Majors & Programs

College of Liberal Arts

American Ethnic Studies
Program(s) Offered:
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

NOTE: This degree will not be offered after the 2015-16 academic year.

The American Ethnic Studies (AES) program fosters critical perspective that seeks, as its purpose of inquiry, to explore how social structures and ideological discourses shape, influence, and constrain human activity. In particular, members of our program are committed to the discovery and exploration of how complex social relations of race, ethnicity, culture, and indigeneity, in conjunction with other social systems and structures, can give rise to unjust social relations, limit human endeavor, and normalize privilege and oppression. The primary focus of our program is on traditionally underrepresented communities in the social imaginary of the United States.

AES courses cover a broad range of historical and contemporary topics, both in the humanities and in the social sciences. These come from many departments including history, anthropology, rhetoric and media studies, politics, religious studies, sociology, and literature. Students in our interdisciplinary program learn comparative theories and methods of inquiry that prepare them to engage the responsibilities of citizenship in an increasingly multicultural global society. We endeavor to provide a total student experience that provides a reflective and socially relevant academic experience that bridges critical reflection and civic engagement.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
American Studies Program
Program(s) Offered:
  • Restricted to Tokyo International University of America students
College of Liberal Arts

The American Studies Program (ASP) enrolls students from Tokyo International University (TIU) in Kawagoe, Japan, at Willamette University for an academic year immersion experience that includes three major components: enhancing English fluency, studying liberal arts and living in the Willamette community. Credits transfer to TIU.

Students take classes with subject-area and English language specialists. They are encouraged to participate in campus activities, events, clubs and community service learning. They live and learn in an intellectually challenging atmosphere that increases cross-cultural understanding. The program prepares students for careers in which international experience and intercultural skills are assets. Some students return to Willamette via a scholarship exchange program, completing degrees at Willamette and TIU.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Anthropology
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

Do you ever contemplate the fact that individual people are incredibly similar to one another while also extraordinarily different? From a biochemical perspective, all human beings are 99.5% similar on average. Yet culturally, socially, linguistically and psychologically, we differ in impressive ways, both within and among populations.

Anthropology examines these similarities and differences and their implications for the day-to-day lives of people throughout the world. Anthropologists analyze how people who adhere to different beliefs or who hail from different parts of the world categorize their kin, structure their economies and organize their political systems. Such efforts to understand the diversity of humanity bring unique insights and help anthropologists become gifted navigators of cross-cultural social relations — skills that are highly sought after in international education, diplomacy, law, business, journalism, medicine, the arts and more.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Archaeology
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

The only undergraduate archaeology program at a liberal arts college in the West, archaeology at Willamette is exceptional for its interdisciplinary nature and for students’ research opportunities.

Faculty members are experienced field archaeologists who inspire students to dig, to search, to illuminate the shadows in human history. Through the Aarchaeology Field School, Center for Ancient Studies and Archaeology, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Salem Society of the Archaeological Institute of America and others, the program incorporates experts from diverse fields and offers myriad opportunities for practical archaeological experience.

The program is designed to prepare students to advance as academic researchers and for professional opportunities in cultural resource management, environmental consulting, law, education, museums, planning, tourism, and other careers around the world.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Art History
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

From the Stone Age to the present, from the ancient Mediterranean to Europe, North America and Asia, Willamette’s Department of Art History takes a broad chronological and geographic purview of visual art and architecture. Through collaborations with faculty members, students benefit from valuable opportunities to gain academic knowledge and professional experience.

They conduct research at the on-campus Pacific Northwest Art and Artists Archive and curate exhibitions at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. They travel abroad with professors or through internships to visit art museums and important monuments. And they participate in local internships at the Portland Art Museum or with regional art conservationists.

Alumni have gone on to graduate studies at Harvard, the University of California and the University of Oregon; or they pursue careers at the Denver Art Museum, the Corning Museum of Glass and the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as in fields such as education, law and business.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Art, Studio
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

The human need to make, experience and comprehend art is as old and profound as our need to speak. Through art, we can understand ourselves and our potential — and be comprehended and remembered by those who come after us.

