The Catalyst program features cohorts that work together closely throughout the program, combined with small class sizes and substantial faculty engagement. Our core courses are capped at 18 students and our Skills courses at 12 students (we offer multiple sections of both). These small course sizes are integral to the engaged nature of the program and allow Catalyst faculty to focus significant personalized attention on students. Students begin the Catalyst sequence with Leadership, Collaboration, Communication in their first semester, proceed through the remaining requirements at their own pace, and finish with the Capstone course. Our curriculum is desiged to be flexible so as to meet individual student schedules and interests.

“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.”


  1. 3-credit course in Quantitative Literacy
Catalyst Core Courses:
Leadership, Collaboration, Communication (3 credits)
Substantive research shows that the complex skills it takes to work well in a team--as a leader and as a collaborator--are at the top of the list of skills employers want to see in Arts and Sciences graduates. They are also fundamental to civic engagement and leadership. This course uses group-focused and project-based learning as a natural laboratory through which students develop these complex skills. As students complete substantive real-world projects working throughout the semester in small teams, they'll cultivate and reflect on the relational, project-management, communication, and decision-making abilities required by group work.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, ethical reasoning, and more. Drawing on perspectives from 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. 
Arts and Sciences: From Theory to Practice (3 credits)
'Critical Thinking' is one of the most commonly-cited outcomes of an Arts and Sciences education, and one with substantial real-world impact in employment and beyond. This course challenges students not just to develop and refine the broad range of conceptual abilities that make up this simple term, but also to communicate those abilities effectively outside the academy. In other words, we begin with the question: what, exactly, did you learn in college, and how does it matter after graduation? For the majority of students who will not enter jobs directly related to their major, this is a critical question to be able to answer clearly and succintly. Students will develop insight into their own thinking and learning processes and abilities. The course also puts A&S educational outcomes into practice through a consideration of the values, aspirations and goals that students bring to life after graduation, and the most effective ways to build on those ethical considerations in practice in the first job and beyond.
Global Perspectives (3 credits)
This course must be fulfilled by a class from the College that focuses on global intercultural understanding, and most students will have fulfilled this requirement through their General Education course of study. 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, please be in contact. We do 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):
These course teach in-demand digital skills for the contemporary workplace. Graduates who are 'broadly educated' (in durable skills like leadership) but 'narrowly skilled' (in career-relevant topics) have a distinct advantage on the job market. We census Catalyst students yearly to determine which courses we'll preferentially offer in the coming year; these are courses that are often hard to find or access elsewhere but that translate to real-world outcomes.
Choose from e.g. 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
Catalyst Capstone (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 professional portfolio that students will manage on a domain they own and that will travel with them after graduation. 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"