2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog

Special Study Opportunities

Centennial Honors College

The Centennial Honors College provides academically talented and motivated undergraduate students an enriched academic curriculum and opportunities for leadership, professional development, and service learning. The program includes 44 academic majors or areas of study from four colleges as well as special pre-professional honors options such as the pre-law honors minor and preengineering. Within General Education, honors students are provided a curriculum of special General Honors tutorials, colloquia, seminars, and independent research. Within departments, students are offered in-course honors experiences, seminars, recitals, and internship opportunities. For more information about the Centennial Honors College, visit wiu.edu/honors.

Four-Year Guarantees


GradTrac: Freshman students in eligible majors who wish to ensure graduation within four years may apply to GradTrac. A GradTrac agreement assures students that they will complete their requirements in four years if they comply with the provisions of the GradTrac agreement. GradTrac uses WIU’s automated degree audit system, which allows students and their advisers to monitor progress in their degree plan. Students who sign the GradTrac agreement must meet with their advisers regularly, complete required coursework as prescribed for their degree program, maintain a grade point average designated by their program, and maintain continuous enrollment at the University. If a student meets all the requirements of the GradTrac Agreement but is unable to graduate due to the unavailability of a course, the University will waive or substitute the course(s) needed to allow graduation in the prescribed number of semesters. If a waiver or substitution is not possible, then the University will waive the tuition for the course(s) still needed if taken at Western Illinois University. See more information about GradTrac.


Western Illinois University guarantees a four-year rate for tuition, fees, and room and board for new undergraduate students entering the University. All new undergraduate students, full- and part-time, are automatically included in the plan. The per-hour rate for tuition and fees will be fixed for a four-year period along with room and board rates as long as the student maintains continuous enrollment. If a student’s major is recognized as requiring more than four years to complete, the guaranteed rate will be extended to cover the expected time for degree completion. Transfer students who earn an associate’s degree and transfer to Western Illinois University the following semester will receive the previous year’s cost guarantee rates. Each year the University’s Board of Trustees sets new rates for the entering class. If a fee is added and approved by the board, such as funding a new student service, the fee will apply to all students when implemented. For more information on the Cost Guarantee, contact the Office of Admissions located in Sherman Hall 115, telephone (309) 298-3157.

Individualized Degree Programs

Bachelor of Arts in General Studies Degree Program

The Bachelor of Arts in General Studies degree program is a non-traditional approach to undergraduate education designed for students who are placebound by work and/or family responsibilities. The fully online degree program permits maximum transfer of Special Study Opportunities 17 credit as well as credit earned for individually selected courses, prior learning portfolios, and proficiency examinations. Those students unable to attend classes on the WIU campuses in Macomb or the Quad Cities may enroll in online courses or coursework offered at extension sites throughout west-central and northern Illinois and southeast Iowa.

For more information on the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies degree program, visit wiu.edu/bgs/.

Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Program

The Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Program allows students to design and pursue individualized programs of study in areas that are not otherwise available at the University, or to complete one of four concentrations—Renewable Energy and Biofuels Technology; Renewable Energy and Wind Technology; Renewable Energy Policy, Planning and Management; or Youth Development. Students enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Program receive either the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree depending on the program and the requirements of the University General Education Curriculum. View additional information on the Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Program.

Integrated Baccalaureate and Master’s Degree Programs

Western Illinois University offers integrated baccalaureate and master’s degree programs in Accountancy, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Forensic Chemistry, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Physics. These programs are administered by the respective academic departments. An integrated baccalaureate and master’s degree program provides the opportunity for outstanding undergraduates to earn both degrees in five years. Typically, a baccalaureate degree requires four years to complete and a master’s degree requires an additional two years. However, the integrated degree programs are intended to be accomplished over a period of five years. In addition to allowing students to earn both degrees a year early, the integrated programs may include additional opportunities to participate in a variety of experiential educational activities such as a master’s project or thesis. For additional information about the integrated baccalaureate and master's degree programs, refer to the Western Illinois University Graduate Studies Catalog.

Study Abroad Program

Study abroad allows students to complement and enhance their classroom instruction by experiencing the culture and language of a host country. Through WIU’s Study Abroad Program, students can participate in a wide variety of educational programs located in more than 50 countries worldwide. There are many programs that take place over spring and winter breaks or in the summer, or students may choose to participate in semester- or year-long programs. Many study abroad programs are comparable in cost to studying on WIU’s Illinois campuses, and financial aid and scholarships are available to qualified students. Undergraduate students may participate in a study abroad program if they are in good academic and judicial standing, have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better, and have completed 12 s.h. of undergraduate work at WIU. Certain programs may have additional eligibility criteria. For more information about study abroad at WIU, contact the Office of Study Abroad at (309) 298-2504 or go to wiu.edu/studyabroad.

University Advising Program (for undeclared students)

Many students, typically 25 percent of the freshman class, are uncertain about their choice of a major. Western Illinois University designates these persons as University Advising students who can remain in this category until they have earned 45 semester hours of credit. Students are required to declare a major at this point. The University Advising and Academic Services Center is responsible for advising University Advising students.

The University Advising Program enables students to examine major and career options while concentrating on coursework necessary for the University General Education  Curriculum. The emphasis on General Education courses permits students to make progress toward graduation while still undecided about a specific major. Advisers help students evaluate interests, goals, values, and abilities, and apply this self-knowledge to the exploration of various majors.

University Advising is a positive option for students who are uncertain about their future plans and wish to explore academic and career possibilities during their first semesters at the University.

Western’s English as a Second Language (WESL) Institute

Western’s English as a Second Language (WESL) Institute, accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation, provides an intensive program in academic English for international students who are preparing to enter an American college or university as well as for others needing ESL services. The WESL curriculum is designed and taught by professional faculty to prepare students academically, socially, and culturally for success as university students. The English as a Second Language Program is offered during the spring, summer, and fall semesters. It consists of three levels of instruction: Foundation, Intermediate, and University Preparation. Upon arrival, students take the WESL English Placement Test and are thereby placed in the appropriate level of English study or directly into the University. Students who place at the highest level and who meet WIU admission requirements may be admitted to the dual level, in which they are enrolled part-time at the WESL Institute and part-time at the University. The WESL program consists of two 16-week semesters and an eightweek summer session, both of which follow the WIU academic calendar. For additional information on WESL, go to wiu.edu/international.