Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Who should apply for this program?
A: Students interested in tackling societal, intellectual, technological and scientific challenges across two or more disciplines who are hoping to become more creative problem-solvers and more insightful scholars throughout their time at Washington University.
Q: Who should not apply for this program?
A: Students interested in pursuing degrees in Biomedical Engineering (BME), Chemical Engineering (ChemE), and Environmental Engineering (EECE) may not be able to participate in the first years of the program due to specific track-based requirements. However, these students are invited to apply for Phase II of the Beyond Boundaries Program, which spans the junior and senior year and includes a senior capstone experience.
Q: Can I be in the Beyond Boundaries Program as well as one of the First Year Ampersand Programs in Arts & Sciences?
A: To promote access to all university programs and offerings to the maximum number of students, Beyond Boundaries Program students are not allowed to be in Ampersand Programs but are welcome to sign up for an Arts & Sciences First-Year Seminar or First-Year Opportunity Program. If you have questions, please speak to your four-year academic advisor.
Q: What if I apply to Beyond Boundaries Program and do not get in?
A: Applicants who are not selected to be in the Beyond Boundaries Program have their application and essay forwarded to one of the 4 undergraduate schools of your choice. Being declined by the Beyond Boundaries Program is not a liability at all to your overall WashU application. There is no risk in applying to the Beyond Boundaries Program.
Q: Once accepted into the Beyond Boundaries Program, can I change divisions?
A: After being accepted into the Beyond Boundaries Program, a student is essentially admitted into a division devoted to BB students only. Transferring to another division is not allowed until the end of Year One. This is by-design and allows BB students the freedom to ‘dance across disciplines’ and explore interdisciplinary opportunities in their first year.
Q: Is this an “interdisciplinary” program?
A: Yes. Students entering this program will be offered opportunities to explore topics – from aging to climate change to artificial intelligence – from multiple disciplinary perspectives. Each course in the program will teach students how to view these major issues from multiple frameworks through teamwork and collaboration. Teams of professors from across Washington University’s schools will teach each of their courses.
Q: Is this a “Scholars” program?
A: While it is an honor to be selected for the Beyond Boundaries Program, it is not considered a “scholars” program. There is no tuition remission associated with the Beyond Boundaries Program. Students interested in this program should apply for financial aid through Student Financial Services. Beyond Boundaries Program students may be in a Scholars Program offered through the Office of Scholar Programs and the Beyond Boundaries Program at the same time.
Q: If I am in the Beyond Boundaries Program can I take graduate level courses?
A: No, but many of the Beyond Boundaries course offerings are taught by faculty from our 3 graduate/professional level schools (Brown School, School of Medicine, and School of Law) offering a first-year student a unique opportunity to connect with graduate faculty.
Q: What if I don’t like it? (the program)
A: In special circumstances, if a first year program student wishes to leave the program, they must be approved for a transfer to an undergraduate division either before the 4th week of the fall semester or wait until their fall semester has finished. The approval of the Beyond Boundaries Program as well as the proposed school is required.
Q: What are my options after the first year?
A: At the end of your first year, you will matriculate into your chosen school and will declare a major during the spring of your sophomore year, as is typical for most undergraduate students. As a Beyond Boundaries student, you will be taking the majority of your classes within your academic division and major during your sophomore year, but will also be involved in the second year of Beyond Boundaries, which involves a less structured curriculum of interdisciplinary study. This includes, but is not limited to, community building events, select upper division interdisciplinary courses, Spring Break opportunities, guest lectures, seminars, and discussions.
Q: Can I go into any division after my first year?
A: The majority of majors in Washington University’s academic divisions will be open to students after their first year in the Beyond Boundaries Program. There may be some exceptions for students who do not meet the academic performance requirements for the School of Engineering in their introductory science and math classes. The Sam Fox School of Art & Design may require a portfolio submission from students wishing to enter after the first year.
Q: Can I switch the academic areas I’m interested in after entering the Beyond Boundaries Program?
A: Yes. You are not committed to studying anything you write about in your application. We recognize that students’ interests often change after they matriculate into the Beyond Boundaries Program and into Washington University.
Q: Will it take me longer to graduate?
A: It should not take you longer than four years to graduate, unless you decide to pursue a degree in Biomedical Engineering or Chemical Engineering, after starting your time at Washington University as part of the Beyond Boundaries Program.
Q: What is the difference between this and having two majors?
A: While students with two majors may be interested in two separate areas of study, the Beyond Boundaries Program aims to bring students’ different interests into conversation with each other in order to approach the big social and intellectual problems of tomorrow. Many students in the Beyond Boundaries Program will have two majors, but it is certainly not a requirement of the program.