WCSU Undergraduate Catalog 2023-2024

Academic Programs & Degrees

A Western Education

A Western Connecticut State University education gives students a strong liberal arts foundation; depth of knowledge in a chosen field; effective intellectual and interpersonal skills and the ability to learn and continue learning. Degree programs are designed to meet these primary objectives of the university mission. WCSU strives to give its graduates the knowledge, skills and experience needed to reach their personal and professional goals.

Bachelor’s degree programs at the university begin with the general education curriculum, in which students develop skill in varied modes of inquiry that are make up a liberal arts degree. We start with a First Year Navigation course, to help all students understand their requirements and the opportunities available at the university. Then students move through courses that support foundational communication skills in oral and written communication, creative process, critical thinking, health and wellness, information literacy, intercultural competency, quantitative reasoning, and scientific inquiry.  We tie all of this together in a Culminating General Education Experience.

Students take a second significant step by choosing a major, a program in a particular field of study leading to a degree. Some students also decide to complete a minor, a lesser concentration, and most students include elective courses as their program allows. This catalog shows the many choices available, including innovative majors, learning through experience and the opportunity to design your own program leading to a degree. At every stage WCSU faculty serves as guides and advisers.

As stated in the mission, WCSU “changes lives by providing all students with a high quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals, and leaders in global society.”

Degree Requirements for Undergraduates

Western Connecticut State University awards the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Fine Arts, and Associate in Science to students who have successfully completed the prescribed courses of study. Students are required to attain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (a “C” average) for graduation in most degree programs. However, some degree programs require a higher grade point average for graduation (see program sheet).

The university’s requirements for graduation as stated in the undergraduate catalog at the time students are matriculated (admitted to a degree program) will be honored at the time of graduation. If a student changes majors, graduation requirements will be those listed in the catalog at the time of the approved change.

If matriculation is interrupted (if a student withdraws from the university and is readmitted), the requirements for graduation will be those stated in the catalog at the time of readmission.

Awarding of Credit

Credit Hour:  A semester hour of credit is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

  1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks;
  2. or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time;
  3. or at least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph 1 of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work and other engaged academic time leading toward the award of credit hours.

To be awarded a degree from Western Connecticut State University:

  1. A minimum of 30 semester hours must be earned in courses at Western;
  2. At least half of the credits in a major and nine credits in a minor must be earned at Western;
  3. Sixty is the maximum number of credits that can be earned through examination that may be applied to a bachelor’s degree; 30 is the maximum number of credits that can be earned through examination that may be applied to an associate degree.

Credits towards an undergraduate degree at Western can be earned in these ways:

  1. Take courses at Western and pass them with acceptable grades;
  2. Transfer credits from approved academic institutions or as recognized by credit-recommending agencies.  Students should refer to the Taking a Course at Another Institution section.
  3. By examination including CLEP, ACT/PEP, NLN, advanced placement, department examinations;
  4. USAFI and DANTES credits;
  5. Have a portfolio review of non-traditional educational experiences done by Charter Oak State College, 66 Cedar St., Newington, CT 06111-2646; call (860) 666-4595.


Matriculated Student (Degree Seeking) – Someone who has been formally accepted by Western Connecticut State University to pursue a degree. Matriculated students may attend full-time or part-time.

Non-matriculated Student (Non-Degree Seeking) – Someone who is not enrolled as a degree seeking student at Western Connecticut State University.  Registration is limited to less than 12 credit hours each semester.

Note: Students who have been academically suspended are no longer considered matriculated students but may enroll as a non-matriculated student

Curriculum Waiver

Waivers may be granted for curriculum requirements. All waivers (except those for the exercise science requirement which is based on physical disability or veteran status) require replacement with approved courses to match the total number of semester hours waived.

Language Requirement

The Bachelor of Arts degree and the Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education require students to study a language other than English to at least the elementary level II. All students enrolled in these degree programs must fulfill the language requirement in one of the following ways:

1. Complete three years of a language other than English in high school with an overall “C” average.

2. Study a total of four years of two languages other than English in high school with an overall “B” average.

3. Successfully complete a proficiency examination in a language other than English, or provide the necessary documentation outlined in the language waiver policy in this catalog.

4. Successfully complete a language immersion experience of one semester abroad. Consult the Department of World Languages and Literature or Western’s International Center.

5. Successfully complete the specified language courses at WCSU. Students may fulfill the language requirement by successfully completing an Introductory II second-semester course in languages offered in the Department of World Languages and Literature, or any one semester of a language course at the intermediate level or above that is taught in the target language, not in English.

Language Requirement Waiver

For students whose native language is other than English:

1. Western does not require students to complete the language requirement if they hold a bona fide high school diploma from another country whose language of instruction is other than English. However, the high school diploma must be translated and certified by the consulate or cultural attaché of the U.S. in the country where it was earned.

