May 28, 2024  
2014 - 2015 Undergraduate Catalog 
2014 - 2015 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Requirements for Degrees


Undergraduate Degrees in the Liberal Arts

The College of William and Mary confers in course the following degrees, each under the jurisdiction of the Faculty or School indicated:

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.), Master of Science (M.S.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

The M.A. is offered in American Studies, Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, History, and Psychology. The M.S. is offered in Applied Science, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, and Physics. The Ph.D. is offered in American Studies, Anthropology, Applied Science, Computer Science, History, and Physics.

School of Business Administration

Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.), Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) and Master of Accounting (M.Acc).

School of Education

Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.), Master of Education (M.Ed.) Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

School of Law

Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) in American Legal System.

School of Marine Science

Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

The undergraduate degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science are liberal arts degrees. A liberal education, although it has no single fixed definition, is more than a haphazard accumulation of courses. Its essential purpose is to liberate and broaden the mind, to produce men and women with vision and perspective as well as specific practical skills and knowledge.

The major foundations on which a liberal education must be built are well recognized. For these reasons, the College requires all of its undergraduates to plan, with the help of faculty advisors and within the framework of broad general degree requirements, programs of liberal education suited to their particular needs and interests.

The general degree requirements set forth below are designed to permit a high degree of flexibility for each student in planning an individualized program of liberal education within broad basic limits. In this planning, the student and advisor should build upon the student’s previous preparation. First-year students should pursue, at the highest level preparation allows, at least one study in which they have interest and competence. As early as possible such students should explore some studies with which they are unfamiliar in order to open up new interests and opportunities.

Students should take care to lay the foundations for future specialization, in college or beyond in graduate or professional school, by anticipating specific prerequisites. A liberal education presupposes certain proficiencies. Foremost among these is the ability to express oneself clearly both in speech and writing, for clear expression goes hand in hand with clear thinking. Another invaluable foundation of a liberal education is some experience with a foreign language, at least to the point where a student begins to see the cultural as well as practical values of foreign language study. Because students entering college differ widely in their previous preparation in these respects, the proficiency requirements of the College establish only basic minimums; but such students are encouraged to proceed beyond these minimums to whatever extent their interests and abilities suggest.

The Freshman Seminar requirement provides first-year students with a substantive seminar experience that is reading, writing and discussion-intensive. The goal of freshman seminars is to initiate students into the culture of critical thinking and independent inquiry that is at the core of the undergraduate program.

The College has identified seven General Education Requirements (GERs) that each student must satisfy before graduation. GERs are each defined by a specific domain of knowledge, skill or experience that the faculty considers crucial to a liberal education. Students have a wide range of courses from which to choose to meet each of the GERs: for example, approved courses for GER 7, “Philosophical, Religious and Social Thought,” are offered by at least five different departments. When combined with the thoroughness and focus brought by the student’s major and the freedom of exploration brought by the elective component of the student’s curriculum, the GERs help to develop the breadth of integrated knowledge that characterizes the liberally educated person.

Finally, in the area of the chosen major, every student is required to pursue in depth the exploration of a specific academic discipline or two or more related ones through an interdisciplinary major. Here the student has the fullest possible opportunities for both independent study and work in a Major Honors program, as well as for regular course work.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the College determines the degree requirements for the B.A. and B.S. degrees, including the determination of the regulations governing academic standards, grading and class attendance. Obligation to its educational mission gives to the College the right and responsibility, subject to the employment of fair procedures, to suspend, dismiss or deny continuance of a student whose academic achievement does not meet established College standards.

Requirements for degrees are stated in terms of credit hours that are based upon the satisfactory completion of courses of instruction. Usually one credit hour is given for each class hour a week through a semester. A minimum of two hours of laboratory work a week throughout a semester will be required for a credit hour. A continuous course covers a field of closely related material and may not be entered at the beginning of the second semester without approval of the instructor.

To view a complete list of undergraduate degrees offered by the College, click here.  

Credit for Pre-Matriculation Examinations

College Board Advanced Placement (AP): Entering students interested in receiving academic credit and/or advanced placement for college level work undertaken during high school should take the College Board Advanced Placement Examination. These examinations are graded by the College Entrance Examination Board on a 5 point scale.

International Baccalaureate Programme (IB): Entering students who took IB examinations as part of their high school experience may present their scores for credit consideration. These examinations are graded by the International Baccalaureate Organization on a 7 point scale. Credits are granted only based on examination results; no credit or waivers are granted for the diploma itself, although the diploma programme is recognized as a strong college preparatory curriculum.

A-Levels (A/AS): Entering students who took A-Level examinations as part of their high school experience may present their scores for credit consideration. These examinations are administered and graded by three agencies: University of Cambridge, AQA and Edexcel on a graded scale of A through C.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP):  Examinations are graded on a scale from 20 to 80.  Based on faculty review of examination content, the College offers equivalent course credit for those CLEP exams identified below, when a score equivalent to a “B” is earned.

DSST (formerly DANTES):  Examinations are graded on varying scales. Based on faculty review of examination content, the College offers equivalent course credit for limited DSST exams.

Excelsior (UExcel) examinations:  Entering students must provide Excelsior transcripts during the admission process and no later than the end of the first semester in residence at the College.  Examinations are scored on a grading scale of A through F. The College does not grant credit for upper-level Excelsior examinations.

General Rules:  AP, IB, and A-Level examinations must have been taken prior to high school graduation or within six months thereafter, but in all cases before entering William and Mary.  CLEP, DSST, and Excelsior examinations must have been completed and scored prior to matriculation at William and Mary.  Entering students must provide CLEP and DSST score reports during the matriculation process and no later than the end of the first semester in residence at the College.    Credit is not granted for examinations taken after matriculation at the College nor during leaves of absence.

The policies in each department governing credit and/or advanced placement for scores on these examinations vary according to how the material covered by examinations fits the curriculum of the department. Members of the William and Mary faculty regularly review curricular documents to update the examination equivalencies.

Credit received through these pre-matriculation examinations may be applied toward degree requirements, including proficiency, General Education Requirements, minor and major requirements. However, exemptions from courses may not be applied toward General Education Requirements except where noted.

The College of William and Mary grants credit or course exemptions in the following areas for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and A-Level Examinations, CLEP, DSST, and Excelsior. See the Pre-Matriculation Examination Table (PDF).  

