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University General Education Curriculum

Philosophy and Goals of General Education

General education is the component of the undergraduate curriculum devoted to those areas of knowledge, methods of inquiry, and ideas that the University and scholarly community believe are common to well-educated persons. General education provides a foundation for future learning.

The generally well-educated student will demonstrate:

  1. broad knowledge and understanding of the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities;
  2. an ability to analyze, think critically, and form reasoned conclusions;
  3. competence in communicating his or her views and ideas clearly and cogently;
  4. an understanding of the methods by which people pursue knowledge;
  5. an understanding of differences and relative power among peoples, both in the United States and across the globe;
  6. knowledge of the principles of wellness for living a healthy and fit life, both physically and mentally.
  1. Communication Skills
    Communication is the art of expressing and exchanging meaning among people. At the University, meaning or knowledge is developed as teachers and students share insights, exchange ideas, and debate positions. Reading, speaking, research, and writing all play important roles in this construction and extension of knowledge.

    College Writing
    The writing course sequence enables students to use language actively in diverse ways and settings to gain and share knowledge about their experiences and concepts. They also reflect on that language use by examining their processes of writing and reading in order to understand both the texts they create and the texts they encounter.
    Courses in the writing sequence will teach students to:
    1. make writing choices within the rhetorical contexts of academic writing, with attention to the particular audiences, subjects, and purposes of writing;
    2. understand and incorporate into their own writing each stage of the writing process: exploration, invention, drafting, revising, editing;
    3. improve their ability to analyze on multiple levels the texts that they read, and to recognize and synthesize connections among texts;
    4. discover a variety of argumentative strategies in academic writing and incorporate those strategies in the development of several essays;
    5. explore in depth at least one significant subject of academic interest by extensive reading, peer discussion, and the use and citation of research materials; and
    6. demonstrate control over the conventions of edited American English.
    Public Speaking
    The oral communication course develops students’ awareness of the communication process; focuses on the skills of invention, organization, and expression; promotes understanding of, and adaptation to, a variety of communication contexts; and emphasizes critical skills in listening, reading, thinking, and speaking.
    The communication course will teach students to:
    1. create effective speeches through careful selection of topics and analysis of audience needs, situational factors, and speaker purposes;
    2. gather, evaluate, organize, and outline supportive materials into persuasive and informative messages that reflect an understanding of the appropriate use of evidence, reasoning, and language;
    3. deliver effective speeches that demonstrate proficiency in articulation, nonverbal behaviors, and visual aids that reinforce the message and promote clarity and interest; and
    4. become more discriminating consumers of messages through critical listening.
  2. Natural Sciences and Mathematics
    Part A—Mathematics Competency
    Competency in baccalaureate level mathematics enables students to successfully engage in the mathematical thinking encountered in undergraduate studies and in daily living. Central to this competency is the ability to solve problems, to use mathematical modeling, and to evaluate mathematical calculations and reasoning. Students are expected to express and interpret mathematical information in written and oral forms and to use technology (calculators, computers, etc.) appropriately.
    Mathematics competency courses will teach students to:
    1. use basic mathematics in problem solving and modeling strategies as needed for college coursework and for living in today’s and tomorrow’s world;
    2. clearly express mathematical ideas and calculations in writing; and
    3. make valid inferences from mathematical formulas, graphs, tables, and data.
    Part B—General Education
    Studying the natural sciences and mathematics enables students to understand the physical and natural world and the scientific and mathematical concepts, theories, and principles that explain that world. That is, students broaden and deepen their understanding of the diversity and interrelatedness of human knowledge in the sciences and mathematics and are better able to explain the similarities and differences that exist among the sciences. By studying the methods of inquiry practiced by scientists in the search for answers to yesterday’s and today’s issues and problems, they experience both the power and limitations of this knowledge while growing in their appreciation of the scientific perspective and its impact on their lives and society.
    General education courses in the natural sciences and mathematics will allow students to:
    1. demonstrate understanding of basic terms, concepts, principles, processes, and systems in the natural sciences and mathematics;
    2. draw conclusions and/or identify relationships by synthesizing from relevant information;
    3. demonstrate the ability to apply appropriate investigative methodologies in laboratory courses; and
    4. demonstrate the ability to use and understand scientific and mathematical terminology in writing assignments and/or classroom discussion.
  3. Social Sciences
