2020-2021 General University Requirements

The General University Requirements (GURs) embody Western's belief that a liberal arts and sciences education enables people to lead fuller and more interesting lives, to perceive and to understand more of the world around and within themselves, and to participate more intelligently and deliberately in shaping that world. This belief reflects a long tradition in American higher education. In this tradition, the bachelor's degree is comprised of an academic major and a foundational general education. This general education provides opportunities to study across many fields and to acquire the skills, experiences, and knowledge you need to thrive, to succeed in your chosen careers, and to develop a strong sense of personal and social responsibility.

The General University Requirements apply to all students in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Business and Economics, the College of Science and Engineering, the College of Fine and Performing Arts, Woodring College of Education, and Huxley College of the Environment. Students enrolled in Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies should go to the University Catalog for more information about requirements.


  • Students transferring to Western with a Washington community college DTA (Direct Transfer Agreement) Associate Degree
  • Students transferring to Western from another Washington state public baccalaureate institution whose General University Requirements were complete at the sending institution, provided the sending institution so certifies


A maximum of four courses from any one department may be applied to the combination of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Comparative, Gender and Multicultural Studies sections of the General University Requirements. The following subjects are considered to be one department: Art and Art History; Humanities and Religion; and all foreign languages.


Courses which are to apply to General University Requirements must be taken on an A through F grading scale, except for courses designated as S/U grading. They may not be taken with Pass/No Pass grading. Except for ENG 101, which requires a C- or better, the minimum passing grade for GUR courses is D- (Math courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher if used as a prerequisite to another course).


Please note the use of GUR attributes in the online Classfinder or Timetable. Courses which qualify as General University Requirements are designated by the appropriate attribute (ACOM, BCOM, CCOM, QSR, HUM, SSC, ACGM, BCGM, LSCI, or SCI).

Find GURs with ClassFinder

Select a term and GUR attribute to get a list of courses offered in a quarter.


2019-2020 General University Requirements

Select 2019-2020 GURs to view the list of courses for the current academic year.

2019-2020 GURs

2020-2021 GURs and Courses

Communication is the foundation of your academic education and essential for your professional and personal success. These GURs develop your ability to generate, assess, and express ideas accurately, clearly, and creatively in a range of modalities and using a variety of technologies. Through ongoing learning and practice in different contexts, good communicators acquire skilled expertise in designing information effectively in different ways for different audiences. This area includes courses in writing, speaking, and information literacies.

Complete Block A and one course from either Block B or Block C. Block A and Block C are writing courses.

Block A – (ACOM)

ENGLISH (ENG) 101, Writing your way through WWU (5). This course must be completed with a grade of C- or better. Requirement will be waived for students demonstrating high English competency on Advanced Placement (CEEB English score of 4).

Block B – (BCOM)

Block C – (CCOM):

GURs in Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning help you improve your ability to critically evaluate and effectively communicate numerical and symbolic information. You will gain skill in understanding the logic and validity of an argument by analyzing numerical and causal relationships. As an accomplished quantitative and symbolic reasoner, you will develop a sense of the relative size of numbers, be able to read and present graphs and charts, feel confident determining whether a conclusion involving data is sound, and understand how to model situations in order to make decisions and predictions. You should note that symbolic reasoning and numerical “know how” are required skills in a range of academic disciplines, not just math, and critically important in many professions.

Complete one of the following options:


Option 1:

Students selecting Option 1 must complete MATH 107 or MATH 108 or MATH 112 and one course from the additional course list.

Option 2:

Option 3:

How does the natural world work? Natural Sciences GURs explore the physical and living world around us. These classes focus on scientific investigation of the processes that explain the patterns we observe in systems ranging in scale from a single molecule to the individual organism, from planet earth to our solar system and beyond. This GUR introduces you to the ways in which scientific inquiry is used to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena. You will gain an understanding of the basic concepts and theories of scientific disciplines, and will practice using scientific principles to critically evaluate conclusions drawn from observations, experimentation, and theoretical models.

