2013-2014 University Catalog 
    Jul 14, 2024  
2013-2014 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 the Ethics of Journalism. The primary mission of the program is to advance the study and development of journalistic standards in accountability, credibility, objectivity, privacy, and other areas.

The Department of Journalism and Mass Communications believes that reliable journalism is essential for the sustenance of a diverse world community. In the new 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 James G. Leyburn Scholars in Anthropology was established in 1981 by three anonymous gifts totaling $135,000. Since the program’s inception, more than 100 former students and friends of Dean Leyburn have made additional gifts.

James G. Leyburn was named dean of the University in 1947 after 20 distinguished years on the sociology faculty at Yale. As dean, he offered the University a series of bold challenges, which were part of what became known as the Leyburn Plan—a blueprint for strengthening the University’s academic standards. He relinquished his duties as dean in 1955, choosing to devote all his time to teaching. He was head of the sociology/ anthropology department until 1967 and retired from active teaching in June 1972. In 1993, the University Library was named the James G. Leyburn Library in recognition of Dean Leyburn’s many contributions to shaping the mission and character of the University.

While his contributions to Washington and Lee were myriad, one of Leyburn’s more important contributions was his development of teaching and research in anthropology. The Leyburn Scholars program is designed to further the study of and research in anthropology by enabling the University to provide stipends supporting student research during both the academic year and summer. Projects are structured to provide the student with the opportunity to develop skills in research design, fieldwork, data collection and analysis and report preparation. All Washington and Lee undergraduates and alumni working in anthropology are eligible to compete for the stipends. Participants are encouraged to have as a goal the publication of the findings their work generates. Additional gifts established an ongoing publication series, initiated in 1984.

Faculty Sponsored Undergraduate Research Program

Under this distinctive 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. Nominees must have a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.500. Most recipients are known as Summer Research Scholars; several  outstanding students in the sciences will be designated Christian A.  Johnson Scholars, while those in the humanities and social sciences are known as E. A. Morris  Scholars.

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. Every summer a number of student researchers are designated as R. E. Lee Scholars because the funding for their research comes from this endowment. Additional support has come from various sources, including the Christian A. Johnson Foundation and the E. A. Morris Charitable Foundation.

Undergraduates Taking a Course at the Law School

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 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 law and undergraduate deans. Attendance in the class is required on the same schedule as law students, so seniors must be aware of calendar differences (e.g., course start and end dates, different holiday and examination schedules) and workload. If approved, the course will count toward a term’s required full-time course load, will be graded only on a Pass/Fail basis, and will not count as credits toward either a law or undergraduate degree. See the form available on the University Registrar’s website at registrar.wlu.edu/forms.

Writing Program

The Washington and Lee Writing Program helps students write more effectively in college and prepares them for personal and professional writing after graduation. The Program supports faculty in the teaching of writing in all courses and assesses student progress in the required first-year writing course, Writing 100.

The Writing Center, located on the main floor of Leyburn Library, 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, the Writing Center is directed by a faculty coordinator and staffed by upper-class students in various major fields chosen for their superior writing and teaching abilities. Writing tutors do not proofread or edit student work; rather, they teach students to recognize and correct their own errors with the goal of making each student a more confident and self-sufficient writer. In keeping with the Honor System, students who come to the center must acknowledge assistance 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 www.wlu.edu/x35741.xml.

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 will be awarded only for internships that contribute toward learning, as specified by departments listing all internship experiences as a 450-level course. Departments are responsible for approving each internship in advance, designating faculty supervisors, requiring interim and final reports, securing evaluations from work supervisors, ascertaining that the student worked full-time for the period, 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 should be available 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 six credits for spring term; and up to three credits for summer/fall combined experiences. A maximum of nine credits of internship may be used to meet degree requirements.

Many summer work experiences do not 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’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.

Washington and Lee University recognizes the educational value of summer internships from organizations that offer high quality summer internship programs. The University will award a student one non-degree credit per summer for qualified summer internships. The summer internship will be transcribed as a non-academic course without a grade. It will appear on the transcript as a summer entry in the year the internship is completed. Up to three non-degree credits will be transcribed. They will have no effect on the transcript totals of degree credit.

To be awarded one non-degree credit for a summer internship the following standards must be met:

• Students must be currently enrolled, receive final grades for the winter term immediately preceding the internship, and have no outstanding winter term Incompletes on his or her transcript at the end of the spring term preceding the internship.
• In advance of starting the internship, students must apply to have the internship approved for possible non-degree credit. When the application is submitted, students must supply sufficient documentation regarding the internship so that it may be vetted by the Career Development Center staff to insure that the internship is sufficiently rigorous and will provide educational value.
• The Career Development Center staff will use advice from faculty familiar with various types of internships and will approve or disapprove the application. If necessary, once the application is approved, the University Registrar will confirm with the employer that the student will receive credit for the internship.
• Students must supply to the Career Development Center staff a statement from the employer that the internship has been completed successfully, including that they have worked a minimum of 280 hours.

