Washington and Lee University

Staff picture
Updated August 7, 2020

One of the more prestigious American universities, Washington and Lee University, is also among the country's smaller schools. The U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as #4 of Liberal Arts colleges. The small, rural private university was founded in 1749. It was named for George Washington and also for Robert E. Lee, who was the president of the school after the Civil War. The university has had several prestigious graduates, one of whom is Meriwether Lewis. Washington and Lee University is divided into two undergraduate academic areas: the College, and the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics. This school is highly selective in admissions, but has an outstanding four-year graduation rate of 85 percent. The institution is known for its Mock Convention, which has predicted the Presidential election outcome 19 of 25 times since 1908. Washington and Lee University has only one graduate school, the School of Law, which is highly regarded. Athletically, there are many sports opportunities at the school which is included in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.

Washington and Lee University Accreditation Details

The University is accredited by the Southern Association of the Commission on Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Other Accrediting organizations are:

  • Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Association of American Law Schools and is accredited by the American Bar Association.
  • Other affiliations by department

Washington and Lee University Application Requirements

All undergraduate students apply to the school through the common application, which is a universal application for more than 300 schools. The application, found online, has a supplement that is specific to Washington and Lee. Included in the application are requests for official high school transcripts and SAT/ACT scores. The school recommends taking two subject tests in the SAT battery. There is also a secondary school report form including opportunities for letters of recommendation from a high school counselor and from two teachers. Students also must submit mid-term grades and final grades when they become available. The procedure for transfer students is similar, except that they must submit the transcripts form any colleges they have attended, and letters of recommendation from two professors. Graduate students applying to the School of Law apply directly to the degree program they wish to enter. The requisites will vary by program, but generally include a resume, letters of recommendation, personal statements, test scores and official transcripts of undergraduate work.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Undergraduate tuition at Washington and Lee University is $45,460 per year. Housing starts at $4,970 and the meal plans begin at $6,015. The anticipated expense for books and supplies is $1,800. In addition students should budget for fees and personal expenses. The estimated cost of attending Washington and Lee University for one year of undergraduate studies is $62,350. Students in the Law School will pay $45,330 in tuition, plus fees and an estimated book-and-supply cost of $2,500. The cost for a year of the JD/LLM degree program is $67,560. In spite of the fact that an advanced education is expensive, it is not out-of-reach. George Washington University has a program called the WL Promise that provides full tuition through grants and work-study programs to avoid the burden of student loans. To be eligible for this program, students and their families must have assets and income that total less than $75,000 a year. If a student does not qualify under this provision, there are still university grants and scholarships available. All of the school's merit-based aid is offered under the umbrella of the Johnson Scholarship program. This provides 44 full-ride scholarships and other smaller awards annually. Students must apply for this aid through the WL need-based application. This form is comprised of four steps: completion of the financial aid statement and submission to the financial aid department of the school to determine qualification for the program, and completion and submission of the actual application to be awarded assistance. They must also complete the FAFSA form online.

Online Degrees Available

Although Washington and Lee records several courses that are then offered online, they do not actually have any degrees that can be earned through distance learning. They do, however, feature three distinctive graduate degrees in the School of Law.

The first is the J.D. or Juris Doctor degree. This is the first professional degree earned in United States law schools. The program takes three years to complete and allows students to choose a track of law to study. The first year is the same for all tracks: there are foundational courses in American Public Law Processes, Civil Procedure, Professional Responsibility, Criminal Law, Contract Law and Torts and Transnational Law. The second year contains only two required courses: Constitutional Law and Evidence. Beyond that, students choose electives based on their declared tracks. The third year is experiential, and consists of practicum, simulations, clinics and externships.

The LL.M. degree is a program that is offered to students who are foreign trained. The one-year program is a master's degree in United States Law and is predominantly elective so that students can take courses in the areas of US law that interest them. They select from the same courses that are part of Washington and Lee's other law degrees. The program accepts a very limited number of students and they must all have the first professional law degree offered in the country where they were trained. All applicants must take the TOEFL as well. Students who select the domestic track in this degree can become eligible to sit for the American Bar Association exam, which is a prerequisite for licensure to practice in the US.

The other advanced degree offered by Washington and Lee is a dual major program leading to a JD/MHA. The degree is for the student who wants to work in the legal aspect of health management. The degrees, which would take six years to earn separately, can be completed in four-and-a-half years. The program is a joint effort between Washington and Lee, through which the candidate earns his JD, and Virginia Commonwealth University, which offers the Master of Health Management. The Washington and Lee component contains 70 hours and includes the entire curriculum of the first and second years of the JD degree program. With small class sizes and a student-to-faculty ratio of only 8:1, students at Washington and Lee get the in-depth knowledge and the legal skills for which the school's graduates are noted.

Latest Posts