Overview of the Four-Year Curriculum

How It Works

The curriculum can be divided into three components: general education courses, which establish fundamental competencies and knowledge; the major, usually declared at the end of the sophomore year and constituting about a third of each student’s course load; and electives, which can be selected to complement a major or explore new academic territory. In concert, these components shape an education of balance and rigor. Over the four years at Sewanee, students take a minimum of 32 courses.

Touching All the Bases

General education courses, usually taken in the first and second years, expose students to multiple areas of study and modes of inquiry. In addition to fulfilling eight major Learning Objectives of a Liberal Education that the College has identified, students typically find this exposure to General Education leading them naturally toward chosen areas of concentrated, more advanced study.  Among the general education offerings are courses in language and literature, mathematics and the natural sciences, history and the social sciences, philosophy and religion, art and the performing arts, and physical education—as well as writing-intensive courses. You can fulfill a number of these general education requirements through the Interdisciplinary Humanities Program, which includes three team-taught courses exploring the cultural history of the Western world.

Our Advising System

Sewanee considers close, personal advising to be an important and necessary part of the educational process. As a freshman, you’ll be assigned a faculty advisor who will help guide your academic program. This faculty member will review your course selections and monitor your academic progress during your first year at Sewanee. In your sophomore year, you may select an advisor from among the teaching faculty; this advisor will likely help you determine a major field of study. Once you declare a major, an advisor will be assigned to you from the applicable department.

Research Opportunities

In addition to their commitment to teaching, Sewanee's faculty members seek to expand knowledge in their fields by pursuing their own research interests. They value student collaboration and frequently make research opportunities available to students during the summer. Because they don’t have to compete with graduate students for these positions, undergraduates at Sewanee have unusual access to research experience, sometimes accompanied by attendance at conferences or coauthoring of papers.  Professor of Chemistry Robert Bachman, Director of Undergraduate Research, is actively involved in the national Counil on Undergraduate Research (CUR) and can advise you on how to pursue opportunities for student-faculty collaborative research.

Community Engaged Learning

Several courses have a service-learning or community-engaged component that can provide opportunities for engaged research and scholarship for public benefit. Sewanee provides multiple pathways to integrate your academic study with the larger world through the Community Engaged Learning program (CEL), and the Certificate in Civic and Global Leadership, which combines theory and practice, and incorporates applied projects for positive social impact. The Office of Civic Engagement is Sewanee's hub for active citizenship—in the classroom and beyond.

Independent Study

If you’re highly motivated and want to pursue directed readings or projects tailored to a specific interest, you might consider an independent study course. Independent study is available in nearly every academic department, usually requiring consent of the department chair.

The Results

Sewanee has graduated 26 Rhodes Scholars, five of whom returned to teach at the University. The institution counts among its graduates numerous Fulbright scholars, 45 Watson Postgraduate Fellows, and 32 NCAA Postgraduate Scholars. Fifty-five percent of graduates earn advanced degrees. Of graduates who apply to law school, over 90 percent are accepted, and 85 percent of those who apply to medical, dental, or veterinary school are accepted.