Complete 3 courses. At least two of the courses must be from the LSCI list; the third course may be from either the LSCI list or SCI list.

Note: Several of the courses in this list have prerequisites.

LSCI (courses with a laboratory component)

215–Introductory Biological Anthropology (5)


101–Introduction to Biology (4)
102–Biological Diversity: Evolution and Systems (4)
204–Introduction to Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity (5)
205–Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology (5)
206–Introduction to Organismal Biology (5)


101–Chemical Concepts (4)
161–General Chemistry I (5)
162–General Chemistry II (5)
163–General Chemistry III (5)
175–General Chemistry I, Honors (5)
176–General Chemistry II, Honors (5)
225–General Chemistry III, Honors (5)
251–Elementary Organic Chemistry (5)


253–Speech and Hearing Sciences for the Liberal Arts (4)


203–Physical Geography (4) (Only one of ENVS 203 and HNRS 215 may be taken for credit)


101–Introduction to Geology (4) (Only one of GEOL 101 and HNRS 212 may be taken for credit)
110–Natural Hazards and Disasters (4)
211–Physical Geology (5)
212–Historical Geology (4)
252–The Earth and Its Weather (4)


211–Colloquium in Physics (4) (Only one of HNRS 211 and PHYS 101 may be taken for credit)
212–Colloquium in Geology (5) (Only one of HNRS 212 and GEOL 101 may be taken for credit)
213–Colloquium in Biology (4)
215–Colloquium in Physical Geography (4) (Only one of HNRS 215 and ENVS 203 may be taken for credit)


101–Physics Analysis (4) (Only one of PHYS 101 and HNRS 211 may be taken for credit)
104–Physics Applications (4)
115–Principles of Physics II (5)
116–Principles of Physics III (5)
161–Physics with Calculus I (5)
162–Physics with Calculus II (5)
163–Physics with Calculus III (5)


201–Matter and Energy in Physical Systems (4)
202–Matter and Energy in Earth Systems (4)
203–Matter and Energy in Life Systems (4)
204–Matter and Energy in Chemical Systems (4)

SCI (courses without a laboratory component)

Whenever you tell a story, see a film or a work of art, or ponder an ethical question, you are encountering the humanities. The humanities include academic disciplines that use critical, historical, and aesthetic approaches to explore how people experience and document their lives, examine and question the values of their societies, and creatively engage with their world. Currently, our courses in the humanities address the languages, literatures, fine arts, history, philosophies, and religions of Western cultural traditions. (You will find other courses that take a humanistic approach in the ACGM and BCGM GURs).

Complete one of the following options:

Option 1:

Complete 3 courses from at least two departments; 12 credits minimum


109–Visual Dialogue (3)


210–History of Architecture: Prehistory to Modernity (3)
220–Visual Culture in the Ancient World (3)
221–Visual Culture in Medieval Europe (3)
230–Visual Culture in 15th and 16th Century Europe (3)
231–Visual Culture in 17th and 18th Century Europe (3)
240–Visual Culture in Western Europe in the 19th Century (3)
241–Visual Culture in Western Europe and America in the 20th Century (3)


277-Canada: A Historical Survey (5) (Also taught as HIST 277)


117–The Ancient Legacy (5)
350–Greek Mythology (4)
360–Masterworks of Ancient Greek Literature (5)
370–Literature of Rome and Her Empire (5)


220–Communication Theory (5)
230–Rhetoric and Social Change (5)


108–Intro to the Arts (3)


111–Design View (3)
211–Foundations of Visual Communication (3)


214–Shakespeare (5)
215–British Literature (5)
216–American Literature (5)
238–Society Through Its Literature (5) (May be taken only once for GUR credit)
270–Language and Society (5)
282–Global Literatures (5)
332–Literature and Philosophy (5)
339–Mythology and Literature (5)


