Journalism—Public Relations

Journalism is the work of supplying content, primarily news, for the ever-expanding world of mass media. Journalists are responsible for gathering information, analyzing and editing it for a mass audience, and dispensing it using some form of media platform. Increasingly the methods of distribution have become more complex, but the basic mission of a journalist remains the same: to serve the public by finding, defining, writing, and editing information. 

Journalism — Public Relations majors at Western study theoretical and practical communications in a liberal arts setting. Students gain practical experience on Western’s award-winning student media, and majors additionally take field internships with newspapers, magazines, broadcast stations, public relations agencies, and other professional organizations. Courses in the Public Relations sequence follow the News-Editorial emphasis, adding communication skills important for careers in this rapidly growing field. 

Western’s Journalism Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“[Western’s] public relations program is rooted in professionalism. We don't only learn theory, we spend time doing hands-on activities and preparing for what the real world of public relations will be like.”

-Emily Willeman, Alumni

Beyond the Classroom

While enrolled in the Journalism program, students are offered a number of learning opportunities including working as writers, photographers, or editors on University Publications; learning from industry professionals; and working hand-on with community organizations to gain experience in the field. 

Student publications at Western include the weekly newspaper, The Western Front; the quarterly magazine, Klipsun; and the quarterly environmental magazine, The Planet. Policy for the publications is set by the Student Publications Council, and the majority of the funding is from student fees. All Western students are eligible to participate in publications staff work.  

 

 

Careers and Graduate Studies

Few fields of study prepare students for as wide a range of interesting and challenging careers. Journalists first and foremost learn to write, accumulate, and analyze information. Skills from the Journalism major are in demand in a host of fields beyond traditional mass media. 

Employers of Recent Western Graduates: 

  • Freelance: Digital Marketing Consultant 
  • Gemini Fish Market: Fish Monger and Marketing Assistant 
  • KTVZ News Channel 21: Reporter/Producer 
  • McKinney Trailer Rentals: Marketing Assistant 
  • Microsoft: Recruiting Coordinator 
  • Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum: Induction Show Coordinator 
  • Nordstrom: Director Marketing Planner Accessories/WSP
  • Revolution PR: Account Associate 
  • Tosten Marketing: Social media manager and Creative Content

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Reporter 
  • Editor 
  • Customer Service Representative 
  • Public Relations Specialist 
  • Community Relations 
  • Director 
  • TV News Anchor 
  • Speech Writer 
  • Advertising Copywriter 
  • Copywriter 
  • Market Research Analyst 
  • Lobbyist 
  • Photojournalist 
  • Designer 
  • Multimedia Producer 
  • Communications Specialist

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Japanese

The best way to understand a culture directly is through its language. Studying Japanese opens the door to learning firsthand about Japanese society through language, literature, culture, and civilization.

Western’s Modern and Classical Languages Department trains in two areas: language structure and literary analysis. Language structure is taught both holistically and analytically. Holistic language learning is facilitated by modern methods and multimedia technology, as well as study abroad opportunities. Analytical instruction of language is taught through a full range of language skills courses, as well as a significant number of linguistics courses. Literary analysis is an essential component to the curriculum, and the department provides instruction in history and culture, as well as literary theory. 

Examples of coursework include:

  • EAST 369 - Japanese Literature in Translation
  • HIST 485 - Japanese Military History: Samurai Fact and Fiction
  • JAPN 330 - Japanese Culture Through Film

Western’s Modern and Classical Languages Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

 

Beyond the Classroom

Students in the Modern and Classical Languages Department are encouraged to study abroad in direct or exchange programs. 

Careers and Graduate Studies

Employers of Recent Western Graduates:

  • AtoZ Corporation: Nagano, Japan
  • Avalon English Academy: Seoul, Korea
  • KCP International Japanese Language School: Tokyo, Japan

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Interpreter
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • FBI Agent
  • Educator
  • Foreign Diplomat
  • Travel Writer
  • Communication Specialist

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Japanese with a Teaching Endorsement

Studying Japanese opens the door to learning firsthand about Japanese society through language, literature, culture, and civilization. Studying Japanese with a Teaching Endorsement imparts skills to future foreign language teachers so that they may similarly enable high school students to begin the acquisition of foreign languages.

