This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2021-2022 VCU Bulletin. This edition includes all programs and courses approved by the publication deadline; however we may receive notification of additional program approvals after the launch. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

312 North Shafer Street
Box 842021
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2021
(804) 827-1111

Mark D. Wood, Ph.D.
Associate professor and director

Angelina Overvold, Ph.D.
Associate professor and associate director 

The School of World Studies is an interdisciplinary unit that explores the diversity of the human experience and prepares students to contribute to a healthy, equitable and sustainable world. With training in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, school faculty conduct research on language, religion, film, literature, politics, economics and the environment, and their relationship to local and global movements for racial, social and environmental justice. The World School offer majors in anthropologyforeign languageinternational studies and religious studies, as well as minors in Arabic studies, European studies, Italian studies, Latin American studies, Middle East and Islamic studies, Russian studies, and world cinema. Classroom studies are enriched by a range of opportunities to gain real-world experience. School of World Studies majors acquire the critical knowledge, analytic abilities, experience and communication skills to succeed in all aspects of life and participate in the project of building a generous world for all. 

See what our students and alumni are doing to make this vision of the world real.


The School of World Studies offers students significant opportunities to broaden their knowledge of diverse cultures through language study, including:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • French (major and minor)
  • German (major and minor)
  • Italian (Italian studies minor)
  • Russian (Russian studies minor)
  • Spanish (major and minor)

In cases where the appropriate level of instruction is unavailable, the School of World Studies Advising Office will assist the student in identifying language study options at other U.S. institutions or abroad.

Foreign language courses

Students planning to take a foreign language course at VCU must take the placement test in order to determine proper course selection. Specific information about the placement test is available on the School of World Studies website.

Students who wish to complete a language through the intermediate level or higher are required to consecutively complete 101, 102 and 201 or the equivalent. Students may then choose either 202 or 205 to complete the intermediate level.

Foreign language requirement and native speaker information

All students within the College of Humanities and Sciences are required to meet a foreign language requirement either through the 102 level for the college general education program or through a higher level as specified by the individual program. Specific information on assessment to waive the foreign language requirement is available on the School of World Studies website.

Experiential learning and study abroad

World ePass

The School of World Studies is committed to the premise that learning is best facilitated through engagement with the dynamic complexities and challenges of the world outside the classroom. As part of this commitment, each major within the school is required to complete a World ePass portfolio.

The intention of the World ePass is to highlight each student’s breadth of experience and skills gleaned beyond the core curriculum: cultural competencies, experiential learning opportunities, participation in student research, presentation at conferences, international engagement, multicultural campus activities, foreign language acquisition and academic achievements.

Students obtain initial information and guidance on creating their World ePass through an introductory video.

The World ePass portfolio content requirements include professional preparation, transferable skills articulation, academic career highlights, experiential learning experiences and global citizenship. Once students have started the process of ePass creation, they submit the site address through the World ePass submission site.

All experiential learning opportunities must receive prior approval from the SWS Advising Office. These include internships, service-leaning courses, certain noncredit options and study abroad. 

World ePass completion

Evaluation of the World ePass is on a pass/fail basis. Prior to graduation with a degree from the VCU School of World Studies, the World ePass must be reviewed and approved, with input from SWS faculty, by the SWS advising coordinator.

Study abroad

All School of World Studies students are encouraged to participate in a study abroad program. 

Opportunities range from a summer intensive program to a semester or academic year-length experience. Summer study-abroad programs provide students with opportunities for short-term immersion in the language, culture and civilization of the countries they visit. Information about all current study abroad opportunities can be found on the Global Education Office website. For more information about World Studies faculty-led study abroad programs, visit the School of World Studies website.