334S-Holocaust Film (5) (Also taught as INTL 338)


103–Introduction to American Civilization: American History to 1865 (5)
104–Introduction to American Civilization: American History Since 1865 (5)
111–Introduction to Western Civilization: Prehistory to 476 (5)
112–Introduction to Western Civilization: 476-1713 (5)
113–Introduction to Western Civilization: 1713 to Present (5)
121–World History to 500 (5)
123–World History, 1500 to the Present (5)
131–Going to College in America (5)
151–Communities of the Ancient World (5)
277–Canada: A Historical Survey (5) (Also taught as C/AM 277)
314–The American and European Enlightenment (5)


103–Navigating the Human Experience - Pre-Modernity (4)
104–Navigating the Human Experience - Modernity (4)
201–Colloquium in Philosophy (4)
205–Colloquium in History (5)


121–Ancient Mediterranean (5)
122–Medieval and Early Modern Europe(5)
123–Modern Europe (5)
243–Art and Ideas (5)
290–Approaches to Cultural History (5) (May be taken only once for GUR credit)
321–Between Renaissance and Inquisition: Censorship and Religious Conflict in Spain’s Golden Age (5)
323–The Romantic Paradox: Love, Life and Death (5)
325–Surveillance, Voyeurism and the Culture of Suspicion (5)
329–The Epic in Ancient Roman Culture (5)
390–Topics in the Humanities(5) (May be taken only once for GUR credit)


338-Holocaust Film (5) (Also taught as FAIR 334S)


340–History of U.S. Journalism (4)

French (FREN)

202–Intermediate French (5)
203–Intermediate French (5)

German (GERM)

202–Intermediate German: Language, Communication & Culture (5)
203–Intermediate German: Language, Communication & Culture (5)
301–High Intermediate German: Contexts & Culture (5)
302–Advanced German: Contexts & Cultures I (5)

Latin (LAT)

202–Intermediate Latin (5)
203–Intermediate Latin (5)

Portuguese (PORT)

304– Portuguese for Spanish Speakers (5)

Russian (RUSS)

202–Intermediate Russian II (5)
203–Intermediate Russian III (5)

Spanish (SPAN)

202–Intermediate Spanish (5)
203–Intermediate Spanish (5)
301–Grammar Review and Composition (5)
302–Grammar Review and Composition (5)


104–The Art of Listening to Music (3)
105–Survey of Popular and Rock Music (3)
106–Introduction to Hip-Hop (3)
107–Introduction to Country Music (3)
108-Survey of Video Game Music (3)
109–Iconic Music and Iconic Films (3)
110–Electronic Music and Technology (3)
202–History of Jazz (3)


305–Social Justice and Healthcare (5)


112–Introduction to Philosophy: Moral Issues (3)
113–Introduction to Philosophy: Philosophy of Religion (3)
114–Introduction to Philosophy: Knowledge and Reality (3)
115–Environmental Ethics (3)
340–Philosophy of Science (3)
350–Political Philosophy (3) (Only one of PHIL 350 and PLSC 261 may be taken for GUR credit)
355–Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art (3)
360–Society, Law and Morality (3)


261–Introduction to Political Theory (5) (Only one of PLSC 261 and PHIL 350 may be taken for GUR credit)


301–Work and Leisure Through the Ages (4)


232–Myth and Folklore (5)
265–Science and Religion in American Culture (5)
333–Religion in America (5)
336–New Testament and Early Christianity (5)


101–Introduction to the Art of the Theatre (3)
201–Introduction to the Cinema (3)
202–Film Genre (3) (May be taken only once for GUR credit)
380–Theatre History I (4)
381–Theatre History II (4)
382–Theatre History III (4)

Option 2:

Even when we are alone, we cannot escape the influence of others. The social sciences provide knowledge and understanding of human behavior and the ways we live our lives individually and collectively. Together, these disciplines develop and test theories based on empirical observation that help us better understand how we think and act in the world, form and maintain relationships, organize into groups and create institutions to achieve goals and interests, and relate to and interact with the physical environment.