Credit by Examination

Students at the College may request academic credit for courses by examination based on prior learning. Interested students should petition the Committee on Degrees for permission to take an examination for credit. If the petition is granted, the department at the College in which the course is normally offered sets an appropriate examination and certifies the results to the registrar. The department may, at its discretion, conduct a review of course portfolio documents as part of the examination process. Students may not receive credit by examination after registration for their final semester under any of the following circumstances:

  1. they are enrolled in the course at the time of the request,
  2. they have previously revoked credit for the same course,
  3. upper level course work in the same subject has already begun,
  4. the same course has previously been failed, or
  5. for any foreign language course at or below the 202 level.


Credit for Military Training

Students with prior service in the Armed Forces of the United States may present the Joint Services Transcript or other documentation to the Office of the University Registrar.  Equivalencies to William & Mary courses rarely exist, but where they do, credit may be granted with departmental approval.  The ACE Guide will be consulted, but its recommendations do not automatically apply.

Revoking Credits Earned Before Matriculation

The Committee on Degrees will allow students to revoke college credits earned in high school (including AP, IB, and dual enrollment), in the military, or at a previous college, if the department believes that the preparation received was inadequate to succeed in subsequent coursework. No petitions will be considered without departmental approval. Students may not revoke credit for foreign language courses. Students who have revoked credit for a course may not subsequently receive credit by examination for the course. The decision to revoke credit is final.

Transfer Credit

General Rules for Transfer Credit

  1. A grade of “C” (2.0) or higher is required (“C-” is not acceptable). In the case of a course taken on a Pass/Fail basis, a grade of “P” is acceptable only when the student provides a letter from the faculty member who taught the course certifying that the student’s work was at the level of C or above.
  2. The course generally must have been taken at a regionally accredited institution. Consult the Registrar’s Office regarding exceptions.
  3. Transfer credits from institutions on the quarter system or other systems will be translated into semester credits.
  4. “Equivalent” course credit is granted when the course is similar to a course presently offered for academic credit at the College. “Equivalent” transfer credits may satisfy proficiency, minor, major, and general education requirements only when they are earned pre-matriculation, or with the express preapproval of the Committee on Degrees. One exception is that modern language courses at the 101, 102 and 201 levels may count toward satisfying the language proficiency requirement even though taken at another domestic institution. This exception applies solely to these three language course levels.
  5. “Elective” course credit is granted when the course is not similar to an existing William and Mary course, but is recommended for credit by an existing academic program or department at the College. Courses granted elective transfer credit will count toward the total number of academic credits required for the baccalaureate degree, but they may not be used to meet proficiency, minor, or major requirements unless approval has been granted by the College’s Committee on Degrees.
  6. Transfer credit will not be granted for courses that belong in one or more of the following categories:
    1. Correspondence courses
    2. Courses in professional, vocational, or sectarian religious study
    3. Courses below the level of introductory courses at the College
    4. Modern language courses that repeat the level of courses previously taken in high school or at other colleges, except if you have completed up to level III, you may receive credit for 201
    5. College orientation courses
    6. Courses taken in Armed Forces service schools or training programs, unless comparability with William and Mary courses can be demonstrated (DOD language institute courses, for example, may be eligible for transfer credit)
    7. Courses taken while a student is not in good academic standing.
  7. Transfer grades do not affect degree requirements, grade point average, or class rank.
  8. While there is no limit to the number of credits that may be transferred, William and Mary requires that at least 60 credit hours, including the last two full-time semesters and a minimum of 15 credits in the major and a minimum of 9 credits in the minor, be earned in residence at the College.
  9. Courses must be at least four weeks long and must meet at least 12.5 hours per credit hour to be transferred back to William and Mary. Courses lasting six weeks or longer must meet for at least 32.5 hours for a three-credit course. Other courses will not receive permission from the Committee on Degrees unless the nature of the course and the special educational value of the course to the student’s program are demonstrated.

Transfer Credit for Newly-Admitted Students

The Office of the University Registrar is responsible for evaluating transfer credit for newly admitted transfer students. Evaluation of transfer credit begins after a student has been selected for admission and has indicated an intention to enroll. Students should not assume that credit will be granted for all courses completed at their transfer institution.

Transfer of Credits from Virginia Community Colleges and Richard Bland College

Students transferring (not new freshmen) with an Associate of Arts, Associate of Sciences, or Associate of Arts and Sciences degree in a baccalaureate-oriented program from the Virginia Community College System or Richard Bland College are granted junior academic status (defined as at least 54 credits). An associate’s degree in General Studies is not considered a baccalaureate-oriented program, unless approved as such by the State Council on Higher Education for Virginia. For a list of approved programs, contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

These students are considered to have completed lower-division general education requirements but still are expected to fulfill the College’s foreign language proficiency and lower division writing requirement, GER 4B (History and Culture outside the European Tradition), GER 6 (Creative and Performing Arts), and GER 7 (Philosophical, Religious and Social Thought), and all major requirements (See “General Education Requirements” section below). The Guide for Transfer Students from Virginia Community Colleges provides additional information and is located on the University Registrar’s Office’s website. Performance information concerning these transfer students will be shared confidentially with the two-year colleges from which they transfer.

New Freshmen who enter with an associate’s degree earned primarily through dual enrollment credit will not be granted automatic junior status or general education requirement exemption, but they will receive credit for courses as noted in the “General Rules” section above.

Transfer of Credit from Foreign Institutions

William & Mary recognizes that international students may arrive on campus having completed studies equivalent to college courses. To be eligible for possible transfer credit, all students who have completed a 13-year secondary program or who have attended a university outside of the United States must submit translated syllabi for each thirteenth year or university course with their application for admission. Once these students have been admitted to the College and have declared their intention to enroll, they must submit an official copy, from the testing agency, of the student’s final results/scores to:

The College of William and Mary
Office of the University Registrar
Attn: Transfer Credit Coordinator
PO Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795

Additionally, incoming students with international educational experiences may be required to send their academic credentials to the American Association for Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) for preliminary determination of transferable credit. If an AACRAO evaluation is required, once AACRAO has determined the amount and subject of transferrable credit, the University Registrar’s Office will determine exactly what credit, if any, will be granted.

Students should contact the Transfer Credit Coordinator (757-221-2823) in the Office of the University Registrar to determine whether they are required to go through AACRAO.

Application forms are available from AACRAO: One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 520, Washington, DC 22036, or 1-800-293-9161 , or www.

The cost of this evaluation is approximately 200.00 US Dollars. Obtaining an external evaluation does not ensure the awarding of credit.

Studying Away from the College after Matriculation

Once a student matriculates at the College of William and Mary, transfer credit for work taken elsewhere (post-William and Mary matriculation) is only granted with pre-approval and under very special circumstances. Students must be in good standing at William and Mary, both academically and judicially, in order to request or receive approval of transfer credit. Courses taken elsewhere post- matriculation at William and Mary may not be used to satisfy major, minor, proficiency, or GER requirements without specific pre-authorization from the Committee on Degrees. As a result, they appear on the transcript as elective credit.