2. Students claim to possess knowledge of a language other than English will be tested. Please call the Department of World Languages and Literatures to arrange a time for the test.

3. If students do not meet the first condition (#1 above) or the second (#2 above, i.e., do not do sufficiently well on such a test), they will be expected to satisfy the requirement by doing some course work in one of the languages taught at Western.

Earning a Second Bachelor’s Degree

Graduates who have earned one bachelor’s degree from Western Connecticut State University may be eligible to pursue a second bachelor’s degree at WCSU. The second major must be different from the first, although the degree may be the same, e.g., B.A. in psychology and B.A. in English.

After earning the first degree, students must apply to the Admissions Office for acceptance as a candidate for the new degree program. (Acceptance will depend on program requirements).

A minimum of 30 unduplicated semester-hour credits (classroom credits, excluding CLEP and other alternates) including all requirements specific to the new degree, such as a foreign language requirement, must be completed.

Course Level Definitions

Course numbering is designed to guide students to the appropriate level:

Course with no prerequisites, survey courses, course defining basic concepts, or a course presenting the terminology of a discipline.  These courses may require skills measured by university entry requirements for writing, math and/or the discipline.

Course of intermediate college-level difficulty, course with 100-level course(s) as prerequisite(s) or survey courses devoted to particular areas or fields within a discipline.  These courses may require skills obtained by first-year experience and writing intensive competencies.

Course of advanced college-level difficulty taken by majors and/or upper division students.  These are often considered to be courses in the major, or offered to students with sufficient skill and expertise to find success through completion of a major creative, experimental or research project.

Advanced upper-division courses, seminars or tutorials designed as culminating experiences where students have the capacity to work independently, while under the guidance of an instructor.

General Education Requirements

General Education at Western Connecticut State University combines course-based competencies with opportunities to explore a wide range of disciplines outside of a student’s major. The university has identified 10 competencies that support academic success and prepare students for life-long learning. There are shared learning outcomes for each competency, which are embedded in courses across the curriculum.

Competencies may be satisfied in the major, minor or any other area of interest. There are no rules about how many competencies can be satisfied in the major. The only rules are:

  • All competencies must be satisfied (as listed below).
  • All students must complete at least 40 credits outside of their major discipline.

With this approach, the university has created the opportunity for students to develop essential skills and habits of mind in disciplines where they are most engaged with the material. It is important that students explore ideas from several areas of curriculum outside their major, but without an arbitrary limit on that exploration.

Part 1: Competencies

Students must complete all of the competencies. FY, W1, and 3 other competencies should be completed in the first 30 credits.

Students must then repeat three different competencies, excluding writing and first year navigation. Most competencies should be completed within the first 60 credits.

Credits for competencies will be counted where they apply (in the major or in the general education part 2).

Finally, all students will enroll in a Culminating General Education Experience CE to tie together their educational experience at WCSU. In most cases, the CE course is the major capstone/thesis.

First Year Navigation (FY) Competency

First Year Experience programs take a variety of forms to provide academic and co-curricular support as students begin university life. This competency allows first year students to transition into the University and to appreciate the values, culture, and resources of the academic community. Please see below for a list of courses that satisfy FY.

Creative Process (CP) Competency

The creative process begins with an understanding of the specific discipline or form involved. This knowledge serves as a foundation for inspiration and imagination. An element of risk is typically involved. This inspiration is then developed and explored through a process of discovery and research leading to a preliminary version of the creative work. The student, his or her peers, and the instructing faculty member evaluate this preliminary version in order to refine the idea in its current state; it is incumbent upon the student to demonstrate and/or defend their process for creating his/her work. The resulting modified creative work is then presented as a tangible finished product.Please see below for a list of courses that satisfy CP.

Critical Thinking (CT) Competency

Critical thinking is an intellectual and analytical activity through which students develop the ability to recognize, examine, critique and synthesize arguments. It consists of two key components: acquiring the skills to assess the clarity, accuracy, relevance, and strength of arguments, and developing habits of mind to utilize those skills. Please see below for a list of courses that satisfy CT.

Health and Wellness (HW) Competency

The educated person has an understanding of the relationships between good health and personal and societal choices. Such a person appreciates that good physical health improves quality of life and cognitive functioning, understands which lifestyle choices enhance physical and mental well-being, and knows how to implement those choices. Wellness is an active, lifelong process of becoming aware of choices and making decisions that allow individuals and communities to thrive. Please see below for a list of courses that satisfy HW.

Information Literacy (IL) Competency

Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning. Please see below for a list of courses that satisfy IL.

