University of Virginia
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Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
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Special Programs and Centers

Programs and Degrees Offered

Five advanced degrees are offered by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences: the Master of Arts (M.A.), the Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Fine Arts in Drama and in English (M.F.A.), and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Advanced degrees offered by the departments are listed in the following table.

Department Degrees Offered

Anthropology M.A., Ph.D.
Architectural History Ph.D.
Art, History of M.A., Ph.D.
Astronomy M.S., Ph.D.
Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Ph.D.
Bioethics (formerly Clinical Ethics) M.A.
Biological and Physical Sciences M.S.
Biology M.A., M.S., Ph.D.
Biophysics (Program) Ph.D.
Cell Biology Ph.D.
Cell & Molecular Biology Non-degree
Chemistry M.A., M.S., Ph.D.
Classics M.A., Ph.D.
Clinical Ethics (see Bioethics) M.A.
Developmental Biology Non-degree
Drama M.F.A.
East Asian Studies M.A.
Economics M.A., Ph.D.
English M.A., M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Ph.D.
Environmental Sciences M.A., M.S., French M.A., Ph.D.
German M.A., Ph.D.
Health Evaluation Sciences M.S.
History M.A., Ph.D.
Immunology Ph.D.
Italian M.A.
Linguistics M.A.
Mathematics M.A., M.S., Ph.D.
Microbiology Ph.D.
Molecular Medicine Ph.D.
Music M.A., Ph.D.
Neuroscience (Program) Ph.D.
Nursing Ph.D.
Pharmacology Ph.D.
Philosophy M.A., Ph.D.
Physics M.A., M.S., Ph.D.
Physiology Ph.D.
Politics Ph.D.
Psychology M.A., Ph.D.
Religious Studies M.A., Ph.D.
Slavic Languages and Literature M.A., Ph.D.
Sociology M.A., Ph.D.
Spanish M.A., Ph.D.
Statistics M.S., Ph.D.
Surgery M.S.

Special Programs and Centers


In addition to the degree programs listed above, graduate instruction in arts and sciences is provided through the following special programs and centers located on the Grounds of the University.

The Carter G. Woodson Institute The Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies was established to promote excellence in research and teaching in black studies at the University of Virginia. Drawing on the resources of humanities and social science departments that treat the black experience, the Woodson Institute features a variety of programs designed to be of help and interest to the University community.

In addition to supervising the undergraduate program in African-American and African Studies, the Woodson Institute also conducts a residential fellowships program, administers black studies research support for University faculty members and doctoral candidates, and offers a colloquium series featuring resident fellows, University faculty members, and distinguished visitors.

Cell and Molecular Biology This is an interdisciplinary program offered by faculty from eight basic science departments and programs.

Center for East Asian Studies An interdisciplinary group of faculty specializing in East and Southeast Asia, this center exists to encourage and facilitate interest in China, Japan and other countries of East and Southeast Asia at the University. The center administers the M.A. Program in Asian Studies, graduate certification in East and Southeast Asia, as well as a research travel grants program for students and faculty and a speakers series on Asian topics.

Center for South Asian Studies The Center for South Asian Studies at the University is one of the nine federally funded National Resource Centers for the Study of South Asia—its diverse peoples, languages, cultures, religions, and history. Coordinating academic studies, outreach programs, and research relating to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet, the center offers a wide range of courses in languages and the disciplines, a comprehensive library, and substantial fellowship and assistantship awards, as well as educational and cultural programs in the community.

Center for Public Service The Center for Public Service was created in 1987 by the merger of the former Institute of Government and portions of the former Tayloe Murphy Institute. With research programs in government, public policy, business and economics, and demographics, the center brings multiple perspectives to the study of Virginia. It assists both state and local governments in the commonwealth with research into specific issues, management expertise, planning, and social and economic data. The center also sponsors professional education programs for government managers and elected officials, and it operates civic education programs like the Virginia Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution and the Teacher Research Service. In all its work, the center aims to apply the University's resources to improving the public life of Virginia.

Senior staff members are University faculty who frequently teach courses in their respective fields. The center employs both work-study students, who serve as office staff, and graduate research assistants, who gain firsthand experience in research and government by participating in center projects. The center’s publications program makes readily available a wealth of data on Virginia to supplement students’ course work in political science, economics, history, and sociology. Besides its central offices in Charlottesville, the center maintains a Southwest Virginia office in Wise County.

The Center for Russian and East European Studies This center is an interdisciplinary graduate and undergraduate program concerned with Russia and Eastern Europe. Further information may be obtained from the center’s director or from the chair of the academic department in which the student plans to enroll.

