Alderman Stacks

The Traditional Curriculum Requirements

NOTE: This information only applies to students who entered the College of Arts & Sciences before Fall 2020 and are already enrolled in the Traditional Curriculum or all incoming transfer students prior to Fall 2023. This curriculum, also knonwn as the Area & Competency Requirements, is being phased out. The new College Curriuclum, adopted through the October 2019 faculty vote after a successful pilot phase, is in effect for all students enrtering Fall 2020 or later as first-year students.

Students in the Traditional Curriculum fulfill these requirements by taking courses across two components:

  • Competencies (variable credits)
  • Areas (30 credits)


Undergraduate students in the Traditional Curriculum must complete three competency requirements: the First Writing Requirement, the Second Writing Requirement and the Foreign Language Requirement. More information on these subject areas, their related credit requirements, competency exemptions and University restrictions can be found in sections below. Once a student matriculates, all requirements for the Traditional Curriculum must be completed in the College of Arts & Sciences at U.Va.

All courses for these requirements must be taken for a grade and for credit.

Some restrictions apply to completing competency requirements. These requirements may NOT be fulfilled by the following:

  • Dual enrollment credit
  • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests
  • Courses taken under the Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) option
  • Courses taken under the Audit (AU) option

To help students keep track of their earned credits towards the Traditional Curriculum, Arts & Sciences offers a Traditional Curriculum Checklist.

First Writing Requirement (FWR)

All students in the College of Arts and Sciences meet the first writing requirement in one of two ways: by successfully completing one of the FWR-eligible ENWR courses, or by placement in a higher-level FWR course. For detailed information on placement, go to the English Department's web site.

If you have questions regarding first writing requirement placement, please e-mail the writing program administrators.

Second Writing Requirement


All students except Echols Scholars must complete a Second Writing Requirement with a grade of C- or better. To meet the Second Writing Requirement, a class must:

  • Assign at least two writing assignments in English totaling 4,000 words (20 pages) or more independent of quizzes and final examinations
  • Have a student/faculty ratio no greater than 30/1

If the class used to fill this requirement is not coded as such in SIS the requirement is not complete until you file a Second Writing Requirement Completion Form and have it certified by the College Registrar (138 Monroe Hall). The form is also available in 101 Monroe Hall.

Restrictions and Clarification

Any course meeting the above standards can satisfy the Second Writing Requirement but poetry and fiction writing classes are excluded from fulfilling the second writing requirement.

The Second Writing Requirement must be taken at the University and within the College. A course in another school of this University (e.g., Engineering), advanced placement credit, advanced standing, dual enrollment credit or credit transferred from another university will not satisfy this requirement.

Although it is not advised, you may take a course that meets the Second Writing Requirement before or during the semester that you complete the First Writing Requirement. However, completing the Second Writing Requirement neither exempts you from nor fulfills the First Writing Requirement.

A course that satisfies the Second Writing Requirement may simultaneously count toward your major or minor program. One course, in addition to meeting the Second Writing Requirement, may also complete area requirements (no more than two).

World Languages Requirement


Undergraduate students must earn anywhere from zero to 14 foreign language credits, depending on their world language placement examination scores. The requirement should be fulfilled before the seventh semester in the College.

Languages taught at U.Va. that count towards the requirement are:

  • American Sign Language
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Latin
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Tibetan
  • Urdu


Placement and Exemptions

For languages taught at U.Va

The types of examinations for foreign language placement include:

  • SAT II Subject Test
  • Advanced Placement (AP) Exam
  • Higher-level International Baccalaureate Exam
  • College Summer Orientation Foreign Language Placement Test

Check the World Language Placement Examinations page for details on these tests or the World Language Requirement FAQ for more specific inquiries and contact information. Click here for placement guidelines.


Completion of the Requirement

Students can meet the World Language Requirement by successfully completing one of the following courses of action:

  • Earn exemption if you place beyond the 2020 level by examination
  • Take 14 credits or four semesters of a language in the proper sequence
  • After placement, complete the remaining courses in the sequence up to the fourth semester (usually 2020)

Consult the World Language Placement Index to determine your exact placement.

Taking introductory language courses which duplicate credits earned from AP or IB tests neither give you credit nor count for the World Language Requirement.

Some or all of the requisite 14 credits can be earned by transfer students from coursework completed at a previously attended college or university if credits are earned prior to matriculation to the College. Dual enrollment courses, however, do not fulfill the requirement.

Furthermore, the College provides World Language Disability Accommodation when needed to satisfy this requirement.

Need Help?

Students with questions about testing, placement, etc., should contact the World Language Coordinator.


