professor instructing class in outdoor setting

Academics

A liberal arts undergraduate education at Westminster is more than just attending lectures and doing coursework in order to earn a degree—it’s about becoming a lifelong learner and leading a successful and impactful life. Your professors will encourage you to fuel your curiosity and ask all sorts of questions because learning is more fulfilling and meaningful when it is exciting and leads to personal growth.

Bring your curiosity to campus and explore your interests, wherever they may take you.

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5 Benefits of a Liberal Arts Education


 
 

1    Approaches education with a focus on improving every aspect of an individual

 
 

2    Celebrates diversity of thought

 
 

3    Provides hands-on learning that approaches a subject from a variety of viewpoints

 
 

4    Uses the knowledge you have as a tool to gain new knowledge by leveraging critical thinking and logical reasoning to solve problems

 
 

5    Teaches you to lead a successful and meaningful life through Westminster's focus on wellness and intellectual growth


Not-So-General Education

In small classes, you and your unique questions will be heard by accomplished, expert faculty who will help you find meaningful answers, unleash your creativity, and pursue a life of consequence. Faculty encourage active learning, academic rigor, and critical thinking to help you discover your own identity as a thinker, speaker, and writer. They don’t just lecture; they show, support, and guide to help you set your course to lead a life of personal and intellectual growth. Additionally, you have a faculty advisor committed to supporting your success in an individualized way.

Classroom Experience

Courses are much more than listening to your professor and taking notes—you will have important and interesting conversations with classmates, learn through doing, and solve problems using critical thinking and logical reasoning. You will also be encouraged to share your individual perception and be open to having your perceptions challenged. Westminster strives to create an atmosphere that supports and celebrates diversity of thought, helping you become a better global citizen. You will learn to be more socially responsible, globally conscious, and ethically aware.

Experiential Learning

At Westminster, experiential learning is an essential part of your education. The skills and knowledge you need to become a competitor in the job market, reach your goals, and fulfill your ambitions come from more than just reading a textbook. Learning by doing gives you hands-on experience in your profession before you even cross the stage to get your degree. Through opportunities like internships, labs, student teaching, clinical experience, and more, you’ll leave Westminster with the ability to tell employers and graduate schools about the real professional work you have completed, not just the courses you took.

Organizations where Westminster students have participated in experiential learning include Cotopaxi, Zions Bank, the Governor’s Office, the Great Salt Lake Institute, and the Salt Lake City School District.

Field Studies

Westminster’s geology, outdoor education and leadership, and Westminster Expedition field studies allow you to unleash your curiosity, discover yourself, and develop your skills. Field semesters take you out of the classroom and off campus to make the most out of your education by using Westminster’s location in the American West to your advantage.

Bar chart that doesn’t include numbers that depicts that lively discussion is the majority of what the classroom experience is like rather than rote memorization

Bar chart that doesn’t include numbers that depicts that lively discussion is the majority of what the classroom experience is like rather than rote memorization

 

 

WCore

WCore is Westminster’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. 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.

Because WCore is completed by taking just 6 courses, 1 Engaging the World experience, and 1 Learning Community, you will have more flexibility in your schedule to pursue minors, electives, or even take additional WCore courses that interest you.

Honors College

Westminster’s Honors College offers a distinctive course of study for students who want to challenge themselves. The Honors core curriculum consists entirely of team-taught, interdisciplinary seminars, making Westminster’s program one of the most comprehensive in the country. These engaging courses encourage active learning, personalized attention, and critical thinking—they are not designed to be “harder” than regular courses; instead, they offer an exciting alternative to the standard WCore liberal education program.

 

group of students standing in lobby of Converse Hall

90%

of classes have 19 students or fewer (2022–23)

#15

Best Undergraduate Teaching (U.S. News and World Report, 2023)

93%

of full-time faculty hold the highest degree available in their field (2021–22)

Choosing Your Major

Westminster has over 40 undergraduate areas of study in 5 academic schools. No matter which you pick, you will approach problems, subject areas, and issues broadly and deeply, studying across disciplines to liberate your mind to its fullest potential. Your education will build a foundation for you to enter the workforce with greater confidence and conviction to seize new opportunities, excel in your career, or pursue graduate degrees at esteemed institutions.

Customized Major

Do you have multiple interests that don’t fit into a pre-defined major? A customized major allows you to partner with faculty to use your interests and professional and educational goals to craft a personalized academic experience. Whatever is calling you in life, Westminster will help you find a way to get there.

Certificate

As a Westminster student, you have the opportunity to develop an academic plan that goes beyond your major. Supplement your major with learning from other disciplines with an undergraduate certificate.

Undecided?