Study Abroad

William and Mary students who wish to participate in a Study Abroad program must register with the Global Education Office in the Reves Center for International Studies. Special circumstances apply:

  1. Pre-approval of transfer credits by the academic departments is required for all study abroad programs except the William and Mary “faculty-led” or “faculty-assisted” programs. The transfer credit pre-approval process should be  completed before the student’s participation in the program abroad; find the form on the Reves Center’s website.
  2. While abroad, students must enroll in at least 12 credits per semester (full-time status is required). A maximum of 18 credit hours per semester may be earned.
  3. For non-William and Mary programs, an official transcript must be sent to the University Registrar’s Office immediately upon completion of the program. Transfer credits are only granted upon receipt of the official transcript, and for classes in which a “C” grade or higher is earned.
  4. For departmentally-approved Study Abroad credit, earned credits may count towards a major, minor, or elective.
  5. Students cannot satisfy GERs abroad except on William and Mary “faculty-led” or “faculty-assisted” programs where the course is designated as a GER in this catalog. For non-William and Mary “faculty-led” or “faculty-assisted” programs, students must petition the Committee on Degrees upon their return to have other courses taken abroad considered for the fulfillment of GER 4 or 5; other GERs cannot be satisfied on non-William and Mary “faculty-led” or “faculty-assisted programs. To be approved, the course must meet the criteria of the GER, must deal substantially with the country or region where the student studied, and must come with departmental post-approval.
  6. Grades are not posted on the William and Mary transcript, nor calculated into a student’s GPA, unless the courses were taken on a William and Mary “faculty-led” or “faculty-assisted” program.

Domestic Study Away

William and Mary students who wish to enroll full-time in a specific academic experience (e.g., “New York City Term”) offered by another U.S. institution may request certification as “Domestic Study Away.” In this status, the student remains an active William and Mary student and may be able to use financial aid for tuition if a “consortium agreement” can be created (consult the Financial Aid Office for information). The approval process must be completed by the last day of classes for the term before the Domestic Study Away. See the Registrar’s Office website for the form and instructions.

Take Courses Elsewhere-Summer

During the summer, students may take courses at another institution while between academic terms at William and Mary. Before enrolling at the other institution, the student must complete the “Permission to Take Courses Elsewhere - Summer Session” form on the University Registrar’s Office website. It must be approved and submitted prior to the last day of spring classes. A maximum of 16 credits may be transferred for work taken during one summer. Take Courses Elsewhere-Fall/Spring During the regular academic term (Fall, Spring), students are expected to enroll full-time (unless otherwise approved) at William and Mary with a minimum of 12 credits. If personal circumstances or opportunities require the student to leave Williamsburg, but the student wishes to take courses while away, the student must first withdraw from the college through the Dean of Students Office, and then complete the “Permission to Take Courses Elsewhere - Fall/Spring Semester” form.

In addition to completing the form, students seeking major, minor, proficiency, or GER credit must petition the Committee on Degrees, and students seeking internship credit must petition the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Students who wish to take transfer credits while on a medical leave are cautioned to take no more than 6-8 credits, due to the expectation that the student will be addressing medical needs while on leave.

Pre-approval must be received before the student enrolls at the other institution. Links to the pre-approval form can be found on the University Registrar’s Office’s website. The student must be readmitted to the college by the Dean of Students Office before transfer credit is posted to the record.

Take Courses Elsewhere-Fall/Spring

During the regular academic term (Fall, Spring), students are expected to enroll full-time (unless otherwise approved) at William and Mary with a minimum of 12 credits. If personal circumstances or opportunities require the student to leave Williamsburg, but the student wishes to take courses while away, the student must first withdraw from the college through the Dean of Students Office, and then complete the “Permission to Take Courses Elsewhere - Fall/Spring Semester” form.

In addition to completing the form, students seeking major, minor, proficiency, or GER credit must petition the Committee on Degrees, and students seeking internship credit must petition the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Students who wish to take transfer credits while on a medical leave are cautioned to take no more than 6-8 credits, due to the expectation that the student will be addressing medical needs while on leave.

Pre-approval must be received before the student enrolls at the other institution. Links to the pre-approval form can be found on the University Registrar’s Office’s website. The student must be readmitted to the college by the Dean of Students Office before transfer credit is posted to the record.

Requirements for the Baccalaureate Degree

I. General Requirements

One hundred and twenty credit hours are required for graduation. Students must earn a minimum grade point average of 2.0 for all courses at William and Mary for which they receive grades of A, B, C, D or F. Students also must earn a minimum grade point average of 2.0 for all courses in their major(s).

Students must fulfill the general degree requirements in effect at the time of their matriculation at the College and the major requirements set forth in the catalog when the major is declared. Students who fail to graduate within six calendar years of the date of entrance to the College relinquish the right to graduate under the requirements set forth in the catalog at the time of entrance and major declaration, and must fulfill the requirements set forth in the catalog under which they re-enter the College as a degree candidate for the final time prior to graduation. If a student has not been enrolled at the College for five calendar years or more since the end of the last semester of registration at William and Mary, the student’s record is subject to re-evaluation under regulations available in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

Once a student’s degree has been conferred, the academic record is closed and it cannot be changed or amended.

Credit Hour Residency Requirement

No degree will be granted by the College until the applicant has completed a minimum of 60 credit hours in residence at the College. This period must include the last two full-time semesters in which credits counted toward the degree are earned. A minimum of 15 credit hours in the major and 9 credit hours in the minor must be taken in residence at the College.

Ten Semester Rule

A student must complete degree requirements within 10 semesters. A fall or spring semester during which a student attempts 12 or more academic credits counts as one semester under the 10 semester rule. The number of credits attempted through summer session (at W&M or elsewhere), transfer credits earned since graduation from high school, and approved underloads are added together and divided by 15, the normal course load during a regular semester. For example, six hours attempted during Summer Session count as 6/15 of a semester. Credits earned through grades of “W”, “I”, and “G” are included in this calculation. AP, IB, and dual enrollment credits, as well as courses for which a student received an approved medical withdrawal, do not apply toward the 10 semester rule. As long as 10 full semesters have not been completed, a student may take a regular academic load (as well as an approved overload) in fall or spring or up to 16 credits in summer session.

Seventy-Two Hour Rule

Of the 120 credit hours required for graduation for a B.A. or B.S. degree with an Arts and Sciences major, a minimum of 72 credit hours must be earned in subject fields outside the student’s primary major. In other words, no more than 48 credit hours in a single subject field may be applied toward the 120 credit hours required for graduation. Although students may earn more than 48 credit hours in a single subject, a minimum of 72 credit hours must be earned in other subject fields. For example, if an English major has 55 credit hours in English, then she or he will have to earn a total of 127 credits to graduate.

