Academic Programs & Degrees

A WestConn Education

A WestConn education gives students a strong liberal arts foundation, depth of knowledge in a chosen field, effective intellectual, interpersonal, and technological skills, and the ability to learn and continue learning. Degree programs are designed to meet these primary objectives of the university mission. WestConn strives to give its graduates the knowledge, skills, and experience they need to reach their goals in personal and professional life.

Bachelor's degree programs at the university begin with general education, in which students learn ways of knowing the world through the arts and humanities; the social and behavioral sciences; the natural sciences, mathematics, and computer science; and health and exercise sciences. The development of foundation skills in writing and computation, essential for work at an advanced level, is ensured as part of general education.

Students take a second significant step by choosing a major, a program in a particular field of study leading to a degree. Some students decide also to complete a minor, a lesser concentration, and most include elective courses as their program allows. This catalog shows the many choices available, including innovative majors, learning through experience, and the opportunity to design your own program leading to a degree. At every stage WestConn faculty serve as guides and advisers.

As stated in the mission, the high quality of a WestConn education means that the university serves Connecticut as "an accessible, responsible, and creative resource." WestConn graduates have gone on to distinguished public service, as well as distinction in many fields of business and the professions. The university welcomes students from many backgrounds and is committed to their success.

Degree Requirements for Undergraduates

Western Connecticut State University awards the degrees of bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, bachelor of business administration, bachelor of music, and associate in science to students who have successfully completed the prescribed courses of study. Students are required to attain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (a "C" average) for graduation in most degree programs. However, some degree programs may require a higher grade point average for graduation (see program sheet).

The University's requirements for graduation as stated in the undergraduate catalog at the time you are matriculated (admitted to a degree program) will be honored at the time you graduate. If you change your major, graduation requirements will be those listed in the catalog at the time of the approved change.

If your matriculation is interrupted (if you withdraw from the university and are readmitted), the requirements for graduation will be those stated in the catalog at the time of your readmission.

To be awarded a degree from Western Connecticut State University:

1. You must earn a minimum of 30 semester hours in courses at WestConn;

2. You must earn at least half of the credits in your major at WestConn;

3. The maximum credits you can earn by Credit through Examination that may be applied to a bachelor's degree will be 60 credits, and for an associate degree will be 30 credits.

You can earn credits towards an undergraduate degree at WestConn as follows:

1. Courses taken at WestConn and passed with acceptable grades;

2. Transfer credits from approved academic institutions or recognized by credit-recommending agencies (ACE, etc.);

3. Credit by Examination including CLEP, ACT/PEP, NLN, Advanced Placement, Department Examinations;

4. USAFI and DANTES credits;

5. Portfolio review of non-traditional educational experiences done by Charter Oak State College, 66 Cedar St, Newington, CT 06111-2646 (860) 666-4595.


Matriculated Students - A matriculated student is one who has met all requirements for admission and who has been formally admitted to a degree program.

Nonmatriculated Students - A nonmatriculated student is one who has not been formally admitted to a degree program at the University.

Curriculum Waiver

Waivers may be granted for curriculum requirements. All waivers (except those for the physical education requirement which is based on physical disability or veteran status) require replacement with approved courses to match the total number of semester hours waived.

Foreign Language Requirement

All students enrolled in B.A. programs and secondary education majors must fulfill the foreign language requirement in one of the following ways:

1. By completing through the third year of one foreign language in high school with an overall "C" average.

2. By studying a total of three years of two foreign languages in high school with an overall "B" average.

3. By successfully completing a foreign language proficiency examination.

4. By successfully completing the specified language courses at WestConn. The courses which fulfill the foreign language requirement are identified in the course description sections of French, German, Italian and Spanish in this catalog. Foreign language courses at the elementary level will not satisfy the requirement.

5. By successfully completing a language immersion experience of one semester abroad. Consult the foreign language department or Western's International Center.

Foreign Language Requirement Waiver

(For Students whose native language is other than English)

1. WestConn does not require you to take a foreign language if you hold a bona fide high school diploma from another country whose language of instruction is other than English. However, you must have your high school diploma translated and certified by the consulate or cultural attaché of the U.S. in the country where you earned your diploma.