Intercultural (IC) Competency

Intercultural competence is defined by the following general characteristics: (1) knowledge about cultures, including knowledge about issues that can arise when members of diverse cultures interact; (2) receptive attitudes to learning about and maintaining contact with diverse others; and (3) skills required to draw upon both knowledge and attitudes when learning about and/or interacting with others from diverse cultures. Please see below for a list of courses that satisfy IC.

Oral Communication (OC) Competency

Oral communication is a prepared presentation that demonstrates knowledge of a selected topic and attempts to move an audience. This process involves the thoughtful evaluation of a topic, the clear, concise expression of an argument, the use of appropriate evidence in support of the argument, the effective engagement of the intended audience, and the polished delivery of a well-crafted presentation. Please see below for a list of courses that satisfy OC.

Quantitative Reasoning (QR) Competency

Quantitative reasoning is the ability to recognize, interpret, and use quantitative information in a variety of situations in order to understand and create arguments supported by quantitative evidence. Students possessing quantitative reasoning skills will be able to solve problems, draw conclusions, and make informed decisions based on quantitative information. Please see below for a list of courses that satisfy QR.

Scientific Inquiry (SI) Competency

Science is a way of knowing based on empirical observation and verification. Scientific inquiry involves asking appropriate questions, designing and implementing strategies to answer those questions, and interpreting and explaining the results within a disciplinary/theoretical context. Please see below for a list of courses that satisfy SI.

Writing Intensive (W1) Competency, Tier 1

WRT 101 Composition I

As an introduction to college composition, this course provides first-year students with the writing skills needed to succeed in university studies. While they engage in writing as a process, students compose critical responses to sophisticated expository and argumentative texts (non-fiction). Students write in a variety of non-fiction genres and learn the fundamentals of planning, organizing, drafting, and revising a fully documented college research project.

Students who place out of Writing Tier 1 through Advanced Placement, SAT Scores, or a University Placement test will automatically meet this competency. Please see below for a list of courses that satisfy W1.

Writing Intensive (W2) Competency, Tier 2

The second tier Writing Intensive competency encourages students to learn and think in ways that cannot be attained through other pedagogical patterns. It requires targeted instruction to allow students to learn more about the subject matter through writing and to learn how to improve their writing. The writing intensive competency must also involve research and a process of revision. Please see below for a list of courses that satisfy W2.

Writing Intensive (W3) Competency, Tier 3

Three tiers of the writing competency allow students to develop their writing ability through continued practice. As the culminating writing experience, Tier 3 focuses on a discipline-specific synthesis of the skills acquired in the earlier tiers. Please see below for a list of courses that satisfy W3.

Culminating General Education Experience (CE)

The primary goal of the general education curriculum is to cultivate the capacity for lifelong learning. This can be demonstrated in the student’s ability to:

  • Evaluate and draw defensible conclusions from information and other artifacts;
  • Synthesize material from different bodies of knowledge; and
  • Communicate ideas and arguments in forms appropriate to the discipline.

Pre-requisites for CE courses are the successful completion of at least one exposure to each of the general education competencies (FY, CP, CT, HW, IC, IL, OC, QR, SI, and WI).

Part 2: Explorations

All students must complete 40 credits outside of their major. These may be used to meet competencies not covered in the major. When all competencies are met, students may take any course of interest to them that is not in their major discipline.

IMPORTANT: Not all courses satisfy the same competency every time they are offered. In addition, some courses satisfy two competencies, which could give students room for an additional elective. Read the descriptions in open/close carefully.

See below for a list of courses that fulfill competencies:

First Year Navigation (FY) Courses

ART 103, BIO 101, COM 102, ED 101, ED 102, HIS 100, HON 100, HPX 100, HPX 105, HUM 100, HUM 101, HUM 102, HUM 105, HUM 114, HUM 119, MAT 150, MKT 101, MUS 113, NUR 106, PHI 104, PHI 105, PHI 106, PSY 110, SS 102, THR 100

Creative Process (CP) Courses

ART 104, ART 106, ART 117, ART 121, ART 130, ART 141, ART 150, ART 160, ART 250, ART 274, ART 309, COM 146, COM 247, HIS 225, HUM 151, HUM 250, HUM 251, MUS 191, MUS 192, MUS 195, MUS 205, MUS 280, MUS 284, MUS 296, MUS 388, MUS 396, PHI 250, PHI 252, PHI 259, PSY 245, THR 125, THR 180, THR 181, THR 201, THR 244W, THR 281, WRT 102,  WRT 371W

