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Whitman College focuses solely on undergraduate studies in the liberal arts. All students must take a two-semester course their first year, Encounters, which examines cultural interactions throughout history and gives students a grounding in the liberal arts. Students choose from courses in 46 major fields and 32 minor fields and have wide flexibility in designing independent study programs, electing special majors, and participating in internships and study-abroad programs. Whitman's most popular majors are Biology, Psychology and Economics. In addition, Whitman is noted for a strong science program.
Degrees are awarded after successful completion of senior "comprehensive exams." These exams vary depending on the students' primary focus of study, but commonly include some combination of (i) a senior thesis, (ii) written examination, and (iii) oral examination. The oral examination is either a defense of the student's senior thesis, or is one or multiple exams of material the student is expected to have learned during their major. The written exam is either a GRE subject test or a test composed by the department.University rankingsNationalForbes53Liberal arts collegesU.S. News & World Report 41Washington Monthly94For students who are interested in foreign policy, Whitman is one of 16 institutions participating in the two-year-old Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship program.The State Department pays for fellows to obtain their master's degree at the university of their choice in return for three years of service as a Foreign Service Officer. Whitman has a number of alumni who serve in diplomatic corps
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