with W&L’s credit definition policy. Please refer to Summer Transfer Credit and Credit Definitions.
Study Abroad Payment: 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.
Study Abroad Fees: Please refer to University Fees. Students pay the study abroad fee to W&L for non-W&L administered programs for each term abroad AND are responsible for paying all costs directly to the University or program abroad. It is important that students ascertain which services are included in the program fee and the dates by which payments must be made. Students pay the program fee or W&L tuition for W&L-sponsored and -administered program.
Special Institutional Relationships
The Washington and Lee/St. Andrews Partnership Program,, enables students to spend a semester or year at this highly ranked and ancient British university. The program is open to any W&L sophomore, junior or senior with the prerequisite background and with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.200 or better. 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 Mansfield College and Blackfriars College Oxford Partnership Programs enable students to spend an academic year at Oxford and both offer students full membership of their respective College and official status within the University of Oxford. The Oxford system is based on the weekly tutorial in which one to three students meet with a tutor for a period of concentrated study. This program is open to any W&L junior with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.700.
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.
Spring Term Abroad
Washington and Lee also offers a number of courses which include overseas study through its Spring Term Abroad program. Students enroll 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 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. Information on Spring Term Abroad courses is available from the Center for International Education at go.wlu.edu/STA.
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 International Education Committee awards the certificate after considering a student’s overall academic record (minimum 3.000 cumulative grade-point average), an essay and presentation. The purpose of this process is to allow students to reflect deeply on the value of their international experiences at W&L and abroad.
In general, students who have invested significant time (more than a 13-week term) in a study abroad program living with native speakers, taking coursework in the target language, and volunteering, participating in community service or working in an internship are eligible to submit an application for the Certificate in International Immersion. International students who meet these requirements may also include reflections upon their time in the U.S. and at W&L as part of their application.
See information at the Certificate of International Immersion website.
In addition to the faculty contacts listed below, the Office of Career and Professional Development (CaPD) 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 CaPD 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; Engineering 178, 203; Studio Art 111, 131, 231; and Art History 101, 102, 140, 170 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 and 112, 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 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.
Washington and Lee offers a Law, Justice, and Society minor, which engages students in an interdisciplinary exploration of the nature of law and justice and challenges students to think critically about the role of law and justice across cultural, chronological, topical, and institutional lines. This minor is not a pre-law certification, a requirement for law school, limited to students interested in attending law school. Rather, the minor is designed for anyone interested in a broad, liberal arts exploration of the law.
Undergraduate students intending to enter the legal profession are encouraged to take a course on legal ethics (e.g., BUS 346 or PHIL 348 ). Additional law-related courses include:
- ACCT 256 - Federal Tax Policy and Planning in Today’s World
- BUS 345 - Business Ethics
- BUS 346 - Foundations of Business Law: Accounting Focus
- JOUR 280 - Covering Courts and the Law
- JOUR 301 - Law and Communications
- LJS 101 - Introduction to Law, Justice, and Society
- LJS 232 - Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division
- PHIL 170 - Introduction to Logic
- PHIL 252 - Philosophy of Law
- POL 233 - Environmental Policy and Law
- POL 236 - The American Supreme Court and Constitutional Law
- POL 342 - Seminar: Law and the Judicial Process
- POV 280 - Poverty Law
- REL 222 - Law and Religion
Undergraduate students may take a limited number of courses in the Law School by completing the appropriate application. See further information here.
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 are also strongly encouraged 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 Education Studies website, www.wlu.edu/education-studies, 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 the program options within Education Studies is available on the website at www.wlu.edu/education-studies.
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 head of the Education Studies program may return following graduation at reduced tuition for one fall or winter term in order to complete their student-teaching requirements.
Nationally competitive fellowships can provide funding for graduate school, undergraduate research opportunities, foreign language immersion programs, and undergraduate study or internships abroad, among other things. Awards range in size and scope, from a few thousand dollars for eligible academic expenses as an undergraduate, to full funding to complete a graduate degree domestically or abroad. Washington and Lee students have an excellent track record of receiving these prestigious fellowships, whether that be the Rhodes Scholarship, which fully funds postgraduate study for 32 students annually at the University of Oxford, or the Gilman Scholarship, which provides up to $5,000 to Pell Grant recipients for study or interning abroad. Students of any major, class year, or citizenship are eligible to apply for nationally competitive fellowships, and W&L has a dedicated staff member, the Director of Fellowships, who can advise and support students throughout their fellowships journey. Further information about fellowship opportunities is available at fellowships.wlu.edu.
John and Mimi Elrod Fellowship
The John and Mimi Elrod Fellowship provides mentorship and programming for W&L students and young alumni interested in social impact careers. Our mission is to extend and integrate the learning of the Shepherd Program into participants’ post-graduation civic and professional lives. The Elrod Fellowship program bridges the gap between eager, well-equipped seniors and alumni associated with employers in the social impact sector. Further information about the Elrod Fellowship is available from the Shepherd Program office and at www.wlu.edu/shepherd-program/internships/elrod-fellowship.
Special Academic Opportunities
The University offers a variety of programs of exceptional academic merit, intellectual stimulation, and practical value. The details of these programs will be found in this and other sections of this catalog and include:
- Honors in majors
- First-year writing seminars and First-Year Seminars, fulfilling FDR requirements
- Intensive four-week spring term courses
- A dozen world languages, ancient and modern, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian (intensive), Japanese, Latin, Portuguese (intensive), Russian, Sanskrit, and Spanish
- Internships with Experiential course credit in many departments and programs and in Career and Professional Development
- Student Summer Independent Research Program, with opportunity for Experiential Learning credit
- Johnson Opportunity Grants for summer experiences
- Roger Mudd Center for Ethics
- The Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability
- Chesapeake Bay Program
- Courses in Law, Justice, and Society (LJS) and Literature in Translation (LIT)
- Community-Based Learning (CBL)
- Independent work major
- Interdisciplinary academic programs (see Requirements for the Degree)