Sep 25, 2020  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Degree Requirements

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To qualify for an undergraduate degree at William Paterson University, a student must earn a minimum of 120 of the correct credits in an authorized program of study to which one has been duly admitted, and achieve a minimum 2.0 (C) cumulative grade-point average and a 2.0 average in the chosen major. Due to requirements of accrediting agencies, some majors may require more than 120 credits and a GPA greater than 2.0 in the major for retention and graduation. Students are expected to be familiar with major and other degree requirements. Interdisciplinary programs or honors programs may also have unique requirements.

Degree requirements are normally composed of the following components:

University First Year Foundations Program

The First Year Foundations Program at William Paterson University is designed to assist you in achieving your academic and career goals. The program helps to prepare you for college level courses and courses required for graduation. These courses are pre-requisites for many of your college level courses. The First-Year Foundations is a form of academic support. We offer courses that are designed to help you improve your skills in mathematics, college reading, and writing. In addition to the courses, we offer workshops and specialized tutoring to help in more difficult aspects of college coursework. The courses offered are:

Each course is offered for 3 credits and each counts toward your semester credit load. These credits are included in determining your class level (first year, sophomore, junior, etc), in defining full time status, and for financial aid purposes. However, these credits do not count toward graduation.

In order to determine if you need to take courses in the First-Year Foundations Program, you may be required to take a Placement Test. This test will help us to determine the appropriate First-Year Foundations and college level courses you should take in your first year at William Paterson University.

The test you will take is called the Accuplacer Test. Most of it is computerized and includes sections in each of the following areas:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Sentence Skills
  • Algebra
  • Essay Writing

After taking the test you will receive a letter informing you of your First-Year Foundations placement. You must complete all First-Year Foundation courses by the beginning of the third semester. You will also be taking college level courses alongside First-Year Foundation courses.

Pioneer First-Year Success Seminar (PFYSS)

The Pioneer First-Year Success Seminar Course is an essential part of the First-Year Experience. PFFYSS is designed to help first-year students develop the skills necessary for the rigorous academic challenges in higher education. All first-year students are required to take this 1 credit course during their first semester at the university. This course is taught by faculty and administrators representing the various majors and departments at William Paterson and is designed to assist students with the transition to university life. PFYSS curriculum includes topics such as: Time Management, Test & Note Taking Skills, Strategies for Effective Study Skills, Academic Integrity, as well as topics on adjusting to university life. Students have an opportunity to complete their PFYSS while participating in exciting academic programs that help address the socialization and acclimation concerns of new students.

University Core Curriculum (the University Core Curriculum or UCC 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.

The UCC is the University’s user-friendly yet intellectually rigorous response to 21st century educational demands.

What is general education?

General education has been an integral part of most undergraduate university curricula in the United States 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 Is the UCC?

The UCC constitutes a third of the entire undergraduate curriculum at William Paterson (40 credits). It contains a number of courses from across the university’s academic departments developed specifically for the UCC program. Students create their UCC experience by choosing a sequence of thirteen (13) courses from each of the following six areas of study.

Areas one, two and three are broadly viewed as “foundational” wherein courses will expose students to basic ideas, concepts, theories, perspectives, histories, methods, problems and debates from within any discipline in ways that clarify the meanings and scope of that area. Areas four, five and six are broadly viewed as “themes” that are core challenges in the 21st century. Courses in these areas will build upon the “foundational” knowledge and skills acquired by students.

Area One: Personal Well-being

focusing on individual and public wellness and their interdependence.

  • One course

Our biological constitutions, values, beliefs, habits, and socially instituted practices and relations inform and shape our lifestyle behaviors. This has major consequences for our personal and public well-being. Courses in this area will provide opportunities to develop the knowledge and critical skills necessary to support lifelong well-being for personal and professional success, and examine attitudes and beliefs that govern personal behavior.

Area Two: Expression

focusing on diverse forms of expression, representation, aesthetics and communication. This area has three sub-areas:

  • Arts and Communications - One Course (3 credits )
  • Writing - One Course (3 credits )
  • Literature - One Course (3 credits )

This area enables students to explore and become cognizant of the varieties of expressive, aesthetic and literary genres, and of communication as a fundamental characteristic of all life forms. Courses in this area will combine an examination of the visual, oral, written and performing arts, through engagement with works of art, music, literature, film and communication. Students will gain the necessary skills for effective, thoughtful and creative written and spoken communication.

