2023-2024 Academic Catalog

Experiential Learning

Independent Study Courses

After the completion of the freshman year, students with a cumulative 3.25 or above academic average may devise a course in an area of study in which they are interested, but which is not fully available in the existing curriculum. The development of the course must be done in concert with the faculty member who will supervise the work, and the proposed course of study must be approved by the Curriculum Committee prior to its initiation. An independent study proposal should be developed and submitted collaboratively by the student and faculty mentor.

When submitting the proposal to the Curriculum Committee the documentation must contain:

  • the names of the student and the faculty mentor;
  • the semester the course is to be offered;
  • a brief description of the topic of the course;
  • a reading list and/or other material to be covered;
  • a summary of assignments the student will be expected to produce – this should include a description of the culminating experience;
  • a statement on the kind of supervision the mentor will provide the student during the semester;
  • the criteria of evaluation; and, if applicable
    • the general education requirements with appropriate documentation;
    • the major or minor requirements the course  will fulfill with appropriate documentation.
  • the signatures of the student, faculty mentor, the department or program chair;
  • a well-written 1-2 paragraph rationale for the course prepared by the student.

Students may enroll in no more than two independent study courses per academic year up to a maximum of six such courses. In exceptional cases, students with less than a cumulative 3.25 academic average may be declared eligible to enroll in an independent study course upon the recommendation of the appropriate departmental chair and the approval of the Curriculum Committee. Independent study courses must be Randolph-Macon work.

Independent Study Program

The college offers an independent study program for a limited number of students with superior ability and strong personal motivation. Approved students may enter this program at any time after completion of the freshman year. The program requires the completion of two independent study courses during the junior year and permits seniors to enroll in a program of directed independent study during the entire senior year. Seniors participating in this program will pursue a program of studies arranged for them by a group of faculty tutors. By the end of the year of study, they will be expected to stand for at least three comprehensive examinations in their major fields, and they must present a thesis for examination by a five-member faculty committee. During this senior year of independent study, participants will be excused from enrollment from all formal courses with the exception of any remaining departmental or collegiate requirements.

Students are eligible to apply to the Curriculum Committee for participation in this program if they have a cumulative 3.25 academic average or better. Other students may be declared eligible by the Curriculum Committee in exceptional cases upon recommendation by the departmental chair. All independent study programs must be reviewed and approved by the Curriculum Committee. (See previous section for course proposal guidelines.)

Bassett Internship Program and Field Studies for  Academic Credit

  • Bassett Internship Program: Requirements for Credit Bearing Internships
  • Unpaid For-Credit Internships
  • Paid For-Credit Internships
  • Field Studies

Professor Showalter, Director.

Randolph-Macon College’s commitment to the liberal arts includes a deep concern that our students find useful and satisfying careers following graduation. It is our conviction that the knowledge and skills acquired through a liberal arts education provide a sound basis for success in a wide range of professions. In an effort to enhance our students’ opportunities to test their skills and themselves outside the classroom, the college offers several opportunities which enable students to get on-the-job or field experience.  Opportunities are located in a wide range of career fields in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and other locations both domestic and international.

Bassett Internship Program: Requirements for Credit Bearing Internships

Bassett Academic internships at Randolph-Macon are credit-bearing three-hour courses, and each of the College's academic departments has the option of offering an academic internship course. While most students take their internships on a full-time basis during the January term or in summer school, some students complete internships on a part-time basis during either the fall or spring term.  All Bassett Academic Internships carry Experiential Cross Area Requirement (CAR) credit.

Randolph-Macon has informal agreements with several businesses, government agencies, and social service organizations that will sponsor interns from the college. A special effort is made to match every intern with an appropriate placement site, and new placement options are solicited as needed. No sponsoring organization is asked to accept an intern whom it considers unprepared for the work, and no intern is expected to work in an inappropriate placement site.

Students are expected to take an active role in securing their internships and having them pre-approved.  The type and level of this activity may vary from department to department and be substantially different depending on whether the internship is paid. Failure to respond to faculty supervisor and program requests during the placement process may result in removal from the program.