Willamette’s studio art department focuses on rigorous, sophisticated, conceptually based fine arts studies that enable students to create, exhibit and critically analyze artwork. By viscerally experiencing art culture, students learn to use the language of contemporary art and prepare to participate as makers in a complex visual world. They master technique and harness intellect to explore and express personal and social ideas through experimental and traditional practices, including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography and video.

Beyond the classroom, students learn through participation in professional and student art exhibitions, internships, work-study jobs and collaborative projects with faculty. Upon graduation, they are prepared for careers in education, professional art, advertising, communications, architecture, art criticism, and museum work, as well as law, business and government.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Arts, Technology and Multimedia
Program(s) Offered:
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

We are in an age where multimedia is pervasive. We use it to relax and to research. We use it to interpret the world and to communicate. We use it as artists. Drawing from courses in the Departments of Art & Art History, Computer Science, English (Film Studies), Music, Philosophy, Sociology, and Theatre, the minor in Arts, Technology and Multimedia offers students a flexible arts-focused exploration of the creative processes, digital resources, and collaborative strategies used in creating sound and visual elements for multimedia and intermedia works.

Through creative engagement and critical examination students will develop technique, conceptual and aesthetic sensitivity, and the ability to produce and critically evaluate multimedia and intermedia works from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Collaborative projects between courses will serve as a central unifying element in the minor. Close attention will be paid to the expressive potential of and issues related to each media element as well as to the interaction of all elements.

ProgramFacultyRequirements
Asian Studies
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

The Asian Studies Program fosters interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding of the rich cultural heritage of Asia. Course offerings cover a broad range of disciplines, primarily in the humanities. These include history, anthropology, art history, philosophy, religion, sociology, and literature with options for individual students to include courses from additional disciplines. Many of these courses complement other programs within the University, particularly the study of Chinese and Japanese language. Program faculty strongly encourages Asian Studies students to study in Asia as part of their major program.

The Asian Studies Program coordinates with the Japanese Studies Major and Chinese Studies Special Major. Asian Studies Program faculty assists students who choose to study the peoples and cultures of Asia in a broad sense.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
BA/MBA - Business Management (3+2)College of Liberal Arts, Willamette MBA

Employers look for students who can think, write and communicate well — and possess the professional knowledge to hit the ground running. Through Willamette’s dual degree program in business management, students can fast-track their education by combining their undergraduate studies with an MBA through the Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

Students can choose from any major in the College of Liberal Arts and participate in the BA/MBA program. Upon completion of their required undergraduate coursework, they begin the Willamette MBA program their senior year and can complete both degrees in five years — one year less than if completing the programs separately.

The Willamette MBA emphasizes experiential learning and is specifically designed to help early career students build the knowledge, work experience and career management tools they need to prepare for rewarding careers in entrepreneurial, business, consulting, government and not-for-profit enterprises.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
BA/MBA - Public Management (3+2)College of Liberal Arts, Willamette MBA

Willamette’s location across the street from the Oregon State Capitol and other state agencies provides unparalleled opportunities for internships, research and civic engagement. Couple this with the BA/MBA dual degree program and you have a recipe for career success.

As one of only two programs in the world dually accredited for business and public administration, Willamette’s MBA program is uniquely designed for students considering careers in government or not-for-profit management.

Students can choose from any major in the College of Liberal Arts and participate in the BA/MBA program. Upon the completion of their required undergraduate coursework, they begin the Willamette MBA program their senior year and can complete both degrees in five years — one year less than if completing the programs separately.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
BA/JD - Law (3+3)College of Liberal Arts, College of Law

Like the College of Liberal Arts, Willamette University’s College of Law emphasizes small enrollment, excellence in teaching and a high level of student-faculty interaction that offers you a personalized learning experience and an atmosphere of success. Graduates have enjoyed the highest state bar exam passage in the state for the past six years. Willamette's location across the street from the Oregon State Capitol places students in the epicenter of state law, government and business. Alumni of the College of Law include more than a dozen Oregon Supreme Court justices and members of Congress, numerous leaders of Fortune 500 companies, and countless private and public attorneys.

