WMU Essential Studies


WMU Essential Studies is the new required curriculum for undergraduate students, scheduled for implementation fall 2020. The program is designed to support the University-wide set of Essential Studies Student Learning Outcomes which can be traced across the curriculum.

  • 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 areas taught in WMU’s existing general education program, 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.

Contact the WMU Essential Studies Director at wmu-essentialstudies@wmich.edu

WMU Essential Studies Illustrated Model

Access the tutorials page for understanding how a course fits within the model, assessing student learning outcomes, and the electronic course submission process:
WMU Essential Studies Interactive Tutorials

Access the support materials page for document such as timeline, glossary, and MOA's:
WMU Essential Studies Support Materials



WMU Essential Studies Executive Advisory Committee

WMU Essential Studies Course Review and Approval Committee