Students who wish to apply to the program should first meet with their advisor and their department's internship liaison. Interested students should start this process early, as some internships may take several months to arrange. Students must register for the appropriate course in the semester the internship is to be completed. After registration and once the internship placement is finalized, students must complete an on-line application form (found on MyMaconWeb) providing details of the intended internship, identifying the internship site and field supervisor as well as the faculty supervisor. This form will then be automatically forwarded to obtain necessary permissions. Students enrolled under an F-1 Visa will also need permission from the Office of International Education. The application is to be completed prior to the start date of the internship and within the application dates indicated on the web site, otherwise, no academic credit will be given.  Some departments may have additional requirements for internship eligibility.

Transfer and International Exchange Students seeking internships prior to receiving a GPA at Randolph-Macon may seek a waiver of the GPA application requirement through the director of the program. These students must meet GPA requirements prior to the beginning of the internship.

The academic internship experience must be integrated with learning in an off-campus placement. The instructor must maintain periodic contact with the intern and his or her field supervisor during the internship. The instructor should also give reading and writing assignments that are appropriate to the student's internship experience including a reflective component in which the student will synthesize and integrate the information he/she has learned and the skills he/she has mastered. The instructor shall make the final evaluation of the student's performance. This evaluation shall include an evaluation of both the academic and the field components of the student's work.

Students will receive academic or experiential credit only for internships approved prior to the start of the internship experience and completed through Randolph-Macon. Students cannot receive credit for internships retroactively. Students may not receive academic or experiential credit in transfer with the exception of international internships completed through a program pre-approved by the Office of International Education (OIE), the Bassett Internship Program Director, and the chair of the department accepting credit.

Students are expected to arrange their own transportation to and from sites.

No student may take for credit more than two internship or field study courses. The college also offers several non-academic career development programs. (See the Edge Career Center.)

Unpaid For-Credit Internships

To qualify for admission to an academic Unpaid For-Credit Internship, a student must have completed 48 semester hours of course work prior to the beginning of the internship and have earned at least a 2.25 cumulative GPA at Randolph-Macon College at the time of application and at the start of the internship. GPA and credit hour requirements may be waived by the program director under exceptional circumstances.  No student may receive salary, compensation, or wages from an academic internship course; violation of this rule will result in cancellation of credit.  Satisfactory completion of a Bassett Academic Internship requires a minimum of 130 hours (160 recommended) working at the host site, a reflective daily journal, final written report, and satisfactory evaluation from the site supervisor.  All credit bearing internships are subject to a course fee.

Paid For-Credit Internships

With prior approval, Paid internships may be eligible for three-hour academic course credit and Experiential Cross Area Requirement (CAR) credit.  

To qualify for experiential credit a student must have completed 48 semester hours of course work prior to the beginning of the internship and be in good academic standing (not on academic probation) at the time of application and at the start of the internship.  Registration and application procedures are similar to those for academic internship courses.   Satisfactory completion of a paid internship requires a minimum of 130 hours (160 recommended) working at the host site, a reflective daily journal, final written report, and satisfactory evaluation from the site supervisor.  All credit bearing internships are subject to a course fee.

Field Studies

A Field Study is an experiential learning course combining elements of workplace experience, observation, and research and each of the college's academic departments has the option of offering a Field Study course.  Students are expected to work closely with a faculty field study supervisor to develop learning objectives and a plan of study appropriate to the discipline.  Assignments may include a reflective journal, activity reports, and one or more directed research papers appropriate to the discipline. Workplace experience requirements should be similar to those of internships. 

Student-Faculty Research

Research is an integral part of undergraduate education at Randolph-Macon. The college’s liberal arts tradition is linked to research through the common goal of active, investigatory learning. In our academic programs, student discovery and exploration of ideas are paramount to the educational experience. Following meaningful research experiences, students become active learners and take responsibility for their own learning.

The model of student research, coupled with presentation and publication opportunities, extends throughout the college. Currently, the integration of research into the educational process at Randolph-Macon College primarily occurs through two distinctive and formal programs – departmental research requirements and the Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program – both intended to create an inquiry-based experience.

Departmental Research Projects

All Randolph-Macon students are required to complete a capstone experience; for many students, this takes the form of a research project in their major field of study carried out during their senior year. Majors in a department follow a core of course requirements intended to introduce students gradually to the research process. By following this core, undergraduates reach the senior year adequately prepared for meaningful, independent research. In addition, most departments offer advanced students the opportunity to engage in one-semester guided research projects or two-semester Senior Projects.

The Senior Project

Having obtained the consent of the major department or council no later than the beginning of their senior year, suitably qualified students may elect to do a six-semester-hour special project in their major fields.

