General Education Program Summary

As a liberal arts institution, Willamette provides an education in the arts, humanities, and sciences while allowing students to major in a particular field within these areas.

Students engage in critical thinking and problem solving, close reading, discussion, and writing. Individualized experiences challenge students both in and out of the classroom. Teaching and learning, strengthened by scholarship and community engagement, prepare graduates to transform knowledge into action and lead lives of contribution, achievement, and meaning in a dynamic world.


General Education Requirements

Designed to expose students to a broad range of subjects and methods of investigation. The general education courses fall into one of the 4 categories: study in a language other than English, Practicum, Liberal Arts Distribution, and the Writing Program. Courses taught this fall that satisfy particular parts of the General Education program are listed in the schedule of classes. Use the Course Type Quick Assess under Department Quick Access.

All students are expected to study a language other than English through the 132 level. The number of courses needed to complete this requirement depends on where the student begins the sequence, and could be up to 2 courses. Students with background in a language need to take a placement exam.

In order to satisfy Willamette University’s non-English language requirement, students must do one of the following:

  1. Complete the second semester (L132) or higher of one of Willamette University’s non-English language courses with a minimum grade of C-;
  2. Place into a 200-level language course and pass an additional proficiency examination in that language administered on campus by Willamette University faculty;
  3. Successfully complete the first year or higher of college non-English language study in one language at another college or university;
  4. Achieve a minimum score of 4 on the AP language exam;
  5. Achieve a minimum score of 5 on the higher level International Baccalaureate language exam;
  6. Present evidence of a primary language other than English.
Students need to earn at least 1.5 credits in practicum designated courses and experiences to satisfy the practicum requirement. Practicum credits can come from different types of practicum experiences: Power, Difference, and Equity (PDE) courses; culture and advanced non-English language courses (231 or above); internships, service learning, and study abroad.

The distribution requirement expresses one of the fundamental values of a liberal arts education, namely that every graduate should have a broad exposure to significant areas of human inquiry and cultural practice. Through this exposure, students cultivate a diversity of interests, gain an awareness of multiple intellectual frameworks, and learn a variety of approaches to solving problems. To fulfill the distribution requirements, students must earn (with a grade of C- or higher) at least one credit in each of these four areas:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Natural Sciences
  • Social Sciences

The distribution component must be satisfied by four (4) distinct courses having four (4) distinct program prefixes.

All entering students become part of the writing culture at Willamette through a series of writing-centered courses taken throughout their college careers. The program has two central goals: the use of writing to develop understanding of course content across the disciplines, and the progressive development of fluency in writing for a variety of audiences, both general and disciplinary. The Writing Center, housed in Ford Hall, supports the program by providing opportunities for students at all levels to confer individually with faculty and peer consultants about their writing.

  • A W following the course number designates a writing-centered course.
  • Two courses are needed: one at the 100- or 200-level, and one at the 300- or 400-level.
  • While College Colloquium is not a writing-centered course, it introduces students to college level writing and embodies the goals of the writing program.