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About the School

Our Mission

The School of Arts & Sciences is at the heart of a Richmond education. A&S fosters a community of learners who thrive by questioning, knowing, and acting. A&S prepares our students to be committed lifelong learners who challenge societal and intellectual barriers, who provide ethical leadership, and who lead sustainable and meaningful lives. 

It All Starts Here

All undergraduate students begin their studies in the School of Arts & Sciences. They become immersed in two thematic First-Year Seminars, and in courses that introduce them to problem-based inquiry in a variety of ways. These seminars prepare students for their further general education requirements, six field of study courses as well as demonstrated competency in a second language. After the first year, three out of five of students choose to stay in A&S and declare a major in one of the school's 22 departments and 10 interdisciplinary programs.

Learning Redefined

A&S remains committed to supporting undergraduate research through A&S Summer Fellowships, part of the Richmond Guarantee program. In the past decade, the A&S program has grown from less than 20 to more than 200 student projects for each of the last five summers. In summer 2018,  267 students participated in a summer research experience with 182 of them receiving funding from A&S. To showcase these achievements, A&S hosts the Student Symposium, an afternoon where student researchers can share their work in poster sessions, oral presentations, performances, and art exhibits. In addition, the School offers travel grants to allow students to travel to present their work at professional conferences. A number of students have coauthored articles in professional journals by the time they graduate.

Global Difference-Makers

The school also emphasizes internships and study abroad experiences, as well as community engagement (both locally and globally). Our goal is always to encourage students to go out into the world and test what they’re learning in the classroom.

Ingenuity Realized

A liberal arts education develops individuals who have the capabilities that employers tell us they want. Each year, the Office of Career Services surveys employers and asks them what they look for when hiring recent college graduates. The survey results reveal that a student’s major is not as high a priority as that student’s ability to solve problems, communicate clearly and persuasively, research and present information, or work professionally as part of a team. Richmond students can acquire these capabilities in multiple academic and extracurricular settings. Graduates become knowledgeable in specific fields of study, while also accessing a variety of approaches to a problem. This combination of focus and flexibility serves them well no matter where their career paths take them. 

Strategic Priorities

During the 2017-2018 academic year, A&S faculty, staff, and students began a process of planning for the School’s future. We worked collaboratively to assess where we stand, determine where we want to go, and to outline strategies to reach our goals. The result, Concept 30, casts a shared vision for our shared future as we look toward our 30th anniversary in 2021. 

Through Concept 30 we will continue to build our community of learners, enhance our liberal arts curriculum to prepare our graduates to contribute to the greater good, support creativity and the production of new knowledge, and develop programming that supports our shared values of equity, justice, and ecological responsibility. Learn more on the Concept 30 website.

Signature Programs

In addition to the strategic priorities outlined in Concept 30, we continue to support the following A&S signature programs.

Humanities Initiative
Our expansive Humanities Initiative offers faculty and students opportunities to come together to discuss the important role of the humanities in today’s ever-changing world. For students, our Undergraduate Humanities Fellows Program offer students the opportunity to conduct summer research, and participate in a seminar where they will refine their research and writing, and reflect on the role humanities play on our campus and in our culture.

Integrated Inclusive Science Program
The Integrated Inclusive Science program is designed to help STEM-interested students, particularly those who are underrepresented in the sciences, get excited about STEM disciplines and careers early in their college careers. Through interdisciplinary coursework, faculty mentored research experiences, and the development of a close-knit community of peers and faculty, students will be prepared to tackle upper-level science courses and to pursue graduate study, medical school, or jobs in STEM fields.

A career program specifically for A&S students, giving students the tools to understand their personal strengths and how they can translate their broad-based Richmond education into a career that they love.