Jul 14, 2024  
Undergraduate Catalog 2019-20 
Undergraduate Catalog 2019-20 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Education

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:

  1. college-level writing course;
  2. baccalaureate-level writing or writing-intensive course in one’s major or curriculum;
  3. 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;
  4. course or courses in one of the following categories (one of these options may be required by the student’s major and/or curriculum):
    1. advanced writing, 3-4 hours,
    2. mathematics or quantitative reasoning, 3-4 hours,
    3. critical thinking, 3-4 hours,
    4. oral communication, 3-4 hours,
    5. American Sign Language, 3-4 hours,
    6. computer programming and applications, 3-4 hours, or
    7. courses to advance proficiency in a language other than English to at least second semester, college-level, 6-8 hours.
  5. 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.

Distribution Areas

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

Other Requirements

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 37 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.

  1. Students who have fulfilled the requirement of the Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) and are transferring from participating Michigan community colleges:

    Colleges listed below have signed the Michigan Transfer Agreement. Transfer students from these schools whose transcripts have been appropriately identified and certified as having fulfilled the requirements of the Michigan Transfer 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. Visit: http://wmich.edu/admissions/transfer-mta for more information.

    Michigan community college Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) signators:
    Alpena Community College
    Bay de Noc Community College
    Delta College
    Glen Oaks Community College
    Gogebic Community College
    Grand Rapids Community College
    Henry Ford College
    Jackson College
    Kalamazoo Valley 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
    Schoolcraft College
    Southwestern Michigan College
    Washtenaw Community College
    Wayne County Community College District
    West Shore Community College
  2. Transfer students without MTA certification
    Students who transfer from Michigan community colleges and who have not fulfilled the requirements of the Michigan Transfer 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.