Curricular Advice for New Students
(last modified on January 12, 2015)
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Course Offerings and Academic Policies are best found in the University Catalog at catalog.wlu.edu.
W&L Requirements and Incoming Credits
Degree & FDR Requirements and the First Year
Limits on External Credit
Advanced Placement (AP, IB, GCE)
First-Year Student Requests for Transfer Credit
Placement Testing at W&L
Course Recommendations by Academic Department
Course Recommendations by Academic Disciplines
Which courses are the best starting place in each of the following academic disciplines?
What do I need to do to graduate from W&L? Degree Requirements [return to top]
- at least 113 credits, including 57 at W&L
- at least a 2.000 grade-point average
- completion of the Foundation and Distribution Requirements (FDR): the basic liberal-arts requirements
- completion of at least one major
Quick FDR summary
Specific courses are marked with FDR codes in the course listing and academic catalog
Foundations: 4 courses
- FW: Writing Foundation: proficiency or course
- FL: Foreign Language Foundation: proficiency or course(s)
- FM: Mathematics or Computer Science Foundation: proficiency or course
- FP: Physical Education Foundation: swimming test and four skills courses
|Distribution in Arts and Humanities: 4 courses
- HU: Humanities
- HA: Arts
- HL: Literature
- one additional course in these areas
|Distribution in Sciences and Social Sciences: 4 courses
- SL: Science Laboratory: 1course
- SC: Science, Mathematics or Computer Science: 1 additional course
- SS: Social Sciences: 2 courses in 2 areas
Limits on External Credits [return to top]
External credit upon entry to W&L: Entering first-year students may receive a maximum of 28 credits from any and all non-W&L courses (AP, IB, college courses while in high school, etc). Of the 28, no more than nine credits may be counted toward the requirements for a particular major with departmental approval; individual departments may set a limit of less than nine credits counted toward the major.
Total external credit toward W&L degree: 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). 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.
Last date to receive credit on entrance: All paperwork must be in the University Registrar's Office by the last day of fall-term classes, Friday, December 12, 2014.
Official score reports to W&L: Official score reports must be sent during the summer prior to matriculation in order for registration prerequisites and credits to be awarded. Students are responsible to contact The College Board or IB testing authority and request official score reports sent directly to the W&L University Registrar. It is critical for your fall course registration to have these official scores processed by W&L University Registrar's Office prior to fall registration in order to avoid being stopped for missing prerequisites. Scores reported on high school transcripts or on student score reports are not acceptable. AP/IB/GCE credit earned is posted in WebAdvisor under the Test Summary screen once we have received it. If you receive credit for AP, IB or GCE credit, make sure that you don't register for the same W&L course number or you will lose your external exam credit.
- Advanced Placement Program (AP): Score of 4 or 5 required, depending on department. Go to go.wlu.edu/AP for score equivalencies and ordering information.
- International Baccalaureate (IB): - Higher-level score of 5, 6 or 7 required. Go to go.wlu.edu/IB for score equivalencies and ordering information.
- GCE A-level credit: Click here for score equivalencies.
Questions? - Questions may be addressed to University Registrar Scott Dittman, ext. 8455 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
First-year Student Requests for Transfer Credit [return to top]
- Complete the First-year Student Credit Transfer Form and return it with the requested information (course description and syllabus, official college transcript, information on instructor, location, and texts) to the University Registrar.
- Due date: Forms and transcripts received by August 15 will be evaluated by the appropriate department heads in time for the initial advising session with each student. These courses are often prerequisites for work first-year students plan to undertake in their first term, so it is important for students to have records sent as soon as possible. Last date to receive credit on entrance: All paperwork must be in the University Registrar's Office by the last day of fall-term classes, Friday, December 12, 2014.
- What does not transfer: No college course will be transferred if it has been used to meet one of W&L's entrance requirements. Only work comparable to that at Washington and Lee in level, nature, and field may be accepted for degree credit.
Placement Testing at W&L [return to top]
- Taken from home during the summer - Placement tests for French and Spanish are scheduled to be taken from home during the month of July. That process is outlined at this website. Students who wish to enroll in Portuguese or Italian 113 should also take a placement test in French or Spanish. Students who wish to take German at W&L should take a placement test online between July 22 and August 15, 2014. Please see details here.
- Taken during orientation - Placement testing in languages (other than French, Spanish and German) and mathematics take place during Orientation to determine what level of work the student should pursue. Details about placement testing are presented at the Orientation Academic Advising session and placement test results are listed on WebAdvisor and shared with advisers.
- Foreign language - First-year students who wish to continue studying, at W&L, a foreign language studied for two or more years in high school must take a placement test in that language during orientation (except for French or Spanish or German). The test score will determine the language class you will be required or eligible to take during the Fall 2014 term. For Chinese and Japanese placement, please contact the EALL department head Dr. Hongchu Fu when you arrive on campus.
- Mathematics - The Mathematics Department also administers placement tests. Who should take the placement test is listed below. Full details about the times and test recommendations can be found on the Orientation Scheduleo.
- Test Summary screen in WebAdvisor - W&L placement test scores can be reviewed on the WebAdvisor Test Summary screen. The test score indicates the course you placed into. For example, a French placement test score = 261 means you can register for FREN 261 in fall term. All registration recommendations for W&L placement test results can be viewed at Results and Registration Recommendations.
- Disability Accommodations - In order to be eligible for accommodations on placement tests at W&L (as applicable), a student must request accommodations in accordance with the W&L Accommodations Policy and Procedures - see www.wlu.edu/the-college/for-students/disability-accommodations.
- Normal Course Load: The academic load for first-years is normally between 12 and 14 credits for the fall and winter terms (usually four courses, exclusive of physical education) and four credits for the spring term. A candidate for any undergraduate degree must present a total of 113 credits, which averages out to 12-12-4 each year.