Complete 3 courses from at least two departments; 12 credits minimum


102–Introduction to Human Origins (5)
201–Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (5) (Only one of ANTH 201 and HNRS 203 may be taken for credit)
210–Introduction to Archaeology (5)
247–Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology (5) (Only one of ANTH 247, HNRS 217 and LING 201 may be taken for credit)


200–Introduction to Canadian Studies (5)


210–Communication and the Mind (3)
251–Introduction to Communication Disorders (3)


228–Organizational Communication (5)
240–Media Studies (5)


101–Markets and Society (4)
206–Introduction to Microeconomics (4) (Only one of HNRS 209 and ECON 206 may be taken for credit)
207–Introduction to Macroeconomics (4)


109–Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (4)
115–Introduction to Contemporary Education Issues (4)


110–Ecogastronomy: The Art and Science of Food (2)
111–Ecogastronomy: Topics/Discussion (1)
202–Introduction to Environmental Studies and Sustainability (3)
204–Human Geography (4)
240–Geography and World Affairs (2)
342–Geography of the World Economy (4)


311B–The United States Legal System (5) (Only one of FAIR 311B, MGMT 271, PLSC 311 may be taken for GUR credit)
312F–Globalizations since 1870 (5) (Also taught as INTL 312)


215–Personal Finance (4)


201–Perspectives of Human Lifestyle and Wellness (3)
210–Introduction to Public Health (4)


203–Colloquium in Anthropology (5) (Only one of HNRS 203 and ANTH 201 may be taken for credit)
204–Colloquium in Psychology (5) (Only one of HNRS 204 and PSY 101 may be taken for credit)
206–Colloquium in Political Science (5) (Only one of HNRS 206 and PLSC 101 may be taken for credit)
209–Colloquium in Microeconomics (4) (Only one of HNRS 209 and ECON 206 may be taken for credit)
217-Colloquium in Linguistics (5) (Only one of ANTH 247, HNRS 217 and LING 201 may be taken for credit)
221–Interdisciplinary Colloquium in Science and Social Science (4)
252–Colloquium in Sociology (5)


312–Globalizations Since 1870 (5) (Also taught as FAIR 312F)


190–Introduction to Mass Media (5)


100–Leading Responsibly (2)
101–Introduction to Leadership Studies (5)


201–Introduction to Language and Linguistics (5) (Only one of ANTH 247, HNRS 217 and LING 201 may be taken for credit)
204–Language and Society (5)


271-Law and the Business Environment (4) (Only one of PLSC 311 FAIR 311B and MGMT 271 may be taken for GUR credit)


412–Policy, Leadership and U.S. Healthcare (5)


101–Government and Politics in the Modern World (5) (Only one of PLSC 101 and HNRS 206 may be taken for credit)
250–The American Political System (5)
271–Introduction to International Relations (5)
291–Introduction to Comparative Politics (5)
311–Introduction to Law and the Legal System (5) (Only one of PLSC 311, FAIR 311B and MGMT 271 may be taken for GUR credit)
372–International Political Economy (5)


101–Introduction to Psychology (5) (Only one of PSY 101 and HNRS 204 may be taken for credit)
116–Human Sexuality (5)
117–The Psychology of Identity (5)
341–Psychology and Culture (5)

Recreation (RECR)

210–Leisure in Contemporary Society (4)


221–Introduction to Population Issues (5)
234–Special Topics in Sociology (5) (May be taken only once for GUR credit)
251–Sociology of Deviant Behavior (5)
255–Social Organization of Criminal Justice (5)
260–The Family in Society (5)
271–Immigration (5)
342–Sociology of Religion (5)

Understanding different perspectives is crucial as societies and cultures become increasingly diverse and global. ACGM/BCGM courses help you develop this understanding. Comparative courses deal with the history and culture of societies beyond the Western tradition. Courses on gender explore the social construction of gender and its consequences. Multiculturalism courses deal with the experiences and cultural expressions of minority groups. ACGM courses focus on areas outside of Europe and North America. BCGM courses focus on Europe and North America.