Not sure what major is right for you? That’s okay. Westminster is prepared to help you narrow down your interests and pick the option that is best for you. As an undecided student, you can use the general education courses you take through the WCore program or the Honors College to determine your interests and explore subjects. And if you discover your interests don’t fit into a conventional major, a customized major might be the right fit for you.

Student Life

Your life at Westminster consists of much more than just going to class and studying in the library. Personal growth and exploring your interests are a fundamental part of your university experience. Various involvement opportunities on campus, including daily events and over 40 clubs and organizations, ensure that there will always be something new to do or explore.

explore student life

group of female students sitting and talking on the grass

Academic Opportunities

Accelerated Programs and Partnerships at Westminster University allow you to build on a liberal arts education by gaining faster acceptance into select professional or graduate degrees, whether you study here or at another institution.

The Career Center and your program faculty can assist you with finding opportunities like internships and job shadowing, allowing you to learn more about the employers and industries/fields that interest you, and make valuable professional connections. The center can also help you find jobs on campus, including opportunities for professional experience within campus offices that are meaningful on your resume. Additionally, the center has resources to prepare you for interviews, develop your resume and LinkedIn profile, build your personal branding, and more.

Numerous organizations offer prestigious scholarships and fellowships, which consist of summer positions and enrichments during the time you are enrolled at Westminster, as well as post-graduation internships, training, and jobs. The Fellowship Advising Office can help you find and apply for fellowship opportunities. Eleven Class of 2021 graduates were awarded or nominated for distinguished fellowships.

Low-income and/or traditionally underrepresented first-generation students can apply to receive mentor support and other program benefits through the First Scholars (first-year students) and STEPS (transfer students) initiatives in the First Scholars Program. Your success as a first-generation university student is important to Westminster.

Westminster prepares you to live and excel in a world that is integrated, complex, and interdependent. Study, work, volunteer, and teach abroad opportunities; May Term Study Experiences; and international internships through the Office for Global Engagement offer you the chance to expand your horizons, meet new and different people, and become a better global citizen.

Westminster’s McNair Scholars Program aims to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups who go on to graduate study. Once you reach sophomore standing at Westminster, you are potentially eligible to take advantage of the program’s benefits, including stipends for summer research, opportunities to visit graduate schools and attend conferences to present research, established mentors, assistance applying to graduate schools, and more.

The Westminster Student Showcase gives you the opportunity to share your research and experiences with the campus community. The showcase recognizes the academic achievement of engaging in high-level research projects, creative activities, and unique internships with the guidance of program faculty. Students from all academic programs may participate. Projects do not have to be complete—you can present your work at whatever stage it is in at the time of the showcase.

Free tutoring during fall, spring, and summer semesters is available in many areas of study. Tutors will help you with specific questions or general knowledge on a topic and are a great option for you to get the one-on-one support you need throughout your educational experience.

Westminster supports students who want to take their education a step deeper and research the topics and subjects they are passionate about. Numerous campus offices support research grants, and you can also reach out to your program faculty to see if they have research projects you can participate in. At Westminster, your education knows no bounds. Ask intriguing questions, investigate something not many people have, or add to research that has been built on over many years—your curiosity is valued.

Students who participate in undergraduate research have the opportunity to present their work at the annual Westminster Student Showcase, where students from all majors and schools present their projects.

Learning Goals at Westminster

 
 

1

Critical Thinking

Students will comprehensively explore issues, ideas, artifacts, events, and other positions, before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion.
 
 

2

Creativity

Students will combine or synthesize new ideas, practices, or expertise in original ways that are characterized by innovation, divergent thinking, and risk-taking.
 
 

3

Collaboration

Students will demonstrate self-awareness, understanding of effective group dynamics, and project management skills.

 
 

4

Communication

Students will communicate ideas to audiences in oral, visual, and written forms to establish knowledge, increase understanding, or advocate for a particular position.
 
 

5

Global Responsibility

Students will (i) employ practices informed by social responsibility across the spectrum of differences and (ii) demonstrate knowledge of and evaluate solutions for, challenges affecting local, regional, and global communities.

What Westminster Students Have to Say

grey quotation marks "It is common for students to bring up questions or ideas that change the course of the day because Westminster’s professors adapt the curriculum to drive student interest and understanding."

/Leah (’21)

grey quotation marks"I think the most important thing that my Westminster education has taught me about critical thinking is that it's for everyone. Critical thinking sounds like such a scary word and an unattainable skill. However, we all have the capacities for critical thinking."

/Sophie (Honors ’22)

grey quotation marks"I think the very human element of a Westminster education is its shining quality—to know others and to be known on campus invites a much deeper educational experience that I will carry with me into my future communities. Ideas are meant to be lived and shared, which is only possible with true human connection.”

/Kate Blair (Honors ’21)

What's Next?