The 3+3 Program (BA/JD) allows students to complete their education more quickly, effectively reducing costs and student loan debt and providing students an extra year of earning power after they graduate. Willamette University College of Law's accelerated BA/JD program is available to academically qualified students in the College of Liberal Arts. The BA/JD Program offers students the opportunity to earn a J.D. degree and a liberal arts education with a B.A. degree in six years.

ProgramFaculty
Biology
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

There has never been a more exciting time to study biology. Every day brings transformational discoveries that will shape the future of society.

Because we believe that the most powerful learning experiences comes from personal interaction, our students and faculty work closely in small groups in class, lab and in the field. Whether on NSF-funded research with faculty or through our many undergraduate research programs, Willamette students engage in scholarly work typically reserved for graduate students at larger universities. This fosters a lively, supportive community and builds relationships that endure for a lifetime.

We celebrate the successes of our students and alumni as they pursue careers in academia, applied sciences, medicine, teaching, art and diverse fields around the world.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Chemistry
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

Chemistry is a powerful way to understand the world around us. At Willamette, chemistry courses challenge students to go beyond the required competencies — and to grow as critical thinkers and effective problem-solvers who understand the place of chemistry in human affairs.

Faculty members from Willamette’s chemistry department have earned the Oregon Professor of the Year award three times. These dedicated teacher-scholars have built more than a reputation for inspiring students — they’ve founded a rigorous, close-knit, student-centered learning community that spans generations.

Upon graduation, chemistry students are well prepared for graduate school and employment in business or industry. Approved by the American Chemical Society, Willamette’s program focuses on a strong foundational education in five principal areas: analytical, inorganic, organic, biochemistry, and physical chemistry.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Chinese Studies
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
College of Liberal Arts

Through the Chinese Studies Program, our students gain a deep understanding and appreciation of another culture. They learn new language skills and acquire the analytical abilities needed to thrive in an increasingly complex and diverse world.

Our accomplished professors teach a vast range of classes in folklore, religion, media studies, art history, film, international politics and economics — in addition to traditional language and literature courses. And our majors learn in small, dynamic settings alongside native Chinese speakers.

Students apply their knowledge of Chinese language and culture through field trips, teaching Chinese to Salem-area youths and studying abroad in China. Many teach and work in China after they graduate, or go on to pursue globally focused careers for businesses, NGOs or public service organizations.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Civic Communication and Media
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

How can communication effect social change? What are productive ways to argue about the right thing to do? How do media shape our identities, actions and communities?

Civic Communication and Media faculty and students explore such relevant and compelling issues through innovative courses and experiential learning. To understand dynamics of communication, they delve into theories and case studies that range from Aristotle’s Rhetoric to #blacklivesmatter.

Learning extends far beyond the classroom, including department-initiated internships and special projects. Students intern at leading communication and technology firms, design persuasive campaigns for local organizations, uncover social movement history through archival research, create and lead community courses and actively participate in state government.

Civic Communication and Media helps students develop into engaged citizens who are prepared to lead in the information age — and pursue successful careers wherever their paths take them.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Classical Studies
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

Classical Studies majors explore the fascinating cultures of the ancient Mediterranean that have shaped our modern civilization, including the art, history, literature, material culture and religious beliefs of the peoples of ancient Greece, Rome and the Near East.

Students meet influential scholars from around the world through the lecture series sponsored by our Center for Ancient Studies and Archaeology (CASA), and they pursue internships at organizations including the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. They study abroad in such places as Athens, Rome and Galway, Ireland, and they excavate at our field school at the Ness of Brodgar in Scotland.

Armed with superior writing and critical thinking skills, our graduates embark on careers in law, medicine, business and education. Some earn advanced degrees in classics, history, archeology or theology. Others are making their mark in fields as varied as chemistry, physics, engineering, environmental science, mathematics and interactive media.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Comparative Literature and the History of Ideas
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
College of Liberal Arts

The program in Comparative Literature and the History of Ideas provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary and comparative study. Like the Humanities major, it brings together courses from many departments, but here the student will choose courses which center in at least two literary, cultural and intellectual traditions and which seek to get at the underlying assumptions and attitudes of different literary and intellectual worlds.

