• Slideshow image: WMU student and instructor working on a mechanical project in a campus lab

    WMU Essential Studies

    As a member of Liberal Education and America's Promise, WMU is challenging the belief that students must choose either a liberal education or a practical education.

  • Slideshow image: WMU student poses in front of the US Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

    Choose your future

    The flexibility packed into WMU Essential Studies means you will choose courses that make sure you are ready to take charge of your future.

  • Slideshow image: A WMU student wearing safety glasses works on a project in a campus lab

    Foundations. Discovery. Exploration. Connections.

    The hallmarks of general education. But WMU offers a twist on the traditional by letting you develop your own path and select the courses that are meaningful to you.

  • Slideshow image: WMU students converse during an in-class discussion

    Making it work

    As you progress toward graduation, WMU Essential Studies gives you a chance to expand your understanding of the world through courses that focus on local, national or global perspectives and build on your foundation.

  • Slideshow image: WMU students in cycling gear pose in the campus bike shop.

    Sustainability, Diversity, and Inclusion

    Exploring subjects that impact every student and every career is part of WMU Essential Studies. To graduate, all students must take one course in sustainability and one course in diversity and inclusion.

  • 93% of employers agree that a college candidate needs a "demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems."


Preparing to move from student to professional can be daunting, but Western Michigan University has you covered. As a WMU student, you will complete  12 courses from WMU Essential Studies, a program that helps you develop the general education and intellectual skills employers seek most in graduates—demonstrated complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision making.

And, since WMU Essential Studies is all about your choices, the sequence of courses you select will help you succeed in your chosen major, minor, graduate degree and future career.

Check out the Interactive Model.

Spring 2023 Sessions: Navigating WES

Presented by the WES Advisory Committee and WMU University College

WES Basics

Want to learn more about WES?

In these sessions, WMU Essential Studies staff and representatives from the WES Executive Advisory Committee will answer instructors’ questions about the student learning objectives, rubrics, end of semester assessment, submitting a course to be a part of WES, and address any other concerns instructors may have.


WES Elearning

Do you know how to use WES within the Elearning platform effectively?

In this session, instructors will learn about the assessment pieces of WES within Elearning. WES staff and Elearning experts will be available to answer questions. Instructors will also have the opportunity to review their courses in the Elearning platform.

Schedule: WES Basics and Elearning

Tuesday, January 10 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  
Wednesday, February 111 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  
Tuesday, February 14   11 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  
Tuesday, February 28   1 p.m. - 2 p.m.Join on Webex  
Wednesday, March 22 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.Join on Webex  
Tuesday, April 4   11 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  
Wednesday, April 19    1 p.m. - 2 p.m.Join on Webex  

Level 3

  • Level 3


Local and National Perspectives   •   Global Perspectives

Level 2

  • Level 2

Discovery and Exploration

Personal Wellness   •   World Languages and Culture   •   Science and Technology   •   Scientific Literacy with Lab   •   Artistic Theory and Practice   •   Societies and Cultures

Level 1

  • Level 1


Writing   •   Oral and Digital Communication   •   Quantitative Literacy   •   Inquiry and Engagement