What is the University Core Curriculum?

The University Core Curriculum (or the “Core”) is the “general education” program at William Paterson University designed to enable students to prepare for an increasingly complex yet interdependent world that simultaneously holds opportunities for creativity, new knowledge, connecting across conventional boundaries of thought and practices, cooperation and teamwork, and diverse modes of communication and building community. It is a 40 credit program, which constitutes a third of the entire undergraduate curriculum.


What is general education?

General education has been an integral part of most undergraduate university curricula in the U.S.A. for over a century. In addition to specializing in a particular discipline, i.e., the student’s major, all students get the opportunity to explore a number of courses from other academic disciplines and to connect them to their major. Thus students are enabled to

  • build a generalized set of skills, knowledge, perspectives and literacies,
  • prepare to better appreciate what it means to be human and to be citizens,
  • motivate themselves to participate as better informed and engaged members of societies, communities, organizations and institutions, nations and the world,
  • better understand how research and creative expression is developed, critically evaluated, and used,
  • broaden their horizons of thought, capabilities, and knowledge, and
  • enrich their personal and professional lives


What Courses Do I Need to Take for My Core Requirements?

Students create their Core experience by choosing a sequence of 13 (thirteen) courses from each of six areas of study:

  1. AREA ONE: PERSONAL WELL-BEING focusing on individual and public wellness and their interdependence
    1. One course
  2. AREA TWO: EXPRESSION focusing on diverse forms of expression, representation, aesthetics and communication. This Area has three sub-areas:
    1. Arts and Communications – One Course (3 credits )
    2. Writing – One Course (3 credits )
    3. Literature – One Course (3 credits )
  3. AREA THREE: WAYS OF KNOWING focusing on diverse modes of knowledge and perspectives about the natural and human world and their implications. This Area has five sub-areas:
    1. Philosophical perspectives – One Course (3 credits)
    2. Historical perspectives – One Course (3 credits
    3. Social and Behavioral Sciences – Two Courses (6 credits )
    4. Scientific perspectives – One Course (4 credits , includes laboratory)
    5. Quantitative thinking – One Course (3 credits )
  4. AREA FOUR: DIVERSITY AND JUSTICE focusing on challenges of difference, pluralism, equality and justice.
    1. One course (3 credits)
  5. AREA FIVE: COMMUNITY AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT focusing on ideas and possibilities of community and participating effectively as responsible citizens.
    1. One course (3 credits)
  6. AREA SIX: GLOBAL AWARENESS focusing on local, regional and global connectivities, possibilities and limits.
    1. One course (3 credits)

Each area and sub-are will have a variety of courses to choose from. See more information »

Do I Have To Take all 13 Courses in the Core?

The Core is a requirement for all students at WPU.

To allow for better integration of Core and student majors, Faculty Senate passed the following resolution on January 25, 2011:

Students may use up to three courses in their major to fulfill UCC requirements. One of these UCC/major courses may be a foundational course offered in Areas One, Two or Three. All UCC/major designated courses must be approved by the UCC Council.

What are the Writing Intensive and Technology Intensive requirements?

All students at WPU are required to complete at least 4 (four) Writing Intensive (WI) courses and two (2) Technology Intensive (TI) courses as part of their entire curriculum.

  • “WI” or “TI” are attributes to a course offered in any department that satisfies the Writing Intensive or Technology Intensive criteria.
  • Any course that is designated WI or TI could be used to fulfill any other requirement for the student such as major requirement, minor requirement, Core requirement or as free elective. 
  • One of the WI courses must be at the 3000 level or higher

For example, COMM 3480 PUBLIC RELATIONS is a course that is designated as WI (this appears as “Attributes Writing Intensive” in the Banner system where students can browse through all courses for a particular semester). This means that this course which can be used as one of the four WI required courses and used to fulfill your major or minor requirement in Communication.

Another example is ENG 1100 COLLEGE WRITING. This course is also designated as WI. But it also fulfils a Core requirement for Area Two: Expression-Writing. Thus it appears as “Attributes Writing Intensive, UCC-Expression-Writing” in the Banner system. All students will take this course as their first (out of four) WI course requirements.

Similarly, an example of Technology Intensive course is COM 3500 Software Engineering (this appears as “Attributes Technology Intensive” in the Banner system). This course can be used as one of two TI required courses. 

What are Student Learning Outcomes?

The Core is based on clearly defined student learning outcomes at both program and course levels. To learn more about the Core’s Program and Area level student learning outcomes, click here. The learning outcomes take into consideration the call from various employers for more emphasis on areas such as critical thinking, written and oral communication, complex problem solving, ethical reasoning, applied knowledge, intercultural competence, teamwork in diverse groups, creativity and knowledge of science and technology. Click here for the American Association of Colleges and Universities document.

What If I am a Transfer Student?

Transfer students need to do the following to satisfy their Core requirement at WPU.

If you are a transfer student with AA or AS degree, then

  1. You have fulfilled your Core requirement at WPU. Make sure that your degree audit shows that you have “Met” Core requirements. If not, talk with your advisor. 
  2. You will need to make sure that one of your 3000 level or above courses that you register for at WPU is also designated as Writing Intensive (WI). See “What are Writing Intensive and Technology Intensive requirements?” (above)

If you are a transfer student without an AA or AS degree, then

  • You will need to see how many of your courses have transferred into the Core at WPU. For more details contact Admissions Office.


What If I Am a Continuing Student at WPU on the old GE Program?

Starting Fall 2011, all continuing WPU students in the current GE program can satisfy a GE requirement with an equivalent Core (or UCC) course from the same discipline. Click here for the GE to UCC mapping. Please check with your advisor before registering.


Who Do I contact for more information on the Core?

Contact your advisor or send an email to Director, University Core Curriculum at