Complete 2 courses, one from Block A and one from Block B.

Block A — Primary emphasis outside North America and/or Europe. Provides an introduction to civilizations of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

362–Anthropological Perspectives on Asia (5)
365-Latin American Perspectives (5)
366–Perspectives on Africa (5)


201-Zen and the Art of Tea (3)
202-Zen and the Art of Tea II (3)
250–Arts of Africa pre-1900 (3)
251–Arts of Africa after 1900 (3)
270–Visual Culture in South and Southeast Asia (3)
271–Visual Culture in East Asia (3) (Also taught as East 271)


232–Movement and Culture (3)


201–Introduction to East Asian Civilizations (5) (Also taught as HIST 280)
202–East Asian History in the Early-Modern and Modern Eras (5) (Also taught as HIST 281)
230–Modern Chinese Society and Language (3)
271–Visual Culture in East Asia (3) (Also taught as A/HI 271)
333–East Asia: Society and Environment (4) (Also taught as ENVS 333)
360–China and the Emerging World Economy: From Antiquity to the Early Modern (5) (Also taught as HUMA 360)


340–Energy and Climate in Rural Development (4)


335–Literary and Creative Expressions Across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America (5)
336–Scriptural Literatures (5)


333–East Asia: Society and Environment (4) (Also taught as EAST 333)
334–South Asia: Society and Environment (3)
335–The Middle East: Society and Environment (3)


210–Nomads of Eurasia (5)


101–Elementary ASL/Culture (5)


210A–World Issues (5)
312D–Global Culture & World Society (5)
371B–Topics in Middle East Studies (3-6)
334H–Human Rights in Africa (5)
334K-Human Trafficking and Smuggling (5) (Also taught as INTL 335)


220-Introduction to South Asian History (5)
273–Latin America: 1492-1824 (5)
274–Latin America: 1824 to the Present (5)
280–Introduction to East Asian Civilizations (5) (Also taught as EAST 201)
281–East Asian History in the Early-Modern and Modern Eras (5) (Also taught as EAST 202)
285–African History to 1800 (5)
286–African History 1800–Present (5)
287–Introduction to Islamic Civilization (5)
288–History of the Modern Middle East (5)
290-The Early Modern Atlantic World (5)
359–America and Vietnam (5)


105–Navigating the Human Experience - Post-Modernity A (4)
219–Colloquium in Religious Studies (5) (Only one of HNRS 219 and REL 219 may be taken for credit)


271–Humanities of India (5)
273–Art and Society in China and Japan (5)
275–Humanities of Japan (5)
276–Humanities of Africa (5)
277–Humanities of China (5)
278–Islamic Civilization (5)
360–China and the Emerging World Economy: From Antiquity to the Early Modern (5) (Also taught as EAST 360)
362–Islam in the Indian Ocean World (5)
372–Postcolonial Novels: Art, Rhetoric and Social Context (5)


201–Introduction to Global Studies (5)
335-Human Trafficking and Smuggling (5) (Also taught as FAIR 334K)

Arabic (ARAB)

202–Intermediate Arabic (5)
203–Intermediate Arabic (5)

Chinese (CHIN)

202–Second-Year Chinese (5)
203–Second-Year Chinese (5)
301–Third-Year Chinese (5)
302–Third-Year Chinese (5)
303–Third-Year Chinese (5)
304–Chinese Grammar and Composition (5)

Japanese (JAPN)

202–Second-Year Japanese (5)
203–Second-Year Japanese (5)
301–Third-Year Japanese (5)
302–Third-Year Japanese (5)
303–Third-Year Japanese (5)