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:

  • Philosophical Perspectives - One Course (3 credits)
  • Historical Perspectives - One Course (3 credits)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences - Two Courses (6 credits )
  • Scientific Perspectives - One Course (4 credits , includes laboratory)
  • Quantitative Thinking - One Course (3 credits )

This area enables students to learn about the nature of reality and change, approaches to knowledge production about the natural and social world and their implications, argument construction, research problem construction, nature and evaluation of evidence, quantitative reasoning, and problems and challenges facing humanity. Students will be challenged to critically appreciate the interconnectedness of and need for different and multidisciplinary approaches to real-world problems.

Area Four: Diversity and Justice

focusing on challenges of difference, equality and justice.

  • One course (3 credits)

Our age is characterized by growing acceptance of the notion of multicultural societies and nations. This has meant public recognition of the fact of immense forms and degrees of diversity of human life, both nationally and globally. Simultaneously, this rich diversity has also been marked by growing economic, political and cultural inequalities between and within socially defined groups, and competing claims to justice leading to a global increase, resurgence and at times, renewal of forms of ethnocentrism, racism, homophobia and heterosexism, sexism and patriarchy, ableism, xenophobia, class exploitation, and other forms of discrimination and prejudice. Courses in this area build upon core skills, knowledge and attitudes to prepare students to participate more ethically in such a diverse and unequal society and world and rise to its challenges.

Area Five: Community and Civic Engagement

focusing on ideas and possibilities of community and participating effectively as responsible citizens.

  • One course (3 credits)

Part of the historic mission of William Paterson University is a commitment to public education and the production of knowledgeable citizens who actively engage in community and civic life. Underlying this commitment is the assumption that public life is valuable and worthy of pursuit by all regardless of social origins. In an age of greater awareness of individual social responsibility coupled with accountability of governance, citizenship is a notion that has generated tremendous inquiry into its possibilities and power. Despite living in a global era, it is common knowledge that the local and regional are the arenas where citizens are constituted, problems are framed, questions posed, and theoretical concepts are tested in real-world context and time. The courses in this area will build upon core skills and knowledge to enable students to participate more effectively in civic and community life.

Area Six: Global Awareness

focusing on local, regional and global connectivities, possibilities and limits.

  • One course (3 credits)

This area builds upon core skills and knowledge to prepare students to better understand the challenges of and participate more effectively in an increasingly interdependent, diverse and unequal world. Courses in this area will explore the interconnectivity of a globalizing world, in which capital, goods, services, technologies, knowledge, images, governments and peoples are increasingly in more intimate and intense interaction, and where histories and geographies, societies and cultures, livelihoods and environments, knowledge and technologies, and ideas and communication patterns are mutually constituted. Students will learn to appreciate the continuities and changes in today’s world by exploring the emergence of truly “global” issues and problems that demand regional, international and / or trans-national debate, deliberations and decision-making.

Integrating UCC With Majors

To allow for the better integration of the UCC and academic major, 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 for use within the UCC.

Developmental Core

To ensure a developmental sequence of courses within the Core, students are expected to:

  • Take at least 18 credits in Areas 1-3 before they take Area 4, and
  • Take Area 4 before they take Areas 5

Writing Intensive (WI) and Technology Intensive (TI) Requirements

William Paterson is committed to a nurturing learning environment in which writing and technology literacies are taken seriously across disciplines. Many courses at the University are designated as “WI” or “TI.” These are attributes to courses which could be in any major discipline or in the UCC.

  • Four (4) Writing Intensive (WI) courses
  • Two (2) Technology Intensive (TI) courses

Thus any course - within the UCC or any major, or any minor, or any free elective - that has been designated as a WI or TI course can be used by a student to satisfy the above requirements.