Critical Thinking (CT) Courses

ANT 209, CHE 102, CHE 120, COM 110, COM 200, COM 203, COM 205, COM 210, COM 230, COM 408, ECO 211, ECO 213, ECO 306, ENG 104, ENG 104W, ENG 105, ENG 105W, ENG 106, ENG 106W, ENG 107, ENG 107W, ENG 108, ENG 108W, ENG 131, ENG 131W, ENG 209, ENG 210, ENG 211, ENG 212, ENG 213, ENG 214, ENG 274, HIS 100, HIS 148, HIS 149, HIS 186, HIS 187, HIS 200, HIS 201, HIS 205, HIS 206, HIS 210, HIS 212, HIS 213, HIS 233, HIS 262, HIS 266, HIS 271, HIS 288, HIS 289, HIS 290, HIS 291, HIS 292, HIS 293, HIS 293H, HIS 302, HIS 303, HIS 304, HIS 318, HIS 325, HIS 330, HIS 332, HIS 363, HIS 370, HIS 415, HIS 416, HIS 450, HUM 110, HUM 190, HUM 263, HUM 280, MGT 250, PHI 100, PHI 103, PHI 110, PHI 111, PHI 112, PHI 120, PHI 209, PHI 211, PHI 221, PHI 223, PHI 225, PHI 226, PHI 229, PHI 260, PHI 262, PHI 340, PHI 381, PHI 991, PS 102, PS 250, PS 262, PSY 202, PSY 203, PSY 205, PSY 210, PSY 211, PSY 215, SOC 100, SOC 100W, SOC 209, SPA 330, SPA 331, SPA 337, SPA 360, SPA 361, SPA 365, SPA 370, SS 209, SW 210, THR 286, THR 386, WS 200, WS 210, WS 260

Health and Wellness (HW) Courses

COM 203, HPX 100, HPX 177, HPX 244, HPX 253, HPX 313, HPX 346, HUM 22, HUM 222, HUM 246, HUM 346, HUM 421, NUR 336, PHI 205, PSY 260, PSY 262, PSY 270, PSY 392, PSY 393, PSY 394, PSY 395

Information Literacy (IL) Courses

BIO 150, ANT 2909, COM 102, COM 146, COM 230, COM 247, ED 206, ED 212, ENG 130W, HIS 201, HIS 212, HIS 225, HIS 289, HIS 290, HIS 291, HIS 292, HIS 293, HIS 293H, HIS 332, HIS 392, HIS 425, HPX 200, HUM 212, HUM 213, HUM 22, HUM 222, HUM 247, HUM 270, MIS 155, MIS 260, MUS 231, NUR 332, NUR 361, PHI 100, PHI 227, PHI 316, PS 100, PS 340, PSY 332, PSY 347, SOC 209, SPA 110W, SPA 111W, SPA 196, SPA 197, SPA 203, SPA 204, SPA 212, SPA 213, SPA 221, SPA 222, SPA 224, SPA 225, SPA 226, SS 209, SW 300, WRT 103W, WS 340

Intercultural Competency (IC) Courses

ANT 100, ANT 100W, ANT 251, ANT 352, ARB 101, ARB 102, ART 102, ART 201, CHI 162, CHI 164, COM 210, ED 314, ENG 214, FR 162, FR 164, GER 162, GER 164, HIS 114, HIS 115, HIS 147, HIS 200, HIS 216, HIS 250, HIS 251, HIS 266, HIS 271, HIS 277, HIS 281, HIS 287, HIS 288, HIS 319, HIS 330, HIS 366, HIS 368, HIS 382, HIS 383, HPX 346, HUM 223, HUM 224, HUM 230, HUM 243, HUM 245, HUM 246, HUM 247, HUM 346, HUM 421, IT 162, IT 164, MED 104, MKT 201, MKT 305, MUS 103, NUR 311, NUR 351, NWC 103, NWC 103H, NWC 105, NWC 107, NWC 110, NWC 112, NWC 114, NWC 115, PHI 205, PHI 240, PHI 241, PHI 242, PHI 244, PHI 245, PHI 340, POR 162, POR 164, POR 196, POR 198, PS 104, PSY 313, SOC 100, SOC 100W, SOC 251, SOC 352, SPA 110W, SPA 111W, SPA 162, SPA 164, SPA 164H, SPA 196, SPA 197, SPA 203, SPA 204, SPA 212, SPA 213, SPA 221, SPA 222, SPA 224, SPA 225, SPA 226, SPA 311, SPA 330, SPA 331, SPA 337, SPA 360, SPA 361, SPA 365, SPA 370, SPA 991, SW 220, THR 270, WLC 120, WS 200, WS 251, WS 319, WS 352

Oral Communication (OC) Courses

ART 250, COM 160, COM 161, COM 163, COM 408, ED 206, HIS 206, HIS 287, HIS 319, HIS 363, HIS 366, HUM 110, HUM 151, HUM 224, HUM 250, HUM 251, HUM 263, MED 303, PHI 103, PHI 110, PHI 111, PHI 112, PHI 120, PHI 209, PHI 221, PHI 223, PHI 225, PHI 231, PHI 232, PHI 233, PHI 234, PHI 250, PHI 252, PHI 259, PHI 262, WS 319

