General Education

As an institution whose mission seeks to unify traditionally separate academic domains in the pursuit of preparing students for an ever more complex world and to instill in them the values of the liberally educated, Western Colorado University requires all graduates to complete General Education requirements. Through Western’s General Education program, students are exposed to a wide variety of subject matter and fields of study which have evolved through time to include diverse perspectives and experiences which reflect and embrace the above mentioned principles which define the role and mission of our university.

The General Education Program provides a foundation for analytical discovery, independent thinking, and informed and engaged citizenship. General Education courses require students to engage the knowledge, perspectives, and methods of specific disciplines while developing essential skills. In so doing, students increase their understanding of themselves, the natural world, the bases of our society and institutions, the larger world, and their relationships. These courses offer a foundation for further studies and continued intellectual growth.

The thirty-five credit General Education Program contains two components:

  • Essential Skills (9 credits) and
  • the Liberal Arts (26 credits).

I. Essential Skills (9 Credits)

The purpose of the Essential Skills requirements is to provide students with the tools needed to reason, write, speak, read, quantify, and use information and technology in new ways of thinking and doing. The acquisition, application, and integration of the Essential Skills are practiced through the General Education curriculum and within courses in the disciplines during the students’ university careers.

Students must earn a minimum grade of  “C-”  in the following courses to fulfill the Essential Skills requirement:

First Writing Course
ENG 102Academic Writing 1,23
Second Writing Course
COM 202Academic Writing and Inquiry3
Mathematics Course
Select three credits of the following: 33
Mathematics for the Liberal Arts 1
Statistical Thinking (GT-MA1) 1
College Algebra (GT-MA1) 1
Precalculus (GT-MA1)
Calculus I (GT-MA1) 1
Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers I
Probability and Statistics 1
Total Credits9

Enrollment in university-level mathematics courses (numbered 100 or above) requires mathematics abilities consistent with the university entry-level expectations defined by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. Students should consult with their advisors about which mathematics course is appropriate.

II. Liberal Arts (26 Credits)

Each of the courses included in the Liberal Arts program extends the development of Essential Skills while examining the social sciences, natural sciences, and the arts and humanities. Courses in the Liberal Arts program may also satisfy major and/or minor requirements.

Area I: Social Sciences (9 credits)

Courses in Area I focus on the following goals:

  • Students use social science methods and reasoning.
  • Students demonstrate knowledge of how historical, political, economic, cultural, or social contexts shape the human environment.
  • Students demonstrate knowledge of how individuals relate to the social world, past and present.

Nine credits are required from the courses listed below. Students must choose from three disciplines.

Select nine credits of the following:9
Introduction to General Anthropology (GT-SS3) 1
Business of Life
Macroeconomics 1
Introduction to Environment and Sustainability (GT-SS2) 1
World Regional Geography (GT-SS2) 1
Introduction to Human Geography (GT-SS2) 1
Geography of North America (GT-SS2) 1
World History to 1500 (GT-HI1) 1
World History Since 1500 (GT-HI1) 1
U.S. History to 1865 (GT-HI1) 1
U.S. History Since 1865 (GT-HI1) 1
A History of Africa (GT-HI1) 1
Introduction to Latin American History (GT-HI1) 1
Introduction to Political Ideas 1
Introduction to American Politics 1
Introduction to Comparative Politics (GT-SS1) 1
Introduction to World Politics (GT-SS1) 1
General Psychology (GT-SS3) 1
Introduction to Sociology
Social Problems
Total Credits9

Area II: Natural Sciences (8 credits)

Courses in Area II focus on the following goals:

  • Students demonstrate knowledge of scientific viewpoints.
  • Students use the scientific method.
  • Students evaluate the impacts of science and technology on society.
  • Students demonstrate scientific literacy.

