The General Studies curriculum at Virginia Wesleyan is designed to teach students how to think integratively. Specifically, students seek to generate complex claims about sophisticated problems that require nuanced, integrated approaches. The Program rests upon seven epistemological approaches (“frames”). These approaches each expose students to broad patterns of thought that explore how people seek to understand their world, their society, and themselves. Following a course-long grounding in each frame, students complete their coursework by enrolling in a senior capstone interdisciplinary course in which they will produce an integrated project.
1. English (4 sem. hrs.)
Students fulfill this requirement by completing English 105, College Writing, during their first year at the college. They learn how to write papers for a variety of rhetorical purposes. They develop strong editing and proofreading skills and practice citing sources accurately using the MLA system. Some students may be required to take English 001, Writing Review, before taking English 105. To satisfy the requirement, students must pass the course with a grade of C or higher.
2. Writing Program (W) (8 sem. hrs.)
All students must successfully complete two courses designated as Writing Intensive (W). They may choose these courses from among the college's 300/400-level offerings. These courses are intended to help upperclassmen continue to develop their writing skills and learn about the conventions of academic and professional writing in their fields of interest.
3. Foreign Language Proficiency (up to 12 sem. hrs., depending on placement)
All students must demonstrate competency in a language other than English, equivalent to the minimal passing grade on the exit examination in a 213 course.
For information about placement, see Foreign Langage Proficiency.
4. Frames of Reference (28 sem. hrs.)
Students are required to complete one course in each of the following seven Frames of Reference categories:
- Aesthetic Understanding (A)
- Historical Perspectives (H)
- Natural Science Laboratory (L)
- Quantitative Perspective (Q)
- Institutional and Cultural Systems (S)
- Literary Textual Analysis (T)
- Ethical Values and Faith Perspectives (V)
More than one Frames of Reference course may be taken per semester, and a course used to fulfill a Frames of Reference requirement may also be used to meet a major or minor requirement. Students are encouraged to begin taking Frames of Reference courses during their freshman year. Courses that a student takes in order to complete the Frames of Reference requirements must come from different departmental rubrics. For example, a students who receives an "S" for successful completion of POLS 111 - Introduction to Political Science cannot satisfy other Frames of Reference requirements by taking other POLS courses carrying other Frames of Reference designations.
5. Senior Integrative Experience (I) (4 sem. hrs.)
The Senior Integrative Experience is a 400-level course designed to provide integrative study in a specific discipline, based on the Frames of Reference distribution listed above. As with Frames of Reference courses, a course used to fulfill the Senior Integrative Experience requirement may also be used to meet a major or minor requirement. Senior Integrative Experience courses are only available to students who have completed (or will complete before the course begins) at least 75 semester hours toward graduation and who have, in the judgment of the individual student's adviser, completed most of VWU's General Studies requirements.