First Year Seminars Exploring Knowledge Foundations Integrating Knowledge

* The courses identified here are those available in the current catalog. Current Students (and their advisors) should be aware that courses added in future catalog years will meet their General Education requirements! You can find out more about recently recommended course additions for the 2020-21 catalog in our Course Updates page. 

First Year Seminars (8 credits)

All students beginning their General Education journey with the practice of skills that help them successfully make the transition to collegiate practice. These small seminars provide students the opportunity to practice foundational skills (reading, information literacy, creative and critical thinking, technological literacy) around a topical theme in a small class setting. WOU students take both a writing-focused and a quantitative-focused seminar and should complete these by the end of their freshman year.

First Year Seminars
2 classes, 8 credits
  • Students take two First Year Seminars—one from each category:
    • FYS 107 (Writing Focused Seminar)
    • FYS 207 (Quantitative Focused Seminar)
  • Explore the topics for First Year Seminars available for Fall 2020 at
  • Find Summer options for First Year Seminars on our Featured Courses page.

Foundational Knowledge (10-18 credits)

In addition to practicing foundational skills in context in the First Year Seminars, the General Education program also features a suite of discrete courses that address distinct Foundational Skills which are offered at the beginning of the college experience, to help set students up for continuing success in the classroom and beyond. Foundations courses include Mathematics, Writing, Critical thinking, Communication and Health Promotion. These courses will lay the groundwork for your success in later coursework, both in the General Education program but also in your major coursework and should be taken within your first two years of college.

0-2 classes, 0-8 credits
Learn and practice problem solving, modeling, and quantitative reasoning and the communication of mathematical and logical arguments and concepts.
0-2 classes, 0-8 credits
Gain an introduction to processes, strategies, and conventions that promote the effective development and communication of ideas in writing.
Communication and Language
1 class, 3-4 credits
Create, deliver, analyze, and receive meaningful messages.
Critical Thinking
1 class, 3-4 credits
Effectively analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and apply information and ideas from diverse sources and disciplines.
Health Promotion
1 class, 3-4 credits
Apply strategies for maintaining and improving health across the lifespan.

Exploring Knowledge (20-26 credits)

The goal of Exploring Knowledge Courses is to provide students with perspectives beyond what they will learn in their major by promoting discovery of new content and ideas through exploration of a wide variety of scholarly topics.  Students are required to select courses from each of the three perspective areas and may count any of these courses toward their major or minor.

Literary and Aesthetic Perspectives
2 classes, 6-8 credits
Study and participate in creative work to foster a deeper comprehension of human culture and the ways in which it affects who we are, both as communities and individuals.
Scientific Perspectives
2 classes, 8-10 credits
Engage in systematic study of the natural world, and gain knowledge about the nature of science, the attitudes of science, and the skills needed for scientific inquiry.
Social, Historical and Civic Perspectives
2 classes, 6-8 credits
Explore different approaches to the study of society and politics, including the contemporary and historical constitution of social and political ideas, relationships, structures and institutions.

Integrating Knowledge (6-8 credits)

Integrating Knowledge courses promote linkages between academic disciplines and provide students with opportunities to think critically as citizens of a multifaceted and dynamic world. Making connections between disciplines and different areas of interest and inquiry enables students to gain a deeper comprehension about wide-ranging phenomena in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. The faculty at WOU hope that these courses inspire students to apply an integrative perspective throughout their formal education and beyond. As these are upper division courses, students are expected to have worked on their foundational skills and taken some of their exploring knowledge coursework prior to entering their courses in Integrating Knowledge.

Citizenship, Social Responsibility, and Global Awareness
1 class, 3-4 credits
Examine the intersection of citizenship with other forms of identity, explore the moral and life obligations inherent to being human, and the degree to which we have an obligation to benefit the whole of society and the world.
Science, Technology and Society
1 class, 3-4 credits
Examine the myriad interrelationships and mutual influences between science and technology and society, culture, and/or politics.