Spring Term

Spring Term

W&L's academic calendar is organized into two 13-week terms followed by an immersive 4-week Spring Term. 

Imagine exploring a topic in-depth and working intensely alongside your fellow students and your professor.  That’s the essence of  Spring Term. Students choose one course from about 200 options that may be conducted in the U.S. or abroad. It’s not uncommon for students to say after their Spring Term experience, “This course changed my life.”

Courses are designed to be transformative learning experiences such as studying the science of cooking in Italy - urban ecology in D.C. - the Physics of music - code-breaking in mathematics and history - the psychology of humor - the stem cell controversy - and many, many more. Professors love teaching Spring Term courses because of the opportunity to expose students to new perspectives. Students love Spring Term because of the opportunity to do something they may never have done before.

BIOL 160


Appropriate for non-science majors, this laboratory course is an introduction to the field of forensic science with a focus on the physical, chemical, and biological basis of crime scene evidence. A particular emphasis is on the analysis of trace physical (e.g., glass, soil, fiber, ballistics) and biological (e.g., hair, blood, DNA) evidence and forensic toxicology (e.g., drugs, alcohol, poisons). The laboratory portion of this course provides "hands-on" opportunities to analyze collected crime scene samples and to utilize some of the commonly used forensic laboratory techniques such as microscopy, chromatography, and spectroscopy. The course also introduces some of the legal aspects associated with collection and analysis of crime-scene evidence.

BUS 390

Social Innovation in Scandinavia

An introduction to the business, history, and culture behind the sustainability initiative in Scandinavia. It takes a theoretical and practical look at why and how social innovation has flourished in Scandinavia. The course examines various approaches to tackling such pressing problems as climate change, immigration, and economic and gender equality. The first three weeks of the term are spent abroad, with the final week back on campus.

EALL 175

Cool Japan: Anime, Manga, Robots, Language, and Culture

Taught in English, this course examines a variety of visual artifacts such as manga, anime, and unique social phenomena, observable in current Japan through reading materials and discussions, to understand Japanese culture and society. Students learn the visually beautiful writing system of Japanese and onomatopoeia, which is used extensively in Japanese manga. Through hands-on experiences, students gain a deeper understanding and multicultural perspective of the culture and society of Japan.

ENGL 307

Fresh/Local/Wild: The Poetics of Food

This class visits fresh/local/wild food venues each week, where sensory explorations focus on all aspects of foraging, creating, adapting and eating food. Coursework includes guided writing exercises based on the landscape/geography of food both in the field and classroom, with in-depth readings that help us turn topics like food politics, food insecurity, sustainable agriculture and genetically modified foods into poetry. Individual handmade chapbooks of the term's poems serve as the final product. A service learning component is also included in the course through Campus Kitchen.

GEOL 105

Geology of Hawai'i

An introductory study of earth science and the geology of the Hawaiian Islands taught in Hawai'i, providing an unparalleled opportunity to observe a wide variety of geologic processes in action. This course entails close interaction with the faculty and intensive study amongst the students during the term.

POL 290

Dystopian Fiction, Horror, and Politics

An examination of the political commentary included in dystopian fiction and horror novels and films. Through the analysis of seminal novels such as 1984 and Brave New World, and more recent films, students assess different political concepts, including power, government, freedom, and equality. Literature and film can offer the most mesmerizing yet frightening depictions of our present and future world. At the same time, they can provide us with the opportunity to critically compare our contemporary experiences to those portrayed in them.

What will you learn?

With 200+ courses, many only offered during the spring, it'll be hard to decide what to study.


Taking Account of Sustainability Efforts

W&L’s Spring Term Sustainability Accounting class takes a deeper look at the practice of corporations factoring in societal and environmental impacts alongside their financial bottom lines.

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Rock Stars

After 25 years, W&L faculty member Chris Connors teaches his swan song Spring Term class, Field Methods and Regional Geology of the Appalachians.

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"Statistics in Korean Music" Spring Term Abroad course explores Seoul, South Korea

Spring Term’s Got Seoul

Students in the Spring Term Abroad course Statistics in Korean Music explore mathematics in the traditional and contemporary music of Korea.

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W&L’s Annual Spring Term Showcase to be Held May 24 in University Library

Students and faculty will summarize and display their Spring Term research and coursework.

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A Broader Perspective

W&L students in the Spring Term course Global Urban Sociology are examining the social consequences of an increasingly urbanized world.

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Meet Emma Scott ‘26

Scott’s passion for the environment carries over from the classroom to opportunities on campus and beyond.

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Meet Emma Conover ’24

Leading Campus Kitchen, a student-run organization focused on addressing food insecurity, has been a rewarding experience.

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Swedish Theater 4x5 Shawn Paul Evans Spring Term

Live from Sweden

W&L students in this Spring Term’s “Swedish Theater” course were immersed in culture during their three weeks in Stockholm, Sweden.

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The Honorable Judge Luttig leads a class discussion during the 2023 Spring Term course Threats to Democracy.

‘Democracy Is Worth Defending’

The 2023 Spring Term course "Threats to Democracy" examined the form of government and explored the current challenges it faces.

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Class of 2023 Cert of International Immersion recipients

The Road Less Traveled

Washington and Lee’s Class of 2023 includes nine recipients of the Certificate of International Immersion awarded by W&L’s Center for International Education.

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Students work on an ecological model.

A Model of Possibility

Professor of Biology Robert Humston’s Spring Term course takes a deep dive into environmental problem-solving.

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History of Ghosts Payne Hall

Haunted History

Professor of History Mikki Brock’s Spring Term course explores our fascination with the supernatural.

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