Quantitative Reasoning (QR) Courses

AST 231, CS 102, CS 103, CS 110, CS 135, ECO 306, ENV 136, FIN 230, MAT 110, MAT 113, MAT 115, MAT 118, MAT 120, MAT 127, MAT 131, MAT 133, MAT 135, MAT 141, MAT 170, MAT 171, MAT 181, MAT 182, MAT 185, PHY 136, SS 300

Scientific Inquiry (SI) Courses

ANT 229, AST 150, AST 231, BIO 100, BIO 103, BIO 104, BIO 105, BIO 106, BIO 107, BIO 110, BIO 115, BIO 132, BIO 150, BIO 202, CHE 102, CHE 111, CHE 206, ES 110, MTR 150, PHY 170, PSY 324, SW 300

Writing Intensive, Tier 1 (W1) Courses

WRT101, WRT101P

Writing Intensive, Tier 2 (W2) Courses

BIO 260, ED 211, ENG 104W, ENG 105W, ENG 106W, ENG 107W, ENG 108W, ENG 130W, ENG 131W, HIS 325, HIS 370, HIS 375, HIS 415, HIS 416, HIS 425, HIS 450, HIS 475, HUM 212, HUM 213, HUM 223, HUM 230, HUM 243, HUM 245, HUM 270, HUM 280, JLA 200, PHI 226, PHI 227, PHI 229, PHI 231, PHI 232, PHI 233, PHI 234, PHI 240, PHI 241, PHI 242, PHI 244, PHI 245, PHI 260, PHI 316, PHI 381, PSY 322, WRT 103W, WRT 210W, WRT 245W, WRT 246W, WRT 273W, WRT 303W, JLA/WRT 321W, WRT 335W, WRT 337 W, WRT 340W, WRT 347W, WRT 371W,  WRT 377W, WS 260

Writing Intensive, Tier 3 (W3) Courses

ART 448, BIO 480, BIO 490, CHE 430, COM 435, COM 485, COM 495, DIMA 300, ED 340, ED 419, ENG 470, HIS 490, HIS 494, HPX 370, HUM 311, HUM 312, HUM 370, HUM 451, JLA 405, MAT 453, MED 340, MGT 415, MTR 370, MUS 380, MUS 381, NUR 375, NUR 376, PHI 320, PHI 332, PHI 334, PHI 338, PHI 339, PHI 389, PSY 412, PSY 415, PSY 425, PSY 426, PSY 439, PSY 450, SPA 400, SS 400, SW 350, SW 400, THR 490, WRT 465, WS 339

Culminating General Education Experience (CE) Courses

ART 472, ART 474, ART 476, ART 478, ART 479, BIO 480, BIO 490, CHE 430, COM 436, COM 495, DIMA 436, ED 342, ED 416, ENG 470, HIS 490, HIS 494, HPX 464, HPX 470, HUM 311, HUM 312, HUM 370, HUM 451, JLA 405, MAT 453, MED 320, MGT 415, MTR 370, MUS 380, MUS 381, NUR 375, NUR 376, PHI 320, PHI 332, PHI 334, PHI 338, PHI 339, PHI 389, PSY 412, PSY 415, PSY 425, PSY 426, PSY 439, PSY 450, SPA 400, SS 400, SW 350, SW 400, THR 490, WRT 465, WS 339

* Additional courses are reviewed by the General Education Committee and approved by the Provost on a regular basis. Students should refer to Open/Close to view the available courses and their competencies.

The Major

A major refers to the discipline, or combination of disciplines, in which a student will develop a measure of expertise appropriate to undergraduate education.  Majors offer a balance of introductory to advanced courses, including at least one course focused on the modes of inquiry appropriate to the discipline and a capstone experience. While most majors are within a single discipline (e.g., Art, Biology, or Social Work), some are interdisciplinary and draw curricula from multiple departments (e.g., Digital and Interactive Media Arts or Elementary Education: Interdisciplinary Major). Semester hour requirements for majors range from 33-75 or more. (For more details about semester hour requirements, see degree definitions.)


Some majors require the completion of an option. Options are areas of focus within a discipline, allowing students to pursue a particular aspect of their major. For example, Writing Majors must select from one of three options–Business and Technical Writing, Creative Writing, or Journalism and Public Relations to complete the degree.  Students may decide to complete two options within their major, which will be reflected on their transcripts. This is not the same as a double major, which may not be completed within a single discipline. Option requirements range from 6-18 semester hours.

