General Education

The General Education Program at Western

Western State Colorado University is an institution dedicated to a quality Liberal Arts and Science education and a key component of the undergraduate educational experience is the General Education program.

General Education Program Courses 2013-2014

gtPathways Guaranteed Transfer Information

How Fit Are You?

How Fit are You – brain with weights image
Western's natural environment offers its students incredible opportunities to challenge and stretch their athletic skills and adventurous spirits. Our students often embrace the challenges of the natural environment by becoming better skiers or mountain bikers by taking on harder runs and more challenging trails.  But why stop there? General Education at Western offers students the opportunity for students to exercise their intellect – think of General Education as a great cross-training fitness program for your brain.

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”  - Albert Einstein

General Education courses are not just about developing a broad content knowledge in various subjects. By exploring new fields of study and experimenting with new models of intellectual inquiry, you can develop many of the characteristics of an” intellectually fit” person:  flexibility, curiosity, resiliency, enthusiasm, and complexity. General Education courses also provide you with the foundations for analysis so critical for deeper engagement with specific fields of study.

Be an Intellectual Nomad

About the Exploratory Program

Be an Intellectual Nomad – book images
A nomad moves from place to place usually within a well-defined territory. Think of General Education as your territory and yourself as an intellectual nomad.  In each General Education course lays a possible oasis – a place where you might finally want to pitch your tent and settle down. 

General Education can be used to explore a wide range of academic disciplines so if you are not sure what you want to major in, begin your exploration of the possibilities though General Education. Students who come to Western without a declared major should check out our first year Exploratory Program.

But even if you have pitched your tent so to speak and chosen a major, General Education can add essential and important tools to your camp.

How Many Tools are in Your Toolbox? 

How many tools in your tool box – toolbox image

It is difficult to predict what the future holds for us but the one thing we do know is that a solid University education will continue to create opportunities and open doors. The knowledge and skills that General Education courses offer students are often those whose value is not necessarily immediately apparent, especially for students who know what they want to major in or who believe they have a set career path.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives,
or the most intelligent that survives.
It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
- Charles Darwin


Students sometimes protest “but I know what I want to major in so, why do I have to take classes that are out of my field? “  The reality is that because we do not know what the future holds so there is no way of knowing what aspects of your education are going to serve you the best. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (April 5, 2012) illustrated the importance of a good Liberal Arts and Sciences degree: Companies say they need flexible thinkers with innovative ideas and a broad knowledge base derived from exposure to multiple disciplines…” and numerous employment recruiters in the article emphasized the importance of students developing enough critical thinking and problem-solving skills through long essays, in-class debates and other hallmarks of liberal-arts courses.  So even if you know what you want to study, embracing your General Education courses and broadening your academic background across many disciplines is actually preparing you well for the future.  You can never have too many tools in your toolbox.

Take the Polymath Approach

 Take the Polymath Approach – gear head imageWhat you get out of General Education is often up to you as a student.  Rather than taking a shallow approach, we encourage you to take the polymath approach.  The polymath approach is not about knowing a little about a lot – it is about seeking a depth of knowledge in all things.  No matter what the class or subject, if you bring an open mind and willingness to learn you will find value in all your classes.  You can be strategic in your choices, looking for courses that have some connection to your desired field of study but you can also be adventurous and explore subjects you might just find interesting. Sometimes this can be difficult but to find value is to find meaning and this is the key to developing an active Life of the Mind. At the very least General Education can give you a broad knowledge base that you need to be an intelligent, critically-thinking individual who has a better understanding of how the world, people, and culture operate.

Advising Advice: Make the Good Stuff Even Better

So when you approach your General Education course be curious, be curious and fearless and be willing to embrace the journey and step outside the box.  Be willing to be surprised and be willing to work hard. Do not just think of General Education as something to get through or simply checking off requirements – revel in its challenges and new ideas - be willing to exercise those intellectual muscles and push those academic skills. Remember that these aren't just a bunch of classes you have to take before you get to the “good stuff” of your major – these are courses that can make the “good stuff” even better and lay the foundations for your life-long educational process.

Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's General Education Program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

Share your interest with friends and family: 
  1. Email this to your friends or family    Share on LinkedIn    Share on Google+    Twitter    Share this on Facebook

  2. Get more information about the program.
  3. Schedule a campus visit so you can meet professors, see the beautiful Gunnison Valley, and find out if Western is the perfect school for you.
  4. Start the online application process - apply online now.
  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.



Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309.

 Campbell, J.W. Memorial Wrestling Scholarship

Campbell, J.W. Memorial Wrestling Scholarship Available to:

Members of the Western Wrestling team who have a minimum 2.0 GPA. Preference will be given to students with an English major and/or who are writers. 

