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Admissions : FAQ_Academics

FAQ - Academics
  
Answer
Where do I find the West Point catalog?
You can download our free catalog by visiting our main home page http://admissions.usma.edu/index.html.
What is the academic program like?
West Point advocates developing the "whole person" by providing a dynamic and integrated curriculum that balances the physical sciences and engineering with the humanities and social sciences. Graduates should be able to respond effectively to a changing technological, social, political, and economic world. The academy instills in cadets creativity, moral awareness, and a commitment to progressive and continuing educational growth.
 
Currently 42 majors are offered to cadets so they may pursue academic majors in disciplines of their choice. The two components of the academic program are a broad, general core program that is prescribed and an elective program that is individually selected. West Point is accredited by The Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, (215) 662-5606. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Six engineering programs – Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Systems Engineering, Environmental Engineering and Engineering Management – are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Additionally the Computer Science Accreditation Commission (CSAC) of the Computer Sciences Accreditation Board accredits the Computer Science major.
Can I validate courses / do my AP scores count?
Cadets may validate courses, but there are a variety of factors that play in these decisions. The latest information about this question can be found on the Dean's Validation and Advanced Placement page.
What is the academic course load like?
The core curriculum is the foundation of the academic program and provides a foundation in mathematics, basic sciences, engineering sciences, information technology, humanities, behavioral sciences and social sciences. This core curriculum, ranging in size from 26 to 30 courses depending on the major, represents the essential broad base of knowledge necessary for success as a commissioned officer, while also supporting each cadet’s choice of academic specialization. It is, in effect, the "professional major" for every cadet, since it prepares each graduate for a career as a commissioned officer in the Army.
What is the student-faculty ratio?
The student-faculty ratio at West Point is approximately 8 to 1. You not only know your professor or instructor, but also have the opportunity to request additional instruction when needed. Classes are small, typically numbering 12 to 18 cadets. West Point's long tradition of daily discussion and frequent grading remains unchanged. Army officers and civilian professors enhance your understanding of an academic concentration. The predominantly military faculty also helps in your professional military development.
How would you describe the faculty?
About 75 percent of the West Point faculty are military personnel who have completed graduate work at the most respected universities in the nation. All faculty members have their master's degrees and more than 30 percent have doctoral qualifications.
How strong are the library and its research collection?
More than 10 reference librarians provide enthusiastic research assistance in a brand-new, $65-million library in Jefferson Hall. Subject specialists work closely with faculty to help cadets prepare for research projects. The West Point collection boasts 460,000 print volumes plus subscriptions to more than 60,000 print and online journals. We share a catalog with 14 academic institutions in New York, including Vassar and Colgate; cadets borrow freely from this virtual collection of over 3 million items. Our Interlibrary Loan Office tracks down other items for cadets and faculty from hundreds of academic libraries in the United States and Europe.
How is the personal computer used in academics?
Cadets and faculty at West Point enjoy the benefits of a first-class information technology environment. With a personal computer at every desk and everyone connected to a large array of powerful academic computing services and with unlimited access to the Internet, West Point has an electronic environment in which every course offered has integrated computer use. This "computer thread" allows cadets to make full use of their personal computers in the place where most learning occurs – the barracks.
Are there any other special academic programs?
West Point has established Centers of Excellence that enhance the quality of the academic program. These centers make full use of professional expertise and technical resources to enrich cadet education. The centers help enhance cadet academic performance, improve faculty teaching, promote faculty and cadet research and provide outreach and support to the U.S. Army. Cadets and faculty conduct research in conjunction with the academic departments through such centers as the Center for Environmental and Geographic Sciences, the Operations Research Center, the Photonics Research Center, the Office of Artificial Intelligence Analysis and Evaluation, and the Information Technology Center, as well as others.
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