Because liberal arts education stresses breadth of learning rather than narrow specialization, Hampden-Sydney students are prepared for a variety of career choices. Those students who wish to enter graduate school or one of the professions requiring training beyond the undergraduate level will find appropriate educational opportunities, academic programs, and guidance at Hampden-Sydney. Students are encouraged to contact the Ferguson Career Center early in their academic careers for guidance and assistance while exploring and preparing for career opportunities.
Students who plan to pursue graduate work maintain close liaison with members of the faculty in the area in which they plan to continue their education. To gain admission to graduate school, an applicant is expected to have done undergraduate work of high quality. A reading knowledge of at least one modern foreign language is usually required for the Ph.D. degree, and the applicant must score well on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). For more specific requirements, students should consult the catalogues of graduate schools to which they are interested in applying.
Liberal arts education at Hampden-Sydney establishes a strong and broad educational foundation appropriate to later work in business. Whatever a student's major department may be, he learns the skills essential to working in any business and develops an understanding of his society and the people with whom he deals.
Hampden-Sydney graduates have entered the fields of business from every major program of the College. Many prepare for business careers by electing a major such as Economics and Business. Some continue their education in Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) graduate programs. Students interested in careers in business or study in an M.B.A. program should contact Professor Dempster of the Department of Economics and Business.
The Christian Ministry
Hampden-Sydney provides an excellent foundation for those who wish to become Christian ministers. Theological seminaries do not specify particular courses as prerequisites for admission, but instead urge those who contemplate entering the Christian ministry to take a broadly based selection of courses in the humanities and in the social and natural sciences. While not requiring Hebrew and Greek for admission, seminaries recommend that a prospective minister acquire in his undergraduate training a working knowledge of those languages.
Hampden-Sydney's programs in the natural sciences, mathematics, and computer science offer exceptional preparation for careers in engineering. The College fosters a successful dual-degree program with the University of Virginia and a second dual-degree program in Physics and Engineering with Old Dominion University. The College offers a solid core of subjects that provide a foundation for many engineering specialties. Hampden-Sydney's small classes and opportunities for close student-faculty contact strengthen that foundation.
Students interested in a career in engineering should see the Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy early in their freshman year.
The academic program of the College is ideal for preparing students for public service. Students from all majors have entered careers in government or other public arenas. One path to such a career is the Leadership in the Public Interest Certificate Program, a part of the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest, which combines courses in ethics, economics and business, and government and foreign affairs, as well as an internship, in preparing students for significant roles in government.
Students planning a career in law are encouraged to follow a broad, liberal course of study. In fact, the Association of American Law Schools recommends liberal arts education because "many of the goals of legal education are also the goals of liberal education." A program of study in which students develop the habits of thoroughness, intellectual curiosity, logical thinking, analysis of social institutions, and clarity of expression is strongly recommended. Those skills are employed throughout the liberal-arts curriculum in the study of ethics, history, rhetoric, literature, politics, mathematics, the sciences, and languages.
At Hampden-Sydney, the Pre-Law Society guides and assists students in preparing for law school and the legal profession. The Society disseminates information about admission to law schools and about preparation for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT); it also brings to the College guest speakers to discuss legal issues, sponsors visiting lecturers, and arranges trips to visit courts in session. Students interested in a law career should contact Professor Carroll of the Department of Government and Foreign Affairs.
Medicine and Dentistry
A liberal education such as that offered by Hampden- Sydney is excellent preparation for those students who wish to pursue medical training and careers in the medical professions. According to recent editions of Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR), published by the Association of American Medical Colleges, all medical schools "recognize the importance of a broad education-a strong foundation in the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics), highly developed communication skills, and a solid background in the social sciences and humanities."
A majority of medical and dental applicants major in science, though the choice of major in itself has no influence on chances for acceptance by a medical school. Again according to MSAR, "The medical profession seeks individuals from diverse educational backgrounds who will bring to the profession a variety of talents and interests." Students with strong interests in two fields sometimes elect a double major.
Whatever his major and choice of electives, the student should choose each semester a challenging curriculum that assists in his rapid development and builds a strong record for admission. Virtually all U.S. medical and dental schools require at least two semesters each of basic courses, with laboratories, in biology, chemistry, and physics. A candidate's performance in these courses generally carries more weight in the admissions process than that in other courses, particularly for the non-science major who has less additional science work for consideration. Certain medical and dental schools list additional required or recommended courses in such fields as mathematics and rhetoric or English. Students should consult MSAR for the particular requirements of each institution to which they may apply.
Every U.S. medical school requires applicants to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), and every dental school, the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). The MCAT, given twice a year at Hampden-Sydney, and the DAT, given twice a year in Richmond, are normally first taken in the spring of the junior year. The Health Sciences Committee of the Faculty advises students on their preparation for medical and dental schools and assists them in the application process. On request, the Committee prepares recommendations for transmittal to all institutions to which the student has applied. In addition, the College participates in a joint program with Eastern Virginia Medical School, through which outstanding students receive early assurance of admission to medical school; another with the George Washington University School of Medicine, through which outstanding premedical students may be selected at the end of their sophomore year to enter the medical school once they have completed the requirements for graduation from Hampden-Sydney College; and a third with Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Students planning a career in medicine or dentistry should contact the Chair of the Health Sciences Committee no later than the spring semester of their freshman year.
A broadly based liberal education, with a strong major in the field to be taught and supporting courses in related areas, provides an excellent preparation for the individual who wishes not merely to qualify for, but to excel in, teaching at the secondary level. Courses needed to satisfy the certification requirements of the State of Virginia for some majors offered at Hampden-Sydney may be taken at Hampden-Sydney, at Longwood University (through the cooperative program), or at an EXCHANGE institution. Students who wish to earn full certification should consult the Associate Dean of the Faculty, preferably during the fall of their freshman year, because certain prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of the sophomore year in order to obtain teaching certification at graduation.
In support of its commitment to secondary school teaching, the College annually awards the Brown Teaching Fellowship, which helps defray the cost of certification courses for students intending to teach in public school systems. Interested students should consult the Associate Dean of the Faculty.