Provided by:

Family and friends, to honor J.W.


Award depends on funds available.

Selected by:

The Western Wrestling Coach. Application: Nomination by head Wrestling Coach. Contact the Intercollegiate Athletics Department for additional information. (970) 943-2079 - Paul Wright Gym 210

 Decker, Bob Basketball Scholarship

Decker, Bob Basketball Scholarship is Available to:

Current or entering students who are an active member of the Western State Colorado University Men´s Basketball Team.

Basketball Scholarship Provided by:

The Western Foundation and contributions to the Bob Decker Basketball Scholarship Fund.

Amount: $1,000.00 for the academic year.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Men´s Basketball Coach.

Application: Nomination by head Men´s Basketball Coach. Contact the Intercollegiate Athletics Department for additional information. (970) 943-2079 - Paul Wright Gym 210

Find out more about Western's Athletics Program at

 Kiefer, Brian L. Memorial Scholarship

Kiefer, Brian L. Memorial Scholarship Available to:

Must be a junior or senior member of the Western Men´s or Women's Intercollegiate Basketball team or Western Volleyball team, must demonstrate leadership both on and off the court, must maintain a 3.0 GPA or better, and must maintain a well-rounded educational experience. Extracurricular involvement (outside Intercollegiate Athletics) will be considered.

Scholarship provided by:

Established to perpetuate the memory of Brian L. Kiefer who was an outstanding example of leadership, academic achievement and Intercollegiate Athletic ability. To recognize outstanding scholarship, citizenship and Intercollegiate Athletic ability, and to encourage students to continue their education at Western.

Scholarship amount:

$750.00 per semester. Applicants must reapply and show they have maintained the required eligibility in order to receive the scholarship for the second semester. The recipient shall have his name inscribed on the Brian L. Kiefer plaque displayed in Paul Wright Gymnasium.

Selected by:

Donor Scholarship Committee.


Nomination by the head coaches of eligible sport programs listed above. Contact the Intercollegiate Athletics Department for additional information. (970) 943-2079 - Paul Wright Gym 210

 MacAllister, Western Presidential Student-Intercollegiate Athletics Scholarship

MacAllister, Western Presidential Student-Intercollegiate Athletics Scholarship Available to:

Student will be selected according to the following criteria (in order): Must be a student-Intercollegiate Athletics participating in a varsity sport at Western State Colorado University. Academic merit (minimum GPA of 3.5 for incoming freshman or 3.2 for current Western students). Involvement in campus activities and/or community service.

Athletics Scholarship Provided by:

Jim MacAllister.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Western Intercollegiate Athletics Director

Application: Contact the Intercollegiate Athletics Department for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2079 - Paul Wright Gym 210

Find out more about Western's Athletic Department at

 MacLennan, Ken Scholarship

MacLennan, Ken Scholarship Available to:

Must be a student-Intercollegiate Athlete participating in a varsity sport at Western and have unmet financial need. Student must have minimum GPA of 2.75 and have a history of community service and a strong work ethic. Preference given to student Intercollegiate Athletes from small or rural towns and to students majoring in Recreation and Exercise & Sport Science.

Scholarship Provided by:

Carlo Gaines.


Award depends on funds available.

Selected by:

Donor Scholarship Committee. Application: Contact the Intercollegiate Athletics Department for application and deadline information.  970.943.2079 - Paul Wright Gym 210

 Pederson/Wright/Borah Memorial Scholarship Fund

Available to:
Full-time student or must have been accepted for admission to Western. Must be a scholar/Intercollegiate Athlete, i.e. must participate in an intercollegiate sport; must have a cumulative GPA of 2.8 or higher; must demonstrate leadership qualities both as an Intercollegiate Athlete and as a student; priority will be given to football, basketball, wrestling and skiing, however all male intercollegiate sports participants are eligible.

Provided by:
This fund was established to honor three great men in the history of Western Intercollegiate Athletics - men whose impact on the college and on the hundreds of students with whom they worked will last forever: Willard "Pete" Pederson, Paul W. Wright and Leroy "Tracy" Borah.

Award depends on funds available. Approximately $1000 for the academic year.

Selected by:
Western Intercollegiate Athletics Director, Western Faculty Intercollegiate Athletics Representative, a female member of the coaching staff or faculty, and Candi Borah for as long as she is willing and able to serve.

Nominations submitted by Western head coaches. Contact the Intercollegiate Athletics Department for additional information. (970) 943-2079 - Paul Wright Gym 210