The senior project, which must be performed over two terms, may be in the form of library research, an advanced study of a particular topic in the field, a laboratory research problem, or any other exercise agreed upon by the major professor and student. The successful completion of the project affords evidence of the student’s capacity to do satisfactory work where individual initiative is involved. A distinctive element of each Senior Project is a written thesis defended before a faculty panel in the presence of the department and students.

Semester hour credit for the first term of a two-term senior project will not be recorded until both terms have been successfully completed by the student. Enrollment in the second term is dependent upon successful completion of the first term. If a student fails to successfully complete the second term, a grade of F will be recorded for the second term.

Summer Research

Professors Schreiner and Terrono, Directors.

The Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) is a competitive research program that provides students across all disciplines the opportunity to identify and execute a research project alongside a faculty mentor in a nine-week period during the summer. This total summer immersion experience supplements research activities that occur during the academic year. In consultation with their faculty mentors, students submit proposals that are evaluated by faculty with expertise in the topic of research. The students write research proposals to be evaluated by faculty reviewers. Students are required to present their findings at a celebratory conference at the end of the summer. Additionally, students are encouraged to present their work at an appropriate professional meeting and explore opportunities to publish their research in peer-reviewed journals.

International Education

Mayumi Nakamura, Director; Lauren Devan, Study Abroad Program Coordinator.

Through the Office of International Education (OIE), Randolph-Macon College supports international students, provides opportunities for short and long-term education abroad, and hosts intercultural programs and activities on R-MC's campus. Whether you venture far from home or seek out intercultural learning here at R-MC, the OIE encourages you to challenge yourself in new ways.

International Student Services

Randolph-Macon is proud to be the academic home of international students who study here for a semester, a year, or four years. The Office of International Education issues I-20s so that potential students can apply for a visa, offers an international student orientation at the beginning of each semester, and provides guidance with respect to studying, working, and adapting to life in the United States.

January and Summer Term Study-Travel Courses

During the January and summer terms, the college provides students with opportunities to participate in a variety of study-travel courses when available. Several departments offer study-travel courses taught by one or more Randolph-Macon faculty members. Students and faculty participating in study-travel courses usually spend two to four weeks abroad and the rest of the term on the Ashland campus. In addition, some January and summer term study-travel courses concentrate on subjects related to specific geographic areas in the United States and include trips to those regions as part of the course. Destinations for recent study/travel classes have included: Australia, New Zealand, England, France, Japan, Belize, Italy, and Tunisia. 

Information about scheduled courses and all policies related to study-travel are found on the OIE website. Only degree seeking students and international exchange students are eligible to participate in study-travel. Non-degree seeking students may not enroll.

Long-Term Study Abroad Programs

It is a powerful experience to live and study in a different country and culture long-term. No matter your major, language abilities, financial situation, or commitments on campus, there are many programs to choose from and options to meet just about everyone's needs.

Randolph-Macon offers opportunities for qualified students to study in countries throughout the world on exchange programs through ISEP or through one of R-MC's partner institutions or on direct programs through ISEP or USAC. Study abroad is offered for either a semester or a year and students will benefit most from taking site-specific offerings rather than courses that duplicate those offered at Randolph-Macon.

All students interested in long-term study abroad must go through the Office of International Education's nomination process two semesters (defined as fall or spring) before they plan to study abroad. This process allows students to demonstrate that they are qualified candidates to participate in a semester or year-long program by meeting the following criteria:

  • Be in good standing with R-MC
  • Complete 27 credit hours of college course work at RMC by the start of their program
  • Possess and maintain a 2.75 GPA at the time of application up until the program start date
  • Possess the curiosity, maturity, responsibility, and persistence to navigate ambiguity and handle the inevitable ups and downs of long-term cultural immersion

This process also helps students identify one or several programs that fit with students' academic, personal, and professional goals and needs by working with the Study Abroad Program Coordinator.

Students will submit an application to the OIE identifying program options for which they wish to be considered. OIE makes every effort to approve students' first-choice program. However, students are encouraged to research multiple programs and be as flexible as possible.

