College of Arts & Sciences

Keith E. Mellinger, Dean
Grant R. Woodwell, Associate Dean


The University of Mary Washington’s undergraduate curriculum represents a distinctive academic experience which prepares graduates to make choices that lead to fulfilling lives as responsible, contributing members of local, national, and global communities.  Three interrelated components make up this experience: General Education, the Major, and Electives.

General Education is the foundation of  a liberal arts and sciences education and is designed to cultivate the skills, knowledge, and habits of mind that are essential in every field of study and which enable graduates to make effective decisions as citizens of a rapidly changing, richly diverse, and increasingly interconnected world. The University’s General Education requirements introduce students to a variety of learning perspectives and methods of inquiry that combine to foster an appreciation for different ways of viewing, knowing, and engaging the world. General Education facilitates collaborative learning, individual intellectual development, and constitutes the basis for lifelong learning.

The Major develops expertise in a specialized area of study resulting from focused investigation in a particular academic discipline or disciplines (in the case of an interdisciplinary major). Majors are organized areas of inquiry and knowledge with defined learning goals and methodologies.  Major requirements complement, reinforce, and extend the objectives of General Education while adding depth of study in course work, individualized learning, and co-curricular experiences.

Electives offer students opportunities to explore personal interests, add variety to one’s studies, and advance particular academic, career, or professional goals (such as preparation for law or medical school). Electives also enable the study of an area of knowledge in greater depth through individually selected courses or experiences that build on a Major’s formal requirements.  The combination of experiences provided through General Education, the Major, and Electives enable students to achieve the following learning goals and to emerge fully prepared to contribute to the world beyond the University.

Visit the College of Arts and Sciences website for additional details.