Western’s Modern and Classical Languages Department trains in two areas: language structure and literary analysis. Language structure is taught both holistically and analytically. Holistic language learning is facilitated by modern methods and multimedia technology, as well as study abroad opportunities. Analytical instruction of language is taught through a full range of language skills courses, as well as a significant number of linguistics courses. Literary analysis is an essential component to the curriculum, and the department provides instruction in history and culture, as well as literary theory. 

The BA in Japanese leads to a BA degree without teacher certification. In order to receive a recommendation for state of Washington certification, students must complete the professional teacher certification program. Please see the Department of Secondary Education for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements.

Western’s Modern and Classical Languages Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. In order to receive a recommendation for state of Washington certification, students must complete the teacher certification program offered by the Department of Secondary Education.

 

Beyond the Classroom

Students in the Modern and Classical Languages Department are encouraged to study abroad in direct or exchange programs. 

Careers and Graduate Studies

Employers of Recent Western Graduates:

  • AtoZ Corporation: Nagano, Japan
  • Avalon English Academy: Seoul, Korea
  • KCP International Japanese Language School: Tokyo, Japan

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Interpreter
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • FBI Agent
  • Educator
  • Foreign Diplomat
  • Travel Writer
  • Communication Specialist

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Industrial Technology—Vehicle Design

The Industrial Technology — Vehicle Design program prepares graduates for design, product development and manufacturing in the automotive, marine, aerospace, composites, and alternative fuel industries. The program uses hands-on vehicle research, design and development projects to educate students, and students gain an understanding of the tools, materials and processes used in industry. 

Vehicle designers draft layouts for automobile components, assemblies, and systems using sketches, models, and prototypes from their knowledge of engineering principles, based on automobile function. The work of an auto designer combines artistry with technical and scientific know-how. The finished designs incorporate aesthetic and functional concerns within the practical framework of business and manufacturing.

Western is also home to the Vehicle Research Institute (VRI). The institute focuses on complete vehicle design and fabrication and developing hybrid electrical and natural gas/biomethane vehicle technology. More than 50 vehicles have been built by VRI students since 1972.

The Engineering and Design Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.

 

Beyond the Classroom

During their senior year, Industrial Technology-Vehicle Design students design and implement a project of their choosing, integrating their coursework in a self-directed culminating project. Check out projects that students recently have worked on.

Vehicle Research Institute student teams have set records around Indianapolis Motor Speedway, up Pike’s Peak and across the Australian Outback with a class win in the 1990 World Solar Challenge. A recent team was the only U.S. university-based team in the finals of the Progressive Automotive X Prize — a $10 million prize to build a 100-mile per gallon car. NASA has also displayed a Western vehicle at its Ames Research Labs in California.

Western has two student academic clubs housed within the Vehicle Research Institute that compete in national competitions: WWU Formula SAE and WWU SAE Baja. Participation on both teams provides excellent interdisciplinary, hands-on learning experiences, along with professional networking opportunities. 

Careers and Graduate Studies

Graduates enter a wide range of industry sectors including: automotive, racing, aerospace, marine, heavy duty vehicle, composites, prototype design and manufacturing, computer numerically controlled machining and biofuels. Vehicle Design alumni hold positions with all the major automotive equipment manufacturers and custom car-building companies, as well as positions as stylists. 

Employers of Recent Western Graduates: 

  • Aircraft Rubber Manufacturing: R&D Engineer 
  • Bullfrog Boat’s Inc.: Concept Designer and Main Assembler 
  • Honda 
  • Girodisc: Assembly Technician 
  • GM 
  • Metal Crafters 
  • Nissan Design 
  • PACCAR Technical Center: Materials Coordinator 
  • Porsche 
  • SpaceX
  • Toyota 
  • Volvo

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Stylists 
  • Performance and Development 
  • Custom Car Building 
  • OBD Validation Engineer

College of Science and Engineering (was Sciences and Technology)

Industrial Design

Industrial Design is a process of design applied to products that are to be manufactured through techniques of mass production.  It is a mixture of applied art and applied engineering.

Western Industrial Design students learn problem-solving methodologies, product research, drawing skills (both by hand and by computer), three dimensional model-making techniques, materials, manufacturing processes, ergonomics, design theory, and marketing principles. These skills are applied in the design of many new and innovative products which eventually comprise the student’s portfolio.

