Distance Learning

School of Distance Learning, International Studies, and Outreach

School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach

Western Illinois University, through the School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach, proudly offers a vast array of learning opportunities. Some programs offered include the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies (BGS) degree program to a variety of study abroad programs for students and faculty, to professional development in the form of certificate training, conferences, workshops and sponsored-credit courses to summer youth programs.

Distance Learning

The School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach provides educational opportunities to diverse groups on and off campus. We extend opportunities to educationally under-served areas and provide programs and courses at locations throughout western Illinois using innovative technology. In other words, we come to YOU.

We offer online and face-to-face courses. Face-to-face courses are conveniently offered off-campus during evenings and weekends. Our online courses are particularly well suited for adult students with other responsibilities and for traditional students interested in pursuing a distinctive degree completion option.

Bachelor of Arts in General Studies (BGS) - Includes a FULLY ONLINE option

The BGS degree is a highly individualized, flexible, non-majored undergraduate degree, which may be completed fully online by students who are place-bound due to work and/or family responsibilities; on-campus; or a combination of both formats. Since its inception, over 8,400 individuals have graduated from the degree program. [BGS on Facebook]

Interdisciplinary Studies Program

Interdisciplinary Studies students may self-design a curriculum to reflect either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree, which will be declared upon admission to the program.  Student admission proposals must reflect these requirements.  Interdisciplinary Studies students may alternatively select multidisciplinary concentrations in one of the following areas:

  • Youth Development
  • Renewable Energy and Biofuels Technology
  • Renewable Energy and Wind Technology
  • Renewable Energy Policy, Planning, and Management. 

    Specific requirements for each of these Interdisciplinary degree programs may be found in the WIU catalog.

Center for International Studies

Traveling to a new country to live and study is a big step. The Center for International Studies is comprised of International Admissions, International Student Services, Study Abroad and Outreach, and Western’s English as a Second Language (WESL) Institute and has a friendly, supportive staff to help ease your transition to living and studying in America. Macomb, Illinois, and WIU are located in a safe, friendly community in the heart of the Midwest United States and is just a short train ride away from the big city of Chicago. With year-round housing and free bus service you will be able to easily become familiar with your new surroundings. WIU also offers a week-long orientation program for all new international students and provides a variety of opportunities to experience American culture and practice English.  [ International Studies on Facebook ]

International Admissions

International students who wish to apply to Western Illinois University are able to find all the information they need through the International Admissions Office. International Admissions staff will assist students through the application process and provide additional information on what is needed to become a student at WIU from the required documents, English language requirements, deadlines, financial documentation, visa and immigration information, and much more.

International Student Services

International Student Services understands traveling to a new country to live and study is a big step. The ISS staff helps ease new international students transition into WIU with an informative, fun, and valuable new student orientation experience. The ISS office provides excellent campus and community integration support for all new and returning international students. Join our international activities group on Facebook.

Study Abroad and Outreach

Study Abroad allows students to complement and enhance their classroom instruction by experiencing the culture and language of a host country. Through the Office of Study Abroad and Outreach students can participate in a wide variety of educational programs located in more than 60 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. [ Study Abroad on Facebook ]

Outreach offers short-term programs, professional development in the form of certificate training, conferences, workshops, sponsored-credit courses, and summer youth programs are some of the learning opportunities offered to diverse groups on and off campus. 

Western's English As A Second Language Institute (WESL)

WESL serves those international students who do not speak English as a native language and do not meet WIU's English language proficiency requirement. Students have the opportunity to improve their English skills through an efficient and effective 20-hour-per-week intensive ESL program. Courses are offered during the Fall and Spring semesters (16 weeks each) and the Summer session (10 weeks) at three class levels: Foundation (Basic); Intermediate; and University Preparation.

Established in 1977, WESL is one of approximately 50 institutes in the United States accredited through the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation.

Outreach Programs - Non-credit, Certificate, Professional Development, Conferences, Workshops, & Youth Development

Outreach Programs offers professional development in the form of conferences, sponsored credit, and certificate programs across the state of Illinois. For teachers, this may mean earning college credit or Continuing Professional Development Units (CPDUs) for professional licensing requirements. For other professionals, this may mean college credit, contact hours, or Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

Learning is Forever (L.I.F.E.) 

Outreach Programs also sponsors the "Learning is Forever" (L.I.F.E.) program at WIU for all who wish to enjoy lifelong learning. An independently administrated organization, it is composed of area residents who develop the courses, select the teachers, establish the class fees, and promote the curriculum. Any adult is welcome to register for a LIFE course. There are no age or educational requirements, nor are there any prerequisites or exams. All anyone needs is an interest in sharing an educational experience, learn new skills or participate in a cultural event—and probably make new friends in the process.

Summer Youth Programs

Outreach Programs has been providing high-quality, academically challenging, youth summer enrichment programs & camps for more than 30 years. Girls Plus Math, Art for Gifted & Talented Students, Web Design, and Discovering the World Through Science are just a few of the programs being offered this summer. [ Summer Youth Programs on Facebook ]