205–Survey of World Musical Cultures (3)


452–Global Health Inequities and Interventions (5)


346–Politics of Inequality (5)


231–Introduction to the Study of Religion (5) (Only one of REL 231 and HNRS 219 may be taken for credit)
283–Religion and Globalization (5)
290–Religion, Culture, and Society (5) (May be taken only once for GUR credit)
332–World Religions (5)
334–Hebrew Bible and the Religion of Ancient Israel (5)
338–Mystical Traditions (5)
340–Sufism:The Islamic Mystical Tradition (5)
341–Women in Islam (5)
345-Fierce Goddesses of India (5)
375-Buddhism (5)
378–Religion and Society in India (5)
380–Religion and Society in China (5)
382–Religion and Society in Japan (5)
390–Topics in Religion (5) (May be taken only once for GUR credit)


334-Contemporary Chinese Society (5)
348–Global Health (5)
366–Colonialism, Slavery, and Links to Contemporary Racism (5)
390–Globalization and Families (5)


213–Introduction to Sexuality and Queer Studies (5)
310–Race, Ethnicity, Indigeneity (5)
314–Gender Across Borders (5)

Block B — Primary emphasis inside North America and/or Europe. Provides an introduction to multicultural experience and to gender studies.

202–The American Indian Experience (4)
203–The Hispano/a-American Experience (4)
204–The African-American Experience (4)
205–The Asian-American Experience (4)
206–The Jewish-American Experience (4)
242–The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered Experience (4)
252–Arab American Experience (4)
301–Comparative Cultural Studies (4)
344-Asian American Psychology (4) (Also taught as FAIR 344P)
362–Asian-American History (5)


104–American Mosaic: The Cultures of the United States (4)
353–Sex and Gender in Culture (5)
361–American Indian Perspectives (5)


331-Canada: Society and Environment (4) (Also taught as ENVS 331)


225–Communication, Diversity and Controversy (4)
260–Communication, Identity and Difference (5)


203 – Compass 2 Campus: Youth Mentoring Toward Social Justice (5)


310–Education, Culture and Equity (5)


227–Queer Literature (5)
234–African-American Literature (5)
235–Native and Indigenous Literatures of North America Indian Literatures (5)
236–Asian-American Literatures (5)
239–Latina/o Literatures (5)
334–Literary and Creative Expression Across North America and Europe (5)
338–Women and Literature in North America and Europe (5)


331-Canada: Society and Environment (4) (Also taught as C/AM 331)


201–Russian Civilization (5)


205–Disability, Diversity, and the Mass Media (4)


334L-The Holocaust (5) (Also taught as INTL 336)
344P-Asian-American Psychology (4) (Also taught as AMST 344)


141-History of the American West (5)
158–Race and Identity in Modern America (4)
232–History of the Jews before the Modern Era (5)
233–History of the Jews in the Modern Era (5)
262–African American History to 1865 (5)
263–African American History Since 1865 (5)
265–LGBTQ+ History in the United States (5)
268–Introduction to Asian-American History (5)
275–The Indian in American History (5)
278–Multiculturalism in Canada (5)
353– Latinas/os in the US West (5)


106–Navigating the Human Experience - Post-Modernity B (4)
218–Colloquium in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (5)


281–Representations of Otherness (5)
327–Ireland: A Cultural History (5)


336–The Holocaust (5) (Also taught as FAIR 334L)


375–Diversity, Mass Media and Social Change (4)


432–Community-Based Care for Vulnerable Populations (3)


119–Psychology of Gender (4)


201–Introduction to the Salish Sea (4)


268–Gender and Society (5)
269–Race and Ethnic Relations (5)
339–Women, Sexuality, and Society (5)
365–Gender, Bodies, and Sports (5)
368–Gender and Education (5)


211–Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (5)
212–Introduction to Feminist Theory (5)
320–Topics in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (3-5)