The goals of the program are to enable students to see from a variety of viewpoints and perspectives and to encourage independent, critical thinking. Further, by emphasizing the critical analysis of primary texts and cultural comparison, the program seeks to foster a sense of the importance of rigorous methodology in investigation, while revealing the inherent limitations of any particular system of inquiry. As a unique approach to liberal and humanistic studies, the program provides a solid basis for post-graduate study in, for example, law, education, journalism, administration, comparative literature, or discipline-based area studies.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Computer Science
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

From numbers, text and graphics to interactive animations, gaming strategies and proof systems, Willamette’s computer science curriculum is designed to develop students’ capacity to use computing to answer questions and solve problems. Diverse courses and interdisciplinary opportunities sharpen critical thinking abilities and prepare students for a lifetime of learning in a rapidly changing environment.

Programming and object-oriented design are just the beginning. Mid-level courses cover the structure of computers, the languages that control them and the mathematics of key algorithms. In upper-level courses, students work closely with faculty members and Willamette’s welcoming community of fellow students to delve into more specialized areas of research. Through a capstone senior project, CS majors demonstrate their creativity and skill in computing.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Economics
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

Environmental quality, international economic concerns, urban and regional problems, poverty, inflation and unemployment. Willamette’s economics program challenges students to explore how these important social issues are shaped by the activities of private interests, public institutions and interest groups.

Through a broad range of topical elective courses and one-on-one mentoring, we prepare students for lifelong, independent critical inquiry into economic issues.

Our major internship program enables students to gain “real world” experience in both private and public sector enterprises, including the Legislative Revenue Office, Office of Economic Analysis, Department of Forestry and other state agencies located adjacent to or near campus.

A background in economics is valuable preparation for a wide variety of postgraduate educational and career opportunities. Willamette graduates have gone on to pursue advanced degrees in business, public administration and law, and they work in such diverse fields as medicine, social work and education.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Engineering 3-2College of Liberal Arts

Willamette’s unique partnerships with Columbia University, University of Southern California and Washington University in St. Louis allow students to combine the best of a liberal arts education with focused coursework in engineering.

At the end of a three-year residency at Willamette, students can transfer to one of the three partner schools and choose from a wide range of curricula including focuses in civil, structural, mechanical, electronic and environmental engineering.

After two years at the partner institution, and completion of required credits, students earn both a Bachelor of Science in engineering from Columbia, USC or Washington University and a BA from Willamette. This opens doors to a career as a professional engineer, work in industry or government, or a career in the physical and social sciences, medicine, law, business or education.

Contact Dr. Richard Watkins in the Department of Physics for more information.

Program
English
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

Willamette’s English department is a diverse, welcoming, multifaceted community of readers and writers. In small, discussion-oriented classes, students build a foundation in close reading, literary theory, and the history of English-language literature. They tailor the major to their own interests by choosing literature or creative writing concentrations.

English majors might read about King Arthur as well as read the work of writers from Africa or the Caribbean. They might take part in field trips to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival or the Fisher Poets Gathering. Some even start writing their first novels or collections of poems.

Whichever path they take, students consistently deepen the reading, writing, critical thinking, and discussion skills that enable them to pursue careers in law, education, public service, communications, and community activism — or wherever else their passion leads.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Environmental and Earth Science
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

Through a comprehensive study of natural and social sciences, the Environmental and Earth Science program focuses on humanity’s impact on the natural world. In challenging courses, our engaged faculty emphasizes critical thinking, competency in research, persuasive and informed writing, and public speaking skills.

Whether at the Oregon State Capitol, the university’s forest at Zena, the shores of the Oregon Coast, or in communities around the world, students apply what they’ve learned through a combination of classroom, field, lab, study abroad, research and internship opportunities.

Our alumni take Willamette’s sustainability ethos to their graduate studies and careers, working in diverse positions as scientists, researchers, educators and organizational leaders in both private and public sectors.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Exercise Science
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
College of Liberal Arts

As expressed in the classical Greek emphasis on the interaction of mind, body and spirit, the Exercise Science program focuses on the development of the total person. Students learn to appreciate the application of scientific research to real world problems and/or service for the benefit of the community, with consideration of the moral and ethical issues involved.