The Core

1. Personal Well-Being 3 1000 or 2000
2. Expression Arts and Communication 3 1000 or 2000
Writing 3 1000 or 2000
Literature 3 1000 or 2000
3. Ways of Knowing Philosophical Perspectives 3 1000 or 2000
Historical Perspectives 3 1000 or 2000
Social and Behavioral Sciences 6 1000 or 2000
Scientific Perspectives 4 1000 or 2000
Quantitative Thinking 3 1000 or 2000
4. Diversity and Justice 3 2000
5. Community and Civic Engagement 3 2000 or higher
6. Global Awareness 3 2000 or higher

Courses in Areas Four, Five and Six (Diversity and Justice, Community and Civic Engagement, and Global Awareness) may be within student majors. Such courses can thus be used to satisfy both, Core and major requirements.

Students at William Paterson are required to complete four (4) Writing Intensive (WI) courses and two (2) Technology Intensive (TI) courses. These courses are not additional “stand-alone” courses but any course - within the Core, or any major or any minor or any free elective - that has been designated as a WI or TI course.

For those students who were admitted prior to Fall 2010 and are following the GE curriculum, please be aware that the requirements have been changed. The updated requirements have been reduced to the following:

  • 3 credits from the approved Arts and Communication course list(down from 6 credits)
  • 3 credits from the approved History/Historical Perspectives course list(down from 6 credits)
  • 4 credits of science/lab(down from 8 credits)
  • 6 credits of social science courses(down from 9 credits)

Foreign Language

William Paterson requires all students to complete up to 6 credits (two courses in one language) of a foreign language within the Basic I to Intermediate I sequence. Students with no prior experience in a chosen language begin with 1100 (Basic I) and fulfill their language requirement with the second semester 1110 (Basic II) of that language. Students with prior experience in a chosen language need to be placed into a given level of the 1100, 1110, 2100 sequence (see below). The foreign language requirement is met upon completion of two semesters in the language from placement level or upon completion or exemption from the Intermediate I (2100) course.

For further information on foreign language placement please refer to:

The Major

Each student must pursue a course of study in sufficient depth to be acquainted with both the basic body of knowledge therein and the frontiers to which it reaches. Credit requirements for the academic majors vary according to type of program.

Credits to complete majors vary, review requirements for your major to ensure that at least one half of the credits taken to complete a major must be earned at William Paterson University.

Students are encouraged to declare a major when first enrolling in the University so they can take the appropriate courses for a timely degree completion, and so that departments can offer career-specific guidance. Students who exercise their option not to select a major program upon entering the University are classified as undeclared students. Undeclared students are strongly encouraged to apply for admission to a degree program no later than upon the completion of 45 credits.

Multiple Major Courses of Study

A student may select a second major course of study. Upon successfully completing an additional major, the student is awarded a single degree. Notation of both major courses of study is made on the student’s official transcript and diploma.

Undeclared Students

Students who exercise their option not to select a major program when first enrolling in the University are classified as undeclared students. Such students should normally attempt to complete the UCC requirement during the first two years and must apply for admission to a major program upon completion of 45 credits. Applications for acceptance to a major program are available online at WPConnect. Students who have not declared a major by the time they have completed 45 credits may be denied permission to register.


A minor is an optional academic program that a student may pursue in addition to their major program. Although students are not required to complete a minor in order to graduate, many minors are available for those students who wish to develop another area of specialization without the full depth of an academic major.

Minors consist of a specific sequence of courses usually totalling 18 credits. Similarly to the major, students must complete one half of the required credits for a minor at William Paterson University. Students must have a minimum of 2.00 GPA to successfully complete the minor. At least one half of the credits must be original credits and cannot be used to complete another requirement.

Free Elective Courses

Students are encouraged to explore areas of study not included under the University Core Curriculum and not included in the major or minor courses of study.

Important Note: All freshmen must take the course WPU 1011 Pioneer First Year Success Seminar . In a small class setting students develop a close relationship with a faculty member who helps introduce the William Paterson University experience.


Waivers from university curriculum requirements may be provided when deemed educationally advantageous for an individual student. When the need for a waiver arises because of requirements for mandated courses set by an outside accrediting agency, priority is given to the requirement of the accrediting agency. A student who requests a waiver should apply to the major department chairperson, who then forwards the request to the appropriate academic dean.

Academic Residency Requirement

All students must complete the last 30 credits in residence at William Paterson University.

Time Limit for Degree

A baccalaureate degree must be completed within a period of ten years from the time the student first matriculated. Waivers and extensions of time must be approved by the dean of the college of the student’s major.

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