    In their social science coursework, students explore aspects of their own cultures and beliefs and the cultures and beliefs of others within a context of empirical research findings and theoretical speculation.
    They examine anthropological, economic, geographical, political, psychological, and/ or sociological aspects of individuals and groups in various cultures and the social problems that these individuals and groups attempt to overcome.
    They apply a variety of methodologies (e.g., laboratory experiments, case studies, naturalistic observations) to studies of individual and group behavior.
    General education courses in the social sciences will allow students to:
    1. gain insight into the diversity of human motivations and institutional forces that influence social behavior;
    2. recognize multiple methods and modes of inquiry used in the social sciences and their appropriate application;
    3. develop analytical and critical thinking skills as applied to the study of the social sciences; and
    4. communicate ideas and explain concepts and analyses using the language of the social sciences.
  4. Humanities and Fine Arts
    In studying the humanities and fine arts, students learn to explore issues fundamental to human identity, as these are expressed in the artistic, cultural, and intellectual traditions of the world’s civilizations. Courses in the humanities and fine arts reveal ways to give meaning to human experience through the study of fine arts, philosophical thought, literature and film, interpretations of history, rituals and belief systems of religion, communication, and foreign languages. After studying the humanities and fine arts, students will have the tools and knowledge to respond more knowledgeably and actively to those humanistic and artistic works and traditions created by people of various societies and times.
    General education courses in the humanities and fine arts will allow students to:
    1. learn to perceive accurately, describe carefully, and analyze systematically various humanistic expressions and works such as literary, philosophical and historical texts; artistic forms and musical works; and ritual, drama, and other forms of symbolic action and speech;
    2. learn the significant concepts and issues that continue to structure and guide study in the humanities disciplines;
    3. learn to identify, analyze, and interpret the historical, social, or cultural contexts for these humanistic works and expressions;
    4. examine and come to understand human values as they are represented, reasoned about, and justified through various humanistic works and traditions; and
    5. develop reading, critical reasoning, and communication skills important for understanding and effectively communicating ideas and perspectives regarding humanistic works and traditions.
  5. Multicultural Studies
    Through multicultural and cross-cultural study, students will develop an understanding of diversity in the United States and of the larger world as a complex network of interdependent societies, cultures, histories, and world views. The courses offered challenge narrow conceptions of Self and Other by fostering in students an appreciation for cultural diversity, as well as the critical ability to discern the impact of large-scale cultural and historical forces on their lives. Students may choose among courses focusing on contemporary national and world politics (which could include such issues as conflict and cooperation, economy, the environment, and so on); the comparative study of cultures, societies, politics, and/or belief systems within and beyond the United States; and the dilemmas of the global majority—the three-quarters of the world’s population who live where they may have to strive for national identity as well as economic and political development.
    All courses in this area, whether focused on the United States or the world, encourage a better understanding of the dimensions of experience and belief that distinguish cultures and societies from one another as well as the commonalities that knit together all people. Understanding various dimensions of human experience helps break down barriers among groups and stimulates dialogue about solutions to many complex social problems. Through multicultural and cross-cultural studies students will recognize the historical, political, and cultural forces that foster inequality and injustice, while becoming aware of strategies of change that improve the quality of life for all people. The courses, therefore, stress the necessity of enhancing international and multicultural understanding and communication.
    General education courses in multicultural studies will allow students to:
    1. develop an informed perspective on (a) traditionally underrepresented groups in the U.S. and/or (b) on world societies, which would include knowledge of one or more of the following: culture, history, and social institutions;
    2. learn the significant conditions and contributions of (a) traditionally underrepresented groups in the U.S. and/or (b) different world societies;
    3. become aware of significant ways that the fact of underrepresented groups and/ or multiple world societies affects decisions about human rights, social justice, and equality; and
    4. understand multiple approaches to issues of social justice.
  6. Human Well-Being
    In studying human well-being, students will come to understand and develop healthy lifestyles and practices. The educational experiences in this area will enable students to examine issues and form reasoned conclusions about factors affecting personal wellness.
    General education courses in human well-being will allow students to:
    1. identify information and practices that will promote personal wellness;
    2. acquire practical knowledge that can be applied toward living a healthy and fit life;
    3. explain the factors that affect the quality of a healthy leisure lifestyle; and
    4. relate the effects of personal choices to the principles of wellness for living a healthy and fit life, both physically and mentally.