- Academic Planning Grid: A useful tool for keeping track of changes in graduation requirements (link to grid).
- Choosing courses for the first year: Within Washington and Lee's curriculum, first-years have a large measure of choice in selecting courses. They should distribute their work in such a way as to acquire the fundamentals of a liberal education, selecting courses which will begin to satisfy the Foundation and Distribution Requirements (FDRs) and enable them to explore possibilities for a major or to continue study in a field of special interest.
- Language and Mathematics proficiency: In choosing courses, first-years should consider that their skills in mathematics and language study may deteriorate if they do not continue work in them immediately. Similarly, popular science courses are often closed during junior and senior year; complete these requirements early.
- Declaring a Major: Students declare their major near the end of the sophomore year. All undergraduates are members of the College unless they choose one of the majors in the Williams School.
- Taking Courses Pass/Fail: First-year students are not allowed to take a course under the Pass/Fail grading option in any course which is offered on a graded basis, with the exception of 100- and 200-level physical education and certain courses offered only on a Pass/Fail basis.
- First-Year Seminars: Courses designed as in-depth explorations of a field of study with a small group of your peers. These seminars are reading- and discussion-based with an emphasis on papers, projects, studio work, or hands-on field experience rather than exams. They may be found in the course listing each term with "FS:" at the beginning of the course title.
Accounting and Business Administration
Recommended for prospective accounting majors in the first year:
- ACCT 201 (offered for First-years in Winter term)
- INTR 201
- MATH 101
- ECON 101 and 102 (if possible, otherwise take ECON 102 in the sophomore year)
Recommended for prospective accounting majors in the sophomore year:
Students who think that they are interested in interviewing with public accounting firms should talk to the department head (Elizabeth Oliver, email@example.com) in either their first or sophomore year.
- Recommendations are the same as those for Accounting and Business Administration. In addition the prospective major should talk to the department head (Elizabeth Oliver, ext. 8637) and consider picking up as many extra credits as possible by going to summer school (each student may transfer in as many as 14 credit hours) or, possibly, by overloading.
- Students considering an accounting- or finance-related career are encouraged to take ACCT 201 in the winter term of their first year.
AFRICANA STUDIES minor / individual courses [return to top]
- Students seeking to complete the Program in Africana Studies typically begin with AFCA 130: An Introduction to Africana Studies. This course is open to all first-year students and satisfies an FDR requirement. Other courses in the program may also be taken in any sequence, though generally we recommend that students should wait until the sophomore year to take those courses numbered at the 300 level.
- This program requires a student to complete 21 credits in seven courses.
- Students should consult with Professor Ted DeLaney, Director of the Program in Africana Studies, Newcomb Hall, ext. 8963.
- Recommended for prospective art majors:
- Art History: 101 and 102 (15 spaces held in 101 for first-years in fall term), 140, and 253, 254, 255, 258, 262, 263, or 267;
- Studio Art: 111 (12 spaces held for first-years in fall term), 112, 120, 131 (10 spaces held for first-years in fall and winter), 211, 217, 231
- Recommended for first-year students taking art course for a humanities distribution, who have had some background in art or art history:
- Art History: 101 and 102 (15 spaces held in 101 for first-years in fall term), 140, 254, 258, 262, 263, or 267;
- Studio Art: 111 (12 spaces held for first-years in fall term), 112, 120, 131 (10 spaces held for first-years in fall and winter), 211, 217, 231
- Recommended for first-year students taking art courses for a humanities distribution, but who have had no background in art or art history:
- Art History: 101 and 102 (15 spaces held in 101 for first-years in fall term), 140, (if background and interest in Asian art);
- Studio Art: 111 (12 spaces held for first-years in fall term), 112, 120, 131 (10 spaces held for first-years in fall and winter).
- First-year students interested in studio classes should speak to the instructor and bring examples of their work if possible.
- There is a minor in Museum Studies, and prospective students should talk with the Head of the Art and Art History Department.
- For first-year students taking biology for distribution requirements:
Biology 101, 105, 111/113 (non-science majors who wish to take BIOL 111/113 are encouraged to do so during winter term)
- Required for students planning to take advanced courses in biology:
Mathematics 101, 102, Biology 111/113, and Chemistry 110.
- For prospective biology, neuroscience, or environmental studies majors in their first year, a desirable schedule is:
BIOL 111/113 (fall) and CHEM 110 (winter, for biology and neuroscience majors)
Mathematics (through MATH 102)
WRIT 100 (complete the writing foundation requirement)
Foreign Language foundation requirement
We offer the following advice for first-year students contemplating majoring in Business Administration:
- INTR 201 needs to be completed by the end of the your first-year
- ECON 101 and 102 need to be completed by the end of your sophomore year.
- ACCT 201 should be taken during your first-year Winter Term and ACCT 202 during the Fall Term of your sophomore year. Both need to be completed by the end of your sophomore year.
- INTR 202 must be completed by the end of your second year.
- BUS 211 and 217 may be taken in the Winter Term of the second year if the student has satisfied applicable pre-requisites (listed above) in ACCT, ECON, and INTR.
- Students are also urged to take as much mathematics as they are capable of handling.
• Be aware, however, that MATH 118 will NOT satisfy the statistics requirement for Business Administration majors.
- You are attending one of the finest liberal arts institutions in the country. Accordingly, prospective business administration majors should fully immerse themselves in the liberal arts upon enrollment and continue to take courses outside business during their time at W&L.
For first-year students taking chemistry courses for foundation and distribution requirements:
- CHEM 100 (fall term); and CHEM 106, CHEM 155, and CHEM 160 (spring term) all provide a four-credit laboratory science course.
- CHEM 110 also meets a distribution requirement, but it is intended only for students who plan to use science professionally (e.g., scientists, engineers, doctors, and other health professionals).
For first-years taking chemistry courses as part of any science major or in preparation for health professions:
- CHEM 110 and BIOL 111, 113 (one in fall term, one in winter term)
- MATH 101 and 102 are required in most science majors.
