Bachelor of Arts in General Studies and Fire Service


Firefighters in the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies (BGS) degree may utilize the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) curriculum to earn National Fire Academy course certificates, a transcripted WIU certificate, and a minor in Fire Administration in addition to the BGS degree.

To earn the transcripted WIU certificate and minor, students will complete:

  • a minimum of 30 semester hours
  • the seven FESHE curriculum core courses, plus
  • the three courses required for one of the areas of concentration
    • Fire Administration & Management or
    • Fire Prevention Technology

Students not interested in the 30 hour transcripted WIU certificate may still earn a Fire Administration minor by completing an 18 hour prescribed LEJA curriculum in conjunction with their degree.

A Bachelor of Arts in General Studies Degree may be right for firefighters whether pursuing a first or second bachelor's degree. Learn more about  WIU's BGS Program. Firefighters with regionally accredited bachelor's degrees may enter the BGS degree as a graduate student to pursue a transcripted WIU certificate by taking 30 semester hours of FESHE coursework.

For more information, please call  (309) 298-1929

WIU and Firefighters

Firefighters looking to earn their bachelor's degree have two degree options at Western Illinois University that can be met online, without campus attendance.

  • WIU Bachelor of Arts in General Studies (BGS) Degree  features a flexible option of study where only 40 semester hours of study must be earned through a regionally accredited 4-year institution which may include ACE approved credit. A minor in Fire Administration and transcripted WIU certificates in Fire Administration & Management and/or Fire Prevention Technology may be earned.

  • WIU Bachelor of Science in Fire Protection Services  features a comprehensive major with two separate and unique study options. The Fire Administration Option is delivered online and  designed for working firefighters seeking promotion to senior leadership positions. The Fire Science Option, with classes delivered on-campus in a traditional setting, is ideally suited for students  preparing for a career in the fire service. Please contact the  School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration  at  or (309) 298-1038 if you have questions about this degree option. 

National Fire Academy Course Certificates

Any WIU student successfully completing a FESHE curriculum course is eligible to apply for individual course certificates from the National Fire Academy FESHE Recognition Program. These certificates are the same as those awarded for resident courses at the NFA in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The National Fire Academy will provide a NFA transcript showing completed courses.

An  application form (pdf)  for the certificate must be submitted to the Bachelor of General Studies program. Students are to complete Blocks 1-11 and sign and date the application in Blocks 18a and 18b.

To safeguard individuals' Social Security numbers (SSN), the National Fire Academy (NFA) requires that certificate applicants  register for a Student Identification Number (SID). Follow the instructions to create your account. You will receive an email with your SID. Save this number in a secure location.

The SID number is to be used instead of the SSN on the application form. Applications for NFA certificates that do not include a SID will not be processed.

Applications must be submitted to the Bachelor of General Studies program by one of the following methods:

Mail to:
Bachelor of General Studies Program
Malpass Library 3rd Floor
Western Illinois University
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390

Scan and save as a PDF and attach to an email to :

Applications can be submitted at any time during the semester and will be held until grades are posted at the end of term. Once grades have posted, the applications will be forwarded to the National Fire Academy Admissions office for final processing.  The NFA will email certificates to the students.

Please contact the Bachelor of General Studies office at (309) 298-1929 if you have any questions about obtaining a certificate.

WIU Certificates for BGS Students

  • Fire Administration & Management
  • Fire Prevention Technology

Available to any student who earns a WIU Bachelor's of Arts in General Studies degree and completes the seven core FESHE courses and one or both of the concentrations. The specific FESHE course requirements to earn the certification appear in the table below and include a minimum of ten courses - the seven core courses, plus three courses from one of the two concentrations. Note: It is possible to earn both certifications if all 13 courses are completed.

National Fire Academy  Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education Curriculum

Seven Required Core Courses
(C0295) FS 443: Fire Protection Structure & Systems Design
(C0271) FS 481: Fire and Emergency Administration
(C0265) FS 482: Analytic Approaches to Public Fire Protection
(C0266) FS 483: Personnel Management for the Fire and Emergency Services
(C0264) FS 484: Fire Prevention Organization and Management
(C0258) FS 485: Political and Legal Foundations of Fire Protection
(C0287) SOC 488: Community and The Fire Threat

Three Additional Courses (select an area of concentration)
Fire Administration and Management Concentration 
(C0296) EM 477: Disaster and Fire Defense Planning
(C0274) EM 478: Managerial Issues in Hazardous Materials
(C0260) SOC 487: Application of Fire Research

Fire Prevention Technology Concentration 
(C0257) FS 444: Fire Dynamics
(C0285) FS 486: Fire Investigation and Analysis 
(C0263) FS 488: Fire-Related Human Behavior

Additional FESHE recognition course available for an individual certificate
(C0303) FS 345: Ethics, Diversity, and Professionalism in the Fire and Emergency Services

The National Fire Academy "C" code is enclosed in parenthesis next to each WIU course number.