Eight credits are required from the courses listed below:

Select eight credits of the following:8
Physical Anthropology (with laboratory)
Studies in Biology 1
Environmental Biology 1
Environmental Biology Laboratory 1
Biological Principles (with laboratory) 1
Diversity and Patterns of Life (with laboratory)
Environmental and Public Health 1
Contemporary Chemistry 1
Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry 1
General Chemistry I 1
General Chemistry Laboratory I 1
General Chemistry II
General Chemistry Laboratory II
Physical Geology 1
Physical Geology Laboratory 1
Introductory Astronomy 1
Physics of Music
Meteorology 1
Energy and the Environment 1
Introductory Physics (with laboratory) 1
Principles of Physics I (with laboratory) 1
Principles of Physics II (with laboratory) 1
General Physics I (with laboratory) 1
General Physics II (with laboratory) 1
Habitable Planet (with laboratory)
Living Planet (with laboratory)
Dynamic Planet (with laboratory)
Total Credits8

Area III:  Arts and Humanities (9 credits)

Courses in Area III focus on the following goals:

  • Students enhance their appreciation of the modes of creative expression.
  • Students ask fundamental questions of value and meaning.
  • Students survey a variety of ways humans have perceived their world.
  • Students explore the ways in which the human environment is shaped by social, cultural, linguistic, religious, philosophical, and historical circumstances.
  • Students gain increased awareness of the moral and ethical dimensions of the human condition.

Nine credits are required from the courses listed below. Students must choose from three disciplines.

Select nine credits of the following:9
Introduction to Art 1
Introduction to Film
Introduction to Theatre 1
Introduction to Mass Media 1
Dramatic Literature and Script Analysis
Introduction to Literature
Introduction to Creative Writing
Environmental Literature: Studies in: 1
Borderlands: Representing Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality
Women and Literature
Literary Culture of the American West
Film Arts: Film as Literature/Literature as Film
Critical Approaches to Literature
Popular Genre Fiction
Ancient World Literature 1
Folklore
Fundamentals of Music 1
Introduction to Algorithmic Music
Introduction to Music 1
Perspective in Music: Jazz History/Music Media/Women in Music/other selected topics
History of Rock and Roll
Introduction to Philosophy 1
Total Credits9

Colorado State Guaranteed General Education Transfer Courses

Western Colorado University students who transfer to another Colorado public college or university may facilitate the transferring of general education credits by completing courses designated as State Guaranteed General Education Transfer Courses. Upon acceptance to another Colorado public college or university, students may have up to 31 credits of successfully completed (C- or better) State Guaranteed General Education Transfer Courses meet specific general education requirements of the receiving institution. Courses must incorporate specific content and competency areas as defined by the State Guaranteed General Education Transfer Curriculum. For more information regarding State Guaranteed General Education Transfer Courses and the 31-credit State Guaranteed General Education Transfer Curriculum, please consult the Colorado Department of Higher Education website: http://highered.colorado.gov.

Credits earned in general education courses not designated as State Guaranteed General Education Transfer Courses routinely transfer to other colleges and universities as determined by the receiving institution. A student transferring credits to another college or university should consult with the receiving institution to determine how transferred credits may meet particular general education requirements.

Code Meaning
GT-CO1 Colorado Guaranteed General Education Transfer Course, Introduction to Writing
GT-MA1 Colorado Guaranteed General Education Transfer Course, Mathematics
GT-SS1 Colorado Guaranteed General Education Transfer Course, Economics of Political Systems
GT-SS2 Colorado Guaranteed General Education Transfer Course, Geography
GT-SS3 Colorado Guaranteed General Education Transfer Course, Human Behavior, Culture, or Social Frameworks
GT-HI1 Colorado Guaranteed General Education Transfer Course, History
GT-SC1 Colorado Guaranteed General Education Transfer Course, Natural Sciences with Laboratory
GT-SC2 Colorado Guaranteed General Education Transfer Course, Natural Sciences without Laboratory
GT-AH1 Colorado Guaranteed General Education Transfer Course, Arts and Expression
GT-AH2 Colorado Guaranteed General Education Transfer Course, Literature and Humanities
GT-AH3 Colorado Guaranteed General Education Transfer Course, Ways of Thinking