For prospective chemistry or biochemistry majors in their first year, a desirable schedule is:
- CHEM 110 and BIOL 111, 113 (one in fall term, one in winter term)
- Mathematics (for health professions or B.S. in biochemistry, through MATH 102; for B.S. in chemistry or chemistry-engineering, MATH 221).
- WRIT 100 (complete the Writing Foundation).
- Foreign Language Foundation.
CHINESE (see East Asian Languages and Literatures) [return to top]
Who should take the placement test in Latin?
- All incoming students with academic experience in Latin and intending to study Latin at W&L should take the placement exam.
- Students with no prior experience of Latin need not take the placement test.
- Also, students who have scored 5 on the Advanced Placement Latin test need not take the diagnostic test. Such students should consider studying Latin at the advanced (or 300)-level.
- Finally, students not intending to study Latin at Washington and Lee need not take the diagnostic test.
Students with academic experience of ancient Greek and wishing to continue their study at Washington and Lee should consult Professor Kevin Crotty, ext. 8910. A good time to do this is during orientation.
Recommended for prospective classics majors:
- Latin and/or Greek;
- Courses in classics, ancient art, ancient philosophy, and ancient history.
Suggested for first-year students taking classics for FDRs:
- Classics/Literature in Translation 200, 201, 203, 204, 238, 295
- Latin and/or Greek at appropriate level to satisfy either the language or the literature requirement.
LATIN- Students interested in taking Latin are offered a placement test. On the basis of this test result, sometimes combined with a review of the student's secondary experience, a placement recommendation is made. If there is any reason to doubt the appropriateness of this placement recommendation the adviser should send the student to see a representative of the Classics Department. Students with no prior Latin study are welcome in Latin 101, and one might point out that the language requirement can be met by successful completion of only twelve credits. All upper levels of Latin are open to first-year students based on qualifications.
A note of caution to advisers: It is not a good idea to recommend Latin to students who claim that they are not good at languages. Students signing up for Latin 101 should be made aware that it is a very challenging course, and requires considerable diligence if the student is to do well. Please explore with your advisee his or her language needs. Latin is indeed a very useful course for understanding many European languages, and for offering insights into the structure of language as such. Any student undertaking the study of Latin, however, will find it necessary to make a determined effort from the very beginning to master the assignments.
GREEK - It is unusual for an entering student to have studied Greek on the secondary level. Any such student who expresses a desire to continue study of this language should be referred to a representative of the Classics Department. First-years with experience in Latin are welcome in Greek 101. First-years without experience in Latin should not register for the course until they have first spoken to the instructor.
CLASSICS - Classics/Literature in Translation 200, 201, 203, 204, 238 and 295 are appropriate for entering students with a normal secondary background. In the case of Classics 221, 224, and 295, first-year students should consult the professor, since the subject matter may presuppose a certain level of sophistication.
Computer Science Courses for First-Year Students
- Students may satisfy the Foundations Mathematics requirement by taking CSCI 101 (Survey of Computer Science), CSCI 102 (Introduction to Computational Modeling), CSCI 111 (Fundamentals of Programming I), or CSCI 121 (Scientific Computing).
- CSCI 101 is intended for students who want an overview of the field in breadth and depth, with a focus on current topics like multimedia computing. Students who simply want to fulfill the FM requirement should enroll in CSCI 101.
- CSCI 102 is intended for students interested specifically in computational modeling, which is useful in the sciences, business, and economics.
- CSCI 111 is intended for students who want a first course in programming and problem solving that assumes no prior programming experience. Students who are potential majors or who want programming experience for other coursework should take CSCI 111. Note that CSCI 111 (or 121) is a requirement for a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. The content and approach of both introductory programming courses (CSCI 111 and its follow-up CSCI 112) are similar to the AP A and AP AB courses in computer science, except that the programming language used is Python, which is similar to Java. For potential computer science majors in their first year, the ideal schedule is CSCI 111 in the fall and CSCI 112 in the winter.
- CSCI 121 (Scientific Computing), offered in alternate winter terms, is intended for science students wanting a programming course with scientific applications. Programming is done in Matlab, a scientific-computing software package. Note that CSCI 121 is a requirement for a major in Neuroscience and may also be used to satisfy the programming requirement for a BS in Mathematics. This course is offered in alternate winter terms and will next be offered in Winter 2016.
- For more information about the courses and major, see our department website, http://www.cs.wlu.edu, or contact Professor Lambert at ext 8909 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Recommended for prospective Creative Writing minors in their first year:
- After satisfying the first-year writing requirement, students may enroll in any 200-level creative writing workshop (ENGL 203, 204, or 205 or THTR 220), and/or in any 200-level literature class in English except for 299. Both workshops and literature courses at the 200-level may be used towards minor requirements.
- For first-year students taking dance courses: DANC 110, 120 and 292.
- Dance 110 is required of all students interested in performing in the W&L Repertory Dance Company Concert.
- Dance 292 is open only to students with previous ballet training.
- All dance courses, except DANC 220, require instructor consent.
The Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures (EALL) at Washington and Lee offers a major with an emphasis in either Chinese or Japanese. Students should explore the resources available on the East Asian Languages and Literatures web page where detailed information concerning all courses in language (CHIN, JAPN) and literature (LIT) and culture is available. The URL is: eall.wlu.edu.
- Students with no previous training in Chinese may elect CHIN 111.
- Students with previous training in Chinese should contact the EALL department head as soon as possible to determine appropriate placement.
- The EALL major with an emphasis in Chinese requires a minimum of three years of Chinese language. Students should begin their language as early as possible preferably during their first year. The department also recommends literature in translation courses that relate to China and Japan.
- Students with no previous training in Japanese may elect JAPN 111. Students with previous training in Japanese should contact the EALL department head as soon as possible to determine appropriate placement.
