The College of William and Mary (also known as William & Mary or W&M) is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia. Founded in 1693, it is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the US. William & Mary is considered one of the eight original ‘Public Ivies’ (reputed public colleges or universities are known for offering a collegiate experience akin to Ivy League schools).

Owing to its connection to the Founding Fathers of the United States, William & Mary has earned the nickname ‘Alma Mater of the Nation’. For example, George Washington, one of the founding fathers and the first president of the US, obtained his surveyor’s license from W&M and later served as its first American chancellor. Three other presidents of the country–John Tyler, James Monroe, and Thomas Jefferson (who also drafted the Declaration of Independence)–were also educated at the university

W&M is known for several firsts in American higher education: the first college to become a university; the first college to receive a royal charter in the British Colony of Virginia; the formation of the first Greek-letter society (Phi Beta Kappa, formed in 1776); the first educational institution (in what became the future US) to have a student honour code; and the first law school in America. 

Even after three centuries, W&M continues to remain an accomplished university. It is counted among ‘R2: Doctoral Universities–High Research Activity’, a classification provided to institutions engaging in extensive research activities across multiple disciplines and investing significant resources in them. Corresponding to this status, the university’s research expenditure was over $55 million in 2021.  Also, William & Mary has been consistently ranked among the best universities in the US. For example, it was placed 10th among ‘Best Public Universities’ by US News & World Report for 2022.

Among W&M’s illustrious alumni are four justices of the US Supreme Court; dozens of senators and members of the government; six Rhodes Scholars; and three Marshall Scholars. Jill Ellis, FIFA World Cup-winning soccer coach; Glenn Close, Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress; and Ellen Stofan, former Chief Scientist of NASA, among others, are some of W&M’s notable alumni in the 21st century. 


William & Mary’s acceptance rate is 42.2 per cent. It maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio of 12-to-1 (the second-lowest among public colleges in the US), which assures ample interaction between students and professors.

The university provides globally recognised undergraduate, graduate, professional, and online programmes across various disciplines. W& M is organised into four colleges and one faculty that include several departments, multidisciplinary research institutes, and cutting-edge labs. They are: 

  • Raymond A. Mason School of Business
  • William & Mary School of Education
  • William & Mary Law School
  • William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)
  • Faculty of Arts and Sciences

W&M also has exchange agreements with 15 foreign universities. This facilitates students from William & Mary and the partnering institutions in spending a semester reciprocally on the other campus. Nearly 60 per cent of all undergraduate students at W&M travel overseas throughout the course of their programmes and over 750 of its undergraduate students study abroad on campuses across over 55 countries each year.

Some of  W&M’s exchange partners are the Vienna University of Economics and Business, McGill University, Tsinghua University, the University of Exeter, the University of Nottingham, and the National University of Singapore, among others.  

Courses Offered at William and Mary

William and Mary offer courses in fields such as:

  • Anthropology
  • Art (2D Studio, 3D Studio)
  • Art History (General, Curatorial, Environmental)
  • Biology
  • Business — Accounting
  • Business — Business Analytics
  • Education (Elementary, Secondary, ESL/Bilingual Education, Special Education)
  • Film & Media Studies
  • International Relations
  • Kinesiology — Public Health
  • Linguistics
  • Mathematics (Standard, Applied, Pre-College Teaching)
  • Physics (Standard, Medical, Engineering Physics & Applied Design)

Admission 2021-2022

William and Mary’s application dates for the fall semester are November 1, 2022 (for Early Decision I freshmen), January 2, 2023 (for Early Decision II freshmen), and January 2, 2023 (for Regular Decision freshmen).

Requirements for Applications

William and Mary University’s application fee is $75. Below are the steps and requirements for applying to the university: 

1. Aspirants must register for the ‘Common Application’ through the CommonApp portal and apply to W&M. The ‘Common Application’ is an undergraduate application that enables students to apply to over 1000 participating institutions across the US and a few other select countries.  

2. Applicants must submit transcripts from all previous secondary schools and institutions. 

3. Letters of recommendation must also be sent to the university.

4. Provide IELTS or TOEFL scores as proof of English proficiency. The testing organisation may provide the results directly to William & Mary or the results may be self-reported in the application.

TOEFL6 or above
IELTS80 or above

Finally, applicants will receive an email from the university’s online system iStart once they have been accepted to the university. From the William & Mary online portal, students can fill out an online form and upload copies of their passport identity page (if they have one) and financial records (i.e. proof of funding). 

Graduate Applicants 

With the exception of the common application, graduate students must meet the same requirements as undergraduate students. Applicants must visit each department’s webpage on the university’s official website to apply directly for graduate courses. 

Tuition Fees & Financial Aid

The total cost of attending William & Mary for undergraduate and graduate students for one academic year is about $68,724, which covers tuition, room and board, travel, books, and other expenses. In order to facilitate the payment of the fees, W&M offers a variety of financial aid options for students, including grants, loans, scholarships, and fee waivers. Some online resources for requesting financial aid include the ones listed below:

  • International Education Financial Aid (IEFA)
  • eduPASS
  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Students can find the lists of scholarships and grants on these websites, along with details about international student loan programmes and other resources to support studying abroad. The university also offers a number of student services, including nonremedial tutoring, study abroad exchange programmes, placement services, daycare, health services, and health insurance.

W&M University scholarships are also available to help undergraduate foreign students who are citizens of other nations. Some of the merit-based scholarships provided by W&M include William & Mary Scholars, Monroe scholars, and 1693 scholars, among others. 

So, if you wish to attend one of the oldest universities in the US which has served as the alma mater of several US presidents, then William and Mary is the place to be. We hope that this article has provided you with essential information about the university to make an informed decision about applying to it. All the best!


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