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General Education Advising

A student's coursework over a four-year career not only includes a major, but also a broad study of the liberal arts in general education courses.  As such, the classes that students take for their general education requirements should be viewed as an opportunity to explore and expand horizons, rather than as a checklist of requirements to complete.

The general education requirements vary slightly by degree; to view the requirements by degree click here.  Students should meet with their academic advisor if they have any questions regarding their general education requirements. 

It is the student’s responsibility to track his/her progress each semester towards completing graduation requirements using the MyIWU degree audit tool.

General Education Program

General Education Categories

  • Gateway Colloquium (GW)
  • Analysis of Values (AV)
  • The Arts (AR)
  • Contemporary Social Institutions (CSI)
  • Cultural and Historical Change (CHC)
  • Formal Reasoning (FR)
  • Intellectual Traditions (IT)
  • Literature (LIT)
  • Second Language (LA)
  • The Natural Sciences: Life Science Issues (LSI), Life Science Lab (LSL), Physical Science Issues (PSI), Physical Science Lab (PSL)
  • Physical Education (PE)

General Education Flags

  • Physical Education Fitness (PEF)
  • Encountering Global Diversity (G)
  • Encountering U.S. Diversity (U)
  • Writing Intensive (W)

Advising Considerations


  • In order to graduate in four years, students often take courses which fulfill both a general education category and a general education flag.
  • A course may fulfill a major requirement and a general education requirement.
  • A course may fulfill a minor requirement and a general education requirement.
  • No more than two general education units may come from a single department or school, excluding elementary 101 and 102 language courses.
  • When scheduling, a student should have a balance of general education, major, minor and elective courses.

Second Language

Dependent on the degree, students are required to demonstrate proficiency in a second language. 

  • Placement exams are offered to incoming students during Rising Titan new student orientation.  Results from language placement exams serve to recognize proficiency, to allow students to enroll in an appropriate course level, or to fulfill the Second Language (LA) general education requirement.  IWU does not grant degree credit as a result of placement exams.
  • Fulfillment of the Second Language (LA) general education requirement can also be met with the appropriate score (4/5) on an AP language exam.
  • IWU accepts the State Seal of Biliteracy for the second language Shared Curriculum requirement.  It is the student's responsibility to request credit for their seal within the first three academic years after graduation from high school. The Registrar's Office will verify the Seal of Biliteracy on the official final high school transcript.  Students with a verified Seal of Biliteracy will receive one course unit of credit and will meet the IWU Shared Curriculum second language requirement. 
  • Entering international students whose native language is not English are exempt from the second language requirement under any one of the following circumstances: 1) they met the IWU requirements for admissions via exam such as TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or submitted IELTS, GTEC, Duolingo English Test, or PTE , 2) they provide a transcript from a secondary school where the primary language of instruction was not English, or 3) they provide a transcript or other form of written certification that documents satisfactory completion of more than four years of study in one language other than English.

Even if students have fulfilled the second language requirement, students are encouraged to pursue advanced study of a second language or even study a third language.  However, if students have fulfilled the second language requirement and wish to no longer continue with language study, students have the opportunity to take general education, major, minor, or elective courses in its place.

Physical Education

Students must complete the equivalent of 2 semesters of Physical Education courses in order to graduate.  Physical Education courses labeled as “X” meet the entire semester, and Physical Education courses labeled as “Y” meet half of the semester. To fulfill the Physical Education requirement, students must take 2 X courses, 4 Y courses, or 1X and 2 Y courses.  In addition, one X or one Y must also meet the general education fitness requirement.

Depending on a student’s schedule, the timing of when a student takes these courses is flexible.  However, it is recommended to complete them as soon as possible.  Physical Education courses are non-credit bearing and can be taken in addition to students’ regular course loads.

*Note: 2 seasons of participation in a varsity sport fulfills both the PE and PE fitness requirement.

Writing Intensive

In addition to the Gateway Colloquium, students must take two Writing Intensive (WI) courses.  One of these courses must be taken in the major, and one of the courses must be completed by the end of the sophomore year.  Students who have more than one major must take a WI course in each major (for a total of two WI courses).

Additional Information

University Catalog


Contact information:

Illinois Wesleyan University
Holmes Hall 110
1312 Park Street
Bloomington, IL 61701
309-556-3231 (phone)
309-556-3436 (fax)