2. If you claim to possess knowledge of a foreign language, you must be tested. Where no standardized test exists, individual testing will be arranged with persons certified competent in the language. All testing fees will be the responsibility of the student.

3. If you do not meet the first condition (#1 above) or the second (#2 above, i.e., not doing sufficiently well on such a test), you will be expected to satisfy the requirement by doing course work in one of the languages taught at WestConn.

Physical Education Requirement/Waiver

All students for bachelor and associate degree programs must take two semester hours of physical education activity courses or PE 177, Fitness For Life, unless the requirement is waived for medical reasons or by veteran's exemption. Up to one semester hour of credit earned for varsity athletic participation may be used in meeting this requirement.

Earning a Second Bachelor's Degree

If you have earned one bachelor's degree from Western Connecticut State University, you may be eligible to pursue a second bachelor's degree at Western. The second major must be different from the first, although the degree may be the same, e.g., B.A. in psychology and B.A. in English.

After you have earned the first degree, you must apply to the Admissions Office for acceptance as a candidate for the new degree program (acceptance will depend on program requirements).

You must complete a minimum of 30 semester-hour credits (classroom credits, excluding CLEP and other alternates) including all requirements specific to the new degree, such as a foreign language requirement.

General Education

The general education requirements at Western Connecticut State University are designed to expose students to the broad spectrum of human knowledge in the areas of writing and communication skills, humanities, social and behavioral sciences, natural and computational sciences, and health promotion and exercise sciences. Students matriculated for all degrees are required to complete courses in these five broad areas.

You are advised to complete required courses in writing and communication skills as soon as possible, since these areas significantly improve your ability to handle further course work; other general education requirements may be fulfilled throughout the undergraduate program.


Many departments prescribe some specific general education courses in addition to required major courses. Students selecting courses to fulfill general education requirements in a program should carefully read the requirements of their chosen major (in the department section of this catalog and the official program sheet for the major) to determine which general education courses must be taken. Students should consult their advisor regularly.

You are advised to keep a record (preferably using a department's official program sheet) of general education requirements completed. Overall requirements are as follows:

1. Writing and Communication Skills (6 Semester Hours)

Courses to be selected must include:

  • At least one writing intensive course
  • One Course in Communication skills

Writing Intensive Courses

A number of courses fulfill the general education intensive writing requirement. These courses are marked in the semester brochure with a "W." All these courses have as their minimum prerequisite ENG 101 The Habit of Writing, ENG 145, or appropriate placement. Criteria for a course carrying the "W" or writing intensive label:

1. The course involves research which includes the gathering and written analysis of information, data, perceptions, evidence, background, observations or arguments as are appropriate to the subject or genre of the course.

2. The course involves the student in a writing process which may take the form of exercises, discussions, logs, reactions to readings, role playing, personal reflection, group work, critical thinking, multiple drafts, freewriting or other activities that integrate the research with the author's objectives and evolve toward clear and effective writing for a purpose and an audience. As it unfolds, the writing process of the course exposes students to some of the essential issues that writers face--for example, organization, tone, voice, accuracy of expression, dramatic effort, authenticity, and level of diction.

3. In a writing intensive course students produce at least one substantial piece of polished or finished writing, writing that has gone through a full cycle of writing process from initial idea to final polish and presentation.

4. Students in a writing intensive course will be required to generate documentation displaying, as an average, at least one "page" of student writing for every 50 minutes of class time. This documentation may take several forms, for example, a comprehensive portfolio which includes research notes, responses to assignments and readings, free writings, logs, drafts, web text or any number of other types of writing appropriate to the subject or writing genre of the course.

Communication Skills (3 SH)

One course from among the following:

COM 160 Speech Fundamentals
COM 161 Decision Making in Groups
COM 162 Interpersonal Communication

2. Humanities (15 Semester Hours)

Courses to be selected must include at least three of the following areas:

  • Fine and Applied Arts and Communication
  • Foreign Language
  • Humanistic Studies
  • Literature
  • Philosophy
  • Western History

Fine and Applied Arts and Communication

Only one studio course may be used to fulfill humanities requirements.