The Exercise Science program aims to develop those cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills that equip students to perform competently in the program's science-based core and selected electives. The program's interdisciplinary academic structure arises from the belief that critical thinking, effective writing, clear articulation and strong analytical skills are crucial elements in the mastery of all subject matter.

The major provides students with the essential knowledge and training to pursue a wide variety of career opportunities. Alumni have gone on to graduate studies in fields such as allied health and medicine, teaching, research in exercise science and activity-related business.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Film Studies
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

Willamette’s interdisciplinary approach in film studies provides students many opportunities to explore the history, theory, and criticism of moving images; discover national and transnational cinema traditions; and encounter building blocks of film production.

Students might analyze social and aesthetic dimensions of movies, both mainstream and experimental; organize film screenings, festivals and discussions; publish film reviews; or collaborate on making a digital video.

Graduates have gone on to further study in film, as well as work in film production and television broadcasting. Regardless of their final career path, students find that film studies can help them cultivate intellectual and imaginative engagement with the audiovisual representations of an increasingly globalized world.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Forestry 3-2 ProgramCollege of Liberal Arts

Willamette students and faculty are passionate about finding ways to create a more sustainable future and address the major environmental issues of our time.

Students interested in environmental management and forestry have the unique opportunity to pair their Willamette undergraduate education with a master’s degree from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

After three years of undergraduate work at Willamette (and completion of required courses), students can begin their two-year graduate degree program at Duke. This powerful combination of the benefits of Willamette’s liberal arts education with focused graduate study at Duke aims to prepare a new and environmentally informed generation of global leaders.

Contact Dr. Karen Arabas in the Department of Environmental & Earth Sciences for more information.

Program
French & Francophone Studies
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

Bienvenue! The French & Francophone Studies program offers a well-rounded curriculum that builds from elementary French to advanced research on the cultures, films, linguistics and literatures of France and the Francophone world.

An official language in 29 countries worldwide, French also serves as a primary language for organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union and Doctors without Borders. No doubt, French continues to be a passport to world citizenship! Our department strongly supports studying abroad as it provides students a unique linguistic and cultural immersion opportunity.

Our dynamic and multicultural faculty — whose research spans from medieval to contemporary France and the Francophone world — have a strong interdisciplinary focus, evident in the diversity of courses offered. Topics covered include empire building, colonialism, self-representation, graphic novels, post-colonialism, contemporary France and migration. We pride ourselves on promoting intercultural understanding beyond stereotypes and preparing our students to become global citizens.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
German
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

Our German program offers courses, learning experiences and mentoring that have been designed to help you enrich your personal growth and find success in your studies and subsequent career path.

Effective communication skills, cultural literacy and interpretive competence are all important assets in the world today. To further prepare for a flexible future, we encourage students to double-major or to combine a minor in German with a major in another field. We provide several opportunities to study abroad through programs we support. Many of our graduates continue their studies at professional or graduate school; some receive a Fulbright Fellowship to do so in Germany.

Our small classes are exciting learning communities that make it easy for you to build friendships with students and establish close working relationships with our faculty. We take good care of you.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
History
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

At Willamette, History matters. Students of History discover a profoundly public pursuit, essential to an active and empathetic citizenship.

Through a critical examination of the past, students gain knowledge of the “big picture” of human history. They understand the complex factors affecting long-term patterns of historical change and appreciate the diversity of human experience across time and space. They weave together the politics, philosophies, practices, and peoples of the past in order to contextualize and problematize the world as we know it and develop ideas of how we want it to be in the future.

History students work with Willamette’s outstanding and dedicated teacher-scholars, recognized in their fields. They also take advantage of Willamette’s unique opportunities for civic engagement and global exploration through study abroad programs, internships at the State Capitol and other state agencies across the street, the Willamette Heritage Center, the State Archives, the State Prison, the City of Salem, Zena Farm and Forest, Chemawa Indian School, and Willamette’s Hallie Ford Museum of Art.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Humanities
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
College of Liberal Arts

The Humanities major is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the main intellectual and cultural themes found throughout Western civilization. It offers students a fine core major for a liberal arts education.