University General Education Requirements

Candidates for a baccalaureate degree at Western Illinois University are required to complete the General Education Curriculum approved by the University faculty. General Education courses should ordinarily be taken during the freshman and sophomore years, and the entire 43 semester hours should be completed no later than the last semester of the junior year. Individual colleges and departments may require additional courses and students should refer to the section of the catalog for the college in which they are enrolled for requirements beyond the University General Education Curriculum.

The following restrictions apply:

  1. No courses numbered 275, 298, 450, 475, and 498 are acceptable for credit in the General Education Curriculum;
  2. Students may not use any one course to satisfy two General Education distribution requirements;
  3. Students may not count more than two courses from the discipline in which they major toward satisfaction of the General Education requirements;
  4. No courses under the Pass/Fail option may apply to the General Education requirements.

General Education Categories:

  1. Communication Skills: 9 s.h.
    1. ENG 180 College Writing I (3)
    2. ENG 280 College Writing II (3)
    3. COMM 241 Introduction to Public Speaking (3) or COMM 242 Fundamentals of Public Speaking (3)
    College Writing
    All students enrolled in the University must demonstrate their ability to write and speak clearly, accurately, and effectively. Entering students’ writing skills are assessed upon initial registration. Students placed in English 100 must complete that course with a grade of C or better before enrolling in English 180. Further, all General Education courses contribute to students’ writing competency by including written assignments in the course requirements.

    English 180 must be taken either semester of the freshman year. Students who fail to receive a grade of C or better must repeat the course.

    English 280 is to be taken after 24 hours earned and before 60 hours earned. English 180 is a prerequisite. Students who fail to receive a grade of C or better in 280 must repeat the course.

    Students may also receive credit for all or part of the writing requirement by 1) passing the appropriate proficiency examination, 2) completing the stated requirements of General Honors 101, or 3) completing a comparable course or courses at another university with a grade of C or better.

    Public Speaking
    Students may also receive credit for the oral communication requirement by 1) completing the accelerated section 50 of Communication 241 with a grade of B or above, 2) completing the Honors section 25 of Communication 241, or 3) satisfactorily completing a comparable course at another college/university.
  2. Natural Sciences and Mathematics: 10 s.h.
    Students must fulfill the competency requirement of Part A and the General Education requirement of Part B of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics category.

    PART A—Competency
    All students enrolled in the University must demonstrate their ability to use general baccalaureate-level skills in mathematics by one of the following means:
    1. Receive University credit for MATH 100, Core Competency in Mathematics;
    2. Receive a satisfactory score on an assessment examination instrument designated by the Department of Mathematics; or
    3. Receive University credit for a mathematics course which lists MATH 100 as a prerequisite.
    Entering students’ mathematics skills are assessed upon initial registration. All freshmen who are placed in MATH 099 are required to pass the course before the start of the second semester of their second year. Transfer students who are placed in MATH 099 are required to pass it during their first year at WIU.

    PART B—General Education
    Students must complete 10 s.h. from the courses listed below. At least one laboratory course must be included. Students may take no more than two courses from any one grouping below.

