• 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.

Fall 2021 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.

Schedule: WES Basics

Tuesday, September 1411 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  
Tuesday, September 2811 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  
Tuesday, October 1211 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  
Tuesday, October 2611 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  
Tuesday, November 911 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  
Tuesday, November 2311 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  
Tuesday, December 711 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  

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 Elearning

Tuesday, September 2111 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  
Tuesday, October 511 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  
Tuesday, October 1911 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  
Tuesday, November 211 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  
Tuesday, November 1611 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  
Tuesday, November 3011 a.m. - 12 p.m.Join on Webex  

Combined Sessions: WES Basics/Elearning

In the combined sessions, instructors can learn and ask questions about the basics of WES, as well as using WES within the Elearning Platform.

Schedule: WES Basics/Elearning

Wednesday, September 151 - 2 p.m.Join on Webex  
Wednesday, September 291 - 2 p.m.Join on Webex  
Wednesday, October 131 - 2 p.m.Join on Webex  
  • Level 1


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

  • 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 3


Local and National Perspectives   •   Global Perspectives