- The EALL major with an emphasis in Japanese requires a minimum of three years of Japanese language. Students should begin their language as early as possible preferably during their first year. The department also recommends literature in translation courses that relate to China and Japan.
The East Asian Studies (EAS) minor at Washington and Lee offers a concentration in either China or Japan. Students are encouraged, but not required, to pursue language-study to fulfill part of the minor.
- HIST 103 (China/Fall) or HIST 104 (Japan/Winter) are required for the minor and appropriate for first-year students.
For more information about the minor, consult the catalog, contact the EAS director, Mike Smitka (email@example.com
), or visit the EAS website
- Students majoring in economics are required to begin with the two-semester sequence in principles of economics, ECON 101 and 102. Although these classes are open to all first-year students, those considering an economics major are particularly encouraged to enroll in these courses.
- ECON 101 is offered in both fall and winter terms.
- Students planning to major in economics should enroll in ECON 210 upon completion of the principles sequence.
- In addition, INTR 201, INTR 202, and ECON 203 are usually completed during the sophomore year. The remainder of the economics major can readily be completed during the junior and senior years.
- Students considering a finance-related career are encouraged to take Accounting 201 in the winter term of their first year.
- Students should not enroll in ECON 101 or 102 if they have earned AP/IB credit for those courses. First-year students who have AP/IB credit and who are interested in majoring in economics are encouraged to take courses in politics and math as well as those satisfying FDRs. Also, students with AP/IB credit in economics are eligible to take courses for which ECON 101 and 102 are prerequisites.
- First-years wishing to qualify for the Virginia state license for teaching in public schools must take a variety of course in three areas - general education, professional education, and student teaching.
- Minors are available in education and education policy.
- Foundation and distribution courses that will assist in gaining licensure vary by endorsement area. However, all endorsement areas require PSYC 113, Principles of Development. In addition, all students seeking licensure must have certification they have had first aid and CPR training; PE 304, First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation meets this requirement and is highly recommended. For more details and specific requirements for each endorsement area that W&L offers, please consult the Teacher Education website.
- Careful planning and time management are needed to prepare for teaching while also fulfilling all Washington and Lee degree requirements. First-year students who are interested in elementary education should contact Haley Sigler, the Assistant Director of Teacher Education as soon as possible. Those interested in middle or secondary education should contact Lenna Ojure, Director of Teacher Education.
ENGINEERING(see Physics and Engineering for complete information) [return to top]
- Students considering an engineering major should plan on taking the introductory physics sequence PHYS 111A and PHYS 112A and associated laboratories (PHYS 113 and 114) during their first year. If these courses are not completed during the first year, engineering course work typically will not commence until the junior year. If you do not get into PHYS 111A during fall registration, you should register instead for PHYS 111.
- Consult with faculty in the Physics and Engineering department during the first year.
- FDR writing requirement is found in the Writing section below.
Recommended for prospective English majors in their first year:
- Any 200-level literature course (ENGL 203-295) may be used to fulfill major requirements at that level.
- After taking one 200-level literature course, a prospective major may elect to enroll in ENGL 299, Seminar for Prospective Majors, which is the gateway to upper-level courses. Sections of ENGL 299 are offered in fall and winter.
- Students may pursue environmental studies through either a 44-credit major or a 25- or 26-credit minor.
- Students interested in either option should choose courses listed in the catalog as environmental studies which also meet FDR requirements. Choosing courses to meet both also helps to create flexibility later in your schedule. Courses that satisfy both environmental studies and FDR requirements and are available to first-year students include ENV 110, BIOL 111/113, ECON 101, GEOL 100 or 101, and PHIL 108.
FILM STUDIES minor / individual courses [return to top]
A minor in film studies is described in the University Catalog. Feel free to contact any of the core faculty listed there.
FRENCH (see Romance Languages) [return to top]
GEOL 100 and 101 are very popular classes and are only open to first-year students, some sophomore students, and rarely Juniors and Seniors with special permission (Instructor Consent) or when sections do not fill with eligible students. We encourage anyone interested in Geology, Earth Science, Geophysics, Geochemistry, or related fields to enroll in these classes in your first year. If you are interested in Geology as a major, please contact a Geology Department faculty member about your interest.
First-year students may enroll in the following courses (*offered alternate years):
- GEOL 100 (4) General Geology with Field Emphasis--Fall
- GEOL 101 (4) General Geology-Winter
- GEOL 104 (3) Planetary Geology - Winter*
- GEOL 105 (4) Earth Lab -Spring
- GEOL 141 (3) Global Climate Change-Winter*
- GEOL 144 (3) History of Geology - Fall*
- GEOL 150 (3) Water Resources - Winter*
- GEOL 155 (3) Oceanography - Fall*
For prospective geology majors, we advise the following geology courses:
- An introductory course: GEOL 100 (fall), 101 (winter), 105 (spring)
- A field skills course: GEOL 230 (spring), 231 (spring) or 275 (fall)
- additional topical courses: GEOL 104 through 209 above
- and, MATH 101, plus PHYS 111, 112 or CHEM 110, and 165 or 211 for students interested in the BS degree
Students interested in a Geology major are encouraged to take GEOL 100, 101, or 105 early. These courses are prerequisites for most of the other courses in the department. Because major courses are prerequisites for most of the other courses in the department, students who express an interest in any of the earth sciences (geology, geophysics, environmental geology, earth science teaching, etc.) need to plan their course of study carefully to match their interests. Faculty members of the department will be glad to assist any advisee who needs help in this matter.
GERMAN majors / minor / individual courses [return to top]
Who should take the placement test? Any student who intends to study German. The placement test is taken online between July 22 and August 15, 2014. Please see details here.
Recommended for first-year students taking German courses:
- Students with no previous training in German may elect GERM 111 & 112 (emphasis on spoken language as well as grammar and reading).