[Exceptions to the 72 hour rule occur in the East Asian Studies concentration within the Asian and Middle East Studies major (consult the “Global Studies ” section); for students declaring a major in Art, not Art History (consult the “Art and Art History ” section); for students pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration, for whom at least 60 credit hours must come from Arts and Sciences academic subjects (consult the “School of Business Administration ” section); and for students pursuing a secondary curriculum in Education, for whom no more than 35 credits in Elementary Education or 30 credits in Secondary Education may be applied toward the 120 credits required for a degree (one exception to this rule can be found under the School of Education Study Abroad Program ).]

Credit Hour Limitations in Dance, Applied Music, Military Science, Physical Activities, and Statistics


Although students may take as many credits as they wish of dance technique and Performance Ensemble (DANC 111 , 112, 115, DANC 211 , DANC 212 , 213, 214, DANC 261 , DANC 262 , DANC 264 , DANC 311 , DANC 312 , DANC 321 , DANC 322 , DANC 411 , DANC 412 ), a maximum of 14 credits may be applied toward the 120 credits required for a degree for those not minoring in Dance. For students minoring in Dance, a maximum of 16 credits of these courses may count toward the 120 credits. This limit does not include other Dance Program courses, such as dance history, freshman seminars, composition, practicum, independent projects, or Alexander Technique.

Applied Music

While students may take as many credits as they wish of applied music lessons and ensemble, a maximum of 14 credits may be applied toward the 120 credits required for a degree for those not majoring in Music.

Military Science

Students may not apply more than eight Military Science credits toward the 120 credits needed for graduation.

Physical Activity

Students may not apply more than four Kinesiology activity credits toward the 120 credits needed for graduation. Kinesiology majors are eligible to utilize a maximum of six activity credits toward graduation.


Several departments offer introductory statistics courses: The School of Business Administration (BUAD 231 ), the departments of Economics (ECON 307 ), Kinesiology (KINE 394 ), Mathematics (MATH 106  and MATH 351 ), Psychology (PSYC 301 ), and Sociology (SOCL 353 ). No more than two of these introductory statistics courses may be counted toward the 120 hour degree requirement.

Notice of Candidacy For Graduation

Students who intend to graduate from the College must submit a Notice of Candidacy form to the Office of the University Registrar one calendar year prior to graduation. (For example, students who plan to graduate in May 2014 should file no later than May 2013.) Forms are located on the Registrar’s web site at

Requests for Exemption

Students requesting exemption from any of the requirements for the degrees of B.A. and B.S. must petition the Committee on Degrees. Students who wish to initiate a petition should contact the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Petition forms are available on the website of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies at

II. Course Specific Requirements

A. Foreign Language Proficiency

Students are required to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language commensurate with the 202 level at William and Mary. A foreign language is understood to mean a natural language other than English. Completion of the foreign language requirement is accomplished in several ways:

  1. completion of Level IV in high school of an ancient or modern foreign language;
  2. a score of at least 600 in a modern foreign language or 650 in Latin on the College Board SAT II subject test taken prior to matriculation at the College;
  3. completion of a college language course taught in the original language at or above the 202 level;
  4. one of the languages taught at the College of William and Mary was the language of instruction in the high school from which the student graduated;
  5. the student has scored “intermediate” or higher on the ACTFL standardized test for this language

Students seeking to demonstrate proficiency in a modern foreign language not currently offered at William and Mary may do so by documenting one of the following:

  1. this was the language of instruction in the high school from which you graduated;
  2. that you have obtained the 202 level in this language through an accredited academic institution;
  3. you have scored “intermediate” or higher on the ACTFL standardized test for this language.

If you meet one of these 3 criteria, you may petition the Registrar for alternate fulfillment of the foreign language proficiency requirement. Petition forms may be obtained at the Registrar’s website. See the Registrar’s form for a link to ACTFL. Petitions for alternate fulfillment of the FLP will normally not be accepted any later than the pre-registration period of your senior year.

Among the ancient languages in which one may demonstrate proficiency at William and Mary are Latin, Greek, and Biblical Hebrew. Students who wish to take a placement examination in Classical Greek or Biblical Hebrew should contact the Department of Classical Studies. Students may discuss with the Chair of Classical Studies the possibility of demonstrating proficiency in other ancient languages.

Unless students have completed the fourth year level in high school of a single ancient or modern foreign language, or demonstrate proficiency by achieving scores of 600 on the College Board SAT II Subject Test in French, German, Russian or Spanish, or scores of 650 on the Test in Latin, they must satisfactorily complete a fourth semester course (or above) and all necessary prerequisites in a language in college. The fourth semester course, as well as prerequisite courses taken since matriculation at the College, may not be taken on a pass/fail basis. The student may fulfill the foreign language proficiency through study abroad if 1) prior approval for the course has been obtained from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, and 2) the course is taken in a country where the language is the official language. The following additional placement rules apply to modern languages:

Placement in modern languages by years of high school study:

Students should fulfill their Foreign Language Proficiency requirement in their first or second year at the College.

I. If you never studied any foreign language, you should enroll in 101 of the language of your choice.

II. Placement By Years of High School Study

  1. If you have completed Level I, you should enroll in 101 or 102 (possibly 103 in Italian and Spanish. See III below).
  2. If you have completed Level II, you should enroll in 102 or 201.
  3. If you have completed Level III, you should enroll in either 201 or 202 (possibly 203 in German, Italian and Spanish. See III below).
  4. If you have completed Level IV in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, or Russian, you should enroll in 202 or higher (no credit given for 101-201). If you have completed Level IV in French, Italian, German, or Spanish, you should enroll in the following courses: e.g.,  FREN 210 or FREN 212; GRMN 205 or GRMN 206-; ITAL 206 or ITAL 208; HISP 206 or HISP 207 (no credit given for 101-202).
  5. If you have completed Level V, you should enroll in courses above 202/203 (no credit given for 101-202).

III. Accelerated Language Tracks

  1. Some languages offer accelerated tracks: 103 is the equivalent of 101 and 102 in one semester; 203 is the equivalent of 201 and 202 in one semester. 203 fulfills the College Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement. Levels may not be repeated for credit.  203 may not be used to fulfill course requirements in majors that include courses taught in the target language above 202.

