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General Education Requirements
This general education program incorporates the University’s college-level and baccalaureate-level writing requirements, eliminates the former physical education requirement, and lets the University computer usage (literacy) requirement continue to be enforced force separately.
The program has two parts, proficiencies and distribution. What follows describes these elements of the program. However, all descriptions of course content and structure presuppose the individual professor’s freedom to teach the course according to personal professional judgment. Stated requirements are not intended to impinge upon academic freedom, but only to specify a range of content within which the course should be structured. Matters of interpretation and pedagogy are the sole prerogative of the individual professor.
The general education program requires each student to develop proficiency in writing and mathematics or quantitative reasoning and, beyond that, to enhance one of these proficiencies or to develop another foundational skill. Each student must complete:
- college-level writing course;
- baccalaureate-level writing or writing-intensive course in one’s major or curriculum;
- college-level mathematics or quantitative reasoning course beyond MATH 1100 (not satisfied by MATH 1110), not limited to courses in the Departments of Mathematics or Statistics;
- course or courses in one of the following categories (one of these options may be required by the student’s major and/or curriculum):
- advanced writing, 3-4 hours,
- mathematics or quantitative reasoning, 3-4 hours,
- critical thinking, 3-4 hours,
- oral communication, 3-4 hours,
- American Sign Language, 3-4 hours,
- computer programming and applications, 3-4 hours, or
- courses to advance proficiency in a foreign language to at least second semester, college-level, 6-8 hours.
- Satisfy both the college-level writing (1. above) and college-level mathematics or quantitative reasoning (3. above) proficiency requirements before registration in any upper-division-level course. Upper-division-level courses are defined as those courses with a course number of 3000 or above.
The general education program defines a comprehensive and balanced distribution of eight content areas and requires that a student take a course from each area:
- Area I, Fine Arts, 3-4 hours
- Area II, Humanities, 3-4 hours
- Area III, The United States: Cultures and Issues, 3-4 hours
- Area IV, Other Cultures and Civilizations, 3-4 hours
- Area V, Social and Behavioral Sciences, 3-4 hours
- Area VI, Natural Sciences with Laboratory, 4-5 hours
- Area VII, Natural Science and Technology: Applications and Implications, 3-4 hours
- Area VIII, Health and Well-Being, 2 hours
In addition to meeting the proficiencies and distribution area requirements, the following requirements apply to the general education program:
- Course work must total a minimum of 37 hours, not counting the baccalaureate-level writing course except for designated majors. If a student completes all requirements by completing fewer than 37 credit hours, the remaining required credits may be selected from any course approved for general education.
- A minimum of six hours must be taken from 3000- or 4000-level courses in the distribution areas.
- No more than two courses from any one department may be used to satisfy distribution requirements.
General Education Requirements for Transfer Students
All students graduating from WMU must meet the thirty-seven semester hour requirements of the General Education Program. This must include at least two courses at the 3000-4000-level in the distribution areas and, in addition, the baccalaureate-level writing requirement.
- Students who have fulfilled the requirement of the MACRAO Articulation Agreement and are transferring from participating Michigan Community Colleges:
Colleges listed below have signed the MACRAO Articulation Agreement. Transfer students from these schools whose transcripts have been appropriately identified and certified as having fulfilled the requirements of the MACRAO agreement by their respective community college will have satisfied WMU’s lower level General Education requirements. Such students need only satisfy Western’s requirement of six hours of 3000-4000-level General Education course work from the distribution areas, and complete the baccalaureate-level writing course (Proficiency 2). In addition, the University will determine the equivalence and applicability of transferable community college courses in meeting other graduation requirements.
Michigan Community College MACRAO Agreement Signators:
Alpena Community College
Bay de Noc Community College
Glen Oaks Community College
Gogebic Community College
Grand Rapids Community College
Henry Ford Community College
Jackson Community College
Kellogg Community College
Kirtland Community College
Lake Michigan College
Lansing Community College
Macomb Community College
Mid Michigan Community College
Monroe County Community College
Montcalm Community College
Mott Community College
Muskegon Community College
North Central Michigan College
Northwestern Michigan College
Oakland Community College
St. Clair County Community College
Southwestern Michigan College
Washtenaw Community College
Wayne County Community College
West Shore Community College
- Transfer students without MACRAO Certification.