A major in this area would provide a broad background for those whose postgraduate plans include specialized study in Art History, History, Literature, Philosophy or Religious Studies or training in a professional school.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
International Studies
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
College of Liberal Arts

The International Studies Program equips students with knowledge and context crucial to understanding and contributing to today’s increasingly interconnected world.

This multidisciplinary program requires students to take courses in the Departments of Economics, History, and Politics. As they read widely about, follow and discuss topics of current international significance, students learn to relate them to economic, historical and political contexts.

In addition, International Studies majors complete the equivalent of a third year of study in one of these languages: Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. They’re also encouraged to take advantage of Willamette’s numerous study abroad opportunities — whether for the summer, a semester or a year — in over 40 countries.

The major is good preparation for entry into diverse careers — particularly international business and government — as well as graduate programs, especially in various fields of international relations and area specialization.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Japanese Studies
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

Furious economic growth and globalization in Asia have created a renewed interest in Japan. As a result, more students are exploring and joining Willamette’s unique Japanese Studies program.

Our interdisciplinary learning environment prepares students to excel in a fast-paced world. They take courses in language, modern culture, history, literature, film, art history and religion. They study abroad at our sister university in Japan, Tokyo International University. And they partake in language and cultural exchange experiences with Japanese students at Tokyo International University of America, co-located on the Willamette campus.

When they graduate, our students enter fields ranging from international business and foreign service to tourism, teaching and law. Many go on to graduate school, and others move to Japan to teach English.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Latin American Studies
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

Latin American Studies includes courses dealing with the history, society, language, and culture[s] of Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, as well as Latino cultures in the United States. Drawing on faculty from history, politics, sociology, Spanish, English, and anthropology, Latin American Studies, it is a multidisciplinary major that encourages students to study the region from a variety of perspectives.

Latin American Studies offers a variety of opportunities for volunteering and research projects in the Latino community and internships in government, business and the non-profit sector. Students are strongly encouraged to gain first-hand experience in the region through a Willamette University study-abroad program in countries such as Ecuador, Mexico, Argentina and Chile. For their capstone experience, students work closely with one of our faculty in their area of expertise.

Our majors pursue careers in business, health, translation, law and education, as well as graduate degrees in multiple fields.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Mathematics
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

Mathematics is the science and art of patterns. Mathematicians discover universal truths that are at once elegant, beautiful, deep, and powerful.

At Willamette, this exciting work takes place in a vibrant, friendly and supportive community that encourages collaboration among students and faculty. Mathematics community activities include extensive opportunities for undergraduate research, including our own federally funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates program and math major events such as board games, Pi Day, and our participation in the worldwide MegaMenger project.

Math majors have unparalleled opportunities for careers and graduate school. Our alumni include a Nobel Prize winner and the former CEO of Boeing as well as teachers, analysts, entrepreneurs and engineers.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Program(s) Offered:
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

The minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies is designed to foster interdisciplinary learning across a number of departments, including Art History, English, History, Spanish, French, Religion, and Interdisciplinary Studies.

Students are encouraged to create their own path of study in the minor by choosing thematically linked courses to provide coherence to their study of the medieval and Renaissance time periods. The minor also provides opportunities for students to connect their coursework and research projects more closely with their experiences in co-curricular opportunities such as the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, The Center for Ancient Studies and Archaeology, study abroad experiences, Student Scholarship Recognition Day, external research grants, and internal research grants such as the Carson, LARC, Presidential and Lily programs.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Music
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

Music study at Willamette engages students simultaneously with the masterworks of the past along with the creations of modern and contemporary music in many genres.

Our program is modeled on the knowledge that music is not only one of the oldest of the liberal arts but is also a living art informed by the culture of its time. Through a comprehensive program of performance, composition, improvisation, music historical and theoretical studies, coupled with work in a broad spectrum of courses in other disciplines, students emerge with a solid foundation in technique and an artistic vision developed through close reading, listening and performing in a variety of contexts.

