Academic Catalog


College of Arts and Letters

Department website:

Laura Delbrugge, Dean
Martha Daas, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Administration
Dale E. Miller, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research


The College of Arts and Letters is committed to the ideals of the liberal arts. Its curriculum is designed to introduce students to the full range of human experiences through the study of cultural heritage, forms of artistic and literary expression, patterns of social and political behavior, and methods of critical inquiry.

The mission of the College of Arts and Letters is to prepare students for rigorous, intellectual and creative inquiry leading to their full development as human beings and to their responsible engagement with society. We accomplish this mission by:

  1. Developing the essential skills of critical reading and thinking, effective oral and written communication, and proficient use of technology
  2. Providing foundational knowledge in the arts, humanities and social sciences for all undergraduates
  3. Offering excellent disciplinary and interdisciplinary programs of study and training that expose students to accumulated knowledge, scholarly debate, and innovations in the field
  4. Fostering global awareness and sensitivity to the breadth and diversity of the human condition, which includes acquiring an understanding of the roles of gender, race, ethnicity, and culture
  5. Providing an atmosphere for the free exchange of ideas among faculty and students and by vigorously defending academic and intellectual freedom
  6. Promoting challenging internship opportunities, research projects, and collaborative learning experiences that connect our students to the community and prepare them for the world of work
  7. Supporting a broad array of cultural experiences that enrich the lives of students, the University, and the community


Undergraduate programs in the College of Arts and Letters are structured to make possible close personal contact between students and faculty and thus to meet the needs of individual students. Arts and Letters faculty members are dedicated to good teaching, proud of their achievements in research, and committed to enhancing in every way possible the exciting and stimulating environment that is Old Dominion University.

The College of Arts and Letters comprises the Departments of Art, Communication and Theatre Arts, English, History, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Political Science and Geography, Sociology and Criminal Justice, Women's and Gender Studies, and World Languages and Cultures; the F. Ludwig Diehn School of Music; Interdisciplinary Studies; the Institute of Humanities; the Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity; the Institute of Asian Studies; the Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs; the Institute for Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding; the Social Science Research Center; and the Community Music Division.

The College offers undergraduate degrees in African American and African Studies, Art, Asian Studies, Communication, Criminal Justice, English, Geography, History, ­Interdisciplinary Studies, International Studies, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Theatre and Dance, Visual Studies, Women's Studies, and World Languages and Cultures.

In addition to the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Music, and Bachelor of Science degrees offered by the above departments, the College of Arts and Letters offers a variety of linked undergraduate/graduate programs and graduate degree programs. Linked programs allow students to count up to 12 hours of graduate courses toward both an undergraduate and graduate degree, which may allow students to earn both a BA or BS and an MA in five years. Linked programs are available in English, History, International Studies, Humanities, and Lifespan and Digital Communication; concentrations in the MA in Humanities are available in Communication, Geography, individualized Interdisciplinary Studies, Philosophy, Visual Arts, and Women's Studies.  A linked BA or BS to MBA program and a linked BA or BS to MPA program are available in cooperation with the Strome College of Business.

The College offers graduate degrees in Applied Linguistics, Creative Writing, Criminology and Criminal Justice, English, History, Humanities, International Studies, Lifespan and Digital Communication, and Music Education. Please refer to the Graduate Catalog for more information.

Undergraduate Degree Requirements

Arts and Letters requirements for all undergraduate degrees include all of the General Education Requirements. Students must have 30 earned credit hours in order to declare a major in the College of Arts and Letters. In addition, all Arts and Letters majors must obtain a minimum grade of C in ENGL 110C English Composition before declaring a major and in order to graduate. Arts and Letters majors must also attain a minimum grade of C in the second composition course and the writing intensive (W) course in the major in order to graduate.

Students earning a Bachelor of Arts degree must also complete the foreign language requirement. Proficiency is established at the fourth-semester level through one of the following:

  1. Successful completion of the 202 or 212 course at Old Dominion University (or equivalent at another institution). American Sign Language is accepted to meet this requirement in all Bachelor of Arts programs in the college except Asian Studies, World Languages and International Studies.
  2. Exemption through fourth semester granted for acceptable scores on achievement tests. 
  3. Advanced placement credit through fourth semester for qualifying scores on AP and IB subject examinations.  See the equivalency charts on the Office of Undergraduate Admissions website at
  4. Advanced placement with up to nine hours credit at the 300 level for acceptable scores on the advanced placement test taken at the conclusion of advanced placement courses in high school.
  5. Students whose native language is not English are exempt from taking a foreign language for General Education. Students pursuing degrees that require proficiency beyond the 100 level must be certified by the World Languages and Cultures Department to obtain a waiver of the 200-400 level courses. Native speakers are not eligible to earn credit for foreign language courses below the 300 level through coursework or external testing services such as CLEP.

Students who have taken three or more years of a foreign language in high school but have not been granted advanced placement as explained above must take the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) achievement test before continuing in the same language at Old Dominion University. An achievement test score of under 481 normally requires that such students begin with the 121F course in Spanish or the 102F course in other foreign languages.

Additional major requirements are listed under the various departments. The requirements for the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees are listed under art and music respectively. The requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree with a major in communication, criminal justice, geography, political science, sociology, interdisciplinary studies, and women's studies will be found under political science and geography, sociology and criminal justice, communication and theatre arts, interdisciplinary studies, and women's studies.

Students wishing to take a major or minor in the College of Arts and Letters must register with the appropriate department. The College of Arts and Letters allows a maximum of six hours of activity credit. Activity credit beyond the established maximum may be given in unusual circumstances only and will require the approval of the dean of the College of Arts and Letters. Activity credit required by a student's major department will not be counted against the credit limitation.