Converse with mountains and text overlay with academic year and Undergraduate Catalog


Download PDF

Program Goals

WCore at Westminster University is designed to foster the intellectual skills and values that are necessary as a foundation for learning and to encourage the thoughtful integration of different disciplines.  The WCore offers a wide range of challenging courses that expands the knowledge of our students and allows them to investigate and express their interests. It is our belief that the WCore will revitalize our liberal education program and will create a climate in which more critical questions are asked and answered by our students. A priority of the reform is to have more full time faculty and instructional staff teaching in the WCore. This goal recognizes the importance of students interacting with faculty specifically in the first two years and throughout their tenure at Westminster. The following university-wide goals form the core of liberal education courses and are reinforced across the curriculum in major areas of study:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Global responsibility

The following course requirements are established for all students seeking an undergraduate degree. Students must earn a grade of CR or C- or above in WCore coursework to fulfill graduation requirements.

Requirement Description Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. Learning Community    
All full-time first-year are required to complete one Learning Community.
II. WCore Courses    

WCore Fine Arts and Humanities (WCFAH) Students are required to take two WCFAH courses. (6-8 credit hours)

These classes draw from the humanities and fine arts to develop analytical, creative and reflective capacities, as well as teach students the skills of articulating ideas and concepts clearly both in writing and speech.

WCore WCFAH Courses

WCore Science and Math (WCSAM) Students are required to take two WCSAM courses. (6-8 credit hours)

WCore Science and Mathematics courses provide students the opportunity to learn about how quantitative reasoning and scientific inquiry shape our understanding and knowledge of the human experience and the world we inhabit. These classes draw from science and math to develop critical, analytical, and integrative thinking as well as writing and other communication skills.

WCore WCSAM Courses

WCore Social and Behavioral Sciences (WCSBS) Students are required to take two WCSBS courses. (6-8 credit hours)

WCore Social and Behavioral Sciences courses provide students the opportunity to learn about and understand the human experience from social and behavioral science perspectives. These courses share the learning outcome of increasing understanding of human behavior and social interaction from multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. Through a diverse range of course offerings students will be provided with the opportunity to explore dimensions of human life that may include cultural, biological, social, behavioral, interactional, organizational, structural, and institutional approaches.

WCore Social Behavioral Science Courses

III. Emphasis    
It is expected that courses meeting the Emphases requirements will also fulfill an WCore, a major, or a minor requirement and therefore will be drawn from courses already in the existing course rotation.

WCore Diversity Emphasis (3-4 credit hours)

Courses that meet the diversity requirement challenge students to examine differences of power, privilege, and subordination based on hierarchically organized socially ascribed categories of at least two of the following: race, ethnicity, social class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, national origin, age, and religion. Graded assignments that assess students’ ability to explain, apply, and synthesize understanding of substantial global and U.S. American issues related to the selected categories are required.

WCore Diversity Emphasis Courses

WCore Quantitative Emphasis (3-4 credit hours)

Quantitative reasoning is taught across the curriculum and is not the purview of any one program and subject area. Accordingly, there is room for flexibility in course design for QE designated courses. QE designated courses are framed around a real-world context or problem (e.g., poll data in election, higher education data and policy, etc.) and include an extensive exploration of quantitative techniques that illuminate the questions at hand or they begin with a cohesive set of quantitative methods then explore their application across a broad range of real-world problems. Quantitative reasoning skills are fundamental to the university-wide learning goals beyond merely the goal of critical thinking. Appropriate analysis and presentation of data is often required in written and other forms of communication in many professional settings.

WCore Quantitative Emphasis Courses

Writing Emphasis (3-4 credit hours)

WCore Writing Emphasis courses offer students many opportunities to write, reflect and revise; however, writing instruction is embedded in a topic from an academic discipline.  The assumption that discipline-specific writing is an effective tool for building knowledge and skills underlies these courses.

WCore Writing Emphasis Courses

Completion Policy:

Undergraduate students must take a Writing Emphasis course (or equivalent course in the Honors College curriculum: HON 201, HON 202 or HON 203) within their first three terms of full-time enrollment at Westminster. A full-time semester is 12-16 credits hours during fall and spring semesters.

In the event that a student fails the Writing Emphasis in their third semester, the student must continue enrolling in a WE course every term until pass.

In the event that a student fails WRIT 109, and therefore, they cannot be placed into a Writing Emphasis by their third semester, the student may complete the Writing Emphasis requirement by their fifth semester. 

WCore Research Emphasis (3-4 credit hours)

WCore courses with an RE designation give students an opportunity to engage in an intensive, discipline-specific research experience, within the context of a broader course. There will be opportunities for inquiry or investigation that have the potential to make an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline. Research projects will be designed to produce positive student learning, have a clearly communicated purpose and research outcomes, guide the students through discipline-specific research objectives and methodology, require substantive contact with pertinent disciplinary literature, and involve written and oral presentations of findings.

WCore Research Emphasis Courses

IV. Engaging the World     

The Engaging the World experience prepares students to be better global citizens. It builds on the knowledge from the WSeminars and Explorations courses students take during their first and second years and applies what they have learned by focusing on ways to advance social transformation, equity, and parity within our local and global communities. This experience challenges their biases and prejudices and emphasizes the knowledge that we live in an integrated, complex and interdependent society.

There are four options for completing the Engaging the World requirement:

  1. WCore Engaging the World Courses

  2. Study Abroad

    • The study abroad program must be on the approved list of programs at the time of application and participation. The official list of approved programs is maintained by the Office for Global Engagement.
    • The student must take at least one course for a minimum of 3 credits or 45 clock hours.
    • The course must be at a level equivalent to a Westminster University undergraduate course, either lower or upper division.
    • The course must be transferable to Westminster University and an official transcript must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office upon completion of the study abroad program.
    • The student must earn at least a C- (or U.S. equivalent) final grade on at least one course that is at least 3 U.S. credits.

  3. International Internship

    • The student must take at least one internship course for a minimum of 126 contact hours and at least 3 credit hours.
    • The student must earn at least a C- (or U.S. equivalent) final grade in the course.
    • The internship must be completed in a country that is outside of the student's permanent residence.
      • U.S. citizens must choose a site that is located outside of the United States
      • International students (non-immigrant visa holders) can count an internship completed in the United States or another country, as long as the internship site is not in their country of permanent residency.

  4. May Term Study Experience
    • The following types of programs do not fulfill the Engaging the World requirement (this is an example of ineligible programs and not a complete list):
      • Non-credit bearing international travel including volunteer or service programs
      • Non-credit bearing research conducted abroad
      • Non-credit bearing language training programs
      • Non-credit bearing work abroad programs or experiences
      • Military service
      • Religious missions
V. Senior Capstone    

This is a required capstone course for all seniors offered within each major. While many of the specific objectives of this course will vary by discipline the one, shared outcome, is that all class participants will produce a piece of work that demonstrates each student’s culminating intellectual experience at Westminster University.  Possible culminating projects of this course include, among others, submissions for the senior arts exhibit, posters describing independent research projects, reflections on an impactful clinical experience, a collection of poems, or talks explaining business plans.  Course participants will be invited by departmental faculty to share their culminating project at the Westminster Undergraduate Conference or senior showcase events held annually at the end of each spring semester.

WCore Senior Capstone Courses