    Biology
    • BIOL 100 Biological Concepts (4)
    • BIOL 101 Biological World (4)
    • BIOL 204 Human Biology (4)
    • BOT 200 Introduction to Plant Biology (4)
    • ZOOL 200 Introduction to Animal Biology (4)
    Chemistry
    • CHEM 101 General Chemistry I (4)
    • CHEM 102 General Chemistry II (4)
    • CHEM 150 Contemporary Chemistry (4)
    • CHEM 201 Inorganic Chemistry I (4)
    • CHEM 202 Inorganic Chemistry II (4)
    Geography
    • GEOG 108 Digital Earth (4)
    • GEOG 120 Introduction to Weather and Climate (4)
    • GEOG 121 Planet Earth: Surface Processes and Interactions (4)
    Geology
    • GEOL 110 Introduction to the Earth (4)
    • GEOL 112 History of the Earth (4)
    • GEOL 113 Energy and Earth Resources (3)
    • GEOL 115 Oceanography (3)
    General Honors
    • G H 103 Freshman Science and Mathematics Tutorial (2–4)
    • G H 104 Freshman Science and Mathematics Tutorial with Lab (3–4)
    • G H 203 Sophomore Science and Mathematics Tutorial (2–4)
    • G H 204 Sophomore Science and Mathematics Tutorial with Lab (3–4)
    • G H 303 Advanced Science and Mathematics Seminar (2–4)
    Mathematics
    • MATH 101 Concepts of Mathematics (3)
    • MATH 102 Mathematics for General Education (3)
    • *MATH 106 Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers and 206 Geometry for Elementary School Teachers (3)
    • MATH 123 Modeling with Mathematical Functions (3)
    • MATH 133 Calculus with Analytic Geometry I (4)
    • MATH 134 Calculus with Analytic Geometry II (4)
    • MATH 137 Applied Calculus I (3)
    • MATH 138 Applied Calculus II (3)
    • MATH 139 Applied Linear Algebra and Finite Mathematics (3)
    • STAT 171 General Elementary Statistics (3)
    Physics
    • PHYS 100 Physics for Society (4)
    • PHYS 101 Introduction to Astronomy (3)
    • PHYS 114 Applied Physics (4)
    • PHYS 115 Applied Physics (4)
    • PHYS 150 Energy and the Environment (4)
    • PHYS 211 University Physics I (4)
    *MATH 106 and 206 are open only to Elementary Education, Early Childhood Education, Bilingual/Bicultural Education, and Special Education majors in the State Licensure Program. The sequence of 106/206 counts as 3 hours of General Education credit.
  3. Social Sciences: 9 s.h.
    Students must take at least three courses in the Social Sciences. Students may take no more than two courses from any one grouping below.

    Anthropology
    • *ANTH 110 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (3)
    • ANTH 111 Introduction to Physical Anthropology and Archaeology (3)
    Economics
    • ECON 100 Introduction to Economics (3)
    • ECON 231 Principles of Macroeconomics (3)
    • ECON 232 Principles of Microeconomics (3)
    General Honors
    • G H 102 Freshman Social Sciences Tutorial (2–3)
    • G H 202 Sophomore Social Sciences Tutorial (2–3)
    • G H 302 Advanced Social Sciences Seminar (2–3)
    Geography
    • GEOG 100 Introduction to Human Geography (3)
    • *GEOG 110 World Regional Geography (3)
    Political Science
    • POLS 101 Introduction to Political Science (3)
    • POLS 122 American Government and Politics (3)
    • POLS 200 Introduction to Political Thought (3)
    • POLS 228 Fundamentals of International Relations (3)
    • POLS 267 Introduction to Comparative Government and Politics (3)
    Psychology
    • PSY 100 Introductory Psychology (3)
    • PSY 221 Psychology of Child Development (3)
    • PSY 250 Human Social Behavior (3)
    • PSY 251 Personality and Adjustment (3)
    Sociology
    • SOC 100 Introduction to Sociology (3)
    • SOC 200 Contemporary Social Problems (3)
    • SOC 250 American Institutions (3)
    • SOC 272 Individual and Society (3)
    • *SOC 285 (or WS 285) Women: A Global Perspective (3)
    Women’s Studies
    • *WS 285 (or SOC 285) Women: A Global Perspective (3)
    *Dual-category course. Students may only count a dual-category course to satisfy the requirements in one General Education category.
  4. Humanities and Fine Arts: 9 s.h.
    Students must take at least three courses in the Humanities and Fine Arts. One course must come from Area 1: Humanities, and one course must come from Area 2: Fine Arts. Students are then free to choose either a Humanities or Fine Arts course to fulfill the required nine hours in Humanities/Fine Arts. Students may take no more than two courses from any one grouping below.

