Undergraduate Catalog 2020-2021

Academic Program Descriptions

This information has been provided by departments offering these degree-granting programs. It is included to help students make informed decisions about their education. Please refer to the actual programs described elsewhere.

Accounting: Prepares students for entry-level positions in the field of accountancy.

American Studies: Develops the ability to think critically while offering the opportunity to focus on different subject areas (American literature, history, political science, etc.); prepares students for a variety of careers, e.g., law, public administration, elementary and secondary school teaching.

Anthropology/Sociology: Offers a comprehensive education in the methods and content of anthropology and sociology within a liberal arts tradition; prepares students to take a proactive, independent role in selecting a career option or graduate training program.

Applied Computing: Emphasizes the applied, rather than the theoretical aspects of computing. Provides a solid background in software and database development, supported by a deep understanding of operating systems and computer architecture. Develops problem solving skills and substantial project experience. Offers concentrations in Software Engineering, Computer Security and Digital Media.

Art: Provides students with challenging visual arts training which is a critical component to creative problem solving, offering an overview of contemporary art–based research methods and cultural theories, art history, and studio practice within the context of a liberal arts education. The program allows students to build necessary skills and knowledge in their chosen area of concentration which includes Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography and Studio Art and to strengthen their understanding and engagement towards a sophisticated level of work in their field of exploration.

Biology: Provides students with a strong background in the biological sciences suitable for entering either the work force or graduate school in a variety of biological disciplines.

Biology — Secondary Education: Develops the competencies for teaching biology in both middle and high school; develops a broad understanding of all the major concepts of biology (from molecular to ecological), its methodology and its technical language; evaluates the role which biology has played in the advancement of human society; develops skills related to biological experimentation and advancement of scientific knowledge.

Chemistry: Aids students in selecting meaningful career directions in chemistry while providing them with the professional background to pursue such careers.

Chemistry — Secondary Education: Prepares students to have careers in teaching chemistry in both middle and high schools. Aids students in selecting meaningful career direction; educates students with the professional background to pursue such careers; prepares them to take active responsibilities as concerned citizens in our society; and develops the abilities of students for self-education, introspection and commitment to accountable holistic life styles.

Communication: The Department of Communication and Media Arts at Western Connecticut State University is committed to teaching the theory, ethics, and skills necessary to expand and deepen students’ participation in a globalized world. Students learn to engage in challenging dialogues across a variety of communicative landscapes. Each of our degrees and options shares an emphasis on the enhancement of capacities for observation, critical appraisal, and expression. Graduates of the program are positioned to pursue careers in public service, media campaigns, advocating for the underserved, organizational relations, broadcasting, and filmmaking, among many others.

Computer Science: Provides students with a strong background in Computer Science, suitable for entering either the work force or graduate school in a variety of Computer Science areas.

Contract Major: Allows students, with faculty guidance, to combine existing courses and study opportunities into innovative major programs responsive to individual interests and needs. Proposed contract majors must be approved by the academic departments involved and by the university curriculum committee.

Digital and Interactive Media Arts: Grounds students in design and aesthetics as they learn to work collaboratively using text, moving images, video and audio to create interactive media for the web, social networking, and video games, among others.

Earth and Planetary Sciences: Prepares students to enter graduate programs in the earth and planetary sciences or to enter the workforce in jobs which make use of the earth and planetary sciences and allied areas including astronomy, geology, meteorology and oceanography.

Earth Science — Secondary Education:Prepares students to have careers in teaching Earth Science in both middle and high schools. Students will have an understanding of astronomy, geology, meteorology and oceanography.

Economics: The economics program provides students with an understanding and appreciation of the economic behavior of individuals, business and society. The focus is on social outcomes of economic transactions and events, as well as on economic performance. Economics is taught as part of a liberal arts education at Western and provides an especially relevant background for careers in business or government, as well as for graduate study in economics, law or business. Students can develop strong connections with their professors who are active in their professional contributions to the field and proud of their outstanding work as mentors to their students.

Elementary Education: Accepts and matriculates competent teaching candidates seeking elementary certification in Connecticut and prepares students for successful careers in teaching.

English: Prepares students for a variety of careers and for graduate studies by developing three key skills needed in any field: close reading, critical thinking and clear writing.  English majors study the major texts of English and American literature and learn to conduct research in the field to enable them to better situate their ideas in the ever-expanding realm of English studies. English also provides a solid analytical and communications foundation for students pursuing careers in business and law.

English — Secondary Education: Develops abilities to read and analyze literature and to write analytically and creatively while preparing students to become secondary school English teachers; aims to produce teachers who know both their subject and the pedagogy appropriate for the grades they will teach.

Finance: Provides the analytical, practical, computer and communication skills required to succeed in the areas of investments, financial markets and corporate financial management.

Health Education PK-12: Develops the skills and competencies for teaching candidates seeking health from pre-K through 12th grade certification in Connecticut and prepares students for successful careers in teaching. Provides a theoretical and practical foundation in health education so students will be prepared to take on the responsibilities of professional health educators.

Health Promotion Studies: A competency‐based curriculum that prepares students for careers in health education, community outreach, clinical settings, worksite health promotion, public health, health, fitness and wellness coaching. Students are well‐prepared for graduate studies in Public Health, Nutrition, Physical, Occupational and Recreational Therapy, Naturopathy, Chiropractic, Exercise Science and Kinesiology, etc. Service learning is intertwined in the program’s unique experiential learning component.

History: Introduces students to the framework of American, European and to non-western cultures; provides the opportunity to study advanced topics in these areas; teaches the critical thinking and analytical skills needed to evaluate the past; teaches students how to use sources and write history; produces articulate graduates who can express a nuanced verbal and written evaluation of the past and apply analytical skills to fields other than history.

