Engage, Explore, Experience, Extend
WCore is Westminster College's liberal education program that gives you the opportunity
to expand your knowledge, investigate and express your interests, and explore new
subjects and ideas through unique, engaged, and challenging courses. Through this
program, you’ll make connections across courses and disciplines, explore equity and
inclusion, have important and interesting conversations with your peers, develop your
problem solving and communication skills, approach problems, subject areas, and issues
in depth, and much more. As you get to know yourself and the world around you, you’ll
prepare yourself to take on your aspirations and what lies ahead when you leave Westminster.
These courses are taught in small-group settings that focus on synthesis, communication, disciplinary research, and meaningful interactions with faculty, rather than simply memorizing facts. Some courses are offered online. Additionally, because WCore has fewer requirements, you will have more flexibility in your schedule to pursue minors, electives, or even take additional WCore courses that interest you. Your advisor can give you individualized help in designing a minor or choosing which minor is right for you.
AP and IB credits will count toward graduation, as general electives, and for some major requirements. However, they will not count toward the completion of WCore.
Honors College students satisfy all of Westminster’s liberal education requirements through the interdisciplinary, team-taught courses in the Honors curriculum, which serves as an alternative learning experience to WCore.
The first- and second-year WCore courses will be waived for all transfers with associates degrees. All other transfers will be evaluated on a course-by-course basis.
Customize Your Education
Choose 2 Courses Per Area:
- Social and Behavioral Sciences
- Fine Arts and Humanities
- Science and Mathematics
Each course can fulfill 1 emphasis (Writing, Diversity, Research, and Quantitative). Other courses in some programs may also fulfill an emphasis.
Engaging the World Experience
Choose 1 or more:
- Engaging the World course (3–4 credits)
- Approved May Term Study Experience
- Approved study abroad semester
- Approved international internship
All full-time, first-year students are required to complete 1 Learning Community in their fall semester. Learning Communities are composed of 2 courses in different areas that are linked by a common theme. You’ll get to register for a learning community that fits your interests.
Your Individualized Path
WCore is designed to fit your interests each step of the way. Your individualized WCore experience will look something like this
- First and Second Year: In your first fall semester, you'll engage with your fellow students in a learning community, taking 2 courses. Additionally, during your first and second years, you’ll also select WCore courses to explore subjects that interest you and take them to meet your course and emphases requirements.
- Third Year: You'll investigate and explore the world beyond Westminster’s campus through an Engaging the World experience, selecting from multiple options that help you become a better global citizen.
- Fourth Year: You'll extend your learning through a capstone project that you share with others at a campus-wide Celebrating Your Path event, such as the Westminster Student Showcase and other events.
WCore courses can be used to meet the requirements for an emphasis (1 emphasis per course):
Diversity Emphasis: Diversity Emphasis courses challenge you to examine differences of power, privilege, and subordination based on hierarchically organized, socially ascribed categories of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, national origin, age, and religion.
Quantitative Emphasis: Quantitative Emphasis courses are framed around a real-world context or problem and include an extensive exploration of quantitative techniques that illuminate the question, or they begin with a cohesive set of quantitative methods then explore their application across a broad range of real-world problems.
Writing Emphasis: Writing Emphasis courses offer you opportunities to write, reflect, and revise with writing instruction embedded in a topic from an academic discipline to build knowledge and skills.
Research Emphasis: Research Emphasis courses give you an opportunity to engage in an intensive, discipline-specific research experience within the context of a broader course, giving you the potential to make an original intellectual or creative contribution to that discipline.
WCore Class Examples
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Increase your understanding of human behavior and social interaction. These social and behavioral science courses explore dimensions of human life that may include cultural, biological, social, behavioral, interactional, organizational, structural, and institutional approaches.
Shakespeare, Culture, and Society
Explore the influence of Shakespeare’s plays and poems in 17th-century England and the modern world and consider the role of Shakespeare’s art concerning issues of social order and social change.
Are you interested in contributing to the greater good through the career you choose? Do you want to do "good" for others without sacrificing your economic well-being? Explore the growing phenomenon known as social entrepreneurship, learning the theory behind social entrepreneurship while immersing yourself in the local economy of mission-driven startups in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.
Social Justice by the Numbers
How can we measure and analyze justice, fairness, and equity in our society? Develop your prosthesis and use it to analyze and improve the world around you.
Examine practices in policing, adjudication, incarceration, and school discipline methods both nationally and locally. You’ll conduct site visits to the Salt Lake Peer Court and local schools, work with the Restorative Justice Collaborative of Utah, examine case studies, and participate in restorative justice circles in order to explore the impact certain practices can have on individuals and communities and make suggestions for real-world change.
The Sociological Imagination
Introduce yourself to sociology, exploring how individual perceptions are shaped by cultural, organizational, and social forces. An emphasis is placed on a sociological perspective, social inequality, and social roles, groups, and institutions.
