Undergraduate Catalog


University Graduation Requirements

Students at WIU may graduate with Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Education, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or Bachelor of Social Work degrees. Degrees are awarded at the end of each semester.

Specific requirements for each degree will be found in the catalog descriptions under the appropriate colleges and departments. In addition, all students who wish to graduate must:

    1. General Education: Complete all the General Education Curriculum requirements.
    2. Grade Point Average (GPA): Earn a minimum overall grade point average of 2.00 (C), and a minimum grade point average of 2.00 or better in their major and minor or comprehensive major. (See individual college requirements.)
    3. Major/Minor: Complete the departmental requirements for their major or comprehensive major; complete at least 16 semester hours for a minor. A comprehensive major must include at least 48 semester hours. A major must include at least 32 semester hours.
      Note: A maximum of five semester hours of credit of a single, specific course, required by both a major and a minor, may be used by a student to fulfill requirements for both that major and minor when the major and minor are from different programs. This course cannot also be used to satisfy University General Education.
    4. Foreign Language/Global Issues: Fulfill the foreign language/global issues requirement for their major. (See Foreign Language/Global Issues Requirement)
    5. Writing Instruction in the Disciplines (WID): Fulfill the Writing Instruction in the Disciplines (WID) requirement in their major. (See Writing Instruction in the Disciplines (WID))
    6. Semester Hours: Earn a minimum of 120 semester hours of credit. At least 60 of those hours must be from a four-year college or university; at least 42 must be earned in upper-division courses (numbered 300 and above, or their equivalent) from a four-year institution.
    7. Residency: Complete at least 30 semester hours while in residence at WIU, at least 15 of which must be taken in the year prior to graduation. No more than 10 of these hours can be taken in Pass/Fail or non-credit courses. Credit earned by proficiency examination does not satisfy residence requirements.
    8. Military Credit/External Testing: Count no more than 30 semester hours toward credit for graduation by military credit, external testing, or a combination of these.
    9. First Year Experience: Complete the First Year Experience requirement. (See First Year Experience)
    10. Math Competency: Demonstrate their ability to use baccalaureate-level skills in Mathematics. (See University General Education Requirements)
    11. Graduation Application: File an application for graduation in the Office of the Registrar during the last semester as a junior.
    12. University Encumbrances: Clear all financial and administrative obligations to the University before proof of degree will be provided.

Catalog Use

Former students: A student who re-enters the University after an absence of two or more semesters, excluding Summer session, must meet the requirements of the current catalog unless he or she receives written approval from the dean of the college in which he or she is enrolled to continue under an earlier catalog. This written permission must be filed in the Office of the Registrar within nine weeks of matriculation, and the catalog chosen may not predate re-enrollment by more than three years.

Transfer students: Transfer students accepted for admission to Western Illinois University may elect to meet the requirements of the catalog in effect when they first enrolled at a community college or other four-year institution, provided this Western Illinois University catalog does not antedate the catalog in effect upon their initial enrollment at Western by more than three years. They may also elect to meet the requirements of the current catalog. Catalog choice must be made within nine weeks of matriculation at Western Illinois University.

Commencement and Issuance of Diploma

Students who anticipate completion of academic requirements for graduation are eligible to participate in Commencement ceremonies. Although attendance at Commencement ceremonies is optional, students who wish to attend must indicate this on the graduation application and have that application on file in the Office of the Registrar no later than 60 days prior to Commencement exercises. Students who anticipate graduating at the end of the Spring or Summer term attend the May ceremony; students who anticipate graduating at the end of the Fall semester attend the December ceremony.

Diplomas will be mailed to all students who have completed all graduation requirements and who do not have any University holds.

Degrees with Distinction and Honors Scholar

Academic Distinction

Candidates for the baccalaureate degree who have done outstanding work may graduate with academic distinction upon completion of their degree programs. To qualify for academic distinction, students must have completed at least 60 semester hours of letter-graded coursework (including S/U) at WIU, in addition to meeting the grade point requirements described below.

Students who have completed all of their coursework at WIU and who have a cumulative grade point average of 3.60 to 3.74 for all work completed will graduate “Cum Laude.” Candidates who have a cumulative grade point average of 3.75 to 3.89 for all work completed will graduate “Magna Cum Laude.” Candidates who have a cumulative grade point average of 3.90 or higher for all work will graduate “Summa Cum Laude.”

Students who have attempted or completed coursework at other institutions of higher education are also eligible to be considered for academic distinction. Grades for all coursework completed at WIU must meet the qualifications described above. In addition, grades for all coursework attempted at any other institution of higher education will be evaluated for academic distinction in the following manner: If the combined grade point average of grades for WIU coursework and coursework attempted at other institutions does not meet the thresholds listed above, then the student will not qualify for academic distinction. If the grade point average for coursework from all other institutions is higher than the WIU grade point average, only the WIU grade point average will be taken into account in the determination of academic distinction.

In accordance with WIU’s policy on repeating a course for grade replacement, for purposes of calculating graduation with academic distinction, honors points for all attempts of a course will be averaged.

Honors Scholar

Students who have completed the requirements of the Centennial Honors College may graduate with the distinction General Honors Scholar, Major Honors Scholar, University Honors Scholar, or Pre-Law Honors Scholar. View more information about honors curricula or visit the Centennial Honors College website at wiu.edu/honors.

Double Major

A student may graduate with two majors by meeting the following requirements:

  1. One major must be declared as the primary major. The student must meet the General Education Curriculum requirements appropriate for the primary major.
  2. The requirements for the secondary major are only those required by the specific major.
  3. No minor is required for a student graduating with a double major.
  4. Primary and secondary majors must be so designated on the graduation application.

Important Note: Students completing two majors are granted only one degree with the degree title dictated by the primary major. Only one diploma will be issued.


All non-comprehensive majors require completion of a minor for graduation. Students enrolled in a non-comprehensive major must officially declare a minor before they earn 75 semester hours. Students must take at least one course from their minor at Western Illinois University in order to establish a grade point average (GPA) in the minor. A minimum GPA of 2.00 in the minor is required for graduation.


An option is a subdivision of a major academic field of study. Successful completion of an option is designated on the University transcript upon receipt of the degree.

Second Baccalaureate Degree

To be eligible for a second baccalaureate degree, after having been granted one by an accredited institution, a candidate must comply with the following:

      1. The candidate must apply to and be accepted by the School of Graduate Studies for admission to the University.
      2. The candidate must submit a degree plan from the major department to be approved by the Council on Admission, Graduation, and Academic Standards (CAGAS).
      3. The candidate must secure approval from CAGAS prior to enrolling.
      4. The candidate becomes an undergraduate upon approval of the second degree plan. All undergraduate University policies are applicable.
      5. The candidate must earn a minimum of 30 additional semester hours in residence. Courses in the degree plan may not be taken Pass/Fail.
      6. The candidate must complete an undergraduate application for graduation at least one semester prior to graduation.

Note: The grade point average calculation for second baccalaureate degree students will not utilize any grades from previous degrees.