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Academic Experience

Academic Experience

While earning your baccalaureate degree at Virginia Intermont College, your academic experience involves not only your major concentration of study – such as history, physical education, or photography – but a core curriculum which contributes to the wholeness of your education.  The liberal arts-based core ensures that each Intermont graduate is equipped with a broad set of academic knowledge and includes specific coursework in a First-year Experience program to enhance foundational academic skills.

First-Year Experience

These courses, normally taken during freshman year, are designed to usher students into what scholars call a “life of the mind.” This program develops your collegiate research skills necessary for finding and evaluating source materials required for scholarly work and introduces you to the most important thinkers in human history.

  • Our short course called Introduction to College Research, for instance, teaches you how to utilize the ample online and physical resources offered by Intermont’s J.F. Hicks Library. You learn to distinguish between quality academic research and general opinion pieces. You are taught how to compose search terms to render the best results.  All in all, Intro to College Research helps prepare you for the research-rich courses that you will experience throughout your college career.
  • In Introduction to Liberal Arts, a course taken in the first-semester of the freshmen year, you read and discuss important thinkers who have shaped our contemporary world, including the Greek philosopher Plato, the Asian thinker Lao-Tzu, the Renaissance politician Niccolo Machiavelli, and the civil rights leader Martin Luther King.  Additionally, you are asked to compare and contrast arguments for capitalism and communism– two of the most significant economic movements in modern history–as well as read excerpts from several religious traditions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.  The discussion-rich course is supplemented with content-related field trips, book clubs, and special lectures. In short, Introduction to Liberal Arts sets the intellectual tone for what will prove to be an enriched educational experience.

Core Curriculum

Whether pursuing a B.S. in equine studies, a B.A. in business, a B.S.W. in social work, or a B.F.A. in theatre arts, through the core curriculum you will experience courses in composition, speech communication, computer fundamentals, physical education, mathematics, history, literature, laboratory sciences, and the visual and performing arts.  You will also have an opportunity to choose within the core requirements among courses in economics, political science, psychology, and sociology.


The faculty of Virginia Intermont designed the core curriculum on the premise that learning to think critically and creatively makes the foundation of a good college education.   We also believe that critical and creative thinking develops most assuredly when students are intellectually challenged by engaging professors who develop content-rich courses and active assignments.  In this way, Intermont learners develop practical habits of mind while expanding worldly knowledge and seeking to:

  • read and question the arguments of great thinkers, both historical and contemporary;
  • discuss and get guidance by our professors and fellow students about how to think through a problem or how to question an idea;
  • develop and compose in writing our own thinking, using clear language and sound reasoning;
  • and experience this “life of the mind” in a supportive, openly intellectual environment.

For an in-depth look at core curriculum coursework, please refer to our catalog or contact the Registrar’s Office at 276.466.7875