Performance opportunities abound, from solo performances to chamber music and jazz groups to our larger student ensembles.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Philosophy
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

What is justice? What is the best way to live? What is the connection between the mind and body? Willamette’s philosophy program explores these and other questions critical to the human experience.

Our faculty members have a wide breadth of knowledge in such areas as existentialism, feminist philosophy, political philosophy and the philosophy of language. This expertise is reflected in our curriculum, which combines careful argument with insight and imagination.

As a result, philosophy students develop superior critical thinking skills that enable them to pursue a wide range of employment opportunities after graduation. Recent alumni have joined the diplomatic service and have gone on to practice law or work in the tech industry. One has become a reporter with National Public Radio.

Few disciplines can boast of contributing to such diverse pursuits, which may be why The London Times called philosophy “the ultimate ‘transferable work skill.’”

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Physics
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

At Willamette, physics students tickle atoms with light and freeze molecules to explore quantum physics; use the observatory at Zena Forest to discover what’s happening inside a variable star; and wield lasers to explore the inner workings of molecular motor proteins.

The physics department’s large number of ongoing research programs is rare for a small liberal arts college like Willamette. Through projects that often start in their freshman year and culminate in a full senior year of independent research, students enjoy the exceptional opportunity to hone their skills in experimental physics. This takes place in Willamette’s renowned, friendly and collaborative environment. Faculty members mentor, inspire and challenge students — and show they enjoy teaching introductory classes as much as upper-level, specialty topic courses.

Students curious about how the universe works will find answers here. The knowledge, skills and experience they acquire will open up a world of exciting possibilities in diverse career fields.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Politics
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

The Politics Department at Willamette encourages students to think broadly yet pursue specific questions and consider practical implications in the disciplinary areas of political theory, American politics, and global studies.

Rigorous courses foster theoretical and practical understandings of the political world, and are taught by award-winning professors who span the breadth of perspectives. Students learn to read carefully, research effectively, think critically, speak competently, and write persuasively about politics. Many students participate in our vibrant internship program at the Oregon State Capitol, located across the street, by working in the Legislature or the Governor's Office, or with a state agency or lobbyist. Some extend their study of politics off campus, either on domestic programs in Washington, DC and Chicago, or on various study abroad programs. In their senior year, all majors work closely with a faculty advisor to complete and present a substantial research thesis of their own design.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Pre-LawCollege of Liberal Arts

Many Willamette undergraduates are interested in the possibility of law as a career and plan to attend a law school after completion of their baccalaureate program. For these students there is no preferred undergraduate degree program, but the development of certain skills is strongly advised. Specifically, students interested in the study and practice of law will benefit from extensive training and knowledge of English composition, politics, and history. Also recommended are courses in all subject disciplines that require analytical thinking and the application of theory to new situations. The Department of Politics offers several courses directly concerned with the law, such as Law and Public Policy (POLI 334) and Constitutional Law (POLI 337). The Department of History also offers American Legal History (HIST 308). A limited number of undergraduate students have obtained internships in the College of Law's Clinical Law Program.

Program
Pre-HealthCollege of Liberal Arts

Compassion. Curiosity. Dedication. These values have driven generations of researchers, doctors, pharmacists, dentists, vets, therapists and other healthcare professionals to choose Willamette as the place where they begin diverse careers in health and medicine.

Here, students have unmatched opportunities to work on collaborative scientific and cross-disciplinary research with leading scholars and teachers who are committed to undergraduate education. As part of Willamette’s curriculum, students develop communication skills, cultural competencies and the broad perspective needed to be effective practitioners.

Whether seeking to treat the sick and injured directly or to advance medical science through research, participants in Willamette’s Pre-Health program complete prerequisite courses and have access to advising and support resources that successfully prepare them for advanced study in their chosen health field.

ProgramRequirementsCourses
Psychology
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

Climate change. Bullying. Education inequalities. Such critical societal issues, which stem from human behavior, can be addressed through psychology — the scientific study of thought, emotion and behavior.