Selecting a Major

Students may select a major at the time of admission or may request admission as undeclared.

To declare a major at the time of admission, students should consult the section of this catalog on the selected major to check for any special admission or retention standards. A department may request an interview with prospective students.

If undeclared, students should discuss course selection with an adviser in the Academic Advisement Center (203) 837-8397.

Continuing students must declare a major once they have completed 60 credits at the university.  Transfer and readmitted students entering or returning with 60 credit hours or more must declare a major by the end of their first Fall or Spring semester at WCSU.  Failure to declare a major as outlined above will result in the student being required to meet with an adviser in the Academic Advisement Center prior to registering for courses in a succeeding Fall or Spring semester.

Program Summaries

Each major program leads to a degree, and students should obtain and study the program summary for their major. Program summaries may be obtained from the department, the office of the school dean, the Admissions Office or online at Undergraduate Academic Program Summaries – Academics (wcsu.edu) Program summaries list the degree requirements for each major. As students consult with their faculty adviser in the major, the program summary will guide selection of courses to meet general education and major requirements.

Four Year Plan

Links to the sample four year plans can be found in Degree Works and in the descriptions of each degree.  Please review them every semester as you meet with your advisor.  These samples are a guide that you will adjust to meet your goals and needs.

Continuation in Major

Certain major programs have specific retention standards. See the appropriate catalog section where the major is described.

Declaring or Changing of Major

To change or declare a major, students will need to:

  1. Obtain  an “Application for Declaration of Major/Change of Major/Double Major/Change of Option” form from the Registrar’s Office or the Registrar’s website.
  2. Meet with the chair of the department to which the student is seeking admission and discuss the major and its requirements. If there is no problem with entering the new major, the department chair will sign a change of major form and assign a new adviser.
  3. File the change of major form with the Registrar’s Office.

Double Major

Any WCSU student who wishes to fulfill the requirements for more than one academic major may do so.  Students must satisfy the requirements for both majors. Double majors may only be declared in two distinct disciplines, e.g., English and Theatre.  Double majors may not be declared within a discipline, e.g., Applied Computing and Computer Science. In the case of interdisciplinary degrees (BBA all majors, BA DIMA and BA Interdisciplinary Studies, etc.) students must complete at least 18 credits of course work unique to the second major. Both majors will be listed on the student’s transcript.

If a student qualifies for more than one major or degree, e.g., both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science, the student must notify the Registrar’s Office as to which to receive at commencement.  Only one major or degree will be listed in the commencement program.  For students completing two degrees, two diplomas will be issued to the student after commencement.

Students are advised to exercise caution in selecting more than one major because the requirements to meet two majors will limit the ability to take elective courses.

Students are responsible for fulfilling the requirements of both majors as well as any special general education requirements in the majors. Minimum residency requirements apply to both majors.  Different GPA requirements may apply.

Contract Major

A contract major is a coherent program of studies leading to a B.A. or B.S. degree, proposed by a student in consultation with a faculty adviser. The program must fulfill general education and other university-wide degree requirements including a major comprising a minimum of 36 credits ( at 200 level and above)  related to a specialized topic, theme or area of concentration. Credits in the major may be drawn from the course offerings of one or more academic departments and at least half of them must be taken at WestConn. The contract must be approved by the chairs of the departments from which nine or more credits are taken, by the Committee on Undergraduate Curriculum and Academic Standards, and by the Provost.  Following these approvals the student files a Change of Major request with the Registrar.

Proposals are normally presented before the completion of 75 credits. They must exhibit academic integrity and rigor. Therefore, students are cautioned that the later a proposal is presented, the greater the chance that more than the minimum number of credits for the bachelor’s degree will be required to complete the contract major. The student applicant must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 overall and 2.5 in all Major courses. Inclusion of a senior thesis or project is strongly advised.

The intent of the contract major is to allow students whose academic interests extend beyond existing majors sufficient flexibility to design a program of studies appropriate to their academic goals.

Departments and faculty advisers in fields related to the student’s interests may provide guidance on developing the proposal.

The Minor:

A minor is available to a matriculated student currently pursuing a baccalaureate degree. While not required for graduation, a minor provides an option for the student who wants an academic focus in addition to a major. Details on required courses are specified for each minor by the academic department; please reference the specific department information in the catalog.  A student may not declare a minor that is the same as his/her major (e.g., a student majoring in History may not also declare a History minor).  Courses in the minor are not necessarily additional degree credits; general education, major and free elective credits may be applied unless the catalog states otherwise. Students must complete nine credits at WCSU to meet the residency requirement in the minor.

Students should email the appropriate department chair with their request to add or change a minor.  The department chair will then forward their approval to the Registrar’s Office for processing or notify the student directly in case of denial.  If students wish to remove a minor, they should email the Registrar’s Office at requestregistrar@wcsu.edu so that their academic record may be updated. Students should plan their minor program completion with the assistance of their advisor.

