The academic interests of international students are as diverse as they are. No matter what their major, Whitman provides all students with a rigorous academic foundation and a skill set that can be applied broadly. Critical thinking and analysis, research, and public speaking ability are skills that all students graduate with. To explore the academic offerings at Whitman visit the List of Majors and Department websites or take a look at the College Catalog online. Many students also do research with faculty or have internships during their time at Whitman. Below we highlight a few areas particular interest to international students.
It might surprise some international students to learn that Whitman does not offer a major in business. Most small, liberal arts colleges are not narrowly focused on vocational training, but rather on education in the broadest sense of the word. Whitman educates students to take on any number of careers, including business, which is one of the top three careers that Whitman graduates pursue. You can pursue business with an undergraduate degree in any number of fields including economics, politics, and or a combined major.
Many international students express interest in engineering or computer science. Whitman is associated with the California Institute of Technology, the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science, Washington University in St. Louis, Duke University School of Engineering, and the University of Washington in combined programs for liberal education in engineering and computer science. The plans require five years of study. The first three years are spent at Whitman College and the last two years at the engineering school, where the student completes courses in engineering or computer science. In the combined plan, two degrees are awarded upon successful completion of the program: the degree of Bachelor of Arts by Whitman College and the degree of Bachelor of Science by the engineering school. For admission consideration, the five schools require a recommendation by Whitman College at the end of the student's three years here. To learn more about the requirements for a recommendation to the affiliated engineering schools read the College Catalog.
When exploring the possibility of a combined program in engineering or computer science, it is important to note that the international student will only receive financial aid from Whitman while enrolled at Whitman. Whitman has no influence on the financial aid packaged offered by the affiliated engineering school. The affiliated engineering school may not meet your demonstrated financial need.
Whitman does not have and does not recommend a formal pre-law major as preparation for law school, believing that no specific series of courses can be considered correct for every student who intends to enter the legal profession. Major law schools and the Association of American Law Schools agree that a broad liberal arts program is the best general preparation.
Law schools want evidence that its applicants can think, read, write, express themselves orally, and have some understanding of the forces which have shaped human experience, developed its institutions and ordered its values. A wide variety of courses in the social sciences, history, literature, philosophy, and rhetoric deal with such matters, though in different ways and with different emphases. The study and practice of law also requires analytical reasoning skills which are fostered by certain courses in mathematics and the natural sciences, economics, and philosophy.
Students planning a legal career are welcome to discuss their plans with a Pre-Law Adviser. Those interested in the combined program with Columbia University that will permit them to obtain a law degree and a bachelor's degree at the end of six years rather than the normal seven should read provisions for such a program in the Special Programs section of the College Catalog (pages 27-28).
The medical profession seeks individuals from a variety of educational backgrounds. Although a strong foundation in the natural sciences is essential, a major in the sciences is not. A broad, liberal arts education should enable future physicians to gather and assess skills, and to apply this new information to the medical, scientific, and ethical problems they will face.
Because much of the practice of contemporary medicine is preventative as well as curative, medical school admissions committees also look for well-developed communication skills and an ample exposure to the social sciences and humanities. They are concerned with both the breadth and quality of the undergraduate course work.
Students interested in the study of medicine should familiarize themselves as early as possible with the specific requirements of the medical schools to which they plan to apply.
Whitman will prepare you well to apply to and be successful in medical school, however it is important to recognize that the number of U.S. medical schools that will consider international students is limited. The following information is from Florida International University. Only approximately 50 out of the 125 M.D. programs in the United States will even consider the application of an international applicant. Most public, state supported schools will not even consider international applicants. Private medical schools may consider international students, but usually are more competitive and more expensive. Of the medical schools that will even consider international applications, they are all reluctant to accept international applicants due to visa and monetary concerns.
For more information about pursuing careers in the health professions, applicants should refer to the College Catalog.