History

In high school, students often are given the impression that the study of history simply requires memorization of names, dates, and other facts about events in the past. At the college level, however, the study of history facilitates the development of research, analytical, evaluative, and interpretive skills. The study of history involves a careful search through existing evidence to determine what happened in the past, but understanding how and why that evidence was created and then saved stands at the center of the discipline. It’s all about asking tough questions.

That’s why the History major at Western prepares students for many different careers. Due to the quantity of reading, writing, and discussion, History majors have strong communication and analytical skills, which are valued by all employers, including businesses and government agencies. History majors learn how to locate and access a wide range of sources, to analyze evidence, including textual and visual sources, to evaluate competing interpretations, and to develop and support their own interpretations. They can help make sense of the kinds of challenges faced by almost any organization or business.

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. 

The History department encourages students to find internships and explore their passions. Recent student internships include: 

  • Friedman Rubin Trial Lawyers: Investigation Intern 
  • Skagit County Public Works: Records Intern 
  • WA State Archive: Northwest Regional Intern

Careers and Graduate Studies

Liberal Arts and Sciences majors show some of the highest gains in critical thinking and analytical skills, the skills employers consistently say that they want most. History majors, in addition, learn to think about other cultures past and present, an important career skill in an increasingly diverse world. In short, History majors’ skills prepare them to be effective citizens, lifelong learners, and to have successful careers. Some choose to work in history-related fields such as teaching, library science, museum studies, or public history. The vast majority of History majors, however, go on to successful careers in business, government, and the nonprofit sectors. Studies show that History majors have some of the largest gains in earning over time because of their impressive skills.

Employers of Recent Western Graduates: 

  • Google
  • Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust: Processing Archivist 
  • Skagit County Public Works: Records Assistant 
  • United States Postal Service 
  • King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office: Legal Administrative Specialist 
  • Friedman Rubin Trial Lawyers: Investigator 
  • CEP Felipe II (Madrid, Spain): Language/Culture Assistant 

Western graduates who pursue graduate studies are doing so at such schools as: 

  • University of Maryland: Library and Information Science (MLS) 
  • Western Washington University: Archival Studies and Records Management (MA)

 

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

  • Foreign Service Officer 
  • Attorney 
  • Museum Curator 
  • Government Official 
  • Journalist 
  • Business Manager 
  • Social Studies Teacher 
  • FBI/CIA Agent 
  • Librarian 
  • Archivist 
  • Historical Preservation Specialist

German—Elementary

German studies aims to learn about a culture in depth through both language structure and literary analysis. The department provides instruction in history, culture, and literary theory to impart skills to future foreign language teachers so that they may similarly enable elementary school students to begin the acquisition of foreign languages.

Western’s German studies program is one of only two programs nationwide to be recognized in 2013 as a “National Center of Excellence” by the American Association of Teachers of German — the governing body for German instructors at all levels. German studies at Western is the only undergraduate program at a public university in the United States with this designation. 

The German — 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 Elementary Education for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements. 

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“The student centered support of the German faculty at Western does not end in the classroom! The professors support and advise students on opportunities to study abroad, scholarships, and work opportunities.” 

-Andrew Erickson-Lapidus, Student

Beyond the Classroom

Gain a global perspective through study abroad programs to numerous Austrian, German, and Swiss universities as well as direct exchanges with the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Universität Duisburg-Essen, and Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz. Students may enroll at the host university for a semester or whole academic year and will receive credit toward the German major or minor. 

Students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities, such as the German Table (Stammtisch) at Rudy’s Pizzeria in downtown Bellingham, the intramural German soccer team, and the German Club. The faculty also regularly organizes special events. Recent highlights include outings to the Frye Art Museum in Seattle and a Rammstein concert in Tacoma, WA Western’s version of German Day, “German Rocks”, with an evening dance party, and presentations by Microsoft on the advantages of having a foreign language degree in the business world.

“Whether raising money and walking together for Relay4Life, teaching underprivileged youths German at Compass 2 Campus events, weekly Stammtisch dinners, creating a soccer team, attending a Rammstein concert, theater-nights, or even dancing together at the “German Rocks!” event through Radio Goethe, one thing is certain: our department never has a dull moment.” 

-Valeria Fisher, Student

Careers and Graduate Studies

Knowledge of the German language and culture opens up doors for students to apply for competitive grants for research and study in Germany, such as those from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic Exchange Service). Since 2009, our German students have won 17 nationally and internationally competitive scholarships for studying, teaching, and working in German-speaking countries, including the following: 

  • Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) 
  • Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships 
  • German Academic Exchange Service Graduate Scholarships 
  • German Academic Exchange Service RISE (Research Internship in Science and Engineering) 
  • German Academic Exchange Service University Summer Grant 
  • German Academic Exchange Service Bundestag Internship

 

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

Department of Elementary Education

Geophysics

Geophysics involves studies in the application of physics as a means of understanding a range of geological processes.

Western’s Geophysics major is distinct from geology in that a more intensive set of math and physics courses, and applications of these skills, are required. Students are strongly encouraged to complete a senior thesis project as part of this degree, providing them with an excellent capstone experience.

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

Our students graduate with many valuable skills and experiences, and leave Western for graduate school or for jobs in a variety of geoscience fields as professional geologists. There are many exciting opportunities for new students in our program, and the future demand for geoscientist will be significant.

–Bernie Housen, Faculty

Beyond the Classroom

The Geology department is home to two active professional-society student chapters — the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) and the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG) that offer professional development and networking opportunities outside the classroom.

Careers and Graduate Studies

Students who complete the Geophysics degree at Western will be prepared to continue to graduate studies in geology, geophysics, planetary geology/geophysics, physics, or other related fields, or to enter into industry.

