Student Responsibility for Completion of Requirements
Every effort is made by the University to notify students of degree requirements. However, it is the student’s responsibility to become familiar with all requirements upon entry to the University.
WWU Graduation Requirements for Bachelor’s Degrees
A student should expect to graduate according to the general requirements in the catalog current at the time of initial matriculation. However, if the student interrupts enrollment for more than two consecutive quarters (summer quarter not included), the student shall meet the demands of the catalog in force at the time of readmission. Correspondence enrollment is defined as interrupted enrollment.
While the University reserves the right to change the regulations concerning admission and requirements for graduation, it shall be the policy of the University to give adequate notice prior to effecting any significant changes and to make reasonable adjustments in individual cases where there may be a hardship.
Declaring a Major
Students should expect to meet the specific requirements for majors and minors in the catalog current at the time they declare the major and minor to the appropriate department. Early declaration of a major is essential to graduating in a timely manner. Soon after their arrival at Western, students should contact an academic department advisor to discuss the course of study leading to a major. All majors have their own unique steps for applying to or declaring a major. Students should check both the University Catalog Programs of Study page and academic department website for steps and details. Students are encouraged to meet with the Academic Advising Center, Career Services Center, or Student Outreach Services regarding choice of a major by the time they complete 60 credits or during the first quarter of enrollment if 60 or more credits are being transferred to Western. Staff in these areas can help students learn about and explore majors. Students are expected to apply to the department in which they wish to declare a major no later than the quarter following the quarter in which they reach their 90th credit. Students who do not declare a major by the time they reach 105 credits may not be permitted to register. Students who do not declare a major, pre-major, or Phase I major by the time they reach 105 or more quarter credits are required to meet with an advisor or submit an online major declaration plan for advisor approval each quarter prior to registering until they have declared a major. Learn more about the 105 credit hold process on the Academic Advising Center’s website: advising.wwu.edu/105-credit-holds.
Minors are available in most major disciplines but students are not required to complete a minor, unless a minor is required by the major. Requirements for each minor are listed in each department’s section. To declare a minor, a student should contact the department. Although there is no limit on the number of minors a student may earn, it is not possible to minor in areas with more than a 50% overlap of credits applied to other minors. NOTE: Minors may only be earned by students who have completed a baccalaureate degree at Western Washington University.
The following requirements are common to all undergraduate divisions of Western Washington University. For requirements unique to a given University division, see sections concerning the College of Business and Economics, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, the College of Fine and Performing Arts, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of the Environment, the College of Science and Engineering, University Interdisciplinary Programs, and Woodring College of Education.
- Minimum of 180 quarter credits. Western Washington University’s baccalaureate degrees require a minimum of 180 credits. Some fields require a larger number of credits, and students who major in these fields should anticipate that they may require more than four years to complete their programs. Students majoring in these fields are encouraged to seek advisement early in their academic careers. Also, programs that are highly sequential necessitate careful planning, the lack of which may result in extended work beyond the minimum required. Western allows a maximum of 135 quarter (90 semester) credits to transfer from any combination of regionally accredited institutions, including no more than 105 quarter (70 semester) lower-division credits. Additional course work which exceeds this amount may be used to meet specific requirements but additional credits will not be allowed to count toward the 180 credit requirement for graduation.
- Minimum of 45 credits earned through Western Washington University courses. Credit by examination and advanced placement credit are not included in this total.
- At least 60 credits of study in courses 300-level or above (at the institution where the course was taken).
- Students may include a maximum of 15 credits of 100-level IEP (Intensive English Program) coursework towards undergraduate degrees.
- Complete a minimum of three upper-division writing proficiency points in approved upper-division writing proficiency courses at WWU with a minimum grade of C-. Exceptions may be granted by the Academic Coordinating Commission for approved international dual degree programs undertaken with specific partner institutions with which Western has a formal agreement.
- General University Requirements - These general requirements must be satisfied by all students except those enrolled in Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, where a separate core program is required.
- Approved academic major
- At least 50 percent of the credits required in a student’s major must be earned at Western Washington University. Exceptions may be granted by the Academic Coordinating Commission for approved international dual degree programs undertaken with specific partner institutions with which Western has a formal agreement.
- Students must declare a major before reaching 105 credits.
- Approved academic minor
- A minor is optional for students at Western Washington University unless required by an approved academic major.
- At least 50 percent of the credits required for a minor must be earned at Western Washington University.
- Professional education sequence, if required by the major
- A grade of C- or better in a student’s major or minor, supporting courses for majors and minors, ENG 101, and courses taken to fulfill the upper-division writing proficiency requirement.
- A grade of C (2.0) or better is required for professional education courses required for teacher education programs and courses required for state teaching endorsements.