All ART lecture and studio courses meet this requirement.

The following fine arts communication and theatre courses meet this requirement (numbers followed by an asterisk are studio courses.): COM/THR 125, THR 150*, THR 163, THR 180, THR 181*, THR 182*, THR 201, THR 202*, COM 246*, THR/COM 252*, THR 255, THR 260, COM 274*, THR 279, THR 282*, COM/THR 283*, THR 284*, THR 285, THR 287, THR 289*, THR 290, THR 381*, THR 382*, THR 383, THR 389, THR 385, THR 387*, THR388*.
COM 146, 160, 161, 162 and 400 do not meet this requirement.
MUS 100 History & Appreciation of Music
MUS 101 Evolution of Jazz and Rock Music
MUS 105 Music Essentials
MUS 106 Class Piano I

Music performance ensembles are open to all students by audition. Each 1/2 semester hour ensemble may be elected for up to six times for a maximum total of 3 semester hours.

HPX 150 Dance Workshop (Studio Course)

Foreign Language

FR 161 Reading French I *
FR 162 Speaking French I *
FR 163 Reading French II
FR 164 Speaking French II
FR 170 A Survey of the French Cinema
GER 161 Reading German I *
GER 162 Speaking German I *
GER 163 Reading German II
GER 164 Speaking German II
IT 161 Reading Italian I *
IT 162 Speaking Italian I *
IT 163 Reading Italian II
IT 164 Speaking Italian II
SPA 161 Reading Spanish I *
SPA 162 Speaking Spanish I *
SPA 163 Reading Spanish II
SPA 164 Speaking Spanish II
All courses at levels 200, 300, 400
* Meets general education requirement only if course numbered 163 or 164 is also successfully completed.

Humanistic Studies

All HUM courses meet this requirement


ENG 105: Introduction to Poetry
ENG 105 (W): Introduction to Poetry-Writing Intensive
ENG 106: Introduction to Fiction
ENG 106 (W): Introduction to Fiction-Writing Intensive
ENG 107: Introduction to Drama
ENG 107 (W): Introduction to Drama-Writing Intensive
ENG/SPA 280: A Study of Don Quixote
ENG/SPA 283: The Fiction of Jorge Luis Borges
ENG/LAT 122: Readings from Latin Literature
ENG 106: Literature I
ENG 161: Literature II
ENG 200: Literature III
ENG/THR 205: Literature for the Stage I
ENG/THR 206: Literature for the Stage II
ENG 207: The Poem
ENG 208: Contemporary Stories and Essays
ENG 220: Humor, Wit and the Comic
ENG 221: The American Dream in Literature
ENG 222: Gender Roles in Literature
ENG 223: Sacred Texts as Literature
ENG 224: Literature and Science/Technology
ENG 225: Speculative Fiction
ENG 226: Rebels and Revolution in Literature
ENG 227: Ethnicity and Identity in Literature
ENG 228: Love, Sex and Identity in Literature
ENG 307: Shakespeare I
ENG 308: Shakespeare II
ENG 316: Literature and Human Consciousness
ENG 322: Literature and Philosophy
ENG 323: Epics in Literature
ENG 324: British, Irish and Post-Colonial Literature
ENG 334: Women Writers
ENG 376: World Literature
ENG 377: The Literature of War
ENG 378: American Literature: Author/Author or Period/Period
ENG 379: Biography and Autobiography


All PHI courses meet this requirement

American and European History

HIS 101 American Perspectives
HIS 125 Shapers of the Western Tradition
HIS 148 American History: To 1877
HIS 149 American History: Since 1877
HIS 186 Europe: Ancient & Medieval
HIS 187 Modern Europe
HIS/AAS 219 African-American History and Culture
HIS 246 Judaism
HIS 270 Christianity

3. Social and Behavioral Sciences (12 Semester Hours)

Courses to be selected must include at least two of the following areas:

Non-Western Cultures
Social Sciences

Non-Western Culture

All NWC courses meet this requirement


All PSY courses meet this requirement except PSY 120

Social Sciences

All ANT, ECO, GEO, PS, SS and SOC courses meet this requirement

4. Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science (10 Semester Hours)

Courses to be selected must include both a laboratory course in the natural sciences and a course in mathematics or computer science

Natural Science Laboratory Courses

In year-long courses, both semesters must be successfully completed to meet the requirement.