Communicating Across Cultures
By becoming a flexible communicator, we can better understand others. Explore intercultural communication concepts and theories, focusing on the cultural boundaries of culture, race, and ethnicity.
Sociology, Wellness, and Healthcare
What is the social meaning of healthcare systems and technologies? Explore how sociology can affect healthcare around the world and analyze systems and technologies.
Explorations in Politics
Investigate contemporary political issues in a diverse and globalized world based on current political events.
Writing and Language Diversity
What does academic writing mean? How does it relate to language? College students are expected to write “academically,” but language is not neutral—language is controversial because it is intertwined with social attitudes toward language standards, diversity, and change. Focus on the intersection of writing and language, with the opportunity to strengthen your reading, writing, and researching skills.
People, Power, and Protest
What do social movements do? By studying sociological, interdisciplinary perspectives, and cross-national approaches in social movements, you will become familiarized with the concept of power and resistance through case studies of social movements and protests across the Americas over time.
The Nature of Language
Language is a powerful social and scientific structure. Examine ongoing issues surrounding the cognitive and social aspects of language, using the lens of linguistics to examine real-life experiences and develop critical thinking skills.
Sports and Society
Sports are a significant cultural, political, and economic force in American society. Utilize a sociological perspective to explore how sports are organized, played, experienced, and critiqued in the United States.
Courts, Law, and Social Justice
Use the tools of social science and legal analysis to understand and analyze the role of law and the courts in American society and politics.
Fine Arts and Humanities
Learn about the human experience as you create and study art, literature, and historical and philosophical texts. These fine arts and humanities courses teach you the skills of articulating ideas and concepts clearly in writing and speech, developing your analytical, creative, and reflective capacities.
Philosophy of Love and Sex
What are love and sex? How are they related? Love and sexuality are two of the most crucial and complex aspects of your identity. Moreover, these concepts are often intertwined and sometimes pitted against one another. Examine different approaches to this topic from a wide selection of philosophical traditions.
Drawing, Inquiry, and Expression
Introduce yourself to the art of drawing and visual communication by covering the fundamental techniques, materials, vocabulary, and modes of communication inherent to the medium. You will create and critique drawings as well as present and store finished artwork.
Goddesses, Heroes, and Others
From ancient scriptures to contemporary comics, literary characters—goddesses, heroes, and "others"—rule. Investigate these character types and answer the questions asked by many literary critics by delving into current theory and historical research.
Sound, Music, and Technology
Examine the effect that technology has had on music and sound after WWII, including popular music, art music, film, interactive media, the music of other cultures, sound art, and sound installations.
Gender, Sex, and Identity
Analyze how the concept of gender structures the relationships of power around us. You will think, write, and talk about questions related to what people think gender is, how it affects us, and how it can change. A focus is placed on how different sociological, philosophical, literature, and political science disciplines look at gender.
Making Sense of Movies
By examining the formal elements of film and its history, you will learn about terminology and concepts of film analysis in the context of film’s evolution across the 20th century.
Ceramics I: Material Studies
Introduce yourself to the 4 basic building techniques of ceramics and learn about the practice of time management and the fundamental practices, techniques, and culture of working in clay.
Searching for America
Whether literary protagonists dream of freedom, refuge, success, or happiness, they all imagine and experience modern America in uniquely compelling ways. Explore the rich tradition of modern American literature through captivating texts and innovative authors, including U.S. minority writers of different ethnic backgrounds. You will make connections between literature and culture through class discussions.
Race, Power, and Privilege
No one lives as an individual, but rather all of us live within and interact with systems of identity, oppression, and privilege. Categories such as race are sites of oppression and privilege. Take a look at how racism and privilege systems contribute to how we define ourselves, how we are defined by society, and how the world we know is defined.
Photography is the visual language of present time and technology has become the most immediate form of communication and expression. Focus on creating your own personal images while simultaneously learning introductory technical skills in photography. You will investigate the relationship of form to content and apply skills in creating your vision and ideas.
Homelands and Contested Spaces
Explore the United States, Australia, and South Africa from circa 1600 to the present, focusing on the methods, processes, and outcomes of empire in what are referred to as "settler states." You’ll explore how and why these spaces came to be, why they were maintained (or not), why specific populations accept or reject the creations of those spaces, and more.
You live in a designed world—your lived experience is the result of decisions made in the creative process. Consider the aesthetics and design in your world, using fundamental concepts from drawing and painting, sculpture and 3D construction, digital tools, and design, to apply design-based thinking to solve problems, revise and evaluate existing solutions, and personally redefine the creative process.
Science and Mathematics
Develop your critical, analytical, and integrative thinking skills, as well as writing and other communication skills. These science and mathematics courses teach you how quantitative reasoning and scientific inquiry shape your understanding and knowledge of the human experience and the world we inhabit.
