WMU Essential Studies is the required curriculum for all undergraduate students at Western Michigan University. Courses are designed to help students become fluent in change and driven to contribute; develop perseverance; and be ready for their future. Students develop the skills employers seek most in graduates—demonstrated complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision making.

Information about the work of the WMU Essential Studies committee is available from the WMU Faculty Senate

  • Expand students’ understanding of human cultures and the physical/natural world.
  • Enhance intellectual and practical skills.
  • Exercise personal and social responsibility.
  • Exhibit integrative and applied learning.

The overall program targets essential intellectual skills, identified as learning outcomes, by integrating and applying them in content courses. An important feature of the program is the sequencing (where specified) to ensure that students are learning skills before developing and applying them. The program encompasses all of the traditional general education programs, plus introduces the following new skills and content areas: diversity and inclusion, global awareness, critical thinking, sustainability, and real-world problems chosen by faculty.

The program is comprised of three levels: Foundations, Exploration and Discovery, and Connections. Within each level are subsequent categories and student learning outcomes. All student learning outcomes will be assessed at the end of each course.

For more information, contact: wmu-essentialstudies@wmich.edu