- Scholarship meeting minimums prescribed by the University divisions and academic departments, including a cumulative WWU GPA of at least 2.00 (or higher, as required by individual departments).
- Final quarter in residence. Must be registered for at least one Western course in the quarter in which degree is to be awarded. Exceptions may be granted by the Academic Coordinating Commission for approved international dual degree programs undertaken with specific partner institutions with which Western has a formal agreement.
- Submit an application for the degree following published deadlines. The degree is not granted without formal application.
Degree Works — Online Academic Planning and Degree Progress
Degree Works is a web-based academic planning and degree progress tool available to both students and advisors that evaluates coursework against degree requirements. Degree Works generates a degree audit — also known as a “worksheet” — reflecting academic progress toward the completion of a student’s declared or proposed degree or certificate. The Degree Works worksheet shows how Western Washington University courses, transfer courses, and courses in progress apply toward degree or certificate requirements. You can access Degree Works to view and print your worksheet via Web4U.
Visit the Degree Works General FAQ on the Registrar’s Office website for more information.
Extension Program Time Limits
All graduation requirements for an extension program must be completed within five years of the initial quarter of registration. Students who have not completed their program after four years of study are required to file a plan for completion of the degree within the five-year limit. Otherwise it is understood that the student has decided to withdraw from the program.
Procedures for Applying for a Bachelor’s Degree
Degrees are not automatically awarded when requirements are completed. It is the responsibility of the student to make application in the Registrar’s Office. Students must apply for a baccalaureate degree no later than the last day of classes two quarters prior to the final quarter. Complete instructions and deadlines are available on the Registrar’s Office website.
Procedures for Applying for a Residency Teacher Certificate
Teaching certificates are not automatically issued at program completion. It is the responsibility of the student to apply for the Residency Teacher Certificate through the Woodring College of Education Certification Office by the due date approximately two quarters before the start of full-time student teaching internship. Upon verification that certification requirements have been met, recommendation is made to the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for issuance of the Residency Teacher Certificate.
Complete application instructions and deadlines are available at wce.wwu.edu/cert or Certification Office, Woodring College of Education Student Services, Miller Hall 254F, and through applicable extension program offices.
Formal commencement exercises for degree candidates are held twice a year in June and December. Commencement information will be available in early April for the June ceremony and early October for the December ceremony. All information can be found on the Registrar’s Office Commencement website. To be eligible for commencement, all candidates must apply for their degree by the appropriate deadline and be pending to complete all degree requirements.
Baccalaureate Degrees with Two Majors
Any undergraduate student at Western Washington University may attempt to earn a bachelor’s degree with two majors. While there is no requirement that such a degree program include more than 180 credits, it may be impossible to complete within this minimum. The student’s application for such a degree must indicate both majors and be approved by both departments and academic units involved. The majors involved must be distinct and may not be based on more than a 50% overlap of credits applied to both majors. A multidisciplinary studies major cannot be earned concurrently with or subsequent to another major.
After earning a bachelor’s degree, a student may complete an additional major without earning a second bachelor’s degree. The student must submit a major declaration card and an application for an additional major to the Registrar’s Office.
Students with two majors that would result in the same type of degree (for example, a bachelor of arts in English and a bachelor of arts in business) will receive one degree and one diploma. They must choose the college they prefer to show on their transcript and for Latin honors purpose. In this example, the student must choose between a bachelor of arts from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences or a bachelor of arts from the College of Business and Economics. The majors will appear on the diploma.
More than One Baccalaureate Degree
A student may earn from Western only one of each type of degree offered (BA, BS, BAE, BFA, BMus, BSN).
Two Baccalaureate Degrees Concurrently
Two distinct bachelor’s degrees associated with different majors may be earned at Western simultaneously. The student must follow the admission and declaration process for each degree program and satisfy all requirements of each degree program. The majors involved may not be based on more than a 50% overlap of credits applied to both majors.
Second Baccalaureate Degree from WWU
A student who has already earned a baccalaureate degree from Western Washington University may apply for readmission to earn a different type of undergraduate degree associated with a different major. Such a student must:
- Submit a major declaration card
- Meet scholarship minimums prescribed by the University divisions and academic departments, including a cumulative WWU GPA of at least 2.00 (or higher, as required by individual departments)
- Earn at least 50% of the credits for the major at Western Washington University
- A grade of C- or better must be earned in all major courses.
- Earn at least 45 WWU academic credits beyond the number earned when the first degree was granted.** Credit by examination and advanced placement credit are not included in this total.
- Be registered for at least one Western course in the quarter in which the degree is to be awarded.
- Satisfy all requirements of the second degree program
**Exception: The BFA in art degree may be awarded to a student who has earned fewer than 45 additional credits since completing a BA degree.