Only after a student is officially nominated by OIE will the student apply to the program provider or host university of their choice. For more details on how to start the nomination process, check out OIE’s semester abroad webpage: https://www.rmc.edu/academics/study-abroad/study-abroad/semester-abroad

All students nominated for long-term study abroad must complete mandatory pre-departure requirements during the semester immediately prior to going abroad, including but not limited to:

  • Complete all required pre-departure forms and submit them to OIE
  • Attend pre-departure orientation sessions in April or November
  • Consult with the Financial Aid office about the student's financial aid situation
  • Check R-MC email regularly to avoid miscommunication

Long-term study abroad students will work closely with their advisor, faculty department chairs, and OIE staff to select courses they will take at the host institution and have them pre-approved before they depart from Randolph-Macon. Credit transfer for study abroad can be assured only if the program and specific courses have been pre-approved by the College. To the extent possible, students will adhere to the academic expectations and regulations found in the Randolph-Macon Academic Catalog while studying abroad.

International Study Sites

Study abroad programs are available in well over 100 institutions outside the United States, in all parts of the world. Randolph-Macon offers its own study abroad and exchange programs, as well as programs through our partner organizations.

R-MC Institutional Partnerships

  • Côte d’Azur University (France)
  • Wroxton College (England)
  • Kansai Gaidai University (Japan)
  • Rikkyo University (Japan)
  • Yonsei University (South Korea)
  • The American University of Richmond, London (England)

Popular ISEP Programs

  • Universidad Católica del Uruguay
  • Leiden University (the Netherlands)
  • University of Malta
  • Université Savoie Mont Blanc (France)
  • Phillips-Universität Marburg (Germany)
  • Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz (Austria)
  • Edinburgh Napier University (Scotland)
  • Nantes Université (France)
  • Universidad de Málaga (Spain)
  • Al Akhawayn University (Morocco)

Popular USAC Programs

  • University of Alicante (Spain)
  • Griffith University (Australia)
  • University College of Stirling (Scotlad)
  • The Sede de Occidente (Costa Rica)
  • Undersidade Católica Portuguesa (Portugal)

A more complete listing of our program offerings is available on the OIE website.

In most cases, students completing coursework at an international study site will receive transfer credit for courses which are pre-approved by Randolph-Macon prior to enrollment. To be eligible for transfer, students must earn a grade equivalent to a C- or higher and may not complete the course on a pass/fail.  Transfer hours meet graduation requirements but are not reflected in a student’s GPA.

Coursework completed via our direct exchange programs with Wroxton College and the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, will be awarded direct Randolph-Macon credit and will not be recorded as credits completed through transfer.  These courses will be reflected in a student’s GPA.

Study abroad courses pre-approved from The Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome include:

CLAS 301 - The Ancient City I - This course traces the development of the City in Italy from the early Iron Age to the Late Antique. Within a chronological framework, it will explore a variety of issues ranging from archaeology and art to social and economic history.

CLAS 302 - The Ancient City II - A companion to Classics 301 which must be taken concurrently

ITAL 111 - Elementary Italian - An introduction to basic Italian grammar and conversation.

Study abroad courses pre-approved from Wroxton College include:

ART 3415 - The Development of British Painting - Starting with an introductory study of such general topics as patronage, subject matter, and style, this course follows the development of painting in Britain from its earliest origins and European influences to the present day. In addition to the use of slides, videos, and books, special emphasis is placed on visits to view the wealth of Britain's art on display in the great public and private collections.

IBUS 2201 - Fundamentals of International Business - The first half of the course depicts the economic background to transnational business, including international trade, exchange rates, and sources of capital. In the second half, operational aspects of multinational corporations are considered and strategies for maximizing opportunities and minimizing risks in international business are outlined. Students may receive credit for either this course or BUSN 310, but not both.

INTER 3430 – Anatomy of Contemporary Britain – This course is intended as a helpful companion to finding oneself not only in a foreign country but also in a foreign culture. It has been specifically designed to introduces the student to the environment and lifestyle of Britain today.

ECON 3022 - European Economic Integration - This course examines the economic growth and development of Europe in the context of economic regionalism and integration. Emphasis is placed on the evolution of institutions, policies, and processes since 1945 that have brought Europe to where it is today.

HIST 3422 -Britain in the Modern Era -A history of Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries, which will focus on the political, social, economic, and cultural developments that have made contemporary Britain.

POLS 3450 - British Government and Politics - The purpose of this course is to give a broad introduction to the origins, development, structure, and workings of the British system of government and British politics. The office of prime minister, the Cabinet, the Civil Service, Parliament, political parties, and pressure groups are among the topics covered. Students may receive credit for either this course or for PSCI 331 but not for both. This course counts as part of Group III on the PSCI major.