General Education Curriculum

The General Education (GenEd) requirements at Western Illinois University have been designed for all students and describe the core courses that students must take in order to graduate regardless of their major. They are an important component of a student's education at Western.

In order to help students be well-educated, successful, and valuable participants in our rapidly changing global community, the university offers more than professional or vocational training. When students graduate, they will enter a world in which they can expect to hold different jobs, and participate in a succession of careers over the course of their lives.  

Through the General Education curriculum, students will have the opportunity to increase their proficiency in written and oral communication and mathematics, as well as learn an appreciation of the wide range of human thought and experience. Students will learn to think critically, to understand and appreciate multiple perspectives on issues, and to improve skills in research and problem solving.

The General Education Curriculum consists of six categories:

  1. Communication Skills
  2. Natural Science and Math
  3. Social Sciences
  4. Humanities and Fine Arts
  5. Multicultural
  6. Human Well Being

The University has minimum requirements in each of these General Education areas which each student must complete. To get the most out of your education, you want to enrich your experience with additional studies from the many courses offered. Some colleges and academic departments have added requirements above the University minimum, and some require specific courses. You should review carefully the requirements for your intended major. If you are an undecided student in the General Orientation program, check with your advisor on requirements. Also, complete information can be found in the University Catalog, which is the official statement of University rules, regulations, and requirements for students.

Information to help you select courses:

  • Read the course descriptions in the General Education Handbook (PDF) or in the University Catalog. This will help you in determining which courses interest you the most.
  • If you are planning your second or third semester at Western, you will want to select 2-3 courses from each of the General Education categories. As some of the categories only require a certain number of hours, it is possible that you have filled the requirement for those. Only fill out courses for categories that you still need to complete. If you have a question about this, you can contact your advisor.
  • You will register for 5 or 6 classes averaging a total of 15-18 hours. It is a good idea to have several options for each category in case some classes are closed.