Your Questions, Our Answers
Below are questions frequently asked by students. You might also find the Need-to-Know Resources page helpful. If you find you still have unanswered questions, contact your advisor.
- Is Gen Ed a graduation requirement for all students?
Yes, all students must satisfy the Gen Ed experience with the CWU General Education Program, a Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA), or equivalent.
- How do I know which classes are within the same department or interdisciplinary program?
Since a department may house more than one prefix, it is important to consult the Populated Framework for department/interdisciplinary course prefix alignment.
- When do my Gen Ed Requirements need to be completed?
All students except those who transfer to CWU must complete their First Year Experience courses (First Year Experience, Academic Writing I, and Quantitative Reasoning) by the end of the quarter in which they complete 60 credits. An advising hold will be placed on students who do not meet these requirements. All students except those who transfer with a DTA must complete Academic Writing II by the end of the quarter in which they complete 90 credits. Information pertaining to transfer students can be found in the Transfer Student section below.
- Do I have to finish my Gen Ed courses before I declare my major?
No, you are welcome to declare a major before completing the Gen Ed program. Students are encouraged to connect with major department and/or representative College Advisor for more information once interested in a major. The sooner, the better!
- Does an Emergency Pass/Fail grade satisfy the Gen Ed requirements?
Yes, per Emergency Pass/Fail (EP/EF) policy.
- How do I confirm which Gen Ed requirements I've already completed?
Check your Academic Requirements (AR) report in MyCWU.
- How does my Gen Ed experience benefit me?
The General Education program prepares students for success by developing and enhancing their critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and decision making skills. The program will cultivate curiosity, empower personal development, strengthen understanding of and respect for diverse perspectives, and build a foundation for lifelong learning.
- How many courses will it take to complete the Gen Ed program?
The Gen Ed program requires most students to complete twelve (12) courses - three (3) in the Engage component, eight (8) in the Explore & Connect component, and one (1) in the Connect, Create, & Empathize component. A student is welcome to explore additional coursework outside the requirements. Care should be taken to ensure timeliness to graduation, especially respectful of financial aid expectations and limitations. Students are encouraged to contact an advisor early to understand decision-making options and impacts.
- Is there a particular order for classes?
The program has a beginning (First Year Experience), middle (Knowledge Areas & Pathways), and end (Culminating Experience). Complete the First Year Experience within the first year, along with Knowledge Area and Pathway courses. Knowledge Areas may be completed in any order. The culminating experience is intended to be the final Gen Ed course and may be a part of your major requirements so it may be one of your final undergraduate courses.
- How do I know which classes I am eligible to take?
Most eligibility is monitored through course prerequisites which can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog: General Education Program.
- How can I find Gen Ed courses that may apply to my major or minor?
Consult the Undergraduate Catalog and/or your advisor.
- What is a PADstone?
PADstone is the CWU 184 course. PAD is an acronym for Practice and Discovery. Students register for a section of this course under a specific department prefix: ABC 184. Each section is a different topic. A list of PADstone courses can be found in the Student Registration Handbook.
- May I take more than one PADstone 184 course?
No, only one PADstone class is required and this course may not be repeated for credit.
- When do I complete the Culminating Experience?
Students will complete the Culminating Experience as juniors or seniors following completion of the First Year Experience and Knowledge Areas/Pathways courses. Completion may depend on program requirements when the Culminating Experience is satisfied with a course from your major. Follow program guidance and/or consult your Staff or Faculty Advisor.
- What if I don't have an Associate of Arts-Direct Transfer Agreement (AA-DTA)?
The transfer coursework of students who arrive at Central without an AA-DTA will be evaluated on a course-by-course basis to see if it meets the individual requirements of our General Education program. Additional coursework is usually needed to satisfy all of them. Some students may be eligible for a Reverse Transfer, wherein students complete the missing requirements from their AA-DTA at Central and therby earn their associate's degree, and may be a more efficient means of meeting the General Education requirements. You can learn more by talking to your advisor or the Transfer Center.
- What if I have transfer credit that didn't count towards my Gen Ed requirements but I think it should?
Transfer work that does not automatically satisfy a Gen Ed requirement can be petitioned to do so. Complete a General Education Petition Form and attach a letter detailing what requirement you are petitioning and what you are advocating as meeting that requirement. You should also include the course description from the catalog year that you took the course and when possible, the syllabus from the section of the course that you took.
- Will I need to complete a PADstone 184 course?
Students who transfer to CWU with fewer than 45 credits will need to take a PADstone 184 course if they have not completed equivalent coursework (courses with equivalent outcomes as determined by the General Education Committee and/or the Office of the Registrar). The course must be completed by the time a student has earned 60 college-level credits (transfer and CWU credits combined).