The 4-Week Spring Term

W&L's academic calendar involves two 12-week semesters (fall and winter) followed by a distinctive 4-week intensive mini-term we call the "Spring Term." Some schools have a J- (or January) term.  We do ours in the spring, and our students and faculty relish every minute of it. It's an opportunity for faculty to try out new courses and explore their more ambitious or exotic research interests. And it's an opportunity for students to dig deep into something within their major or try something completely new.

Many courses involve travel components, like history professor Ted Delaney's Freedom Ride course, that takes students to key locations of the Civil Rights movement in the American southeast for a powerful and enlightening investigation into U.S. history, or chemistry professor Marcia France's travel course through the different culinary regions of Italy, where students learn the science of cooking. Other courses involve intense lab components, ranging from chemical analysis of Dutch oil paintings to the mechanics of aerial dance.

How many courses can I take in the spring?
One and only one academic course. No exceptions.

What are the academic courses like?
They are a fully engaging, intensive exploration of their subject matter. Each is worth 4 credits.

Are the classes similar to what we take in the longer terms?
Not really. They are more intense; the teaching and content is often more experimental. They generally analyze material in depth, rather than breadth. There will be more out-of-class work and projects than in the longer terms.

What does "fully engaging" mean, exactly?
The course should occupy your entire work week. Students can expect to be with their professor for 8-10 hours each week, and to have an additional 20-25 hours of out-of-class work each week.

Will the courses count towards my major?
In most cases, yes. Most departments are not offering Spring Term courses that are required for the major, but are offering courses that can count towards the major.

Can I travel abroad during the Spring Term?
Absolutely! In fact, we have more Spring Term Abroad offerings than ever before. Check out the full array of offerings.

Past Courses