William and Mary

College Curriculum Description

COLL courses will arise out of every academic field and discipline. Ten courses (approximately 30 of the 120 credits needed to graduate) are required in the College Curriculum. The remaining credits are taken as electives and in the major.

COLL 100 and 150

Intellectually, COLL 100 courses are about "big ideas"—the significant questions and concepts, beliefs and creative visions, theories and discoveries that have shaped our understanding of the world. Students will encounter and learn about the discoveries, texts, and knowledge that are fundamental to further study in one or more academic disciplines. Among the goals of these courses, which can be taught within or across departments, are to give students a sense of the excitement of scholarly inquiry, and to challenge students to think rigorously about important ideas.

Pedagogically, COLL 100 courses introduce students to the College's library and other academic resources, and to the ways information is accessed, evaluated, and communicated. As appropriate to the course, COLL 100 courses encourage students to develop and practice communication skills beyond the written word and into the realms of visual, quantitative, oral, digital, and/or multi-media expression. These 4-credit courses fulfill the state-mandated digital information literacy requirement. COLL 100 classes are limited to 25 students, unless team-taught. One COLL 100 is required of each freshman.

COLL 150. COLL 150 courses are Freshman Seminars that challenge students to think deeply about a particular topic. COLL 150 works to strengthen written and oral communication. Students engage in in-depth study, with group discussion and deep readings of texts, data, or methods of inquiry from the discipline. These 4-credit courses fulfill the lower-division writing requirement. One COLL 150 is required of each freshman. COLL 150 is required for transfer students.

COLL 200

Each COLL 200 course belongs to one or more of the domains. Each of these courses significantly enhances student knowledge of a specific topic and also calls upon students to think about how its discipline fits into the broader framework of the Liberal Arts. Thus, each course emphasizes ideas and methods central to its domain(s) while also looking outward to one or both of the other domains. To the extent possible, COLL 200 courses also give students the opportunity to put methodologies represented in the course into practice. Every student must take a total of twelve 200-level credits, with at least one course in each domain of no less than three credits. One COLL 200 must be taken in year 2; transfer students must take one during their first year at William & Mary. COLL 200 courses may or may not have prerequisites. 

COLL 300

COLL 300. Typically takes place in year 3. It joins students with people, places, and ideas that lift them out of their familiar surroundings and deepen the way they see themselves in the world. It asks that students use their knowledge, their emerging expertise in framing questions, and their communication skills to engage the world in a self-reflective, cross-cultural way.

Students will fulfill the requirement through people-to-people, cross-cultural experiences that carry at least 3 credits. These experiences may take place in an international setting, where students study with W&M or non-W&M faculty. Other opportunities to fulfill COLL 300 include participation in W&M D.C. Programs that focus on global issues. Students may also register for W&M off-campus, credit-bearing initiatives that involve encounters with different environments and cultures. Alternatively, they may fulfill COLL 300 through the W&M Colloquia, academically rigorous courses of at least 3 credits that highlight one or more of the three domains, address global issues, and are organized around a series of lectures by W&M faculty, visiting scholars, artists, and public intellectuals. Students may take the W&M Colloquium at any time.

COLL 400

COLL 400. The COLL 400 capstone experience will require students to take initiative in synthesis and critical analysis, to solve problems in an applied and/or academic setting, to create original material or original scholarship, and to communicate effectively with a diversity of audiences. Students can fulfill this requirement through upper-level seminars, independent study and research projects, and Honors projects, as deemed appropriate by departments, programs, or schools. COLL 400 may but need not have an interdisciplinary focus as students can synthesize material within as well as across disciplines. COLL 400 capstone experiences must be at least 3 credits, and normally be taken in the senior year.

College Curriculum Electives

Designated by departments and programs as belonging to one (or more) of the three knowledge domains. Students take at least one course in each domain.


Required in a foreign language and in quantitative skills and can be satisfied by pre-matriculation credits. Other proficiencies (e.g., writing, digital literacy) are built into COLL courses.


Cannot be used for COLL credits but will continue to count towards the 120 credits to graduate. Students may use AP/IB credits in all elective courses, including the 3 in the required knowledge areas, for some courses in the major (varies by major) and to satisfy proficiencies.