Western’s Engineering and Design Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.

Emily Bartlett
Industrial Design Student

“I love this ability to make things—all things! Industrial Design teaches a combination of engineering and art—something that functions deserves to be beautiful.”

Western’s program has a strong reputation in the profession and is NASAD accredited, the only national accrediting association for Industrial Design. The program values hands-on learning about manufacturing processes and materials, not just theory, and offers access to state-of-the-art machines. Students are provided work spaces in a studio environment where they can accomplish their assignments and complete projects.

The facility also has a well-equipped shop for teaching with both wood and metal machinery, and a walk-in paint booth. Additional facilities within the Engineering and Design Department are available to students as they enroll in the respective support courses. These labs include CNC machining, rapid prototyping, FDM 3D printing, injection molding, composite materials, electronics, and soft-tooling labs. 

Beyond the Classroom

Industrial Design students often join the Western chapter of the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA). IDSA provides opportunities by putting on design events, inviting guest speakers, and arranging job shadows with different design firms around the country. 

Internships are strongly recommended as part of a student’s plan of study. Students generally participate in a summer internship. Industrial Design majors have recently interned at:

  • PreCor
  • IDEO
  • Specialized 
  • Fujifilm
  • Bose 
  • Intel 
  • Sonosite
  • Tabar
  • Tether, Inc.
  • General Electric

Careers and Graduate Studies

The Bachelor of Science degree program in Industrial Design prepares graduates to begin work as practicing designers in corporate, consulting, or entrepreneurial positions. Industrial Design is a highly competitive and professional service of creating and developing concepts that optimize function, value, and appearance of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both the user and the manufacturer.

Employers of Recent Western Graduates: 

  • Astro Studios (San Francisco, CA): Designer 
  • Blendtec (Provo, UT): Designer 
  • Boeing
  • Bose
  • Burn Design Lab 
  • Burton
  • Code and Theory (Manhattan, NY): Junior Industrial Designer 
  • Dakine
  • Fluke
  • Freerange PDX (Portland, OR): Designer 
  • Intel
  • Michael Courtney Design (Seattle, WA): Junior Designer 
  • Microsoft
  • Nike
  • Oculus
  • Pensar
  • Specialized
  • Tabar
  • Tactile
  • TEAGUE 
  • Tether 

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Industrial Designer
  • User Experience Designer
  • Director of Product Development
  • Staff Designer
  • Design Consultant
  • Research and Strategy
  • Entrepreneur

Department of Engineering and Design

Humanities—Religion and Culture

The study of humanities focuses on how cultures change. The humanities include the disciplines which study philosophy, religion, history, literature, and the arts. Western's Humanities — Religion and Culture major provides scholarly, non-sectarian study of religions. Students study religious beliefs, practices, arts, identities, and institutions; they study how religions have influenced and been influenced by historical changes in other aspects of society and culture. Learning how to understand people of different religions helps students exercise leadership in settings of religious diversity and conflict. 

The concentration includes the study of religious tradition in both a broad survey of Western culture and a focus on one non-Western culture. Students study the origin, history, and methods of the academic study of religion as it has developed in modern Europe and North America.

The Liberal Studies Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“We encourage the objective study of religion and culture. But because religions pose moral questions, the study of religion allows for a second type of inquiry as well, one rooted in a subjective, evaluative response. Religious studies is the ultimate interdisciplinary adventure.” 

-Holly Folk, Faculty

Beyond the Classroom

The small size of classes and seminars in the Humanities program encourages close relationships between students and faculty. Students conduct independent research on topics of their own choosing. Working closely with faculty, students learn to formulate problems clearly; to consider and evaluate different methods and concepts; to do efficient and thorough research; and to write clearly, concisely and effectively.

"The texts and critiques of others have shaped my views. I am able to engage in a form of mental dialogue that challenges my own opinions, as well as others’. I am able to contextualize information and history, as I have been given a rough understanding of various chains of events that have led up to the development of various topics, like the foundation of Islamic civilization, the academic study of religion and the beginnings of Christianity." 