There are clearly some instances where a summer experience may qualify for degree credit based on subsequent work in a fall term. Faculty should be involved in the planning, execution and evaluation of the internship. In order for these summer/fall internships to qualify for degree credit, the following standards must be met:

• The summer/fall internship will be the responsibility of an academic department, listed as a 450-level course (e.g. 451 for one credit, 453 for three credits) in the catalog, and intended primarily for majors.
• Faculty will determine if the internship merits the opportunity for a follow-up fall term project and degree credit. Credit will be based on the work during an academic term with the summer work as a prerequisite.
• The student, faculty and sponsor of the internship must agree in writing on the conditions of the summer portion of the internship during the spring term prior to the internship.
• The student will register for the internship in the fall term above and beyond the normal full-time course load. The degree credit awarded and conditions of the fall-term academic work will be determined by the sponsoring department and faculty 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 School Credit rules (see Summer School 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. 

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. Though most students  undertake such study during their junior year, they may study abroad at other times during their Washington and Lee career. 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

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 certificate is awarded by the faculty’s International Education Committee, which considers a student’s overall academic record (minimum 3.000 cumulative grade-point average) and a senior portfolio that includes significant evidence of the following:

• student development in self-understanding, maturity, tolerance of ambiguity, and appreciation of cultural differences
• cumulative time (preferable one academic year) studying abroad for more than a single 12-week term, which may include time spent in substantive independent research, internship, or other non-course activities
• integration of study abroad in the degree plan, including both preparatory and follow-up W&L coursework and meaningful co-curricular activities
• sustained engagement with people in the host country, through living situation (home stay), internship, or other means of regular contact.
• coursework in the language of the host country (not the student’s native language), when appropriate.
• at least 12 credits of coursework transferred to W&L
• presentation, exhibit or other public “capstone” activity upon return to campus.

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. Courses taken through community colleges or other similar colleges or programs after original matriculation at Washington and Lee may not be used 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 12-week term completed by students upon their return to W&L.

No more than 56 of the 113 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, etc.). In other words, first-year incoming credits, transfer credits, courses taken abroad, etc., will not count in the 57 credits to be taken at W&L.

  1. Eligibility for Off-Campus Study:

    Students must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.500 to apply for off-campus study for W&L credit. 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.

    Requests for exceptions to these or other academic rules must be submitted in advance to the Committee on Courses and Degrees through the Dean of The College. 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 medical and/or counseling related conditions or current treatments so that appropriate consultations can occur with deans, Student Health and Counseling Services, etc. to ensure that all critical needs can be met during the student’s time away from campus.

  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/x12130.xml 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) 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 12-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 12-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. W&L does not award more credit for a program than that awarded by the host institution, as determined by the host’s official transcript. If the host program’s transcript does not translate easily to “American” credit (e.g., quarter hours, semester credits, units) or provide a conversion scale, or if the host institution’s academic calendar differs significantly from W&L’s, the following can act as general principles:

    a. A student pursuing a fully approved, fulltime course of study abroad for a period roughly equivalent to W&L’s fall or winter term will usually receive 12 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 15 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 28 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 56 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 School 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

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 Physics-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 , 361 , 362 .

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 those 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 by the end of the winter term first year to discuss an appropriate curriculum. Typically, a student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in either physics-engineering or chemistry-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 medical, dental or veterinary schools, provided their entrance requirements are met. Writing intensive course work is valued by many medical schools.

The admissions requirements are changing in response to the new Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), launching in 2015. But at the present time, 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 a course in biochemistry.  The 2015 MCAT will also test content covered in introductory psychology and sociology courses, so premedical students should plan a course of study to include coursework in those areas. These courses should be completed by the end of the junior year or prior to taking the MCAT or Dental Admissions Test (DAT). Additional courses may be required; 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, 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.

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. Her office contains 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 www.wlu.edu/x12384.xml.

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. Other courses related to the law include:

The pre-law student’s academic adviser will be a faculty member in the department in which the student chooses to major. From time to time, however, the pre-law student will also want to consult with Robert Culpepper (Business), Lucas Morel (Politics), and Melina Bell (Philosophy), the University’s faculty pre-law advisers.  Pre-law students should also consider participating in Generals Interested in Legal Studies (GILS) and refer to the Pre-Law Studies resources at www.wlu.edu/x35745.xml.

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 TEAC-accredited Rockbridge Teacher Education Consortium (RTEC) with Southern Virginia University, offers the coursework that is required for licensure. The Teacher Education website, teachereducation.wlu.edu,  provides detailed information on each area of certification. Students should meet with the Director or Assistant Director of Teacher Education 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 after consulting with the Director of Teacher Education. 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 Teacher Education website, 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, and Gates 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 or internships, undergraduate tuition, study abroad, and language study (DADD RISE, Goldwater, Boren, and Critical Language Scholarships, 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. Sophomores considering graduate school can apply for some awards to be used during their junior year, and applications for most other 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 healthcare, 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, and they take part in a seminar series organized by local alumni from Washington and Lee and affiliate institutions to supplement their employment experience. Current placements are in Baltimore, Houston and Washington, D.C. Further information about the Elrod Fellowship is available from Wendy Lovell in the Shepherd Poverty Program office.