Making Essential Studies Work For You

Do you have a particular interest that isn't a topic in your major? Or are you seeking to improve your skills and understanding of one of the areas as you pursue your professional goals? Then, this is the list for you.

Watch the short video and/or take a look at the examples below of how Western Michigan University students can make essential studies work. The possibilities are endless. What works for you?

Video of Student perspectives on Western Michigan University Essential Studies

Western Essential Studies: It's all about choices!

  • Katelyn: sales and business marketing

    Katelyn is a sales and business marketing major and is planning to apply for an internship at an art museum in the summer. She wanted to develop her creative and critical thinking skills as a complement to her studies and chose the following WMU Essential Studies courses:

    • Oral/Digital Communications: EDLD 2000
    • Inquiry and Engagement: CLAS 1500
    • Personal Wellness: COM 1700
    • World Language and Culture: ART 2220
    • Artistic Theory and Practice: MUS 1520
    • Scientific Literacy with Lab: GEOS 1900
  • Trevor: nursing

    Trevor is a nursing major who hopes to someday be a nurse manager at a level I trauma hospital. He wants to develop his creative and critical thinking skills to strengthen his managerial skills. To do this, he chose the following WMU Essential Studies courses:

    • Quantitative Literacy: PHIL 2250 Deductive Logic
    • Inquiry and Engagement: SOC 2000 Principles of Sociology; HSV 2250 Human Development
    • Personal Wellness: COM 1700 Interpersonal Communication I
    • Artistic Theory and Practice: ED 2300 The Nature of Creativity
    • Societies and Cultures: ANTH 3440 Indigenous North America
  • Janell: digital media and journalism

    Janell is a digital media and journalism major who wants to work in the news industry with a focus on international issues. She would like to emphasize communication in a global context, and is looking for courses that will teach her about inquiry, communication, and global awareness. She will choose the following WMU Essential Studies courses:

    • Oral/Digital Communications: COM 1000
    • Inquiry and Engagement: PSCI 2400
    • Societies and Culture: BUS 2220
    • World Language and Culture: GIST 2000
    • Artistic Theory and Practice: ENGL 2660
    • Global Perspectives: GWS 3200
  • Carlos: youth and community development major

    Carols is a youth and community development major. He hopes to work in an agency focused on youth dropout prevention. He plans to seek an internship in an alternative high school or juvenile home and wanted to develop skills in the area of behavior management to understand how to help youth shape positive behaviors.

    • Oral/Digital Communications: COM 1000 Communication and Community Engagement
    • Critical Thinking in the Arts and Humanities: SWRK 1000 Inro-Social Service
    • Artistic Theory and Practice: HISP 3390 Contemporary Latin America
    • Societies and Cultures: ADA 3410 Diversity and Substance AbuseDI
    • Local and National Perspectives: FCS 4120 Family PolicyDI
    • Personal Wellness: CECP 3700 Career Planning and DevelopmentDI
  • Lindsay: exercise science

    Lindsay is an exercise science major. She plans to apply to graduate schools to become a physical therapist. She wanted to use WES to help her prepare for graduate school admissions.

    • Oral/Digital Communications: FCS 2250 Computer Applications
    • Critical Thinking in the Arts and Humanities: SOC 2000 Principles of Sociology
    • Scientific Literature with Lab: BIOS 1120 Principles of Biology
    • Science and Technology: PHIL 3340 Biomedical Ethics
    • Societies and Cultures: PH 2310 Public Health Needs and Issues
    • Personal Wellness: HPHE 1110 Healthy Living
  • Susan: computer science

    Susan is a computer science major who has a passion for art and history, especially from Asia. Here is how she chose to fulfill her WMU Essential Studies elective courses: 

    • Oral/Digital Communications: COM 1040 Public Speaking
    • Inquiry and Engagement: ANTH 1200 Peoples of the World
    • World Language and Culture: ART 2230 Intro to Asian Art History
    • Artistic Theory and Practice: CHIN 2800 Chinese Calligraphy
    • Societies and Cultures: JPNS 2750 Japanese Language and Culture
    • Global Perspectives: GEOG 3900 China, Japan, and Korea
    • Local and National Perspectives: CS 4910 Software System Development II: Implementation, Test
  • Colton: aviation flight science

    Colton is an aviation flight science major who ultimately hopes to fly internationally for a major airline someday and chose the following WMU Essential Studies elective courses as a way to increase his global knowledge and understanding

    • Oral/Digital Communications:  COM 2040 Workplace and Professional Communication
    • Inquiry and Engagement:  PHIL 2200 Critical Thinking
    • World Language and Culture:  GIST 2000 Global & International Studies
    • Artistic Theory and Practice: ART 2210 History of Art
    • Societies and Cultures:  GEOG 1020 World Geography Though Maps/Media
    • Global Perspectives:  GEOG 3900 China, Japan, and Korea
    • Local and National Perspectives:  PSCI 3040 Intro to Public Policy 
  • Lucas: aviation technical operations