The following additional placement rules apply to Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish:

Incoming students who wish to continue in Chinese, Italian,Japanese, Russian, and Spanish at The College of William and Mary are advised to take an assessment exam given before the start of classes each semester in order to determine the appropriate language level. These exams are advisory and do not override the placement guidelines above.  If assessment test results indicate a need for remedial study, please use tutoring services on campus at Tribe Zone.  See the Modern Languages website for more information on the placement rules and the assessment tests.

The following additional placement rules apply to Latin:

A student who wishes to continue in Latin, Hebrew, or ancient Greek at The College of William and Mary should see the Classical Studies department for specifics requirements and placement. The Classical Studies department normally offers placement examination at the beginning of the fall semester. The exam will be offered in the spring term only to qualified students who have a reasonable expectation of placing into upper-level Latin by virtue of prior successful completion of advanced Latin courses elsewhere and can be taken at any point in a student’s undergraduate career.

The Department of Classical Studies does not allow self-placement under any circumstances.

For placement credit under Advanced Placement scores, see “Advanced Placement ” section.

Transfer credit will not be given for language courses that, using the formula of one high school year equals one college semester, repeat the level of courses taken in high school. For example, students with 4 or 5 years of high school study of French or Spanish who took the equivalent of 201-202 at the transfer institution will not receive credit for those courses at William and Mary. Transfer students with 4 or more years of high school study in one language, however, will be considered to have completed the language requirement and may enroll in appropriate courses above the 202 level.

Students with documented learning disabilities, aural/oral impairments or other disabilities that make the study of a foreign language impossible or unreasonably difficult should consult with the Assistant Dean of Students for Disability Services upon matriculation and, if appropriate, petition the Committee on Degrees to modify the foreign language requirement. Guided by test results and the recommendations of professionals, the committee may allow the substitution of other appropriate courses. Except under extraordinary circumstances, substitution of courses will not be approved after pre-registration for the senior year. Selection of the courses must be made in consultation with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Arts and Sciences. These courses cannot be used to satisfy any General Education Requirements or a minor or major requirement. They may not be taken using the Pass/Fail option.

B.  Writing Proficiency

  1. Lower-Division Writing Requirement: All students must satisfactorily complete with a grade of C- or better, normally by the end of their first year at the College, a one-semester course in writing - Writing 101 or a freshman seminar designated “W” or another lower-division course designated “W”. The only exemptions to this requirement are through AP, IB, or transfer credit (see appropriate catalog sections). Transfer students may seek fulfillment of this requirement through submission of a portfolio to the Writing Center.
  2. Major Writing Requirement: In addition, all students must satisfy the Major Writing Requirement described by each department, program, or school. Students must satisfy the lower division writing proficiency requirement before attempting the Major Writing Requirement. If the department, program, or school specifies a graded course or courses to satisfy the requirement, the student’s grade(s) in that course or those courses must be C- or better. The purpose of the Major Writing Requirement is to ensure that students continue to develop their ability to write in clear, effective prose, which contains sustained and well-developed thought. The Major Writing Requirement must provide students with a series of opportunities to practice their writing, especially as commented upon by an instructor. Each student is expected to complete the writing requirement before the beginning of the graduating semester, normally during the junior and senior years; where the requirement may be met through a Major Honors paper, a senior paper, or the like, it may be completed as late as the end of the graduating semester. When a student has a double major, the requirement applies in each major.

C. Digital Information Literacy Proficiency

The purpose of the Digital Information Literacy (DIL) proficiency is to ensure that all students, upon matriculation at the College, have a basic understanding of digital information, how it is processed, and how to use it judiciously. To assess that basic understanding, all incoming freshmen, as well as newly admitted transfer students with fewer than 39 credit hours earned since graduation from high school, must take and pass with a grade of C- or better the DIL exam. The exam consists of questions dealing with how computers process digital information; communicating using computers; security and privacy issues; analyzing research needs; finding information electronically; evaluating the information found; and information ethics. Those students failing to take and/or pass the exam must enroll in and pass with a C- or better INTR 160 - Digital Information Literacy .

D. Major Computing Requirement

All students must satisfy a Major Computing Requirement. Each department and program or school has described how the Major Computing Requirement is fulfilled. Consult the catalog section for the appropriate department or program.

E. Freshman Seminar Requirement

Each entering undergraduate student is required to pass one freshman seminar in the first year at the College. The only students who are exempt from this requirement are transfer students who enter the College with at least 24 credit hours earned since graduation from high school, which have been accepted for credit at The College of William and Mary. All freshmen must take the seminar in their freshman year. Freshman seminars are usually numbered 150 and are offered in most departments and programs. Freshman seminars designated “W” may be used to satisfy the lower-division writing requirement when the student earns a C- or better.

F. General Education Requirements (GERs)

Undergraduate students are required to fulfill the seven General Education Requirements (GERs) as given below. GER courses must be either three or four credit courses, except for courses used to fulfill GER 6, which can be one, two, three, or four-credit courses. A single course may fulfill, at most, two GERs and may also be used to fulfill major, minor, and/or proficiency requirements. Courses used to satisfy GERs may not be taken Pass/Fail except for those courses designated by the College as Pass/Fail courses, such as physical activity courses in the Department of Kinesiology.

Students may satisfy one or more of the GERs by receiving credit for a GER course through Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) test scores, or by receiving transfer credit if the course is taken prior to enrolling at the College. GERs 4 and 5 may be satisfied through study abroad if approval for the course has been received from the Committee on Degrees. To be approved, the course must meet the criteria of the GER and must deal substantially with the country or region where the student is on the study abroad program. For additional information, see

For GER 6 only, an exemption (without credit) may be granted if a student is exempt from a course that satisfies GER 6 or if he/she has met the exemption criteria, as defined by the affected departments. Current exemption criteria are available from the Office of the University Registrar. For all other GERs, exemption (without credit) from a course that satisfies the GER does not result in fulfillment of the GER. All exemptions from GER 6 must be attempted and completed within a student’s first two years in residence at the College.

GER 1 Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning (one course)

Courses offered by the College in fulfillment of GER 1 develop computational techniques in the context of problems that are pertinent to the experience and training of the students. The settings of these problems are recognizable to an informed non-mathematician. The problems themselves require mathematical tools for their analysis. Courses offered by the College in fulfillment of GER 1:

  1. involve numerical calculations;
  2. include mathematical justifications explaining why the approaches and calculations used in the course actually work; and
  3. include applications of mathematics to real-world settings or to disciplines other than mathematics.

GER 2 Natural Sciences (two courses, one of which is taken with its associated laboratory)

2A Physical Sciences (one course)
2B Biological Sciences (one course)

GER 2 courses introduce students to the enduring scientific principles that underlie many of the important issues of their times and foster an appreciation of how science relates to our wider culture. Because these issues can change over the course of a lifetime, students are given a foundation that prepares them to further educate themselves. Such a preparation provides the student not only with factual information, but also with:

  1. a body of knowledge within a particular scientific discipline; and
  2. an appreciation of the broader context for that knowledge.

