Sewanee educates men and women for an ever-changing world by developing their general intellectual capacities, especially the capacity to continue learning. Immersed in a myriad of glorious details — sonnets and sonatas, experiments and graphical representations, primary sources and historical narratives — students explore who they are and who they wish to become while expanding their abilities to reason, create, understand, and explain. Such an education develops in graduates the flexibility of mind they will need to prosper in our 21st-century world.
Led by faculty who already know the path well and who want to share the joy of discovery, students begin to read carefully and with new insight, to analyze arguments and evaluate theories, and to write and speak with clarity, precision, and style. While the Mountain's ancient splendor quietly informs all academic pursuits at Sewanee, scientific studies of the environment and the natural world gain special pertinence in this setting. The university Domain’s 13,000-acre expanse of woodlands, fields, caves, and watercourses offers students unparalleled access to a living laboratory.
Students at Sewanee also look far beyond the Mountain. They study a foreign or classical language, entering another cultural world in the process; they explore the human past and the politics and economies of contemporary human societies; and they scrutinize the aesthetic and cultural legacies of human civilizations including literary and religious texts and traditions. Both in and beyond the classroom, Sewanee students are encouraged to confront ultimate questions, to consider matters of the heart and spirit as well as intellect. They participate actively in the creation of both art and knowledge, and in so doing, gain abilities and attributes that will serve them well regardless of where their journeys take them. At Sewanee, we believe that rigorous study in the liberal arts offers students the best preparation for a life of leadership, service, and learning.
Before their senior year, and mostly within their first two years, students take a variety of General Education courses that offer exposure to a variety of academic disciplines as well as training in written communication. They also take two non-credit courses in physical education, to acknowledge the importance of fitness and physical health in development of the whole person.
The academic year is officially defined as encompassing the Advent and Easter semesters. For those who enroll in summer school, the academic credit is associated with the preceding terms as part of the same academic year.