Post-Baccalaureate Degree Requirements for Transfer Students
Holders of a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree from a United States institution accredited by the Regional Associations of Schools and Colleges will have fulfilled all General University Requirements (GUR). Holders of all other degrees earned in the United States at institutes accredited by the Regional Associations of Schools and Colleges and foreign degrees will have the degree evaluated for GUR on a course by course basis.
At least 50% of the credits earned for a major must be earned at Western Washington University
A grade of C- or better must be earned in all major courses. Note: A post-baccalaureate transfer student cannot earn a major at Western that is associated with any previously-earned degree.
A minor is not required for the degree unless it is required by the major. At least 50% of the credits earned for a minor must be earned at Western Washington University.
A grade of C- or better must be earned in all minor courses. Note: A post-baccalaureate transfer student cannot earn a minor at Western that is associated with any previously-earned degree. A minor cannot be posted to the official transcript unless a bachelor’s degree is earned from Western Washington University.
- Writing Proficiency
Holders of a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree from a United States institution accredited by the Regional Associations of Schools and Colleges will have fulfilled the writing proficiency requirement. Holders of all other degrees earned in the United States at institutes accredited by the Regional Associations of Schools and Colleges and foreign degrees will have their writing proficiency requirement evaluated on a case by case basis.
Scholarship meeting minimums prescribed by the University divisions and academic departments, including a cumulative WWU GPA of at least 2.00 (or higher, as required by individual departments).
- Minimum of 45 credits earned through Western Washington University courses. Credit by examination and advanced placement credit are not included in this total.
- Final quarter in residence. Must be registered for at least one Western course in the quarter in which degree is to be awarded.
Baccalaureate Degree After Graduate Studies at WWU
A student may not earn a baccalaureate degree from Western Washington University while enrolled in its Graduate School. A student may earn a baccalaureate degree after the completion of the master’s degree program provided: 1) all requirements listed under “Post-Baccalaureate Degree Requirements for Transfer Students” are met and 2) that 45 credits are earned at Western subsequent to the previous bachelor’s degree and exclusive of those credits that are a part of the master’s program.
Baccalaureate Degree and Teacher Certification
The prospective teacher may earn the Bachelor of Arts in Education degree, completing one or more of the appropriate teaching majors offered within the various schools, colleges and departments of Western. Three majors delivered through the Woodring College of Education offer non-certification options for students who are preparing to work in community agencies rather than public schools. The student (usually with plans to teach at the secondary school level) who wishes to complete an appropriate Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree program may also earn teaching credentials without earning the BAE degree. Some programs allow requirements for teacher certification to be completed at the same time the BA or BS degree is earned. Such students must be admitted officially to the professional education program of the Woodring College of Education and complete the required professional sequence.
Writing Requirements at Western Washington University
Western Washington University believes that development of writing proficiency should be pursued systematically throughout the course of study. To that end Western has established a program of writing courses and support services beginning in the freshman year and extending to upper-division writing proficiency courses offered throughout the University.
GUR Writing Requirement
- Block A of the GUR communications requirement: to be completed, with a grade of C- or better, prior to the accumulation of 45 credits; ENG 101, Writing and Critical Inquiry, (5), (waived for students demonstrating high English competency on CEEB Advanced Placement English exams with a score of 4 or 5).
- Block B or C of the GUR communications requirement: to be completed prior to accumulation of 135 credits; see the GUR website for details.
Upper-division Writing Proficiency Requirement
Upper-division writing proficiency courses emphasize research and writing. In writing proficiency courses, students learn the writing style and conventions of their disciplines, as well as the techniques for integrating evidence into scholarly papers. Writing proficiency courses are listed in Browse Classes.
Students unable to enroll in designated WP courses may be able to satisfy the requirement, with faculty endorsement, by submitting an “Alternative Writing Proficiency Course Agreement” through the Writing Instruction Support Program.
Writing Proficiency Points Fulfilling the Upper-division Writing Proficiency Requirements
(Minimum 3 points required)
||Credits of course
||% of Grade Based on Writing Assignments
General University Requirements (GURs) at Western Washington University
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 that 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 to thrive, to succeed in future careers, and to develop a strong sense of personal and social responsibility.
Completion of the GURs will involve repeated effort in each of six clusters of knowledge and practices literacies. This process will provide students with both a range of foundational content knowledge and opportunities to develop, integrate, and extend their core capacities in a range of practices. Each GUR course incorporates both acquisition of content knowledge and extending students’ core capacities in at least one practice.
- Social, Cultural & Historical Literacies
- Courses addressing these content knowledge literacies focus on the foundational knowledge and aesthetic, theoretical, and methodological approaches for studying the diversity of human experience.
