Students gather around a map in the Winter Study course Maps: Past, Present and Future.

Academic Interlude

Academic Interlude

Winter Study at Williams offers students a change of pace from the usual semester. They might choose to dig deep into their academic interests, including independent study and thesis work. Or they can pursue a new area of study altogether. 

A hallmark of the Williams experience, the intensive four-week program in January is taught by Williams faculty, staff and community members. Students can choose from a wide array of courses, with an emphasis on experiential learning, exploration, self-expression, travel and wellness.

Some examples of this year’s Winter Study courses include Tropical Marine Conservation, a travel course that brings students to the Bahamian island of Eleuthera to study ecosystems such as coral reefs and mangrove forests; Bollywood, in which students learn about India’s dynamic film industry; Principles of Effective Leadership, in which students engage with more than a dozen guest speakers, mostly Williams alumni, from leadership positions in the corporate world, science, government, social entrepreneurship and athletics; Improvisational Woodcut, which looks at the ancient practice of making inked impressions from the carved surfaces of wooden blocks; and Forensic Science where students examine physical, chemical and biological items of evidence found in criminal cases.

In Maps: Past, Present & Future (pictured above), approximately 30 students examine how antique maps, created in the 15th to 20th centuries, provide lessons for modern-day map-making. The course is taught by Tom Paper ’84, VP of the California Map Society and founder of The Digital Gallery, a website of exhibits of antique maps and art.

Learn more about the Winter Study Program and explore the Winter Study catalog.

View more photos from Winter Study 2023.