The University of Mary Washington’s undergraduate degree program are built upon three interrelated components: 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 and which enable graduates to make effective decisions as citizens of a rapidly changing, richly diverse, and increasingly interconnected world. 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. Depending upon the degree program the student pursues, general education requirements will vary. See the additional information about general education requirements.
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. Certain majors are available only to students in a particular degree program. The leadership and management major is available only to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) degree program. The nursing program may be only pursued by those who enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program.
The final component of the degree is electives, which affords 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. Student can select a minor as one way to organize their studies beyond general education and the major. A minor is not required in order to graduate from UMW.
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.