Students who transfer from Michigan community colleges and who have not fulfilled the requirements of the MACRAO Articulation Agreement will have their course work evaluated according to the General Education requirements as described in Western’s General Education Program Transfer Guides available at the WMU Office of Admissions website. In order to determine remaining General Education requirements, students should consult their curriculum advisor.
- Transfer students from all other colleges
Students will have their transfer work evaluated according to the General Education requirements as described in the General Education Policy section of this catalog. In order to determine remaining General Education requirements, students should consult their curriculum advisor.
- Waiver of junior-senior requirement for transfer students with advanced standing.
A student transferring ninety or more semester hours may be eligible to have the junior-senior General Education requirement waived, provided that a minimum of thirty semester hours are from a four-year college or university. Such students should contact their curriculum advisor for further information.
General Education Program Courses
The General Education Courses can be found here.
Number of first-time, full-time, degree-seeking beginning freshman, Class of 2004: 3,731.
After six years, the number (and percentage) of those in the Class of 2004 who graduated: 1,943 (52.2%).
The faculty and administration of Western Michigan University believe that academic advising is a necessary part of undergraduate education. The University has committed many faculty and staff to this essential service, and strongly urges all students to make full use of the available resources in order to receive the best possible education.
All students should consult with their curriculum advisors who will help them plan their degree programs. Curriculum advisors offer academic advising, which includes General Education requirements, specific curriculum requirements, career opportunities, etc. In addition, they offer academic guidance, that is, exploration of alternatives and other educational possibilities. This is a useful and productive means of attempting to match a student’s interests and abilities with an academic program. Curriculum advisors will make referrals to other advising facilities and departmental advisors when it is appropriate. It should be emphasized that it is the student’s responsibility to arrange to meet with curriculum and/or departmental advisors.
A listing of curriculum advisors may be found on the advising web site www.wmich.edu/registrar/advising. Students not certain of their curriculum or advisor should contact the Advising Office of the College to which they have been admitted. Students should refer to their Admission Certificates to find out to which curriculum and College they have been admitted.
Academic Advising for Freshman Students
Freshmen students admitted for the Fall Semester will receive a written invitation to attend one of the Orientation sessions held during the summer. Attendance is mandatory. During this program, students will have the opportunity to meet with their curriculum advisors, at which time they will receive academic information and assistance in requesting classes for their first semester. Orientation provides comprehensive advising, as well as important campus information.
Students who have been admitted for Spring, Summer I, or Summer II must make individual appointments for advising prior to registering. Appointment should be with curriculum advisors.
Academic Advising for Transfer Students
Transfer students should arrange appointments for advising shortly after admissions. Students will be advised as to how transfer courses apply to programs at Western. In addition, students will receive curriculum and major/minor advising, as well as Intellectual Skills Program advising. It is important that transfer students bring their most recent Credit Evaluations to these meetings. Transfer students are urged obtain advising before registering online for classes.
Academic Advising for Graduation
Applications for a graduation audit to determine the student’s eligibility for graduation are available in the College Advising Offices. Major and minor slips also must be secured from the appropriate advisor(s) and submitted along with the application for a graduation audit. Advisors will assist students with this application process, and students should visit regularly with their advisors to ensure that their progress toward degree completion conforms with all University and degree requirements.
College Advising Offices
College of Arts and Sciences
2318 Friedmann Hall, 387-4366
College of Aviation
Aviation Education Center, 964-6375
Haworth College of Business
2130 Schneider Hall, 387-5075
College of Education
2504 Sangren Hall, 387-3474
College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
E102 CEAS, 276-3270
College of Fine Arts
2132 Dalton Center, 387-4672
College of Health and Human Services
221 Health and Human Services Building, 387-2656
203 Moore Hall, 387-4410
Lee Honors College
Lee Honors College Building, 387-3230