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Achieving eXcellence in Liberal Education

About AXLE | Distribution Categories | Foreign Language Proficiency | Writing Requirements


About AXLE

AXLE is the acronym for Achieving Excellence in Liberal Education. It is the core curriculum that all students in the College of Arts and Science must fulfill. The AXLE curriculum is flexible, very user-friendly, and consists of two parts: the Writing Requirement and the Liberal Arts Requirement.

The Writing Requirement has four segments:  demonstration of basic skills in English Composition; a First-Year Writing Seminar; completion of a 100-level (introductory) writing course no later than the fourth semester in residence; and completion of either a second 100-level writing course or a 200-level writing (discipline-specific or major-oriented) course or an approved course in oral communications. Only W courses offered in the College of Arts and Science or in Music Literature (MUSL) through the Blair School of Music may count in fulfillment of the Writing Requirement.

The Liberal Arts Requirement is composed of a total of thirteen courses taken at Vanderbilt, and distributed across six areas of inquiry. The First Year Writing Seminar, all 100-level and 200-level W courses, and all approved oral communications courses are counted in the thirteen-course Liberal Arts Requirement.

  1. The Writing Requirement (three to four courses)
    1. English Composition (appropriate test score or one course)
    2. First-Year Writing Seminar (courses numbered 1111)
    3. a W course of any level
      (one course before the end of the fourth semester)
    4. One 1000-level or  2000-level (or an additional W course of any level) or  an approved Oral Communications Course
  2. The Liberal Arts Requirement (thirteen courses)
    1. HCA – Humanities and the Creative Arts (three courses)
    2. INT – International Cultures (three courses)
              – Foreign Language Proficiency
    3. US – History and Culture of the United States (one course)
    4. MNS – Mathematics and Natural Sciences (three courses)
    5. SBS – Social and Behavioral Sciences (two courses)
    6. P – Perspectives (one course)

All students must also complete requirements for at least one major (between 27 and 48 hours of course work) and earn a minimum of 120 hours to graduate.

Total Credit Hours: 120