    AREA 1: HUMANITIES
    African American Studies
    • *AAS 281 Literature of the Black World (3)
    • *AAS 283 African American Folklore (3)
    Broadcasting
    • BC 290 (or ENG 290) Introduction to Film (3)
    Communication
    • COMM 130 Introduction to Human Communication (3)
    • COMM 254 Great Speeches (3)
    English
    • ENG 195 Introduction to Literature (3)
    • ENG 200 Introduction to Poetry (3)
    • ENG 201 Introduction to Fiction (3)
    • ENG 202 Introduction to Drama (3)
    • ENG 205 Introduction to Shakespeare (3)
    • ENG 206 Issues in U.S. Literature (3)
    • ENG 290 (or BC 290) Introduction to Film (3)
    • ENG 300 Short Story (3)
    Foreign Languages and Literatures
    • CHIN 121 Elementary Chinese I (4)
    • CHIN 122 Elementary Chinese II (4)
    • CHIN 223 Intermediate Chinese I (3)
    • CHIN 224 Intermediate Chinese II (3)
    • FR 121 Elementary French I (4)
    • FR 122 Elementary French II (4)
    • FR 192 Accelerated Elementary French (4)
    • FR 223 Intermediate French I (3)
    • FR 224 Intermediate French II (3)
    • GER 121 Elementary German I (4)
    • GER 122 Elementary German II (4)
    • GER 223 Intermediate German I (3)
    • GER 224 Intermediate German II (3)
    • JPN 121 Elementary Japanese I (4)
    • JPN 122 Elementary Japanese II (4)
    • JPN 223 Intermediate Japanese I (3)
    • JPN 224 Intermediate Japanese II (3)
    • PORT 121 Elementary Portuguese I (4)
    • PORT 122 Elementary Portuguese II (4)
    • SPAN 121 Elementary Spanish I (4)
    • SPAN 122 Elementary Spanish II (4)
    • SPAN 192 Accelerated Elementary Spanish (4)
    • SPAN 223 Intermediate Spanish I (3)
    • SPAN 224 Intermediate Spanish II (3)
    General Honors
    • G H 101 Freshman Humanities Tutorial (2–3)
    • G H 201 Sophomore Humanities Tutorial (2–3)
    • G H 301 Advanced Humanities Seminar (2–3)
    History
    • HIST 105 American History to 1877 (3)
    • HIST 106 American History since 1877 (3)
    • HIST 125 Western Civilization to 1648 (3)
    • HIST 126 Western Civilization since 1648 (3)
    • *HIST 144 History of the Middle East (3)
    • *HIST 145 History of Asia (3)
    Philosophy
    • PHIL 105 Philosophical Explorations (3)
    • PHIL 120 Contemporary Moral Problems (3)
    • PHIL 140 Logic and Reasoning (3)
    • PHIL 205 Philosophy, Law and Society (3)
    Religious Studies
    • REL 101 Exploring Religion (3)
    • *REL 110 Introduction to Eastern Religions (3)
    • *REL 111 Introduction to Western Religions (3)
    • REL 203 The Christians (3)
    • REL 207 The Bible (3)
    Women’s Studies
    • WS 265 Women and Creativity (3)
    AREA 2: FINE ARTS
    African American Studies
    • *AAS 282 Black Theatre (3)
    Art
    • ARTH 180 An Introduction to Art (3)
    • ARTH 282 History of Art: Ancient through Medieval (3)
    • ARTH 283 History of Art: Renaissance to 1900 (3)
    • *ARTH 284 History of Non-Western Art (3)
    Music
    • MUS 190 What to Listen for in Music (3)
    • *MUS 195 American Popular Music (3)
    Theatre
    • THEA 101 Play Analysis (3)
    • THEA 110 Introduction to the Theatre (3)
    *Dual-category course. Students may only count a dual-category course to satisfy the requirements in one General Education category.
  5. Multicultural Studies: 3 s.h.
    Students must select 3 s.h. from the courses listed below:
    • A&S 210 Group Diversity (3)
    • AAS 100 Introduction to African American Studies (3)
    • AAS 145 Famous People of African Descent (3)
    • *AAS 281 Literature of the Black World (3)
    • *AAS 282 Black Theatre (3)
    • *AAS 283 African American Folklore (3)
    • AAS 313 African-American History, 1400–1877 (3)