GER 3 Social Sciences (two courses)

GER 3 courses are designed to introduce students to the systematic observation and analysis of human behavior and interaction. Social scientists observe, describe, analyze, and try to predict and explain human behavior, including psychological processes. GER 3 courses should teach students basic concepts, key theories and methods, and important findings of social science research.

GER 4 World Cultures and History

(one course in category A, one course in category B and one additional course in either category A, B or C)

To satisfy this requirement, a student must take one of the following combinations of GER 4 courses: AAB, ABB or ABC.

4A History and Culture in the European Tradition
4B History and Culture outside the European Tradition
4C Cross-Cultural Issues

The World Cultures and History GER introduces students to major ideas, institutions, and historical events that have shaped human societies. GER 4 courses have the following features:

  1. They are courses covering more than one period, or covering critical periods, or movements which are designed primarily to explore topics, issues, or themes (as opposed to teaching the methods/theories of a discipline);
  2. They are informed by an historical perspective (in the sense of addressing the changes in institutions, movements, or cultural practices);
  3. They emphasize critical events, institutions, ideas, or literary/artistic achievements; and
  4. Using disciplinary or interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks, they focus on a European or a non-European tradition, or explore topics comparatively across traditions.

GER 5 Literature and History of the Arts (one course)

A liberally educated person should possess knowledge of important and influential forms of literary or artistic achievements, and how those achievements should be understood in their cultural contexts. For that purpose, GER 5 courses introduce students to:

  1. at least two major forms, genres, eras, cultures, or movements; or
  2. at least two methods of analysis of art or literature.

All GER 5 courses provide students with the vocabulary of the discipline and teach them to apply the appropriate methodologies for critical analysis.

GER 6 Creative and Performing Arts (two credits in the same creative or performing art)

Many GER 6 courses are two or three-credit courses. In the case where one-credit courses are used to satisfy this requirement, the courses must be in the same performance medium. For example, to satisfy this requirement, a student could take two individual one-credit Music performance courses in voice or in one particular instrument (these must also be in the same vocal or instrumental style if Music offers more than one category), two semesters of the same ensemble course, or two Kinesiology courses in the same performance medium. However, a student could not satisfy this requirement by taking a one credit Music performance course of beginning guitar and a one-credit course of beginning oboe, or one semester of classical piano and one semester of jazz piano.

The purpose of GER 6 is to understand the artistic process. Accordingly, by actively involving students in exercises that require artistic choices, GER 6 courses aim for an experience-based understanding of how the artist communicates. A course that satisfies GER 6 requires a student to begin to understand an art at the foundation level through artistic activities involving each of the following: developing their artistic skills; and applying the principles of the art through projects and/or exercises.

GER 7 Philosophical, Religious and Social Thought (one course)

GER 7 courses take a critical view of important and influential approaches to philosophical, religious, or social thought. Not only does the course deal with matters of enduring concern to human life, such as meaning, value, justice, freedom and truth, but it also aims at cultivating reasoned analysis and judgment in students who take it. GER 7 courses address three distinct areas:

  1. Basic norms or values;
  2. Questions of justification of norms and values;
  3. Student acquisition of critical skills.

G. The Major

Declaring a major assures students of an advisor in their department or program (and thus important advice on course selection), as well as an advantage in registering for courses in some majors.

Students may declare a major after completion of 39 credits (including AP, IB, and other transfer credit; see “Overall Credits” at bottom of Banner transcript).

Students must declare a major after completion of 54 credits (including AP, IB, and other transfer credit; see “Overall Credits” at bottom of Banner transcript).

EXCEPTIONS:  Students who matriculated as social freshmen with 15 or more AP, IB, or dual enrollment credits must declare once they have earned 39 credits post-high school at W&M (see “Institutional Credits” on the Banner transcript). Transfer students who entered with 54 or more credits must declare at the end of their first semester at the College.

Interdisciplinary Studies majors must be added no later than before pre-registration in the final semester of the junior year.

Students intending Arts and Sciences majors officially record a major through their academic department/program and the Office of the University Registrar. A student may change a major at any time by using the same process. Students planning majors in the Schools of Business or Education must apply and be admitted. Check the Business  and Education  sections of the catalog for prerequisites and admissions criteria.

Students may declare one major, or two majors, or one major and one minor. If there are two majors, one must be designated as primary. Degrees are based on the primary major. College policy prohibits the awarding of a second baccalaureate degree; completion of two majors does not constitute completion of two degrees. A maximum of two courses can be counted toward both of two majors or toward a major and a minor. A minimum of 15 credit hours in the major must be taken at William & Mary.

The Bachelor of Arts degree is offered in American Studies; Anthropology; Art and Art History; Chinese Language and Culture; Classical Studies; Economics; English Language and Literature; French; Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies; German; Government; Hispanic Studies; History; Interdisciplinary Studies; Global Studies; International Relations; Kinesiology and Health Sciences; Music; Philosophy; Psychology; Public Policy; Religious Studies; Sociology; and Theatre. The Bachelor of Science degree is granted in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Kinesiology and Health Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology. Candidates for the B.S. degree with a primary in Psychology must successfully complete, in addition to the GER1, 2A and 2B requirements, three other courses in any combination of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics, or Physics. Candidates for the B.S. degree with a primary in Kinesiology must successfully complete, in addition to the GER1, 2A and 2B requirements, five other courses in any combination of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics, or Physics.  KINE 303 and 304 may count toward these five.

Interdisciplinary majors administered by the Charles Center on Honors and Interdisciplinary Studies are Computational and Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Film and Media Studies, Linguistics, and Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Interdisciplinary majors that are self-administered are Africana Studies; American Studies; Environmental Science and Policy; Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies; and Neuroscience. Applications and details on degree requirements and policies are available in the appropriate department offices.


In addition to the required major, a student may elect to pursue a program of studies designated as a minor. A minor consists of 18-22 credit hours of courses approved by a department or program, and at least 9 credits must be earned at William & Mary. Courses completed for a minor may also satisfy GER requirements. None of these courses may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis. A student must earn at least a 2.0 grade point average in the minor. Information about specific minors can be obtained from the appropriate department or program. A maximum of two courses may be counted toward both a major and a minor. A student who intends to complete a minor must officially declare the minor with the department or program, then take the Declaration of Minor form to the Office of the Registrar. The Declaration of Minor form must be filed with the Office of the University Registrar no later than six weeks prior to graduation. A student who declares two majors may not declare a minor.