- Students with previous training in German should take the German Department's proficiency test and may enroll in courses at the level recommended by the department.
Note the availability of study in Germany during the spring term: GERM 263, for which GERM 111-112 (beginning) are the best preparation, and GERM 303, for which GERM 261-262 or 311-312 (advanced) are the best preparation.
Required for prospective German majors in their first year:
- Appropriate German courses as suggested by placement tests, preferably courses emphasizing the spoken and written language (GERM 111 & 112, 261 & 262, 311) or literature (313, 314, 315 or 316), if the first-year student receives advanced placement.
- Recommended related courses for prospective German majors in their first year:
- Literature (including English), and European history. (FDR's HL and HU respectively).
- Prospective majors should ask the department head for the list of related courses that can be applied toward the major.
Required in the first year for students considering health professions (medicine, dentistry, etc.):
- MATH 101 and 102;
- CHEM 110 and BIOL 111, 113, taken in any order.
Students interested in majoring in engineering or physics should start with PHYS 111, 113 and take chemistry and biology in the sophomore year.
Recommended in the first year for students considering health professions:
- Complete the Writing Foundation. At least one advanced course in English (200 or above) is needed for medical school admission, but may be taken as an upperclassman.
- Foreign Language Foundation: continue to completion as soon as feasible.
- Other recommendations vary with choice of major department.
Please look at the Health Professions website ( http://www2.wlu.edu/x12384.xml ) or see Dr. Lisa Alty with questions about specific health professions career paths.
- Recommended for first-year students taking history courses: Any history course at the 100 level.
- For first-year students who plan to be history majors: for the major you may offer a minimum of 6 credits and a maximum of 12 credits at 100-level, therefore, you are encouraged to begin taking 200-level courses as soon as you have completed 6 to 12 credits at the 100-level.
- 200-level history courses may be open to first-year students with 6 credits of AP or IB history credit or permission of the instructor.
The department has two majors: Journalism and Strategic Communication. The Journalism major offers two sequences - Journalism or Business Journalism - both are intended for students planning journalism careers. Strategic Communication is designed for those who envision a career in public, corporate or government relations, or another persuasive communication field. There is also a minor in Mass Communications.
Required of all prospective majors:
- Completion of the foundation requirement in English composition by the end of the first year.
- All prospective majors are encouraged to take JOUR 101 in the first year. JOUR 201, Introduction to Reporting, is open to first-years and sophomores who have completed JOUR 101.
- Students interested in the Business Journalism sequence may also take ECON 101 and 102 (available to first-year students)
- Students interested in Strategic Communication should take INTR 201: Information Technology Literacy by the end of the first year and INTR 202: Applied Statistics, by the end of the sophomore year (INTR 201 is a prerequisite).
- See the Department's web site at journalism.wlu.edu , or the University catalog for details.
The Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies offers a minor that allows students to explore the commonalities and diversity within the region through an interdisciplinary study of its civilizations, cultures, and societies. Check the program website -- lacs.wlu.edu/ -- for appropriate courses offered each term, many of which serve as FDRs or meet other major requirements.
Advice for first-years:
- Students should plan to take LACS 101 as early in their career as possible as well as other courses that meet the distribution requirement below.
- First-year students should continue their language study at the appropriate level and must complete the FDR in French, Portuguese, or Spanish. LACS students are highly encouraged to pursue advanced language courses in one or more of these languages.
- Finally, students should begin to seek advice early on about the many spring term and independent study abroad opportunities available to Program members.
- Interested students should contact Professor Jeffrey Barnett, Tucker Hall 202.
Who should take the Placement Test? The mathematics placement test should only be taken by students who satisfy all the following four criteria:
- had at least a half-year of calculus (not necessarily an AP course), AND
- have not taken either of the Advanced Placement calculus exams (if you took the exams and know your score, then we know what course you should take), AND
- do not have calculus transfer credit or IB credit (higher level with a 5, 6, or 7 should receive credit), AND
- wish to take second- or third-term calculus at W&L. (Under advanced standing, if a student is placed in second- or third-term calculus and successfully completes that course with a grade of C or better, full credit will be awarded for any prerequisite course(s) skipped; this option is available only in Fall term.)
And now the course recommendations.
For students taking mathematics courses to satisfy foundation and distribution requirements:
- If interested in calculus, MATH 101 (see guidelines for which section to take below), followed by either MATH 102 or 118 or 195; OR
- if not interested in calculus, MATH 121, followed by either MATH 122 (a good choice for Williams School majors) or 195.
While there are definite advantages to taking the first mathematics course during the Fall term, it should be noted that both MATH 101 and MATH 121 will be offered in Winter term. (Students not interested in any math course can satisfy their FDR: FM requirement with a computer science course, and their FDR: SC with a wide variety of science courses.)
For those awarded advanced standing or advanced placement credit by the math department (by way of transfer, AP scores, IB scores, or W&L math placement test), the Fall term course will be determined by your placement recommendation. Here are the standard sequences for the first year.:
- MATH 102 in the Fall, followed by MATH 221 or 118 or 195 in the Winter, OR
- MATH 221A in the Fall, followed by MATH 222 or 118 or 195 in the Winter.
For prospective mathematics majors in their first year, the Fall term course is determined by placement (as seen in the preceding paragraph). Here are the recommended sequences for math majors:
- MATH 101 in the Fall, followed by MATH 102 in the Winter, OR
- MATH 102 in the Fall, followed by MATH 221 in the Winter, OR
- MATH 221A in the Fall, followed by MATH 222 in the Winter.
A prospective major should plan to complete MATH 301 (offered during the four-week Spring term) by the end of the sophomore year.
Note that the only difference between MATH 221 and MATH 221A is that 221A is reserved for first-year students.
Which MATH 101 section to take?