    • AAS 314 African-American History, 1877–Present (3)
    • AAS 349 Africa since 1800 (3)
    • *ANTH 110 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (3)
    • ANTH 249 Native North American Cultures (3)
    • ANTH 395 Gender, Race, and the Environment (3)
    • *ARTH 284 History of Non-Western Art (3)
    • BAT 300 Global Study (1–3)
    • BC 328 Mass Media and Minorities (3)
    • ECON 350 Economics of Poverty and Discrimination (3)
    • ENG 301 Women and Literature (3)
    • ENG 348 Ethnic Literatures of the United States (3)
    • ENG 358 Studies in Non-Western Literature (3)
    • FCS 300 Food and Culture (3)
    • FCS 375 Diversity in Dress (3)
    • *GEOG 110 World Regional Geography (3)
    • G H 207 Sophomore Multicultural Tutorial (2–3)
    • HE 325 Multicultural Health Issues (3)
    • *HIST 144 History of the Middle East (3)
    • *HIST 145 History of Asia (3)
    • HIST 302 American Indian History, Pre-Contact to the Present (3)
    • HIST 311 History of Flight Culture (3)
    • HIST 313 African-American History, 1400–1877 (3)
    • HIST 314 African-American History, 1877–Present (3)
    • HIST 317 Women in American History (3)
    • HIST 318 Women and Gender in European History (3)
    • HIST 340 Latin America to 1860 (3)
    • HIST 341 Latin America since 1860 (3)
    • HIST 344 Modern Middle East (3)
    • HIST 349 Africa since 1800 (3)
    • INAG 310 International Agriculture in Developing Countries (3)
    • IS 325 Global Social Networks (3)
    • *MUS 195 American Popular Music (3)
    • MUS 196 Music in the Rock Era (3)
    • MUS 394 Music in World Cultures (3)
    • MUS 397 Jazz Survey (3)
    • PHIL 220 Feminism and Ethics (3)
    • POLS 329 Political Systems of Latin America (3)
    • POLS 335 Women and Politics (3)
    • PSY 357 Women and Work (3)
    • *REL 110 Introduction to Eastern Religions (3)
    • *REL 111 Introduction to Western Religions (3)
    • REL 303 Women in Religion (3)
    • REL 365 Islam (3)
    • *SOC 285 Women: A Global Perspective (3)
    • SOC 300 Minority Peoples (3)
    • SOC 360 Gender and Society (3)
    • THEA 201 Multiculturalism in Theatre (3)
    • WS 190 Introduction to Women’s Studies (3)
    • WS 220 Feminism and Ethics (3)
    • *WS 285 Women: A Global Perspective (3)
    • WS 301 Women and Literature (3)
    • WS 303 Women in Religion (3)
    • WS 317 Women in American History (3)
    • WS 318 Women and Gender in European History (3)
    • WS 335 Women and Politics (3)
    • WS 357 Women and Work (3)
    • WS 360 Gender and Society (3)
    • WS 370 Women in Popular Culture (3)
    • WS 395 Gender, Race, and the Environment (3)
    *Dual-category course. Students may only count a dual-category course to satisfy the requirements in one General Education category.
  6. Human Well-Being: 3 s.h.
    Students may select any combination of courses from at least two of the following groupings:

    Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising and Hospitality
    • FCS 109 Introduction to Nutrition (3)
    • FCS 121 Introduction to Lifespan Development (3)
    Health Sciences
    • HE 120 Personal Health Promotion (2)
    • HE 121 Human Sexuality (2)
    • HE 123 Drug Use and Abuse (2)
    Kinesiology
    • KIN 102 Swimming (1)
    • KIN 118 Aerobic Dancercise (1)
    • KIN 121 Badminton (1)
    • KIN 128 Tennis (1)
    • KIN 131 Aerobic Conditioning (1)
    • KIN 140 Personal Fitness Program (1)
    • KIN 147 Weight Training (1)
    • KIN 149 Stress Management and Relaxation Techniques (1)
    • KIN 151 Basketball (1)
    • KIN 158 Volleyball (1)
    Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration
    • RPTA 110 Concepts of Leisure (3)