The minor is recorded on the student’s final transcript; students must indicate their minor on their graduation application.

Honors Interdisciplinary Bachelor’s Degree (HIBDP)

The HIBDP is a special kind of honors contract major. Recognizing that the traditional division of knowledge into subject areas or disciplines is, to some degree, artificial, the university makes it possible for the highly motivated student to pursue a specialized course of study that examines, in depth, a single theme or idea from the perspective of two or more disciplines. A student might, for example, wish to pursue a course of study focusing on the Middle Ages, combining the disciplines of history, literature, philosophy, art history, music history and Latin. The student who chooses this option works closely with a faculty adviser and thesis director. The specific procedures for establishing an honors interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree program are listed below:

  1. The student should formulate the name and content of the HIBDP in consultation with at least one adviser from each of the departments where nine or more credit hours will be drawn. These advisers will also normally serve as members of the honors thesis committee (described below). The Honors Council recommends that the proposal for a HIBDP receive final approval prior to the senior year. Students must maintain a 3.2 GPA or higher in order to be eligible for a HIBDP.
  2. The student should write a proposal for the HIBDP containing a description and rationale for the major. Also, the student should fill in a program sheet, which is available from the dean of the School of Arts & Sciences and the Registrar’s Office. All programs should contain between 39-50 credit hours including 3-6 hours of thesis credit taken as a Student Developed Study (SDS). At least two-thirds of the credit hours must be from courses 200 level or higher (with at least six credits hours drawn from courses 300 level or higher). At least one-half of the course credits must be drawn from courses taken at Western. Under unusual circumstances a student may petition the Honors Council for an alteration to these credit hour requirements.
  3. The student should obtain approval for the HIBDP from chairs of departments where nine or more credit hours are drawn.
  4. The student should submit the proposal with chairs’ signatures to the University Honors Council for review via the dean of Arts and Sciences Office, Warner Hall 300.
  5. If approved by the Honors Council, the student should submit the proposal, program sheet and approval page to the chair of the Committee on Undergraduate Curriculum and Academic Standards (CUCAS) and the Provost.
  6. If approved by CUCAS and the Provost, the student should submit a change of major form to the Registrar’s Office.
  7. Before the final year the student should form a thesis committee consisting of at least one member of each of the departments where nine or more credit hours are drawn. This committee, along with the Honors Council, will be responsible for approving the honors thesis.
  8. The student should present the thesis orally to the Honors Council and the thesis committee. If approved by both, credit will be given for the thesis (SDS). For more information on the HIBDP contract call (203) 837-8247 or email honors@wcsu.edu.

Special Study Opportunities

University Honors Program

The University Honors Program was founded in 1987 to foster and nurture academic excellence among outstanding students in all of the four schools of the university.

The Honors Program has four primary goals:

  1. To provide an opportunity for academically gifted and motivated students to excel in response to the challenge of an honors enrichment curriculum;
  2. To expose students to some of the central modes of inquiry used by fields to understand problems and find solutions;
  3. To provide opportunities for students to become part of an active and dynamic honors community; and
  4. To emphasize the importance of bringing a multidisciplinary awareness to understanding the world around us.

The program has two paths: the full three-year program open to first-year students and first-semester sophomores, and an associate option open to juniors, seniors and transfer students.

The full honors program requires that students take a one-credit course, HON 100 The Nature of Inquiry, complete three honors activities, take one honors course in each of the four “modes of inquiry” and complete the interdisciplinary capstone seminar, HON 400.

If they choose, students also may perform honors enhancements in courses in their major or minor areas of study and/or participate in Honors Research and Teaching Practicums, HON 487 and 497. Students wishing to participate in the one-year or associate version of the honors program must complete two honors activities, two honors courses and the capstone seminar, HON 400.

With the exception of Honors 100, all required core honors courses may go toward fulfilling general education credit in the area where the course or seminar is offered.

More information on the program, including program benefits and admission requirements, is available at www.wcsu.edu/honors or students may contact the University Honors Program at (203) 837-9501 or e-mail at honors@wcsu.edu.

Faculty Developed Course (1 to 4 Semester Hours)

Occasionally, an academic department may offer an experimental course, labeled X98, to determine its value to the total departmental program or in response to a particular request from a group of students.

Student Independent Study (1 to 6 Semester Hours)

Opportunities to develop an individualized area of study are available to all matriculated students under all department auspices. The following course description applies university-wide and describes the process by which a student may be registered for credits through a course of his/her own design. The course number is determined by the academic level of the project. A student may earn one to six semester hours of credit through a Student Independent Study; however, there is no limit to the number of credits a senior may earn.