- Students who have not taken Calculus and who wish to take a beginning calculus course at W&L must enroll in 101B (B is for a beginner in calculus); this course is scheduled for 4 days a week instead of the 3 days per week for the non-Beginner MATH 101 sections.
- Students who have taken Calculus before, yet who wish to take an introductory calculus course at W&L must enroll in MATH 101 instead of MATH 101B.
- MATH 101B and all sections of MATH 101 are introductory calculus courses and all prepare students to take MATH 102. Nonetheless, to guarantee the best possible experience, it is imperative that students with no previous calculus experience enroll in 101B. Students having previous calculus experience are not permitted to enroll in MATH 101B.
- Prospective majors should take MRST 110 (Medieval and Renaissance Culture) in their first or sophomore year.
- Because of the nature of the interdisciplinary major, students are encouraged to take relevant 200-level courses at their own discretion. For a listing of courses included in the Medieval and Renaissance Studies program, see the current Course Catalog.
- For further information contact the Program Chair, Domnica Radulescu, Professor of Romance Languages, Tucker Hall 403B (ext. 8030) or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .
MUSIC major / minor / individual courses [return to top]
The following courses in music are recommended for first-years:
- MUS 120 (offered Fall-Winter) is recommended for first-year students and meets a distribution (HA) requirement. MUS 220, 221, 231 and 232 meet distribution requirements and may be taken with the permission of the instructor.
- MUS 108, 109, 110, 112, 113, 114, 115 and applied music (141, 142,143) are open to first-years with permission from the instructor, but do not meet foundation or distribution requirements.
The following courses are recommended for prospective music majors in their first year:
- MUS 120 should be taken in the first year and no later than the sophomore year. MUS 161 and 162, the first-year music theory courses are designed for music majors; they must be taken no later than the sophomore year. If possible they should be taken in the first year.
- A student considering a major in music with an emphasis in performance should see the Department Head as soon as possible. Any student wanting to concentrate in performance must perform before a faculty jury before the end of the sophomore year. Therefore, the Department strongly urges any potential performance students to take applied music (MUS 141, 142, 143) as soon as they enter the University.
Neuroscience is the interdisciplinary understanding of the cells of the brain and how they interact to produce behavior. Neuroscience draws from biology, chemistry, psychology, mathematics and the computational sciences.
For prospective biology and neuroscience majors in their first year, a desirable schedule is:
- BIOL 111/113 (fall or winter) and/or CHEM 110
- Mathematics (through MATH 102)
- Writing (complete the writing foundation)
- Foreign Language foundation
- First-years interested in Neuroscience should consider taking courses in any of those foundational areas. Introductory courses that specifically include neuroscience material include: BIOL 111/113, PSYC 111, or CHEM 110 or NEUR 120.
First-year students are recommended to take the following philosophy courses:
- PHIL 100 (3) Introduction to Philosophy
- PHIL 110 (3) Ancient Philosophy
- PHIL 120 (3) Modern Philosophy
- PHIL 140 (3) Introduction to Ethics
- PHIL 145 (3) Contemporary Moral Problems
- PHIL 150 (3) Ethics and the Environment
- PHIL 180 (3) First-Year Seminar
Students who are especially interested in philosophy (including prospective majors and minors) may also take the following courses, when they are offered:
- PHIL 170 (3) Introduction to Logic
- PHIL 195 (3) Seminar for First-Years and Sophomores
Exceptionally qualified first-year students may be permitted to take certain 200-level and 300-level courses but normally only after they have completed a 100-level course. They should consult with the individual instructor.
For more information about all courses in philosophy, see the Philosophy Department web site at http://www2.wlu.edu/x12042.xml .
Students must successfully complete four (4) 100- or 200-level courses in order to earn the one credit in physical education and pass a mandatory swimming test required for graduation. The physical education department strongly encourages first-year students to begin taking PE courses during the fall term with the goal of completing the requirement by the end of the sophomore year. All PE registration (including team sports) is done as a part of the Registration process, just like any other course.
PE orientation meetings thought the day on Wednesday, September 11, 2014, in the Warner Center classroom; all First-Years are required to attend. These meetings are in alphabetized groups and First-Years should adhere to that schedule. The required swimming proficiency tests will be administered following these orientation sessions. You are asked to stress to your advisees that their attendance at these meetings is required regardless of their swimming proficiency.
First-year students are given the opportunity to elect whether the grade for the one credit in physical education will be recorded as a letter grade or a pass/fail grade. A pass/fail declaration must be made during the fall term no later than Friday, October 24, 2014. If pass/fail is elected, the decision is binding and no subsequent change is permitted. A student who elects the letter grade option need make no declaration of any kind.
Additional information regarding the PE requirements may be found in the 2014-2015 Catalog, or on the Physical Education department website at http://www2.wlu.edu/x12426.xml.
Courses for prospective physics and/or engineering majors in their first year should include:
- PHYS 111A lecture & 113 lab (3+1 credits, fall, SL or SC) and PHYS 112A lecture & 114 lab (3+1 credits, winter, SL or SC) calculus-based introductory physics sequence with laboratory. Prerequisite for advanced courses and required for physics and engineering majors. PHYS 111A and 112A are special first-year-only sections. If you do not get into PHYS 111A during fall registration, you should register instead for PHYS 111.
- MATH 101 (FM or SC), 102 (SC) (or higher) students should enter the calculus sequence at the level suggested by the mathematics department.
- ENGN 250: Introduction to Engineering Design (elective for engineering, spring, 4 credits) - a project-based course which includes computer-aided drafting, machining, design criteria, and construction methods.
- PHYS 111/113 and 112/114 also meet a distribution requirement, but they are intended for students considering a science-oriented, math or health professions career. This course is accessible to those who have had a comfortable experience with junior and senior science and mathematics in high school. They count for the science distribution requirement, or when taken with PHYS 113 and/or PHYS 114 they will count for the laboratory science distribution credit. (PHYS 111A and 112A simply designate first-year sections of the same class).