III. Honors and Special Programs

Departmental Honors

The Department Honors program, administered by the Roy R. Charles Center, provides special opportunities through independent study for the intellectual stimulation and development of superior students in certain departments and interdisciplinary programs. Participating departments and programs include Africana Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Art and Art History, Biology, Chemistry, Classical Studies, Computer Science, Economics, English, Environmental Science and Policy, French, Geology, German, Global Studies, Government, Hispanic Studies, History, Interdisciplinary Studies, International Relations, Kinesiology and Health Sciences, Film and Media Studies, Mathematics, Music, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, Public Policy, Religious Studies, Sociology, Theatre, Speech and Dance, and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies.

Prospective candidates for the Department Honors program should first familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Honors program as described here and in the Guidelines, and with any additional requirements or deadlines applicable in specific departments or programs. For further information about Department Honors, consult the Charles Center website at

Requirements for Admission to Department Honors
  1. Grade Point Average. A grade point average of either 3.0 on a cumulative basis by the end of the junior year or 3.0 for the junior year alone is required. Note that some departments / programs require a higher grade point average - students should check with their department / program to determine their eligibility.
  2. Completion of the department / program approval process and submission of the Application for Admission for Department Honors with the signature of the student, the Honors advisor, and the department Chair (or program Director, if applicable) to the Charles Center. This Application form is due by 12 p.m. on the first day of class of the semester in which the student is to begin the Honors project. Please note that departments or programs may have earlier deadlines or additional requirements for admission to Honors - check with your Honors advisor and/or department for details.

Registration for Honors 495 and 496

Charles Center staff will create all of the appropriate Honors sections and register students for both 495 and 496. Students will receive a confirmation email from the Charles Center once they have been registered for their specific Honors section. For questions concerning registration for Department Honors please call 221-2460.

Examining Committee Appointment

A Charles Center staff member will request Honors committee recommendations from department chairs and program directors. Committee recommendations must be submitted by the appropriate person (department Chair, program Director, etc.) to the Charles Center.

Committee recommendations must be submitted by the department chair or program director (or their designated representative); recommendations from students or individual Honors advisors will not be accepted.

Once the committee recommendations are submitted the formal committee appointments will be made by the Charles Center through an email to the committee chair with copies to the remaining committee members and the Honors student.

Each examining committee must consist of three or more faculty members, with representation from at least two academic departments. Any current William and Mary faculty member who is eligible to assign grades may serve on an Honors committee, including visiting and adjunct faculty. Departments / programs have different methods of selecting faculty for committees. For example, in some departments the selection is centralized, in others the selection is up to the thesis advisor and student. Students should ask their Honors advisor and / or department about the procedure for selecting faculty in their department or program.

Thesis Submission and Oral Examination

Two weeks before the last day of classes of the student’s graduating semester (or the next class day if this date falls on a holiday or vacation day) a copy of the completed thesis must be submitted to each member of the examining committee.

If, after reading the thesis, the members of the committee find it provisionally acceptable, the oral examination may be scheduled. It is up to the student to schedule the defense date and time in coordination with all of the committee members and to arrange for a location for the defense. It is also the student’s responsibility to remind the committee members of the date, time, and location of the defense.

The exam will consist of an oral examination lasting at least one hour. The main purpose of the examination will be to ask questions about the honors thesis, but the candidate may also be asked to discuss other topics that are related to the thesis. Students should check with their advisors about the protocol for oral exams within the department or program.

The examining committee will determine if an honors designation will be awarded, and if so, at what level (Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors). In reaching its decision about awarding honors, the committee will be guided by the quality of the honors thesis and by the candidate’s performance on the oral examination. Please note that the Biology, Computer Science, Economics, Environmental and Health Sciences, Government, International Relations, Kinesiology and Health Science, Literary and Cultural Studies, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Physics, Psychology, and Public Policy departments/programs assign only Honors (rather than High or Highest) to successful projects. Geology only awards Honors and High Honors to successful projects.

Reporting of each student’s level of Honors must be made to the Charles Center immediately following the completion of the oral exam.

Successful Honors Projects

A candidate who successfully completes Honors 495 will receive a grade of “G” at the end of the first term of the project. Following the honors defense in the second term of the project, a final grade for both Honors 495 and 496 will be determined by the examining committee. The Honors advisor is responsible for submitting the grade for 496 and the University Registrar’s Office will then change the grade for 495 to match the 496 grade. If the 495 grade should be different from the grade assigned for 496 the advisor will have to submit a grade change form to the University Registrar’s Office.

Unsuccessful Honors Projects

Under no circumstances may Honors 495 and/or 496 remain on the transcript of a student who is not awarded honors by the examining committee.

  1. If it becomes evident before the end of the first term that the student will not complete the project, either
    1. the student must withdraw from Honors 495 with the approval of the thesis advisor (the advisor must notify the Charles Center by email; or
    2. if it is too late for the student to withdraw from the course, the project advisor must change the Honors 495 designation to an appropriate alternative, such as independent study, by sending an email to the Charles Center indicating both the course number and number of credits (if variable). The Charles Center will then make the change in the student’s registration.
  2. If the project continues into the second semester and it then becomes evident that the project will not be completed by the submission deadline (two weeks before the last day of classes of the student’s graduating semester), the faculty advisor must either:
    1. change Honors 495 and 496 to appropriate alternatives (in most cases, independent study) by emailing the Charles Center and indicating both the course numbers and number of credits; or
    2. declare an incomplete, which can only be done in extraordinary circumstances and with departmental approval. The student and advisor must agree to firm new deadlines for the thesis and the defense and must submit these deadlines to the Charles Center.
  3. If upon reading the thesis the members of the examining committee decide that the thesis does not merit honors and elect not to examine the student, or if, upon completion of the oral defense the examination committee determines that the thesis does not merit honors, the advisor must change Honors 495 and 496 to appropriate alternatives (by email to the Charles Center) and award the student grades for these courses.

Minimum Requirements for a Degree with Department Honors

  1. Satisfactory completion of a program of reading and research supervised by a faculty member designated by the chair of the student’s major department. Six hours of credit in a course designated 495-496 in each department offering Honors shall be awarded each student satisfactorily completing the program.
  2. Satisfactory completion of the general requirements for the degree of B.A. or B.S.
  3. Presentation of a completed Honors thesis: A copy of the completed Honors thesis in a form that is acceptable to the major department must be submitted to each member of the student’s Examining Committee two weeks before the last day of classes of his or her graduating semester. (See: Examining Committee)
  4. Satisfactory performance in a comprehensive examination on the thesis and related background. The examination may be oral or written or both.