- Civic, Ethical, & Environmental Literacies
- Courses addressing these content knowledge literacies focus on knowledge of humans, their value systems, their organizations and contexts, and/or their place in the natural environment.
- Quantitative, Scientific, & Technological Literacies
- Courses addressing these content knowledge literacies focus on quantitative and symbolic reasoning and theoretical, methodological, experimental, and technological approaches for studying the physical and biological world
- Communicative & Interpretive Literacies
- These literacy practices focus on reading, interpreting, and communicating information through oral, print, & digital media and genres for audiences, both specialized and general.
- Creative & Problem-Solving Literacies
- These literacy practices focus on methods for solving complex problems, generating and designing innovative ideas, and creating aesthetically engaging works.
- Critical & Reflective Literacies
- These literacy practices include evaluating and contextualizing sources and information, applying various theoretical frameworks to examine and/or evaluate texts, knowledge, and truth claims, and identifying and examining one’s own (and other’s) assumptions, values, and beliefs.
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 the College of the Environment. Students enrolled in Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, see the Fairhaven College section of the University catalog for requirements.
- Students transferring to Western with a Washington community college Direct Transfer Agreement Associate Degree.
- Students transferring to Western from another Washington state public baccalaureate institution whose General University Requirements were completed 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. (Art and Art History are considered to be one department, as are all foreign languages.)
Grades in GUR Courses
Courses which are to apply to General University Requirements must be taken on an “A” through “F” grading scale, except for courses designated 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 a GUR course is D-.
Please note the use of GUR attributes in Browse Classes. Courses which qualify as General University Requirements are designated by the appropriate attribute (ACOM, BCOM, CCOM, QSR, HUM, SSC, ACGM, BCGM, LSCI, or SCI).
List of General University Requirements
The detailed list of General University Requirements for the 2022-2023 academic year is available at the General University Requirements website.
Transfer Credit to Satisfy GUR
Transfer students from Washington state community colleges may satisfy the GUR by taking courses listed on the transfer admission section of Western’s website.
Approved associate degrees from community colleges in Washington State may fulfill all General University Requirements. Students at community colleges who wish to satisfy the General University Requirements by earning an associate degree should check carefully with advisors, as only certain approved degrees will apply.
To meet the GUR, an approved associate degree is normally earned prior to initial enrollment at Western (on or off campus) as a transfer student. If any student wishes to complete such a degree in order to have it satisfy the GUR at Western, it must be earned by the time the student has 1) completed 45 credits at WWU, or 2) one calendar year has passed from initial enrollment at WWU, whichever comes later. A student seeking an exception to the 45-credit limit or one calendar year timeline must petition the Registrar’s Office for approval.
Western allows a maximum of 135 quarter (90 semester) credits to transfer from any combination of regionally accredited institutions, including no more than 105 quarter (70 semester) lower-division credits. Additional course work which exceeds this amount may be used to meet specific requirements, but additional credits will not be allowed to count toward the 180-credit requirement for graduation.
Completion of General University Requirements will be granted to transfer students from another Washington state public baccalaureate institution whose General University Requirements were completed and certified by the sending institution.
Students pursuing a second baccalaureate degree at Western after completing a bachelor’s degree at another US regionally accredited institution will have fulfilled all General University Requirements.
NOTE: Certain programs may have admission standards which require the completion of the GUR prior to beginning study. Consult program advisors for details.
All degree-seeking students, on or off campus, must complete all other common requirements for baccalaureate degrees.
Scheduling of GUR Courses
The first year’s schedule ordinarily should investigate potential majors, explore subjects in which a student has little or no experience, sample the main fields represented in the GUR (humanities, social sciences, natural sciences), and meet basic requirements in writing and mathematics. Students who are interested in a particular major should begin the basic work of that major. Concurrently, they should use the GUR and other courses to investigate areas of potential interest besides that major. Students who are unsure about what their major will be should explore fields in which they are, or may become, interested, by taking introductory courses in those fields. Some GUR courses will serve this purpose. It is perfectly permissible, in this exploration, to take non-GUR courses also.
This strategy may be pursued in the sophomore year. By the third quarter of the sophomore year (more or less), students who take this approach should be ready to proceed in one of several majors, and will have also laid the basis for a liberal arts and science education.
It is strongly recommended that students continue the GUR into their junior and senior years, taking courses from the GUR list in which they have become interested, and also taking non-GUR electives. By doing this, students benefit from the interplay of “liberal” and “specialized” components of their education throughout their time at Western. A few majors require completion of the GUR before entering the major.
Students should study carefully the requirements of their major and the course descriptions before planning courses to satisfy the General University Requirements, as some required courses in the major may also apply to General University Requirements. If questions arise, students should confer with a degree evaluator in the Registrar’s Office, OM 230.