- PHYS 150 (4 credits, fall, SL or SC), PHYS 151 (4 credits, spring, SL or SC) Introductory astronomy courses, with laboratory, using high school mathematics only; accessible to first-year students; permission required. Counts for laboratory science distribution credit or additional science credit.
- PHYS 133 (4 credits, spring, SL) Introduction to Radio Astronomy. Project-based course in which students build and use a radio telescope. Counts for laboratory science distribution credit or additional science credit.
First year students interested in the politics major should take any of the 100-level courses:
- POL 100 American National Government
- POL 105 Global Politics
- POL 111 Introduction to Political Philosophy
These courses introduce you to the discipline and also count towards your FDR requirements. They may be taken in any order. Also, prospective majors might also take the ECON 101-102 sequence, which counts towards the major as well as the FDR.
Since the Politics major includes two courses in related disciplines, prospective majors might also look to take introductory courses in Philosophy, Sociology, Anthropology, History, or Religion. These will count towards the Politics major and also fulfill part of your FDR course requirements.
Looking ahead, Politics majors should plan to take INTR 201 and 202, (along with Politics electives) no later than the sophomore year. If you plan to study abroad, be sure to discuss this with your first-year adviser.
The Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability offers five interdisciplinary courses.
- POV 101: Gateway course (3 credits). Recommended for first-year students with an interest in Shepherd Program involvement; meets an FDR humanities requirement. Can be taken in any year.
- POV 102: Field work course (1-credit). Can be taken concurrently with or soon after POV 101.
- POV 103: Spring course (4- credits). Incorporates POV 101 and 102 in a single course that includes fieldwork. Also meets FDR requirement.
- POV 453: Summer internship (3 credits).Interns work full-time for eight-weeks with peers from other colleges in multiple fields: the arts, business, community organizing, education, healthcare, law, ministry, and social services. Interns work directly with impoverished persons and communities in urban and rural settings in the U.S. or internationally, mostly in the developing world. This course may be taken following a student's first, sophomore, or junior year. Required for the program minor and for enrollment in the capstone seminar. Financial assistance is available proportional to need. Students who successfully complete all aspects of this internship receive three credits on a pass/fail basis.
- POV 423: Research seminar (3 credits). For juniors, seniors, and second- and third-year law students following completion of POV 453. Non-minors are welcome.
- Students minoring in this program will also select from discipline-based courses that fit their scholarly and future professional interests. Courses are listed on the program website.
- Because its purpose is to enrich the education of graduates in all majors and professional trajectories, the Shepherd Program offers a minor rather than a major. The coursework required for the minor prepares professionals in all fields to address the poverty problem as it affects us domestically and internationally.
Additional offerings may be integrated into students' academic studies. The Shepherd Program offers lectures and seminars by visitors to Washington and Lee. The Shepherd community-based learning staff oversees numerous educational and leadership activities: the Nabors Service League; Alternative Break Projects; the Bonner Program (a competitive program offering financial assistance to concentrate on service and leadership); Volunteer Venture, a Leading Edge pre-orientation program for first-years and student leaders; service-learning courses in various departments; community-based research projects; the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee and a post-graduate Elrod Fellowship Program. For more information, the Shepherd Program Director or staff (458-8784).
There is no specified pre-law major or curriculum and students interested in legal studies may select any regular undergraduate major. Instead of promoting a particular academic concentration for students interested in a pre-law education, the Association of American Law Schools values an undergraduate education that focuses on a "highly individualized process pursued with high purpose and intensive intellectual effort." Students should thus pursue a course of study which involves:
- comprehension and expression in words;
- critical understanding of the human institutions and values with which the law deals; and,
- creative power in thinking.
Pre-Law Coordinator Lorri Olán (Elrod Commons 304) is available to see students who wish to discuss their academic plans, law school aspirations, and the law school application process.
For first-year students taking psychology courses for distribution requirements (can be taken in any order):
- PSYC 111, 112, or 150 (all SC), and PSYC 113, 114, 120, 180, or 215 (all SS).
Recommended for prospective psychology majors in their first year:
- PSYC 120
- PSYC 111, 112, 113 and/or 114, in any order
Recommended for prospective majors:
- Biology or chemistry for their natural science
- Mathematics and computer science
- PSYC 250 in the sophomore year
Recommended for first-year students taking religion courses for distribution requirements and for prospective religion majors in their first year:
- REL 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 106, 110, 131, 132, 151, 152, 181, 195, 203, 213; the numbering sequence is without significance. First-years are welcome in each of these courses.
- Other 100-level and 200-level courses may be appropriate for well-prepared first-year students interested in the specific subject matter. Consultation with the department is recommended.
Students may fulfill the Foreign Language FDR in French (FREN 162 & 164), Italian (ITAL 163), Spanish (SPAN 162 & 164), and Portuguese (PORT 163). Spring abroad (SPAN 172 & FREN 172) and study abroad options are also available that allow for completion of the foreign language FDR in countries where Romance languages are spoken.
Who should take the placement test? All incoming students who studied French or Spanish in high school and wish to study any Romance language must take the placement test. Those who studied Italian or Portuguese in high school should speak with Romance Languages about placement. Placement test scores are valid for one semester only. Students who perform poorly on the placement test risk being excluded from enrolling in the language tested.
First-year students with no prior preparation in French who wish to complete the Foreign Language FDR in French:
- should enroll in FREN 111, offered fall term only, followed by FREN 112, 161 & 162.
- Enrollment in FREN 111 is limited and preference is given to students with no prior preparation in French.
Students who do not place into the intermediate level as a result of the W&L French placement test are recommended to NOT continue in that language. These students may enroll in the beginning course in any other Romance language but not in the language tested. For students who insist on continuing in the language they tested poorly in, register them for another language and send them to Romance Languages (Matthew Bailey) for a follow-up evaluation of their language skills.