Graduation Honors

Latin Honors: To recognize outstanding academic achievement, the College awards degrees cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude. The overall grade point average required, without rounding, for a degree cum laude is 3.50, for a degree magna cum laude 3.65, and for a degree summa cum laude 3.80. This honor is noted on the student’s diploma and on the academic transcript.

Internships for Credit

An internship agreement must be completed with signatures of the student, evaluating faculty member, and any external supervisor. These are to be filed in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies before the student begins the internship. There will be no consideration of academic credit without an internship agreement.

Qualified students, usually in their junior or senior year, may receive credit from cooperating departments for an approved program that provides an opportunity to apply and expand knowledge under expert supervision in an on- or off-campus position. These internships should provide a structured learning experience and must be approved in advance by the department and evaluated by a William and Mary faculty member. Academic credit is awarded for a project that incorporates the hands-on experience of the internship, but also includes an analytic or research component, and a final, written report. Individual departments determine the number of credits in an academic internship that may count toward the minimum number of credits required in a major. Normally three credits are awarded, but in exceptional and approved cases a department may award more. No more than six credits in academic internships may be applied to the 120 credits required for graduation.

Students undertaking internships that will take them away from campus for a semester or year should notify the Office of the Dean of Students before beginning the internship. International students who anticipate receiving payment should contact the Global Education Office at the Reves Center concerning visa requirements. For general information and counseling about internships contact the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Ewell Hall 124.

Non-Credit Internships

Students interested in pursuing non-credit internships may apply through the Office of Career Services for participation in the Local Internship Program. Placements are available in law firms, medical offices, museums, social service agencies, businesses, schools, investment firms, publishing groups, public relations offices, technology companies, and science labs. Opportunities for summer internships are also available through the Office of Career Services. Some internships are listed directly with Career Services and the office provides students access to a database of nearly 20,000 opportunities in a broad range of fields and locations. Staff members in the Office of Career Services are available to counsel students concerning internship and other career-related opportunities.

Pre-Professional Programs

Students may follow programs at William and Mary within a liberal arts framework that will prepare them for study in dentistry, engineering, forestry, medical technology, medicine and veterinary medicine. Students who are interested in pre-professional programs should plan their programs in consultation with their advisors.

Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Programs

There are no specific pre-medical or pre-dental programs at William and Mary. Students preparing for admission to medical or dental school may choose to major in any department. Although medical and dental schools in general have no preference as to the major field of undergraduate study, students must have a strong foundation in the sciences. Most medical schools and dental schools include in their admission requirements four years of laboratory science courses: biology, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and general physics. At William and Mary, these courses are BIOL 225  / BIOL 226  and BIOL 220  / BIOL 221 ; CHEM 103  / 151; CHEM 206  / 252,; CHEM 209  / CHEM 353  or CHEM 307  / CHEM 353 ; CHEM 305  / CHEM 354  or CHEM 308  / CHEM 354 ; PHYS 101 -PHYS 102  or PHYS 107 -PHYS 108  (Chemistry and Physics majors take 101-102). One year of Mathematics (Chemistry and Physics majors take calculus; statistics courses can also be used towards this requirement) is also recommended. Science courses in addition to these minimal requirements are required by some schools and viewed with favor by many others. One year of English is required by many schools. A “W” freshman seminar can be used towards this requirement. The English Department recommends that freshmen and sophomores who do not intend to become English majors take English 210; juniors and seniors are encouraged to take ENGL 352 , ENGL 363 , or ENGL 364 .

Because medical schools begin to reach decisions on applicants for admission early in the fall of the application year, and because the required premedical science courses are essential for success on the MCAT, these science courses should be completed before June of the year in which the student intends to start applying to medical school. Students intending to take the MCAT after January 2015 will also need to complete CHEM 414 , SOCL 250 , and PSYC 202  before taking the exam. All pre-medical students are encouraged to seek academic guidance early in their careers through scheduled consultations with Prof. Beverly Sher in the Department of Biology. Students should contact her directly via email at to schedule appointments.

Combined Degree Programs

Academic programs of students who participate in any combined degree program must be approved in advance by the Committee on Degrees. All William and Mary degree requirements are applicable to students in the 3:2 program. All GER and Proficiency requirements must be completed at William and Mary. Students must have at least an overall 2.0 GPA and at least a 2.0 GPA in courses taken at William and Mary toward the fulfillment of major requirements. Elective hours toward the major may be completed elsewhere but students must earn as many credits toward the major as required if they were completing all degree requirements at William and Mary. The chair of the department in which the students are majoring will determine which courses elsewhere will count toward the William and Mary major requirements if they happen to be in other subject fields. Students must have earned 120 hours including at least 60 hours at William and Mary, before a degree is granted.

Engineering Schools: William and Mary has “combined plans” with the engineering school of Columbia University. Under the “3:2 plan,” a student spends three years at William and Mary and two years at the engineering school and receives a bachelor’s degree from William and Mary in their primary major as well as a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the affiliated school. For all engineering programs, the following courses should be completed by the end of the junior year:

Specific engineering programs typically have several additional required courses. Though a student can in principle choose any desired major while at William and Mary, most of the courses listed above are also required for math and science majors at the College.

Students accepted into these 3:2 programs will typically have grades of A and B in their science and mathematics courses with a minimum overall average grade of B. Students are guaranteed admission with housing at Columbia University if the above prerequisites are met.

For more information, please consult Professor Eugeniy Mikhailov ( in the Physics Department.

Fields of Major, Subprograms and Course Descriptions

The material that follows describes, in alphabetical order, the requirements for major in the various field and subprograms offered by the College according to the department and schools offering them. The chapters also include the undergraduate course offerings of the departments, schools and particular programs listed according to course number. Courses that can be taken to fulfill general education requirements are indicated by the symbols described below.

Also described in the chapters are the basic requirements for Major Honors in each program.

Explanation of Course Descriptions

(GER) This course satisfies general education requirements.

(Lab) This course satisfies the GER 2 laboratory requirement when taken with an associated course.

(*) Starred courses may be taken only with the consent of the instructor.

(†) Daggered courses may be taken only with the consent of the chair of the department or dean of the school concerned.

  • A hyphen between course numbers (101-102) indicates a continuous course-the two parts of which must be taken in numerical order (i.e., the first course is a pre-requisite for the latter).
  • A comma between course numbers (101,102) indicates two closely related courses which need not be taken in numerical order.
  • Please note that courses involving labs do not necessarily satisfy general education requirements.
  • Courses involving laboratory or studio activity are so labeled. All others are classroom courses.
  • The credit hours for each course are indicated by numbers in parentheses.