General Education Requirements & Courses

Pursue diverse interests and gain fundamental skills for lifelong learning, apply, communicate, and integrate ideas from a variety of disciplines, and gain abilities to think and act critically as a citizen of a complex and ever-changing world

40-70 Credits

First Year Seminars

Explore interesting topics in small classes while building foundational skills for college success.

8 Credits


Practice life-long learning skills applicable throughout your college career

10-28 Credits

Exploring Knowledge

Discover new content and ideas through the exploration of a wide variety of scholarly topics. Begin your major, while also gaining knowledge beyond it.

20-26 Credits

Integrating Knowledge

Use study practices and make connections between different areas of interest for deeper comprehension. Prepare for a dynamic, complex and interconnected world.

6-8 Credits

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.

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 in the upcoming term at


(10-18 Credits)

In addition to practicing foundational skills in the context of 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 & Language

(1 Class •  3-4 Credits)

Create, deliver, analyze, and receive meaningful messages.



(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 of 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.

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