First-year students who take the W&L placement exam in French and are placed into 161 or 164:
- should register for the course immediately rather than postponing registration another year.
First-year students who take the W&L placement exam in French and place into the 200-level French courses:
- may choose from a variety of courses that fulfill distribution (HU or HL) and French major and French minor requirements.
- Consult French faculty for best options for continued study in French and for study abroad.
- First-year students who have two years or more of another Romance language in high school and have taken the corresponding placement exam may enroll in ITAL 113. Students who studied Latin in high school may also enroll. Other interested students should consult the department head for placement assistance. Completion of ITAL 113 and 163 fulfills the Foreign Language FDR. Enrollment in ITAL 113 is limited.
- First-year students who have prior preparation in Italian should consult the department head for placement assistance.
- First-year students who have two years or more of another Romance language in high school and have taken the corresponding placement exam may enroll in PORT 113. Students who studied Latin in high school may also enroll. Other interested students should consult the department head for placement assistance. Completion of PORT 113 and 163 fulfills the Foreign Language FDR. Enrollment in PORT 113 is limited.
- First-year students who have prior preparation in Portuguese should consult the department head for placement assistance.
First-year students with no prior preparation in Spanish who wish to complete the Foreign Language FDR in Spanish:
- should enroll in SPAN 111, offered fall term only, followed by SPAN 112 and SPAN 164.
- Enrollment in SPAN 111 is limited and preference is given to students with no prior preparation in Spanish.
Students who do not place into the intermediate level as a result of the W&L Spanish placement test are recommended to NOT continue in that language. These students may enroll in the beginning course in any other Romance language but not in the language tested. For students who insist on continuing in the language they tested poorly in, register them for another language and send them to Romance Languages (Matthew Bailey) for a follow-up evaluation of their language skills.
First-year students who take the W&L placement exam in Spanish and are placed into 161 or 164:
- should register for the course immediately rather than postponing registration another year.
First-year students who take the W&L placement exam in Spanish and place into the 200-level Spanish courses:
- may choose from a variety of courses that fulfill distribution (HU or HL) and Spanish major requirements.
- Consult Spanish faculty for best options for continued study in Spanish and for study abroad.
Washington and Lee offers students the opportunity to enroll in an Army ROTC program through an agreement with the established ROTC unit at neighboring Virginia Military Institute.
- The program is voluntary and open to all students who meet the character, citizenship, age, medical and physical fitness requirements for military service.
- Washington and Lee grants up to 12 transfer credit hours toward graduation for successful completion of the courses offered at VMI.
- All instruction takes place at VMI, in accordance with the VMI class schedule, and is provided at no expense to Washington and Lee students.
- The program also offers competitive campus-based four-, three- and two-year full scholarships.
- Army ROTC is divided into a two-year basic course, designed for first-years and sophomores, and a two-year Advanced Course, designed for juniors and seniors. Enrollment in the Advanced Course requires the completion of the Basic Course during the student's first and sophomore years or successful completion of the Army's Leader Training Course (LTC) (usually between the sophomore and junior year for those that missed the first-year and sophomore classes). The Advanced Course student must agree to complete the Military Science curriculum, which includes attendance at the five-week National Leadership Development Course (LDAC) at Fort Lewis, Washington. The Advanced Course graduate must accept a commission as a second lieutenant in the active Army, Army Reserves or National Guard.
- Contact the department at VMI, 540.464.7351; 464.7187; 464.7680.
Who should take the placement test in Russian? Any student who intends to study Russian.
- First-year students interested in pursuing the interdisciplinary major in Russian Area Studies should begin their study of Russian language at the elementary level or continue it at the appropriate higher level after taking the placement test. Three years of Russian language are required for the major.
- Prospective majors should consult with a professor within the department and consider completing SOAN 101 and SOAN 102.
- Student with a particular interest in archeology should consider completing SOAN 101 and/or SOAN 205. They should also consult with Professor Alison Bell.
SPANISH (see Romance Languages) [return to top]
For first-year students taking theater courses:
- all 100-level courses.
- THTR 100 offers a survey of Theater history, dramatic literature, and an introduction to theater practices.
- THTR 109 is open to all students participating onstage or backstage in a university theater production. Auditions are required for onstage participation, consultation with the department head is required to work backstage on a production.
- THTR 131 has been popular with first-year students because it is a hands-on course that emphasizes creative problem solving in a backstage environment and provides the student with a break from the traditional lecture/textbook pedagogy. Because of the "team artist" approach and the excitement of theater, students tend to become involved and committed and ultimately do extremely well.
- THTR 141
Recommended for prospective theater majors: THTR 109, 100 through 251.
- THTR 100 (fall)
- THTR 121 (fall) has a limit of 25
- THTR 131 (fall and winter) has a limit of 30
THTR 109 and most courses above THTR 131 require permission.
Students interested in women's and gender issues may choose to complete the minor in women's and gender studies in addition to a traditional major. Many of the courses may also satisfy FDR or major requirements. Check the program Web site (womensstudies.wlu.edu/) for appropriate courses offered each term, many of which meet other requirements.
All students must complete the Foundation and Distribution Writing (FW) requirement. This can be fulfilled in one of the following ways:
- Students who have received credit from W&L through Advanced Placement examination results in English by scoring a 5 on the English Comp/Lit or English Lang/Lit exam are exempt from the writing requirement and earn 3 credits of WRIT 100.
- Students who have received credit from W&L through International Baccalaureate by scoring a 6 or 7 on either of the two group 1 English Language A exams, English Language, or English Language and Literature, are exempt from the writing requirement and earn 3 credits of WRIT 100.
- Students who are not exempt must take WRIT 100: Writing Seminar for First-Years during the fall or winter term of their first year.
- International students for whom English is a non-native language are encouraged to take WRIT 100: Writing Seminar for First-Years from Professor Smout or Crowley who have ESOL expertise.