History — Secondary Education: Prepares students to teach history on a global perspective. American and European history courses are taught along with courses on Middle Eastern, Caribbean and Asian history. The understanding of history in civilization is key in working with people of diverse cultures and backgrounds in a modern pluralistic society.

Interdisciplinary Studies: Provides an opportunity for students to integrate knowledge from two disciplines, as well as develop skills and capacities to address complex issues.

Justice and Law Administration: Prepares students to pursue careers in fields such as federal, state and local law enforcement, corrections, probation and parole departments, other offender rehabilitation careers, public administration, paralegal work, private security and fraud investigation.  The JLA program also offer a solid foundation to pursue further studies in law school and graduate school.

Management: Provides knowledge, perspective and competencies necessary to understand and practice management as a generic process in all organizations; prepare students for future managerial positions and roles.

Management Information Systems: Produces management information systems professionals who can integrate business systems, computer security and quantitative skills with creativity and synergy in the solution of complex business problems.

Marketing: Produces graduates who can recognize marketing problems, apply appropriate marketing tools and find satisfactory solutions.

Mathematics: Prepares students: (i) to study pure and/or applied mathematics at the graduate level, (ii) for a position in fields requiring quantitative reasoning, problem solving and logical thinking, such as commercial and investment banks, govern­ment agencies, insurance firms and consulting companies.

Mathematics — Computer Science option: Prepares students for a field requiring a fundamental knowledge of both mathematics and computer science; prepares students to obtain positions in software development which require competencies in upper-division mathematics.

Mathematics — Secondary Education: Develops the competencies for teaching mathematics at the secondary level; develops a broad understanding of all the concepts of mathematics; expands skills in quantitative reasoning, problem-solving and logical thinking, enabling students to become effective teachers of mathematics and to continue to study mathematics at the graduate level.

Media Arts: Develops students’ ability to express themselves appropriately, creatively and effectively in, as well as to understand and evaluate, various communication media.

Meteorology:  Prepares students to enter the workforce at entry-level positions in meteorology and related sciences. Prepares students to enter graduate programs in meteorology and environmental science as well as professional graduate programs in business and law.

Music — Bachelor of Arts: Appropriate program for students who wish to study music within the broader context of a liberal arts education.

Music — Bachelor of Music — Three degree options

B.M. Emphasis in Audio and Music Production: Designed for those wishing to pursue a career in audio and music production. Many students who choose this option continue their studies at the graduate level and in various professional programs in their specific area. This music degree provides a well-rounded education in all aspects of production including recording, mixing, sound design, arranging, and scoring.

B.M. in Performance (Vocal and Instrumental):  Designed for those who wish to pursue a performing or teaching career in music. Many who choose this option continue their studies at the graduate level and participate in various professional programs in their specific area.

B.M. in Jazz Studies: Designed for students wishing to pursue a performing or teaching career in jazz and commercial music. Many who choose this option continue their studies at the graduate level and in professional programs in their specific area.

Music Education — Bachelor of Science:  Prepares the student to apply for provisional PK-12 certification in Connecticut. Designed for students who wish to pursue a career in music education.

Musical Theatre — Bachelor of Fine Arts: Offers students knowledge of and training in all aspects of musical theatre within a liberal arts context in order to compete for employment opportunities in the entertainment industry where musical talent is utilized.

Nursing — Bachelor of Science:  Prepares the interested student to pursue and master content didactic and clinical to become a professional nurse in order to sit for licensure exam as a registered nurse; provides opportunities for educational mobility for registered nurses prepared in associate degree and diploma nursing education programs.

Political Science: The program empowers students to think critically and independently, and provides essential skills for navigating through our era of political complexity. It provides a broad understanding of politics and the expertise necessary to pursue careers in government, law, business, the non-profit sector, and education both on the global and local levels. The program also promotes experiential learning and community experiences which build an understanding of and skills for effective citizenship and careers in a broad range of fields.

Professional Writing: Prepares students to work professionally as writers. Optional fields include creative writing, business, public relations and journalism.

Psychology: Provides students with a broad knowledge base in psychology, advanced skills in scientific inquiry and critical thinking, an understanding of ethical and social responsibility in a diverse world, good communication skills, and the opportunity for professional development in the field of psychology.

Social Sciences: The interdisciplinary major in social sciences is designed to provide a broad foundation in the social sciences and to allow a variety of course choices through which one of several topics or themes may be emphasized.

Social Work: Prepare competent and effective generalist social work professionals to practice in a manner consistent with the purposes and values of the profession, to enhance human and community well-being, and to value the dignity and worth of all persons. Based on the knowledge, values and skills of the profession, the program exposes students to a world view that leads to a commitment to service, human rights and social and economic justice. Provides students with significant opportunities to connect with faculty, students and community.

Spanish: Prepares students to function in an interdependent, multicultural, multilingual world to meet local, national and global needs in business, translation and interpreting, the non-profit sector, government and other professions for a bilingual and bicultural workforce. With a foundation in socio-cultural, literary, commercial, historical and artistic study of Spain, Latin America and Latinos in the United States, students are prepared with linguistic expertise, cultural awareness and community engagement.

Spanish — Secondary Education: Prepares candidates to teach Spanish at the secondary level to develop language proficiency and cultural awareness through: communication, cultures, connections, comparisons and communities. The classroom setting, in which future teachers will be engaged, sets the highest standards of cross-cultural interaction and immersion in the target language.

Theater Arts — Bachelor of Arts: Appropriate for students who wish to study theatre within a broader context of a liberal arts education and to emphasize areas of concentration such as performance, design/technology, theatre arts management or drama studies.