All undergraduate students in the Traditional Curriculum fulfill Area Requirements by earning the proper number of credits from courses taken in each of five different academic subject areas. The list of subject areas and their related credit requirement is:

  • Social Sciences - 6 credits from two different departments
  • Humanities - 6 credits from two different categories
  • Historical Studies - one 3 or more credit course
  • Non-western Perspectives - one 3 or more credit course
  • Natural Science and Mathematics - 12 credits from two different departments
Transfer credit earned before matriculation may be applied toward fulfillment of area requirements.
It is strongly recommended that all area requirements be completed by the end of the fourth semester.
Courses taken to fulfill an area requirement may count toward a major and also satisfy the Second Writing Requirement.
All courses must be taken for credit and for a grade.
Classes that qualify for area requirements:
  • Cannot simultaneously meet more than two area requirements, even if cross-listed
  • Cannot be taken for Audit (AU)
  • Cannot be taken Credit/No Credit (CR/NC)
  • Cannot be a Liberal Arts Seminar (LASE)
  • Cannot be a University Seminar (USEM)

Social Sciences (6 credits)

You must pass at least one course worth 3 credits or more from two of the following departments and programs:
  • AAS courses; except AAS literature courses
  • AMEL 3001, AMEL 3002
  • AMST Classes (except AMST 2300)
  • ANTH; except some foreign language courses offered as ANTH
  • ECON (except ECON 3720, 4720)
  • ETP 3860 and ETP 4810
  • EVSC 2030 and EVSC 4030
  • GDS 2020
  • Linguistics; 2000-level or above
  • MDST 3406
  • Politics; except Political Theory
  • PSYC (except PSYC 2200, PSYC 3210 and PSYC 4200)
  • SAST 2700
  • SOC (except SOC 2600)
  • Women, Gender and Sexuality (WGS)

Humanities (6 credits)

You must pass at least one course worth 3 credits or more from two of the following groups of departments and programs:
  • Literature
    • AMST 2300
    • Classics (CLAS)
    • Comparative Literature (CPLT)
    • East Asian Language and Cultures (EALC)
    • East Asian Studies (EAST)
    • English (except ENWR classes)
    • Foreign Literature [East Asian Languages, Literatures and Cultures (except CHIN 1010-2060, JAPN 1010-2020, KOR 1010-2020, and TBTN 1010-2020), French, German, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures (except ARAB 1010-2020, 2250, 2260, 3230/5230, and 3240/5240), Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Spanish (except SPAN 3040, 4705, 4050 and 4713), Italian, and Portuguese courses in translation, and all foreign language courses above the 2020 level (except PORT 2120, which satisfies the foreign language requirement)].
    • Middle Eastern Studies (MESA)
    • MDST 3000
    • South Asian Studies (SAST; except SAST 2700)
    • South Asian Literature in Translation (SATR) 
  • Fine Arts
    • ANTH 2370
    • Art History (ARTH)
    • Studio Art (ARTS; not ARTS 2070)
    • Drama (DRAM)
    • DANC 1400 and DANC 3400 (only)
    • Music (MUSI ONLY, except MUSI 16##, MUSI 26##, and MUSI 36##; MUBN, MUEN AND MUPF courses do NOT fill this requirement)
    • MDST 3100
    • Architectural History (AR H) 1000, 1010, 1020, 1700, 3102, 3701, and 3203
    • Architecture (ARCH) 1010
  • Moral, Philosophical, and Religious Perspectives
    • Political Theory (PLPT)
    • Philosophy (PHIL)
    • Religious Studies
    • MDST 4000

Courses taken for this requirement may also count toward one other Area Requirement.

Historical Studies (3 credits)

You must pass at least one course worth 3 credits or more either from the History Department or from a class determined by the faculty to be substantially historical. Classes that meet this requirement change each semester. Qualifying courses can be found in the SIS Course Catalog by searching under "requirement designation".

Courses taken to fulfill the Historical Studies Area Requirement may also count toward fulfilling one other Area Requirement.

Non-Western Perspectives (3 credits)

You must pass at least one course worth 3 or more credits which the faculty recognizes as dealing substantially with a culture other than Western. Classes that meet this requirement change each semester. Qualifying courses can be found in the SIS Course Catalog by searching under "requirement designation".

Courses taken to fulfill the Non-Western Perspectives Area Requirement may count also toward fulfilling one other Area Requirement.

Natural Science and Mathematics (12 credits)

Students must pass 12 hours of natural science and/or mathematics courses from at least two departments. Courses that count toward this requirement may be chosen from:

  • The Departments of Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics
  • ECON 3720 and ECON 4720
  • PSYC 2200, PSYC 3210 and PSYC 4200

Important Notes:

1. Exceptions include:

  • EVSC 2030, EVSC 4040, EVSC 4650 (Water Sustainability)
  • MATH 1000T, MATH 1030

The above classes do NOT count toward the math/science requirement.

2. For this requirement, statistics, mathematics and the above three economics courses are considered to come from one department. This means you cannot satisfy this requirement with just these courses.
3. Courses designated as 1000T are equivalencies determined by the College of Arts & Sciences. These courses are considered elective credit and do not satisfy this requirement.
4. Students are strongly encouraged to include courses in mathematics, the physical sciences and the biological sciences.

Courses taken to fulfill the area requirements may be counted toward a first or second major or toward a minor, with the exception of foreign language courses through the 2020 level (2320 for French, 2060 for Chinese, and 2120 for Portuguese).

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found here.