All AST laboratory courses meet this requirement
All 100-level BIO courses except BIO 105 and BIO 106
CHE 102 Everyday Chemistry
CHE 104 Principles of Chemistry
CHE 110, 111 General Chemistry I & II
CHE 120, 121 Survey of Chemistry I & II
CHE 202 Advanced Everyday Chemistry
ENV 100 Environmental Resources
All ES laboratory courses meet this requirement
All MTR laboratory courses meet this requirement
All PHY laboratory courses meet this requirement
*In year-long courses, the first semester meets this requirement only if you successfully complete the second semester.


All MAT courses meet this requirement except MAT 098, 100, and 211. MAT 105 and 106 meet this requirement only if both are satisfactorily completed.

Computer Science

Only the following courses meet this requirement:

CS 135, CS 140 and CS 143.

5. Physical Education (2 Semester Hours)

Activity Courses

See Health And Exercise Science (HPX) course descriptions. Course numbering is designed to guide students to the appropriate level:

100-Introductory college courses. Open to freshmen.
200-Courses which have specific prerequisites or require particular class standing in a given major.
300-Advanced courses in major fields. Generally open only to junior or senior majors.
400-Advanced courses in major fields. Generally open to senior undergraduates. Also acceptable, with approval, for graduate credit.
500-Courses designed for master's degree candidates. Open to seniors by special permission.
600-Courses designed for sixth-year certificate candidates. Open to master's degree candidates by special permission.

HPX177 Fitness for Life lecture and activity

The Major

Selecting a Major

Students may select a major at the time of admission to the University or may request admission as undeclared.

To declare a major at the time of admission, students should consult the section of this catalog on the selected major to check for any special admission and/or retention standards. A department may request an interview with prospective students.

If undeclared, students should discuss course selection with an advisor in the Academic Advisement Center, (203) 837-8397.

All students must declare a major by the time they earn 60 credits in order to continue enrollment at the University.

Program Sheets

Each major program leads to a degree, and students should obtain and study the program sheet for their major. Program sheets may be obtained from the department, the office of the school dean, or the Admissions office. Program sheets list the degree requirements for each major. As students consult with their faculty advisor in the major, the program sheet will guide selection of courses to meet general education and major requirements.

Continuation in Major

Certain major programs have specific retention standards. See the appropriate catalog section where the major is described.

Change of Major

To change or declare a major, you will need to:

1. Obtain a change of major form from the office of the appropriate department chairperson or the Academic Advisement Center.

2. Meet with the chairperson of the new department to discuss the new major and its requirements. If there is no problem with entering the new major, the department chairperson will sign your change of major form and assign you a new adviser.

3. File the change of major form with the Registrar's Office.

Double Major

Any WCSU student who wishes to fulfill the requirements for more than one academic major may do so. Both majors will be listed on the student's transcript. However, only one degree will be awarded.

If you qualify for more than one degree, e.g., both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science, you must notify the Registrar's Office as to which degree you wish to receive at commencement.

You are advised to exercise caution in selecting more than one major because the requirements you must meet for two majors will limit your ability to take elective courses.

You are responsible for fulfilling the requirements of both majors as well as any special general education requirements in the majors.

Contract Major

A contract major is a coherent program of studies leading to a B.A. or B.S. degree, proposed by a student in consultation with a faculty advisor. The program must fulfill general education and other University-wide degree requirements including a major comprised of a minimum of 36 credits related to a specialized topic, theme or area of concentration. Credits in the major may be drawn from the course offerings of one or more academic departments and at least half of them must be taken at WestConn. The contract must be approved by the chairs of the departments from which three or more courses for the major are taken and by the Committee on Undergraduate Curriculum and Academic Standards.

