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University Studies FAQ

  1. Why does WSU require a University Studies Program?

  2. What are the goals of the University Studies Program?

  3. What are the requirements of the University Studies Program?

  4. What courses count for credit in the University Studies Program?

  5. What if I complete more than the required number of credits for the USP in a given category?

  6. Can a USP course count for my major, too?

  7. Can a transfer course from another institution count for USP credit?

  8. I'm a transfer student.  Am I required to take "flag" courses in writing, etc.?

  9. I completed an A.A. degree.  Do the USP requirements apply?

  10. I’m an International Student.  Is there a waiver for the Global/Multicultural Perspectives requirement?

  11. Can USP requirements be waived due to cumulative life experience or extracurricular study?

  12. Can I request a USP Course Substitution?

 

1.       Why does WSU require a University Studies Program?

 The University Studies Program provides a broad base of skills and knowledge to equip students for informed, responsible citizenship in a changing world. The program provides opportunities for students to evaluate their cultural and social inheritance critically, to think scientifically in both the natural and social spheres, to think beyond the boundaries of their own culture, and to understand the expressive arts. It also enhances reasoning, analytic, and communication skills that students will need to perform well in a wide range of occupations and post-graduate programs. Finally, the program provides the opportunity for students to explore how an understanding of the connections among these diverse bodies of skill and knowledge enhances their ability to live well and ethically in the contemporary world.

2.       What are the goals of the University Studies Program?

Upon successful completion of the University Studies Program, students should be able to demonstrate the following characteristics of a college and university graduate:

  1. ability to read, write, and speak appropriate English at levels significantly above that which is expected of a high school graduate;
  2. familiarity with the various ways in which information is produced, gathered, processed, and used;
  3. ability to reason, understand, and manipulate ideas or numbers;
  4. familiarity with various forms of human expression (written, oral, artistic, physical);
  5. knowledge of and sensitivity toward those aspects of life and the environment that are common to all life as well as those aspects that display diversity;
  6. willingness to accept appropriate responsibilities and to practice freedom, justice, and equality for all; and
  7. commitment to lifelong learning and cultivation of intellectual curiosity.

3.       What are the requirements of the University Studies Program?

The University Studies Program requirements include courses in four main categories: Basic Skills, Arts and Sciences Core, Unity and Diversity, and Flag Requirements.

 Basic Skills (12 S.H.)

Arts and Sciences Core (22 S.H.)

 Unity and Diversity (12 S.H.)

 Flag Requirements (12 S.H.)

4.       What courses count for credit in the University Studies Program?

 Over 450 courses count for credit in the University Studies Program.  The Registrar’s Office keeps the official list.  You can view the list of courses, by department or by USP category, at <http://www.winona.edu/registrar> .

5.       What if I complete more than the required number of credits for the USP in a given category?

Most students will accumulate more than the required number of credits in at least one category.  The USP requirements list minimum credit hours for completing the program.  Additional credits earned for the USP apply as general elective credits toward graduation.

6.       Can a USP course count for my major, too?

 In some circumstances.  Courses in the Arts and Sciences Core of the USP can NOT count for credit in the major, unless they are specified by asterisk (*) in the catalog as an “additional requirement” of a given program.  Courses in other areas of the USP—Basic Skills, Unity and Diversity, and Flag Courses—may be applied simultaneously to credit in the major and to the USP, as long as they are eligible to count for credit in the major program.  (For example, the Basic Skills College Reading and Writing Course, English 111, is not accepted for credit in the English major.)

 7.       Can a transfer course from another institution count for USP credit?

Yes, depending upon the individual course. 

 If you took the course from an accredited postsecondary institution in Minnesota and the course you took is part of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum, it will transfer to a specific USP area at WSU.  See WSU’s Transfer Coordinator, or check the list of MnTC course equivalencies at <http://www.winona.edu/transfer>.

 The Transfer Coordinator keeps a list of courses from various institutions that have been designated by WSU departments as equivalent to WSU courses.  If the equivalent course counts for USP credit at WSU, your transfer course will count for USP credit in the same category. 

If your transfer course does not appear on that list, contact the Director of University Studies to solicit more information.  You may be able to request that your course count for USP credit.

8.       I'm a transfer student.  Am I required to take "flag" courses in writing, etc.?

Yes. the Flag requirements of our University Studies Program (USP) apply to all transfer students, regardless of whether or not they have completed the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum, an A.A. degree, or other significant general-education related coursework.  Winona State University requires at least twelve semester hours of Flag courses: six semester hours of Writing Flag coursework and three semester hours each of both Oral Communication and either Mathematics/Statistics or Critical Analysis Flag coursework.

Transfer students have three options for completing the requirement(s). 

(1) They can enroll in courses that carry the Flags they need to complete. 

(2) They can approach their major or minor department for a Course Substitution for Major or Minor.  Note: If they have completed a non-WSU course that is equivalent to a WSU course carrying the desired flag, this Course Substitution would satisfy their requirement.

OR

(3) They can complete a University Studies Course Substitution Request.  These request forms are available from the Registrar's Office and online at <http://www.winona.edu/usp>.  In order for the request to be approved, students would need to demonstrate that they'd taken a course that fulfills the objectives of the specified flag.  Details of the objectives of each Flag are available in the "University Studies Program and Policies" document, also available at <http://www.winona.edu/usp>.  Please note, however, that requesting a USP Course Substitution does not guarantee its approval.

9.       I completed an A.A. degree.  Do the USP requirements apply?

Transfer students who have completed an Associate of Arts degree from a community or technical college have automatically satisfied the Basic Skills, the Arts and Science Core, and Unity and Diversity components of the USP but must, nonetheless, complete the University Studies Flag Requirements at WSU.

10.   I’m an International Student.  Is there a waiver for the Global/Multicultural Perspectives requirement?

There is no waiver of USP requirements for International Students.  Please note, however, that the English Department's ESL course, English 107, English as a Second Language: Adacemic Reading and Writing, will fulfill this requirement.

11.   Can USP requirements be waived due to cumulative life experience or extracurricular study?

There is no process by which students can request a waiver of USP requirements, nor are there plans to develop one.  University Studies Program requirements apply to all WSU students.

12.   Can I request a USP Course Substitution?

Yes.  The course substitution process, however, is neither simple nor quick, and the approved Guidelines for Substitution prohibit certain kinds of requests.  As those Guidelines note, “only under highly unusual circumstances will a WSU course not listed in the USP be considered as a substitution.”  The request requires a written rationale addressing the outcomes for the specified USP area where substitution is requested; signatures from the student, academic advisor, and department chair; and a syllabus for the proposed substitute course.  Guidelines and forms for the Course Substitution Request are available at <http://www.winona.edu/usp> or from the Director of University Studies.

 

 

 Contact the Director of University Studies
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