-Vivian Kwan, Student

Careers and Graduate Studies

The Humanities — Religion and Culture major is particularly helpful for students who plan careers in education, and the ministry or graduate study in religion and has proved to be excellent preparation for professional careers in teaching, law, library science, archive administration, and for research and administrative positions with businesses and non-profit organizations. 

Graduates have gone on to a variety of professional graduate schools, including law, library and information science, and conflict resolution. Students who have done excellent work in the department have succeeded in graduate academic programs in literature, history, and the study of religion.

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Attorney 
  • Teacher 
  • Professor 
  • Librarian 
  • Writer 
  • Business Administrator 
  • Historian 
  • Non-Profit Organization Administrator 
  • Congressional Aid 
  • Research Assistant 
  • Editor 
  • Lobbyist

Department of Liberal Studies

Humanities—History of Culture

The Humanities include the study of philosophy, religion, history, literature, and the arts. The Humanities — History of Culture program supports study of religions and of cultural history in Europe and the Americas, China, Japan, South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and in predominantly Islamic areas with attention to historical development and cross-cultural interaction, both in the past and modern period. Western’s Humanities program attracts students who want to major in more than one humanities discipline, using interdisciplinary methods of investigation.

Students acquire a substantial knowledge of religious, philosophical, literary and aesthetic movements in the history of Western culture. Students also study works of the humanities in at least one other culture, and that culture’s history. Using methods from different humanities disciplines, students learn to analyze individual works of the humanities and to relate them to social and cultural developments. Learning how to understand cultural differences and cultural change helps students exercise leadership in a more closely knit, global world. 

The Liberal Studies Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“What grabbed my attention in the Liberal Studies Department were the passions that I had with world cultures and its religions. Humanities gave me the binoculars of history, literature, philosophy, and religion. These lenses enabled me to view other cultures and to empathize and understand others.” 

-Vivian Kwan, Student

Beyond the Classroom

The small size of classes and seminars in the Humanities program encourages close relationships between students and faculty. Students conduct independent research on topics of their own choosing. Working closely with faculty, students learn to formulate problems clearly; to consider and evaluate different methods and concepts; to do efficient and thorough research; and to write clearly, concisely and effectively.

Careers and Graduate Studies

The Humanities — History of Culture major has proved to be excellent preparation for professional careers in teaching, law, libraries, museums, or archive administration, and for research and administrative positions with a wide variety of businesses and non-profit organizations.

Graduates have gone on to a variety of professional graduate schools, including law, library and information science, and conflict resolution. Students who have done excellent work in the department have succeeded in graduate academic programs in literature, history and the study of religion.

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Attorney 
  • Teacher
  • Professor 
  • Librarian 
  • Writer 
  • Business Administrator 
  • Historian 
  • Non-Profit Organization Administrator 
  • Congressional Aid 
  • Research Assistant 
  • Editor 
  • Lobbyist

Department of Liberal Studies

Human Services

The field of Human Services is broadly defined by the objective of meeting human needs through an interdisciplinary knowledge base, focusing on prevention as well as remediation of problems, and maintaining a commitment to improving overall quality of life. The Human Services major attracts students with a strong commitment to social and economic justice, human dignity, self-determination, and the desire to support change through direct and indirect service delivery. Human Services students have a variety of interests, including social service, education, advocacy, criminal justice, international studies, and a shared desire to bring about positive change.

 

“My major requires its students to complete three quarters, a total of 360 hours, of internships in the community. It's been great to develop important job skills and build on my resume, as well as staying active in the community.” 

-Nicole Proctor, Student

Human Services is a unique major that combines academic study with professional internships. The three quarters of required internship are key parts of the curriculum, allowing students to engage with the community, while adding to their academic experience through applied practice. The program is offered in Bellingham, Everett, and through Distance Learning (online classes), and is designed to meet National Standards in human services education as outlined by the Council for Standards in Human Service Education. 

The Department of Health and Community Studies is part of Woodring College of Education.

Beyond the Classroom

Human Services internship activities include community outreach, grant writing, event planning, program coordination, advocacy, field organizing, client interaction, and mentoring. Interns often provide direct services with a variety of populations, including veterans, children, youth and families, people with disabilities, the elderly, and students and staff in educational institutions pre-K through college. Students have the opportunity to work with organizations that focus on a wide range of issues, community health, homelessness, domestic violence, chemical dependency, youth and family work, foster care, and more.  

