Frequently Asked Questions

Key Differences Between the New College Curriculum and the Traditional Curriculum


The deadline to choose your General Education Curriculum for the College of Arts & Sciences is fast approaching (June 4th), and students have been asking if they can change their curriculum choice (after already making a selection) and if we can help them compare/contrast the New College Curriculum with the Traditional Curriculum.

To help you make your choice, we've compiled a list of the "top 10 questions and answers" related to the New College Curriculum and the Traditional Curriculum below:
 

What are the Advantages to the New Curriculum?

This is one of the top questions we’ve received. Both the New College Curriculum and the Traditional Curriculum will prepare you for your chosen major and for your future career – they just approach it in different ways. From the start of your UVA experience, the New College Curriculum, in general, offers smaller class sizes, immediate access to some of UVA’s best faculty, and exclusive academic talks and discussion sections – all while providing access to the full course catalogue of the College of Arts & Sciences.

The Engagements Courses – What Are They?

The Engagements are an 8-credit experience that students in the New College Curriculum have access to (as a part of the 30+ credits students take during their first year). The Engagements are taught by the distinguished College Fellows faculty members. Not all Engagements are the same: you choose one 2-credit course from each of the four categories below. Engagements are 7 week courses, so you can take two per semester, and new courses are being added daily!

What Classes Do I Take During My First Year (Other than the Engagements)?

Students in both the New College Curriculum and Traditional Curriculum have access to the full Arts & Sciences course catalogue during their first year. Students in both curricula are encouraged to take courses that will help them explore a potential major. Almost every course in the course catalogue will count towards either New College Curriculum or Traditional Curriculum requirements.

Is the New College Curriculum Interdisciplinary?

Yes, for example, the Engagements courses for the New College Curriculum were designed with the unique idea of drawing faculty out of their departments and into a shared, cohesive learning environment for our students. From the first day on Grounds at UVA, students in the New College Curriculum will have the opportunity to discuss large questions about knowledge and learning guided by this interdisciplinary perspective.

What About Class Size?

Our historical data suggests that students are interested in smaller course sizes. On average, every first-year students takes about 2 courses in their first year that would be considered “small” – less than 50 people. The Engagements courses of the New College Curriculum were designed with this in mind -- providing even more access to UVA’s faculty in a more intimate environment. Class sizes in Engagements courses will average between 25 to 30 students, making them among the smallest courses available in your first year.

How Does AP/IB and Dual Enrollment Credit Transfer to the Curricular Choices?

AP, IB and Dual Enrollment credit will transfer to both the New College Curriculum and the Traditional Curriculum equally. If you receive credit for a “College Equivalent” course, you can apply that credit to the Disciplines and Literacies components of the New College Curriculum or to the Area and Competencies of the Traditional Curriculum. For more information on transfer credit, click here: http://college.as.virginia.edu/transfer-credit

What if I want to Pursue a Pre-Health or Pre-Law Track?

Our commitment is to ensure that any student – pursuing any major – can enroll in any curriculum and succeed. These pre-professional tracks have particular courses you need to take in your first, second, and third years, and the New College Curriculum was designed with these requirements in mind.

Considering a pre-health track? The New College Curriculum would allow you to count up to 15 of the pre-health credits towards the curriculum requirements (9 in the “Disciplines” and “6” in the Literacies). The Traditional Curriculum would count 12 of these credits (in the Areas).

Considering pre-law? The interdisciplinary nature of the Engagements courses of the New College Curriculum, coupled with the wide variety of courses that will count towards the Disciplines could be a great fit. You will probably want to enroll in Philosophy, Sociology, History, Psychology, and Literature courses – all of which align with many of the Discipline Categories in the New College Curriuclum.

Will All the Curriculum Options Transfer to the McIntire School or the Batten School?

Yes, both the New College Curriculum and the Traditional Curriculum are pathways into McIntire and Batten. We have worked with the pre-professional schools at UVA to ensure that, if you elect to apply to one of their programs, you will be equally considered no matter what general education program you choose. Because the Engagements courses of the New College Curriculum are only 8 credits of your first-year experience, you can be assured that you will also be able to take the necessary prerequisite courses for application to these schools in a timely manner.

Who Are the College Fellows Teaching the Engagements Courses?

While the Engagements courses in the New College Curriculum are brand new, nearly every one is taught by an award-winning faculty member in the College of Arts & Sciences. The courses promise to engage you in the important questions of our day while seeking to challenge your very notions of what constitutes real learning. See for yourself by watching the video below – a highlight of one of our College Fellows, Kelsey Johnson, and her approach to teaching:

Can I Change My Curriculum Choice If I Already Made My Selection?

If you have applied to a curriuclum and wish to change your decision prior to June 4th, you may do so my clicking "Choose Curriculum" and submitting a new application. We will accept your most recent application as your desired curriculum choice.