Geobiology of the Universe
This course explores the interdisciplinary methods of space exploration and the extraordinary data that we accrue through Earth analogs, remote sensing, crewed missions, and uncrewed probes into our solar system and beyond. Using primary data from past studies and current missions, we will develop models and design experiments to ask larger questions about the Universe. Is there life beyond Earth? How does geology of a space body inform the potential for life?
Geology of the American West
Be warned: learning about the geology of the American West will change the way you see the world. You will use case studies in Western North America to introduce yourself to the field of geology, learning the theories and concepts that geologists use to understand the entire planet by investigating the Pacific Northwest, the Colorado Plateau, the Wyoming Craton, and the Wasatch Mountain.
Science of Food and Drink
Food and drink are central to living. Take a chemistry approach to the study of how different foods and drinks are created, learning the fundamental principles in chemistry and using them to create various foods and drink. Topics such as chemical composition, chemical bonding, chemical interactions, chemical properties, and chemical reactivity will be explored using chemicals and biological organisms common in a kitchen.
Genetics of Human Behavior
Have you ever wondered how much your genes affect who you are? Explore the role of genetic inheritance on human behavior, focusing on modern genetic analysis and the molecular techniques used to study complex normal human behaviors and diseases.
Probability, Risk, and Reward
Explore probabilistic thinking by looking at games of chance, cognitive biases, fascinating episodes in the history of probability, and applications in business, health, and science.
Computer Science Principles
Introduce yourself to the history, social implications, great principles, and future of computing. You will learn about programming a computer using graphical language and discuss how computing empowers discovery and progress in other fields.
Bust That Psych Myth
Gain a foundation and hands-on experience in the scientific study of human emotion, cognition, and behavior. You will interact with materials in ways that help you understand the context of psychology as a behavioral.
Ecology of Food Systems
People eat many times a day, but very few think about meals as part of a complex system of interactions between plants, animals, people, machines, and institutions. Explore the current state of the U.S. food system, from production to consumption, as well as issues such as food waste and food insecurity, including how people are working to create new systems that are more just, fair, and ecological.
Linear algebra is a foundational subject for almost all areas of pure and applied mathematics. Learn about systems of linear equations and their representations as matrices, matrix algebra, vector spaces and subspaces in Rn, and more, with an emphasis on critical, analytical, and integrative thinking, as well as writing and other communication skills.
Explorations in Data Science
Data science is at the forefront of the Big Data Revolution. The mathematical and technological aspects of data science have been central to its success, yet they cannot exist in isolation. You will explore issues involving data collection, analysis, and communication from biology, medicine, and chemistry contexts.
National Parks Geology
Many of America' s National Parks were designated because of their geologic beauty and history. Examine geologic principles and concepts through the lens of America's National Parks, as they often represent the most exquisite examples of geologic phenomena. Learn the story of the evolution of North America, from mountain building, to volcanism, to historic inland seas, and giant beasts of an earlier geologic age.
I never thought that it was possible for me to feel enlightened by a math class, but Social Justice by the Numbers has opened my eyes to the way that math impacts society—and how math literacy can be essential to combating various social issues. The knowledge I've gained from this class has been surprising; the world of mathematics is a lot more intertwined with society than I could ever have imagined.
It was an extraordinary experience to learn about all of the national parks' geology, how they formed and how they still continue to change today which then gives light as to why these lands should be protected and preserved. I found this course to be very interesting for the fact that I was born and raised in Utah and therefore I was very eager to learn about the many national parks that I've grown up exploring and the National Parks that I have yet to visit.
When it came time to do a final creative project [for (being} Creative], Heidi inspired me to dream big and think small: so I designed what my dream theatre company would be. The class ended, and that dream grew to a reality and I have now done two productions (working on a third) that have all raised funds for different nonprofit organizations while giving a voice to women.
Engaging the World Experience
Your Engaging the World experience prepares you to be a better global citizen. You will build on the knowledge you acquired in your WCore courses during your first and second year at Westminster and apply what you have learned by focusing on ways to advance social transformation, equity, and parity within local and global communities. You’ll also challenge your biases and prejudices and emphasize the knowledge that you live in an integrated, complex, and interdependent society. There are 4 options for completing the Engaging the World requirement: Engaging the World courses, studying abroad, completing an international internship, or participating in a May Term Study Experience.
Senior Capstone Course
There is a required capstone course within each major for all seniors. Many of the specific objectives of this course will be based on your major, but all students will produce a piece of work that demonstrates the culmination of your educational experience at Westminster. Projects created in these courses include things like submissions for the senior arts exhibit, posters describing independent research projects, reflections on an impactful clinical experience, a collection of poems, talks explaining business plans, and much more. When you’ve completed your project, you will have the opportunity to share it at the Westminster Student Showcase or a senior showcase event.