Recent Internships:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Bellingham Food Bank
  • Bellingham Fire Department
  • Skagit Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services

 

"I wanted to interact with others directly and have work I could easily see the meaning in. Human Services has guided me towards experiences that have been more and more fulfilling."  

-Melanie Patterson, Student

Careers and Graduate Studies

Thousands of Human Services program graduates are currently working in meaningful positions in nonprofit, government, and community-based services.

Roles of Recent Western Graduates:

  • Executive Assistant to Leadership Team: Alzheimer’s Association
  • Impact Coordinator: AmeriCorps VISTA
  • Youth Chemical Dependency Counselor: Catholic Community Services
  • Housing Coordinator: Compass Health
  • Clinical Support Specialist: Downtown Emergency Service Center
  • Adoption Advisor: Seattle Humane Society
  • LGBTQ Youth Advocate/Homeless Prevention Specialist: Skagit YMCA
  • Women’s Support Advocate: Womencare Shelter

Human Services graduates pursue graduate studies all over the country, most frequently in programs such as: 

  • Social Work
  • Law
  • Adult and Higher Education 
  • Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Psychology
  • School Counseling

 

“The Human Services program has a more than 45-year history of close engagement and collaboration with community partners. It is a mutually beneficial relationship, with our students providing much needed services for our partners while adding to their academic experience through applied practice.”  

-John Korsmo, Professor

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Children, Youth, and Family Services
  • Veterans Services
  • Mental Health
  • International Relief
  • Rehabilitation Counseling & Disability Services
  • Corrections & Law Enforcement
  • Community Development & Organizing
  • Faith-Based Services
  • Human Resources
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Non-Profit Organization Administrator

 

Department of Health and Community Studies

History—Elementary

The History — Elementary major at Western is designed for students who plan to become elementary school teachers. In their history courses, History — Elementary majors learn how to locate and access a wide range of sources, to analyze historical evidence, including textual and visual sources, to evaluate historical interpretations, and to develop and support their own interpretations. The quantity of writing and discussion required in history courses also helps students to develop effective communication skills. 

The History—Elementary major satisfies the academic major requirement for teacher certification with an endorsement in elementary education and must be accompanied by the professional preparation program in elementary education. See the Elementary Education section of the University catalog for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements.

Western’s History Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Beyond the Classroom

History students often get involved with the National Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta. Phi Alpha Theta offers many fun and scholarly activities to participate in through the chapter. Involvement with the chapter is a good way to expand your knowledge of history and the association with the honor society is a great way to make connections for future opportunities in history.

Careers and Graduate Studies

The History — Elementary major at Western is designed for students who plan to become elementary school teachers. The major satisfies the academic major requirement for teacher certification with an endorsement in elementary education 

Employers of Recent Western Graduates: 

  • Federal Way School District 
  • Seattle School District

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Elementary Teacher

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

History/Social Studies

History/Social Studies focuses on locating and accessing a wide range of sources to analyze historical evidence, including textual and visual sources to evaluate historical interpretations, and to develop and support one’s own interpretations. The quantity of writing and discussion required in history courses also helps students to develop effective communication skills. The required courses in economics, geography, and political science are intended to prepare students to teach these subjects in middle and high schools.

The History/Social Studies major at Western is designed to prepare students to teach history and social studies in secondary schools. However, this major also prepares students for a wider range of careers. The History/Social Studies degree does not require that a student pursue a teaching certificate. History/Social Studies majors interested in a Secondary Education certification must apply separately to the certification program in Woodring College of Education.

Western’s History Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Beyond the Classroom

Students often get involved with the National Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta. Phi Alpha Theta offers many fun and scholarly activities to participate in through the chapter. Involvement with the chapter is a good way to expand your knowledge of history and the association with the honor society is a great way to make connections for future opportunities in history.

Careers and Graduate Studies

The knowledge students acquire and the skills they develop in their history and social science courses prepare them for law school; graduate programs in teaching, public policy, or international affairs; and careers as journalists, government officials, and attorneys.

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Social Studies Teacher 
  • Politician/Attorney 
  • Teacher 
  • Archivist 
  • Museum Curator

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