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Academics FAQ

When do I REGISTER for classes?

How do I buy BOOKS for class?

When are the BREAKS during the Academic Year?

How can I access my student's GRADES and personal information?

Will I receive COLLEGE CREDIT for AP and/or IB classes?

What off-campus STUDY ABROAD options are available?

What is 12-12-4?

Is there a CORE CURRICULUM?

What are the popular MAJORS?

Where can I find more information on TRANSFERRING CREDITS?

I've taken DUAL ENROLLMENT or COLLEGE COURSES in high school.  Will I get credit at W&L?

How does W&L'S HONOR SYSTEM work?


When do I register for classes?

First-Year students register for Fall classes during Orientation Week.  Information about class registration will be sent to your W&L email account from the University Registrar mid-August.  For more information on registration, visit the University Registrar's website or contact the office through email.

How do I buy books for class?

You'll meet with your adviser during Orientation Week to complete official registration, and soon after that you'll receive your class schedule. The University Store stocks all the books for each and every class, and it will be open during Orientation Week.

When are the  breaks during the academic year?

See Important Dates.

How can I access my student's grades and personal information?

Please see "A Special Word about Grades to Parents of Traditionally Aged Students" on the University Registrar's website.

Will I receive college credit for AP and/or IB classes?

If students do well on these exams, they are considered for credit at Washington and Lee. Please see our Departmental AP Policy and IB Policy to find specific information on the exams we accept and credit we allot.

What off-campus study abroad options are available?

Students may study abroad for a full year, one semester, the four-week spring term, or summer. Opportunities range from faculty-led trips for the spring term to full-year independent study abroad experiences. Approximately half of our students study abroad during their four years at W&L. For more information on studying abroad, visit the Center for International Education website.

What is 12-12-4?

The academic year at W&L is divided into three segments: a 12-week fall term, 12-week winter term, and 4-week spring term. Our calendar allows us to teach specialized courses which are narrowly-designed in scope during the spring term. It also enhances study-abroad and internship opportunities. Each spring, a number of our professors lead study-abroad programs. We also offer a spring politics program in Washington, D.C. and global finance program in Manhattan. In each of these programs, students intern in individual offices while meeting for weekly classes and seminars. For more information, visit the Admissions website.

Is there a core curriculum?

Yes. As a liberal arts college, Washington and Lee provides students with both an in-depth understanding in the area of their major and a breadth of understanding in varied disciplines. Our Foundation and Distribution Requirements cover courses across many disciplines to ensure that all W&L graduates achieve a broad-based liberal education.

What are the popular majors?

W&L offers 41 undergraduate majors. Over the last few years, Economics, History, Business Administration, Journalism, Biology, and English have been most popular. You will find that W&L, as a liberal arts college, is unique in offering a business school and a journalism program: we are the only top 20 liberal arts college with a fully-accredited business school and with a fully-accredited journalism program.

Where can I find more information on transferring credits?

The University Registrar's website has all the information you need.

I've taken dual enrollment or college courses in high school. Will I get credit at W&L?

First-year students can have credit evaluated by submitting a First-Year Transfer Credit form (available on GHQ). For more information see the University Registrar's website and read information on Transfer Credit.

How does W&L's honor system work?

W&L's honor system was one of the main reasons that students come to this school. It's not a cumbersome code; we all simply act like gentlemen and gentlewomen. Its beauty and functionality lie in simplicity. It's important to keep in mind, though, which people are bound to adhere to this tenet. Of course students, professors, administration, and staff all hold the honor system near and dear to their hearts as fellow generals. Unfortunately, W&L is not a closed campus: not everyone who comes to visit W&L holds the honor system in the same light. So while students do enjoy special privileges with other members of W&L, we must not be unmindful of the fact that we do not enjoy these privileges with everyone. The honor system gives a student the ability to take an unproctored exam; it does not give a person the ability to leave their door unlocked and expect that nothing bad will happen. The honor system gives students 24-hour access to Wilson Hall's rehearsal rooms; it does not allow for students to leave their valuables unattended in the library. The honor system, in short, builds the foundation for the network of trust that exists between members of the W&L community, not with society at large.