Proposals are normally presented prior to the completion of 75 credits. They must exhibit academic integrity and rigor. Therefore, students are cautioned that the later a proposal is presented, the greater the chance that more than the minimum number of credits for the bachelor's degree will be required to complete the contract major. The student applicant must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 and must have completed the general education requirements in writing and communication skills and mathematics. At least 24 credits in the major must be taken at the 200 level or above. Inclusion of a senior thesis or project is strongly advised.

The intent of the contract major is to allow students whose academic interests extend beyond existing majors sufficient flexibility to design a program of studies appropriate to their educational goals.

Departments and faculty advisors in fields related to the student's interests may provide guidance on developing the proposal. Additional information is available from Dr. James Munz of the department of philosophy, White Hall 021b, (203) 837-8782.

Honors Interdisciplinary Bachelor's Degree

A special kind of contract major is the Honors Interdisciplinary Bachelor's Degree Program. Recognizing that the traditional division of knowledge into subject areas or disciplines is, to some degree, artificial, the University makes it possible for the highly motivated student to pursue a specialized course of study that examines in depth a single theme or idea from the perspectives of two or more disciplines. A student might, for example, wish to pursue a course of study focusing on the mddle ages, combining the disciplines of history, literature, philosophy, art history, music history and Latin. The student who chooses this option works closely with a faculty advisor and thesis director.

To participate in the Honors Interdisciplinary Program, a student must have completed a minimum of 30 credits of college work with at least a 3.2 GPA. With a faculty advisor, the student will develop a proposal which must fulfill general education and other university-wide degree requirements, including a major comprised of 39 to 50 credits focused on the student's central topic or theme. The major will include a three- to six-credit thesis or equivalent project. At least two-thirds of the major credits must be at or above the 200 level. Enrollment in, and graduation from, the Honors Interdisciplinary Program requires a continued level of achievement with a cumulative 3.2 GPA.

All proposals for the Honors Interdisciplinary Program must be approved by the University Honors Council. Students with proposals to present should, with their advisors, request the Dean of Arts and Sciences to convene the council. Upon recommendation by this council, proposals go to the Committee on Undergraduate Curriculum and Academic Standards for final approval. Additional information is available from Dr. Steven Ward of the Department of Social Sciences, Warner Hall 205, (203) 837-8459.

Special Study Opportunities

University Scholars Program

WestConn operates an all-University honors program called University Scholars. Its purpose is to foster and nurture academic excellence among outstanding students. The program offers an opportunity for academically strong and motivated students to excel in response to the challenge of an honors enrichment program.

Each fall, University Scholars enroll in an Honors Seminar devoted to an interdisciplinary theme or topic. These seminars are characterized by extremely lively discussion and the development of skills in research, logic, and expository writing.

Students in the University Scholars Program may take honors courses offered by any of the departments in the University, or "enhanced courses" developed by the student along with a professor. Members consult with the honors director and participate in activities that include community service, multicultural experience, and special research and events.

Incoming freshmen are invited to participate in the program if they meet the criteria: 1050+ on their SAT scores, or if they have graduated in the top 25% of their high school class. Continuing students are invited to participate if they have overall average of 3.2. Information is available from the Honors Director, Dr. Steven Ward, Warner Hall 205, (203) 837-8459.

Faculty Developed Course (1 to 4 Semester Hours)

From time to time any academic department may offer an experimental course, labeled X98, to determine its value to the total departmental program or in response to a particular request from a group of students.

Student Independent Study (1 to 6 Semester Hours)

Opportunities to develop an individualized area of study are available to all students in the University under all department auspices. The following course description applies University-wide and describes the process by which a student may be registered for credits through a course of his/her own design. The course number is determined by the academic level of the project. Any student may earn 1 to 6 S.H. of credit through a Student Developed Study. However, there is no limit to the number of credits a senior may earn.

This vehicle is designed to provide the student with an opportunity to develop his/her own learning experience. The student will design a project, labeled X99, and secure a faculty sponsor to work with. A Student Developed Study may be utilized more than one time. Open to students of all classes. Prerequisite: Permission of faculty sponsor and department.

