Skip navigation to content

BA (International Honours) academic information

The BA (International Honours) programme combines the best aspects of two academic traditions, while offering students a greater range of academic choices and the opportunity to acquire direct knowledge of two distinct intellectual and national cultures. The curriculum in each of the disciplines offers more breadth than a traditional St Andrews degree as well as more specialisation than is usual at William & Mary.

The BA (International Honours) is a broadly based degree, and other combinations – such as joint Honours degrees – are not available with this programme. However, during the programme you will have opportunities to study a range of other subjects offered by both institutions. For example, at William & Mary, you may have the opportunity to pursue a ‘minor’ in a different subject.

Home and host institutions

The institution to which you are admitted is your home institution. This is where you will spend your first year.

You will spend your second year at the other university, your host institution.

Your interests and programme of study will help you to decide whether to spend your third year at your host institution, or return to your home institution. You will move again for your fourth year of study, so that you spend two years at each institution in total.

Degree classification

Upon graduation, you will receive two transcripts, one from each university. William & Mary will calculate your grades each semester starting in your first year to compile your grade point average (GPA) which in part will determine whether or not you graduate with ‘Honours’. Your final degree classification in St Andrews is based only on your Honours credits and grades in your Honours years (3000 and 4000 level modules). Your degree classification, as well as whether or not you graduate with ‘Honours’, will be noted on the single degree certificate you will receive.


St Andrews uses a 20-point scale for grading, while William & Mary uses a letter grading system which translates to a 4.0 scale based on credit hours. The conversion between the two systems can be found in the BA (Int Hons) Policy and Regulations (PDF, 555 KB).

Credits at William & Mary

You are required to take 30 William & Mary credits each year, which equates to taking five or six courses a semester. One William & Mary credit is equal to four St Andrews credits. The number of William & Mary credits translates to how many hours a week you will be in class for that course. Be prepared to be in class every day for several hours a day at William & Mary. This does mean you will have less independent studying, but do not underestimate your workload.


There are typically more assignments and types of assessments in the BA (International Hons) programme than is typical for an Arts student at St Andrews. You will likely be assigned both essays and tests leading up to the final exam. You might also have to prepare group projects and give graded presentations for some courses. Some courses will also have ‘pop quizzes’, so make sure you do the readings assigned for each class and come prepared.

Many professors at William & Mary include student participation in their grading rubric, so it is important to speak up in class in an insightful and respectful way to ensure a good participation grade. In addition to final exams, you will also have mid-term examinations in many of your courses. As such, final exams at William & Mary tend to cover less material than at St Andrews and are weighted less. William & Mary, however, only gives students two days (the weekend) after teaching ends to prepare for final exams, so be sure to start revising while classes are still in session.

While you will still have to write essays, they tend to be shorter at William & Mary. However, you will likely have to write more essays throughout the semester than you would at St Andrews. Make sure you discuss expectations for essays with your professors because the writing styles at each university are distinct and require different approaches. In addition, William & Mary professors tend to assign a page limit for essays instead of a word limit so make sure that your word processor is set to write on pages the size of a US Letter when at William & Mary.

William & Mary academic approach

William & Mary is rooted in the American liberal arts tradition that allows students to explore subjects outside of their major throughout their four years of study. Even in your third or fourth year at William & Mary, you will be able to take courses beyond those relating to your major. You will also likely take more courses at William & Mary than you would take modules at St Andrews. Similarly, while St Andrews focuses on independent learning, you will likely spend more time in class at William & Mary than you do at St Andrews. Additionally, courses are not broken up into tutorials and lectures. Many courses are similar to seminars at St Andrews that combine lectures with class discussion. Some large introductory courses, however, will be divided between lectures and what William & Mary calls ‘discussion sections’, to mirror the system used at St Andrews.

Breadth requirements

BA (International Honours) students will, in consultation with their Adviser of studies, compile a ‘breadth portfolio’ comprised of courses satisfying the six knowledge objective, nine skills objectives, and three values objectives that underlie the William & Mary general education requirements.

Below are some examples of the modules which can be taken to satisfy these requirements. However, you should discuss your options with your Advisor of studies.

  • Quantitative Skills: Economics, EC2203 or EC1003; any modules in Computer Science or Mathematics and Statistics (a strong background in Mathematics from high school is often a pre-requisite for many of the Computer Science and Mathematics modules).
  • World of Nature: any module from the Faculty of Science; Psychology as a Natural Science; modules in Geography and Sustainable Development such as ES1001, GG1001, GG1002, SD1001 and SD1003; ID1004 Great Ideas 2 or ID2003 Science Methods; AS1002 The Physical Universe; ID1006 Astrobiology: The Search for Life in the Universe.
  • Individual and Social Behaviour: any module classed as a Social Science including: Economics; some in Geography and Sustainable Development; International Relations; Social Anthropology (for example, SA1002); Psychology as a Social Science.
  • History: any History module; any course focused on History in Classics (for example, AN1003 Ancient Empires and AN1004 Cities and Communities in the Ancient Mediterranean); ID1003 Great Ideas 1.
  • Masterworks: Art History; Classics modules focused on art or literature (for example, CL1004, CL1005, CL2003 and CL2004); English; Film Studies (for example, FM1001); any Modern Languages module with heavy content in art or literature; Music History (MU1004; MU1005; MU2002); ID1003 Great Ideas 1.
  • Philosophical and Religious Thought: any module in Divinity or Philosophy; SA1002; ID1003; Classics CL2003.
  • Non-Western: modules focused on Middle Eastern history, art, and culture, or Latin American history, art, and culture.  Language modules are not suitable.

Full module descriptions can be found in the module catalogue.

St Andrews resit examinations

BA (International Honours) students are able to resit St Andrews exams (where eligible) in August, online and remotely. Students are responsible for consulting the resit examination diet to ensure that they are available and equipped to take examinations remotely during the resit period in August. Please consult the examinations FAQs for further information. 

Honours dissertation

Guidance on preparing the St Andrews Honours dissertation can be found on the School webpages.

Classical Studies

Students should contact the Dissertation Coordinator, Dr Manioti


Students can do either a Dissertation or Research Project.


Students should refer to the Module Handbook in Moodle.

Film Studies

Honours modules and dissertation


International Relations

The dissertation will be not more than 12,000 words. Topics must be capable of being supervised by established staff and each student will (a) submit a dissertation outline to the School, (b) be assigned a supervisor, who will be available to discuss issues related to the dissertation, (c) be required to attend nine two-hour research seminars and five supervisory meetings of up to one hour. Eight one-hour tutorials. Guidelines for printing and binding dissertations.

Assessment: 15% Literature Review (semester 1); 85% Dissertation (semester 2)

Study abroad

Students are expected to complete the programme in four years of full-time study and must study for two years each at each institution. If a student wishes to study abroad in addition to this, they may be able to participate in a William & Mary summer study abroad programme within the framework of the programme regulations and as described in this ‘Summer School and Study Away’ section of the William & Mary programme page.