    Lucas is an aviation technical operations major who loves history and wanted to add courses to his schedule that explore history. Here is how he chose to fulfill his WMU Essential Studies elective courses: 

    • Oral/Digital Communications:  FCS 2250 Computer Applications
    • Inquiry and Engagement:  HIST 1000 Early Western World
    • World Language and Culture:  HIST 3850 Modern Middle East
    • Artistic Theory and Practice: ART 2210 History of Art
    • Societies and Cultures:  HIST 3200 American Military History
    • Global Perspectives:  GEOG 3900 China, Japan, and Korea
    • Local and National Perspectives:  GEOG 3110 Geography of Michigan
  • Lauren: biomedical sciences

    As a pre-dental student, Lauren is a biomedical sciences major with a chemistry minor. She wants to tailor her WMU Essential Studies courses to support her goal of pursuing dental school. Working with her advisor, she could develop her curriculum to include the following courses:

    • Writing: ENGL 1050 Thought and Writing
    • Inquiry and EngagementSOC 2000 Principles of Sociology
    • Oral and Digital Communication COM 1040  Public Speaking
    • Quantitative LiteracyMATH 2000 Calculus with Applications
    • Science and Technology: PSY 1000 General Psychology
    • Scientific Literacy with Lab: PHYS 1130 and PHYS 1140 General Physics/General Physics Lab
  • Frank: undecided

    Frank is an undecided student but knows that he would like to attend law school like his grandfather. Frank already knows that he can choose any major to prepare for law school. Because he is trying to explore his numerous interests,  he would like to take some general education classes during his first semesters that will develop skills needed for law school success. Frank has also been interested in the environmental studies ever since second grade. He often wonders if he could merge his interests towards a career practicing law. Below are options for courses Frank could take during his first semester to focus on skills needed in law school or address interests that he has.

    • ENGLISH 1050 (FOUNDATIONS IN WRITING) = Writing 4 credits
    • PHILOSOPHY 1100 (INQUIRY, ARGUMENT, and DEBATE) = Inquiry and Engagement 4 credits
    • BIOLOGY 1050 (ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY) = Scientific Literacy with Lab 4 credits
    • BIOLOGY 1100 (BIO LAB)
    • HPHE 1701 (HEALTH AND WELLNESS PRACTICES) = Personal Wellness 3 credits
  • Maelle: psychology

    Maelle is a psychology student interested in working with children and families, possibly children with autism or other developmental disabilities. She plans to do a practicum in this area for her major, and would like to expand her knowledge on issues surrounding this population. 

    • Inquiry and Engagement: PHIL 2010 Intro to Ethics
    • World Language and Culture: SIGN 1020 American Sign Language II
    • Science and Technology: PSY 1400 Intro to Behavior Analysis
    • Artistic Theory and Practice: ED 2300 Nature of Creativity or ENGL 2810 Youth Literature and Culture
    • Societies and Cultures: SPPA 2000 Communication Disorders & Sciences or FCS 2170 Diverse Children, Families, and Communities
    • Global Perspectives: FCS 3150 Global Ecology of the Family
  • Stuart: clinical psychology

    Stuart is interested in becoming a clinical psychologist. He knows graduate school will be in his future and wants to prepare for that, while also getting a broad range of information on some of the diverse populations he may work with in the future. 

    • Quantitative Literacy: STAT 1600 Statistics and Data Analysis
    • Inquiry and Engagement: PHIL 2010 Intro to Ethics or GRN 1000 Introduction to Aging Studies
    • Personal Wellness: PSY 4630 Health Psychology
    • World Language and Culture: REL 2100 Religions of the World
    • Societies and Cultures: GWS 2010 LGBT Studies
    • Global Perspectives: ENGL 3050: Prof Writing: Work & Culture
    • Local and National Perspectives: ANTH 3470 Ethnicity/Multiculturalism
  • Rebecca: social work

    Rebecca is studying social work in the college of health and human services. She ultimately hopes to develop her own non-profit organization to fight for social inequality and decrease the racial bias that exists in today's society. To add a deeper understanding of the prejudices that exist, Rebecca chose the following WMU Essential Studies courses: 

    • Societies and Cultures:  PHIL 3150 Race and Gender Issues
    • World Language and Culture:  SIGN 1020 American Sign Language II
    • Artistic Theory and Practice: MUS 1520 Rock Music: Genesis & Development
    • Global Perspectives:  GWS 3480 Gender & Plastic Bodies
    • Local and National Perspectives:  ANTH 3470 Ethnicity/Multiculturalism