Cooperative Education

Director of Cooperative Education: A. Ciarleglio
Career Development Center, Student Center,
2nd Fl., 837-8265

Director of Career Development Center: M. Gernert
Student Center, 2nd Floor, 837-8266

Cooperative Education is an additional component of the total educational program at WestConn. Combining formal classroom work with meaningful on-the-job experience in cooperation with business, industry, governmental agencies and other employers provides professional development, academic achievement and personal growth. Students interested in cooperative education may register for CED 297 as a free elective or through an individual department where direct approval of the student's major academic adviser will also be required.

CED 297 Cooperative Education Option I (1-12 Semester Hours)

With prior approval from the Office of Cooperative Education, students may register for co-op credit according to the following procedures:

1. CED 297 credit may be applied as free elective credits taken on a PASS/FAIL basis.

2. One (1) academic credit shall be awarded for every fifty (50) hours of work experience.

3. The maximum number of CED 297 credits a student may earn will be 18 S.H. including any transfer of credit. Students may register for no more than 12 S.H. 297 credit during a given semester. A maximum 18 S.H. may be taken in a student's program.

4. Students registering for CED 297 will be charged standard tuition fees for this credit.

5. Co-op work experiences must comply with established registration procedures for nontraditional courses.

6. Students must have at least 45 S.H. in good standing and have attained upper sophomore status at the time they register for co-op.

7. Students are required to attend the CED 297 seminars, maintain a log, submit a final synthesis paper and complete employer and student evaluations.

(Any Label) 297 Cooperative Education/ Option II (1-12 Semester Hours)

Upon request, you may register for co-op education credit and receive a letter grade, which is awarded through an academic department. You will need to obtain permission to earn a letter grade for this option from both the co-op office and the department chairperson prior to registration for co-op. The supervision and evaluation of students working under this option will be coordinated by either faculty co-op coordinators or the co-op staff. The following procedures apply to registration through Department 297:

1. Students requesting a letter grade for Department 297 credit must receive approval from the department chairperson and the director of the co-op program.

2. One (1) academic credit shall be awarded for every fifty (50) hours of work experience.

3. The maximum number of Department 297 credits you may earn, including any transfer, will be 18 S.H. department credits. Students may register for no more than 12 S.H. 297 credits during a given semester. Individual departments may limit the total number of Department 297 credits taken by a student.

4. Students registering for Department 297 will be charged standard fees for this credit.

5. Co-op work experience must comply with established registration procedures for nontraditional courses.

6. Students must have at least 45 S.H. in good standing and have obtained departmental approval for registration in Department 297 co-op.

7. Students are required to attend the CED 297 seminars or an appropriate Department 297 seminar, maintain a process log, submit a final synthesis paper and obtain an employer evaluation.

Study Abroad (ISEP)

WestConn works with the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) to make study abroad available and affordable for all students. The ISEP network, made up of 225 higher education institutions in the U.S. and around the world, makes it possible for WestConn students to pay the WCSU tuition, room, and board costs in order to study at universities in Europe, Africa, Asia, as well as Central and South America.

There are two programs from which students may choose: ISEP I and ISEP-Direct. The ISEP I Program is a one for one exchange: for every student whom WestConn sends abroad, the university accepts one incoming international student. The ISEP-Direct Program facilitates direct admission to those international universities in the ISEP network which are in high demand, and yet have a limited number of ISEP I places. Under the ISEP-Direct Program, the student pays the fees of the host university, which are usually somewhat higher than WestConn costs.

You need not speak another language to be an exchange student, since many of the ISEP university programs accommodate English speaking students. Courses taken as an ISEP student are transferrable to WestConn.

International study, a maturing educational experience, also adds an attractive qualification to any student's subsequent professional employment.

In order to foster such a background among its students, WestConn also annually joins the three other campuses of the CSU System in offering spring and summer study abroad. Courses are taught overseas with CSU faculty and course designation, which permits grade transfer for work accomplished according to the same academic standards and requirements as are expected on campus.

For application forms and information on either the ISEP or CSU System Courses Abroad Program, call Dr. Robert Whittemore, Coordinator of WestConn's International Center at (203) 837-8461, Social Sciences Dept., Warner Hall, 204.

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