The General Studies Program

The goal of the General Studies Program is to inform the whole of the student’s undergraduate education with a structure and consistency that complement and broaden the program of major studies. Whitman recognizes that flexibility is necessary in order to accommodate differences in background, interest, and aptitude. General Studies is Whitman’s method of ensuring that student programs have overall coherence and that the wide range of the college’s intellectual resources are utilized without enforcing lockstep requirements.

Specifically, the General Studies Program is intended to provide: 1) breadth and perspective to allow exposure to the diversity of knowledge, 2) integration to demonstrate the interrelatedness of knowledge, 3) a community of shared experience to encourage informal continuation of education beyond the classroom, and 4) a context for further study in the many areas appropriate for a well-educated person. To achieve these goals, the faculty has devised the following curriculum:

  • First-Year Seminars: Asking Complex Questions (GENS 175) and Making Powerful Arguments (GENS 176). GENS 175 is completed by all students during their first fall semester at Whitman College, with the exception of transfer students entering with junior standing (58 or more transferrable credits). GENS 176 is completed by all first-year students in the spring semester. While transfer students are encouraged to enroll in GENS 176 as well, they may receive equivalent credit for a comparable course at another institution.

Distribution Requirements: All students must complete the Distribution Requirements (see “General Studies Program” in the Courses and Programs section of this catalog).