At Willamette, our students receive a breadth and depth of knowledge across the field’s many sub-disciplines. Working alongside experienced faculty, students gain valuable hands-on research experience at a level rarely found at an undergraduate institution. They augment their skills through internships with Willamette Academy, Hillcrest Youth Correctional Facility, the Oregon State Hospital and various other partnering institutions. These internships sometimes even lead to job offers after graduation.

Our students go on to competitive graduate programs across the country and pursue careers in everything from psychology, law and medicine to social work and education.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Religious Studies
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

If you want to understand the world, you need to understand religion. Worldwide, 84% of the population is religious. Every day people all over the globe pray, eat, vote, love, hate and learn — all guided by strongly held religious convictions.

In Religious Studies coursework, students learn about religions both familiar and foreign. Just as importantly, they learn how to think critically about religion and become sensitive to the subtle but powerful religious currents running through all of life.

Students who major or minor in Religious Studies will come to understand human culture at a deep level and bring to any setting a perspective that is both unique and important. Religious Studies can prepare one for a wide range of vocations, from diplomacy to human services to international commerce.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Russian
Program(s) Offered:
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

As policymakers discuss the possibility of a new “Cold War,” it is essential for people to understand Russia more fully.

Our courses in Russian language, culture, literature and film help students gain a better picture of this rich and fascinating region. In studying Russian, students learn one of the world’s most beautiful languages and earn insight into the ways in which it reflects Russian culture. Through analysis of Russian arts, history and politics, students explore how artistic works, sociopolitical watersheds and everyday manners and customs define Russian society. We strongly encourage our language students to study abroad through programs we support in Russia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.

Many students combine their interest in Russia with international studies or with the study of other literatures. Equipped with an expanded worldview and critical academic skills, our students have gone on to careers in fields as diverse as law, foreign service and business.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Sociology
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

Sociology at Willamette challenges students to take a critical approach to the social world, with an emphasis on understanding social inequalities and supporting social change.

Education, health, sustainability, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, culture and the arts, criminology, politics and social movements — these are among the numerous subjects students can explore within the field of sociology.

Our department teaches students to recognize how interactions with each other produce durable social patterns and institutions — as well as how social, economic, political and historical forces both shape and are shaped by social relationships. Critical analysis of social issues, combined with research and internship opportunities in real-world settings, challenges students to become responsible and engaged citizens committed to creating positive social change.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Spanish
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

A Spanish degree is a passport to un buen futuro. From students with no knowledge of Spanish to native and heritage speakers, Willamette’s program offers opportunities for personal and academic growth for everyone.

Students learn about the diverse Spanish-speaking cultures of Latin America, Spain and the U.S. through course offerings on language, literature and cinema. Spanish interacts with other programs, and many of our students earn double majors.

Through promoting linguistic and cultural understanding in our classrooms, as well as offering study abroad experiences and opportunities to work in the community, we help cultivate a more just society. Plus, as Spanish speakers are in high demand, Willamette prepares students for careers in social service, health, law, business and teaching, or pursuit of graduate degrees.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Theatre
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

Theatre is a vital part of the liberal arts experience at Willamette through the public performance of three plays and a dance concert per year, as well as student-created projects and the wide array of classes available to majors and non-majors alike. These opportunities, among others, earned the Theatre department the distinction of being named the “Best BA theatre program in the country” by OnStage in 2015.

It is the department’s intent to train Theatre majors in all aspects of the discipline during their four years at Willamette, thereby creating a well-rounded theatre artist. Just as the liberal arts environment provides the student with insight into and an understanding of a variety of subjects, the Theatre Department strives to create an environment conducive to the individual growth of the student within the context of the most collaborative and versatile of the arts disciplines.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses
Women's and Gender Studies
Program(s) Offered:
  • Major
  • Minor
College of Liberal Arts

What is the difference between sex and gender? How does society’s views of sex and gender contribute to the oppression of women? How do gender, class, race and ethnicity intersect to create social identity and power structures in our society? These are just some of the questions you’ll explore in Women’s and Gender Studies, an interdisciplinary program that challenges you to think systematically and critically about gender while confronting the challenges of moving toward a more equitable world.

ProgramFacultyRequirementsCourses