This vehicle is designed to provide students with an opportunity to develop their own learning experiences. Students will design a project, labeled X99, and secure a faculty sponsor to work with. A Student Independent Study may be utilized more than one time. Open to all students. Prerequisite: Permission of faculty sponsor and department.

Career Education Internship Program

Director of Cooperative Education Internship Program: Dr. Anthony Ciarleglio
Career Success Center, Westside Campus Center, Room 300
(203) 837-8265

Director of Career Success Center: Ms. Kathleen Lindenmayer
Westside Campus Center, Room 300
(203) 837-8266

Career Education is an additional component of the undergraduate program at Western. Combining formal classroom work with meaningful on-the-job experience in cooperation with business, industry, governmental agencies and other employers provides professional development, academic achievement and personal growth. Students interested in cooperative education may register for CED 297 as a free elective or through an individual department where direct approval of the student’s major academic adviser and/or department chairperson is also required.

CED 297 Career Education Option I
(1-12 Semester Hours)

With prior approval from the Office of Cooperative Education, students may register for co-op credit according to the following procedures:

  1. CED 297 credit may be applied as free elective credits taken on a Pass/Fail basis.
  2. One academic credit shall be awarded for every 50 hours of work experience.
  3. The maximum number of CED 297 credits a student may earn will be 18 semester hours, including any transfer of credit. Students may register for no more than 12 semester hours of CED 297 credit during a given semester. A maximum 18 semester hours may be taken during a student’s undergraduate academic program.
  4. Students registering for CED 297 will be charged standard tuition fees for this credit.
  5. Co-op work experiences must comply with established registration procedures for nontraditional courses.
  6. Students must have at least 45 semester hours in good standing and have attained upper sophomore status at the time they register for CED 297.
  7. Students are required to attend the CED 297 seminars, maintain a log, submit a final synthesis paper and complete employer and student evaluations.

(Any Label) 297 Career Education/ Option II
(1-12 Semester Hours)

Upon request, a student may register for co-op education credit and receive a letter grade, which is awarded through an academic department. Students will need to obtain permission to earn a letter grade for this option from both the Co-op Office and the department chair before registration for co-op. The supervision and evaluation of students working under this option will be coordinated by either teaching faculty co-op coordinators and/or the co-op staff.

The following procedures apply to registration through departmental 297:

  1. Students requesting a letter grade for departmental 297 credit must receive approval from the department chair and the director of the co-op program.
  2. One academic credit shall be awarded for every 50 hours of work experience.
  3. The maximum number of departmental 297 credits a student may earn, including any transfer, will be 18 semester hour department credits. Students may register for no more than 12 semester hour 297 credits during a given semester. Individual academic departments may limit the total number of departmental 297 credits taken by a student.
  4. Students registering for departmental 297 will be charged standard fees for this credit.
  5. Co-op work experience must comply with established registration procedures for nontraditional courses.
  6. Students must have at least 45 semester hours in good standing and have obtained departmental approval for registration in departmental 297 co-op.
  7. Students are required to attend the CED 297 seminars or an appropriate departmental 297 seminar, maintain a process log, submit a final synthesis paper and obtain an employer evaluation. For departmental 297, these requirements may be modified.

Study Abroad (ISEP)

Western Connecticut State University works with the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) to make study abroad available and affordable for all students. The ISEP network, made up of 320 higher education institutions in the U.S. and around the world, makes it possible for WCSU students to pay the WCSU tuition, room, and board costs in order to study at universities in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, as well as Central and South America.

There are two programs from which students may choose: ISEP Exchange and ISEP-Direct. The ISEP Exchange Program is a one-for-one exchange: for every student that Western sends abroad, the university accepts one incoming international student. The ISEP-Direct Program facilitates direct admission to those international universities in the ISEP network that are in high demand, and yet have a limited number of ISEP Exchange places. Under the ISEP-Direct Program, the student pays the fees of the host university. However with both programs – Exchange and Direct – any financial aid the student is receiving will be applied to their ISEP semester.

You need not speak another language to study abroad, since many of the ISEP university programs accommodate English speaking students. Courses taken as an ISEP student are transferrable to Western.

International study, providing a maturing educational experience, also adds an attractive qualification to any student’s subsequent professional employment. Firming up world language competencies is a definite advantage for any future career path.

In order to foster such a background among its students, WCSU also annually offers courses taught overseas through various departments. This permits grading for work accomplished according to the same academic standards and requirements as expected on campus.

For information on the ISEP program, call the International Services Coordinator at (203) 837-3270, University Hall 303. For short-term study abroad programs in Spain or Italy, contact the World Languages Department at (203) 837-9166, Berkshire Hall 120B.