Skip navigation to content

Frequently asked questions

Photo of a parade at William & Mary

Programme Specifics


William & Mary

Programme specifics

Q: Is it possible to pursue a Joint Honours degree in this programme?

A: 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.

Q: At which institutions must I spend my third and fourth years?

A: Students decide at which institution they will spend their third year and then will attend the other institution in their fourth year. For example, if a student decides to attend William & Mary for their third year, they will attend St Andrews for their fourth year and vice versa.

Q: Does the BA (International Honours) programme have any support systems for students transitioning from one university to the other?

A: The WaMStA Student Partnership is a student-founded and student-run society that has chapters at both St Andrews and William & Mary. Each chapter provides academic and social support. Several socials are held throughout each semester to introduce students of all degrees and years to each other. Additionally, each degree is represented on the board by an Honours student who is always available to meet with individual students seeking academic guidance. For more information and to read blog posts written by WaMStAs, visit the WaMStA Student Partnership’s website and join the Facebook group.

Q: May I study abroad at an institution other than William & Mary or St Andrews as a BA (International Honours) student?

A: 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, she or he 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.

Q: I am worried about securing housing when I return to St Andrews. Do students receive any support in this area?

A: We understand that finding housing can be difficult when a student is across the Atlantic. Joint Degree Programme students are guaranteed housing in University accommodation for all four years as long as they meet the required housing deadlines.

Q: Can I switch degree subjects within the BA (International Honours)?

A: Assuming you take the appropriate prerequisites, there is some flexibility in changing your degree subject in first––and potentially second–– year to one of the other degrees the programme offers (English, History, International Relations, Economics). To do this, you must ensure that you are advised into modules that fulfil the first year requirements of the other subject in which you may be interested. If you would like to switch your degree, contact the Pro Dean to determine your eligibility.  Please see the BA (International Honours) programme requirements document in the course catalogue for more information.


Q: How does Degree Classification at St Andrews and at William and Mary work?

A: 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 which in part will determine whether or not you graduate with Latin ‘Honors’. 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 Latin ‘Honors’, will be noted on the single degree certificate you will receive.

Q: What is the system of grading used at each university?

A: 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, available to download on Your degree programme.

William & Mary

Q: How do assessments differ from St Andrews at William & Mary?

A: Be prepared to have many more assignments and types of assessments 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 midterms 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 but 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. It is also important to note that 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.

Q: How many courses will I be taking at William & Mary? How often will I have class?

A: You are required to take 30 William & Mary credits each year, which equates to taking 5 or 6 courses a semester. Note that one William & Mary credit is equal to four St Andrews credits. The number of William & Mary credits a course is 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!

Q: What courses will I be taking next year at William & Mary? How do I register for courses at William & Mary?

A: Please consult the William & Mary website regarding this question.

Q: How does the academic approach at William & Mary differ from that at St Andrews?

A: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. As mentioned above, 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.

Q: What is the best way to travel to Williamsburg?

A: Please consult the William & Mary website regarding this question.

Q: What is the process of finding accommodation at William & Mary? How does accommodation differ at William & Mary compared to St Andrews?

A: Please consult the Housing, Meal Plan and Costs section of the William & Mary website regarding these questions.

Q: If I am not a citizen of the United States, do I need to obtain a visa to study at William & Mary?

A: Please consult the Passports and Visas page of the William & Mary website regarding this question.

General enquiries

Tel:  +44 (0)1334 462245
Fax: +44 (0)1334 463330

Collaborations & Study Abroad
University of St Andrews
St Katharine's West
16 The Scores
St Andrews
Fife, KY16 9AX
Scotland, UK

CSA student consultation hours:

2-4pm, Monday - Friday during term time

Find us on Facebook Facebook icon

2017-2018 Events Calendar First Years Semester One (PDF, 463 KB)

2017-2018 Events Calendar Second Years Semester One (PDF, 463 KB)

BA (International Honours) Key Contacts 2017-2018 (PDF, 571 KB)

BA (International Honours) Orientation Guide Spring 2017 (PDF, 899 KB)

See also

Information for applicants

Information for new students

School of Classics

School of Economics & Finance

School of English

Department of Film Studies

School of History

School of International Relations

External links