Center for Survey Research The Center for Survey Research (CSR) enhances the research capabilities of the University by making available the technical resources needed for survey research of the highest scientific quality. CSR produces, and helps others produce, academically visible and innovative research that contributes to substantive knowledge in the social sciences and related fields, and advances the ongoing technical development of scientific survey methods. The center assists faculty in their research as well as government agencies, private foundations, businesses, and non-profit organizations by consulting and carrying out project design, data collection, and data analysis.

In addition to its expert research and teaching faculty, CSR’s staff includes graduate research assistants, undergraduate interns, and part-time student employees who gain firsthand knowledge of the theory and practice of survey research. The center works with faculty, staff, and students from all schools in the University.

White Burkett Miller Center of Public Affairs The Miller Center is a privately endowed research center with a fifteen year history of contributing to the deeper understanding of public issues and to the amelioration of major national problems. The center undertakes intensive research into issues of governance, with a unique emphasis on the role of the president in the American political system. In its J. Wilson Newman Pavilion patterned after the Virginia House of Burgesses, the center sponsors a series of conferences, twice weekly forums, workshops, and lectures engaging faculty, students, and community leaders in serious continuing dialogue.

The center has a small continuing staff, holding joint appointments in University departments including the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics. Outstanding graduate students also assist the center and write theses and dissertations.

By facilitating close and sustained cooperation between scholars, policy makers, and men and women of affairs, the center encourages a new perspective on public affairs reflected in some 300 publications, occasional papers, and articles appearing in its scholarly Journal. Through the combined efforts of its community of scholars and experienced national leaders who have been members of its seven national commissions, the center seeks to direct the attention of officials and the public to the most urgent problems of national government and contribute to the clarification and improvement of governance.

The Thomas Jefferson Center for Studies in Political Economy This center was established in 1957. Its purpose is to facilitate research activities in the Department of Economics. Specific activities of the center have included the sponsorship of visiting scholars and professors, the sponsorship of lectures and seminars, the award of fellowships, and the publication of research results.

Virginia Graduate Marine Science Consortium In December 1978, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia recommended the creation of the Virginia Graduate Marine Science Consortium in its report, Graduate Marine Science Education in Virginia. The 1979 General Assembly passed the enabling legislation (Code of Virginia, Section 23-9.9:1).

The goals of the Consortium are:

  • To promote cooperation in marine science instruction, research, training and advisory service, among the members of the consortium and within Virginia.
  • To encourage and assist where possible the development of graduate marine research and instruction programs at institutions within Virginia, including those uniquely qualified to serve the needs of minority and traditionally disadvantaged groups.
  • To advise the Council of Higher Education in matters relating to marine science instruction, research, training, and advisory service.
  • To coordinate the state’s activities within the National Sea Grant College Program, including efforts to attain Sea Grant College designation for the commonwealth.
  • To encourage marine science public service activities by the members of the consortium and to assist them in matching their service activities with the needs of the various constituencies.

Activities of the Consortium are governed by a board of directors which establishes all policies and procedures necessary for operation of the organization. The board of directors is composed of the presidents of all institutions of higher education which hold membership in the consortium and the Director of the State Council of Higher Education.

Institutions of higher education which offer a graduate program in marine science are eligible for membership in the consortium. As of January 1986, memberships were held by Old Dominion University, the University of Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and the College of William and Mary.

To achieve its goals, the consortium has established the position of director who is responsible to the board of directors. Primary among the duties of the director are the organization and coordination of the Virginia Sea Grant College Program, which receives funding for research, education, and advisory service activities related to the development and use of marine and coastal resources. In this capacity the director is ultimately responsible for all Sea Grant activities in the commonwealth, including proposal preparation and review, fiscal management, liaison with the National Sea Grant College Program, NOAA, and the conduct of individual Sea Grant projects. The office is located at Madison House, 170 Rugby Road; Dr. William L. Rickards serves as the Director, and Dr. Eugene Olmi is the Assistant Director.

Center for Advanced Studies This center was established to help certain departments in the University move from a position of strength to a position of academic excellence. The center serves to stimulate research and instruction within the University while at the same time attracting outstanding professors to the University and recognizing the achievements of those already here.

Eminent scholars in disciplines encompassed by participating departments are appointed to the center to enable them to further their scholarly interests and to become permanent members of the faculty once the term of their appointments to the center are over. Center members may also have an opportunity to participate in the academic programs of the department through classroom teaching, seminars, and research.

Participating departments in the sciences are astronomy, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, environmental sciences, mathematics, medicine, pharmacology, and physics; in engineering: chemical engineering, electrical engineering, nuclear engineering, materials science, and systems engineering; in the humanities and social sciences: anthropology, art, economics, English language and literature, French language and literature, Germanic languages and literatures, government and foreign affairs, history, law, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, Slavic languages and literatures, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese languages and literatures, and sociology.

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