The Catalyst curriculum builds on cutting-edge research to leverage the value of A&S degrees and maximize student impact and success in work and civic engagement


  •  3-credit course in Quantitative Literacy (fulfilled by any of the Quantification, Computation and Data Analysis (QCD) courses in the College)

Catalyst Core Courses


Arts and Sciences: From Theory to Practice (3 credits)

This course challenges students to understand and apply the intellectual skills they've gained in college in contexts outside the academy. Students will develop insight into their own thinking and learning processes and abilities, and learn to describe and use those abilities precisely and effectively. Students will put different domains of critical inquiry into effective holistic practice: research, synthesis, ethical judgment, cross-cultural competence, effective communication, and complex decision-making. As students refine their engagement with these abilities, they'll gain experience in group projects, using them for effective and ethical action.

“I loved the professor and this course. I think it is by far the most useful course I have taken at UVA,  and it should honestly be required for third or fourth year students. I hope to stay in touch with the professor and take what I have learned with me throughout the rest of my time here and even after graduation.”

Leadership, Collaboration, Communication (3 credits)

This course focuses on developing and understanding the complex skills that it takes to lead, to collaborate as part of a team, to build coalitions, and to convince other people of your viewpoints. These abilities depend on a sophisticated understanding of difference, a reflexive understanding of the self, and the cultivated skills of emotional intelligence, empathy, persuasive communication, and more. Drawing on the humanities and social sciences, this course develops students' abilities to work effectively with other people in a range of contexts, from work to civic leadership and beyond.

Global Perspectives (3 credits)

This course must be fulfilled by a class from the College that focuses on global intercultural understanding. The list of approved courses may be found here; it will be updated every semester as new classes are added. If you find another class that you think should fill the requirement, let us know. We did not list major seminars and upper-level language classes here since they are not open to everyone but some may count. 

Two Skills Accelerators (2 credits each; 4 credits total):

Choose from two of the following; topics will rotate by year and availability:

  • Digital Media Production: Sound, Video, Graphic Design, Podcasting
  • Marketing/Branding/Storytelling
  • Coding
  • Data with Excel
  • App Development
  • Human Resources
  • Structured Problem-Solving
  • Web Design
  • Cybersecurity
  • Other relevant technical or digital skills as offered

Capstone Course (1 Credit)

The capstone course is a practicum where students will complete and present a synthesis of their work in Catalyst and at UVA. This will take the form of a curated ePortfolio. Students will draw together the results of their ongoing work towards a plan of action. 

“This was the most practical and useful course I have taken at UVA. The professor communicates clearly, gives students eye-opening ideas and focuses on the most important aspects of capitalism,  the job market and the process of getting a job. Overall, it is a wonderful course"