 

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

  • U.S. Geological Survey 
  • Department of Natural Resources 
  • Oil and Mining companies 
  • NASA 
  • U.S. Forest Service 
  • U.S Army Corps of Engineers 
  • Explorations Geologist 
  • Museum Curator 
  • Climate Change Scientist 
  • Earthquake or Volcano Monitor 
  • Engineering Geologist

Geology

Geology is a diverse discipline, incorporating aspects of physics, chemistry, biology and natural history in the attempt to solve earth-related problems. Geoscientists provide basic information to society for solving problems and establishing policy for resource management, environmental protection, public health, safety, and welfare. 

The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Geology is designed to provide students with a broad background in geology with advanced preparation in earth materials, structural geology, and tectonics. Completion of this program prepares students for a variety of careers in geology or graduate work in geology. The BS is recommended for students who are preparing to become professional geologists and intend to enter industry or enroll in a graduate program upon completion of the degree. 

The Geology Department has: 

  • Engaging award winning teachers who inspire students and instill modern active-learning pedagogies in their courses. 
  • Active scholars in diverse specialties that involve students in their research projects. 
  • Helpful staff that support the educational mission of the department and create a positive atmosphere for students. 
  • Excellent role models for women in science — 30% of faculty and 50% of undergraduate and MS graduate students are women that are actively engaged in teaching, research, and service. 
  • A reputable high-quality program that integrates unique field experiences and modern technology throughout the curriculum.

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

“Our students graduate with many valuable skills and experiences, and leave Western for graduate school or for jobs in a variety of geoscience fields as professional geologists. There are many exciting opportunities for new students in our program, and the future demand for geoscientist will be significant.” –Bernie Housen, Faculty

 

“The geology program provided me with a really well-rounded education with great one-on-one teacher-student collaborations, a nice variety of subjects to study, and a strong friendship with fellow students.” –Margaret Pueringer, Student

Beyond the Classroom

The department is home to two active professional-society student chapters — the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) and the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG) that offer professional development and networking opportunities outside the classroom.

“My professors and classmates have shown dedication to excellence in academics, which is something that I cannot appreciate more. I started a senior research project involving active tectonics in the Yakima/Ellensburg area. In the project we are measuring stream channels from LIDAR (light detection and ranging), to try and interpret the way in which Cleman Mountain (a mountain in the area) grew above the surrounding landscape.” –Tabor Reedy

Careers and Graduate Studies

Geology graduates are in high demand for jobs and graduate programs in Washington and across North America. Western’s Geology Department has the highest percentage of licensed geologists in Washington State than any other college or university in the state, and our students' success rate on the national geology fundamentals exam (required for geologists licensing) is 20% higher than the national average.

 

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

  • U.S. Geological Survey 
  • Department of Natural Resources 
  • Oil Exploration 
  • Mining Geologist 
  • NASA 
  • U.S. Forest Service 
  • Engineering Geologist

Geology

Geology is a diverse discipline, incorporating aspects of physics, chemistry, biology and natural history in the attempt to solve earth-related problems. Geoscientists provide basic information to society for solving problems and establishing policy for resource management, environmental protection, public health, safety, and welfare. By applying knowledge of forces that shape the Earth, Geoscientists seek to reconstruct the past and anticipate the future.

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Geology is designed for students who want to study geology, but who are not intending to work as professional geologists. This degree is appropriate for someone interested in pursuing a liberal arts education with a less rigorous course of study in Geology and supporting sciences than students in the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Thus, students are allowed more flexibility for additional courses that complement their goals. An accompanying minor in one of the sciences or in mathematics is recommended. 

The Geology Department has: 

  • Engaging award winning teachers who inspire students and instill modern active-learning pedagogies in their courses. 
  • Active scholars in diverse specialties that involve students in their research projects. 
  • Helpful staff that support the educational mission of the department and create a positive atmosphere for students. 
  • Excellent role models for women in science — 30% of faculty and 50% of undergraduate and graduate students are women that are actively engaged in teaching, research, and service. 
  • A reputable high-quality program that integrates unique field experiences and modern technology throughout the curriculum.

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

“I am a Geology undergraduate [major] because I have a passion for science, the outdoors, and having a productive role in society. Geology is a diverse discipline that attempts to solve earth-related problems, and I love the variety of career options, high employment rates, and societal relevance in keeping communities safe, healthy, clean, and functional.” –Kaelin Newman, Student

Beyond the Classroom

The department is home to two active professional-society student chapters - the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) and the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG) that offer professional development and networking opportunities outside the classroom.

Careers and Graduate Studies

Geology graduates are in high demand for jobs and graduate programs in Washington and across North America. Western’s Geology Department has a higher percentage of licensed geologists than any other college or university in Washington State, and our students' success rate on the national geology fundamentals exam (required for geologists licensing) is 20% higher than the national average.

 

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

  • U.S. Geological Survey 
  • Department of Natural Resources 
  • Oil and Mining companies 
  • NASA 
  • U.S. Forest Service 
  • U.S Army Corps of Engineers 
  • Explorations Geologist 
  • Museum Curator 
  • Climate Change Scientist 
  • Earthquake or Volcano Monitor 
  • Engineering Geologist

French—Elementary

The study of French includes instruction in language, literature, linguistics, and culture. Students of French studies acquire the skills required to not only speak the language, but also to learn about and appreciate French societies, cultures, and artistic expressions. The French studies program is designed to help students develop a solid grammar and vocabulary base that allows students to become effective communicators with an equal emphasis on cultural awareness and imparts skills to future foreign language teachers so that they may similarly enable elementary school students to begin the acquisition of foreign languages.

The French-Elementary degree 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 Elementary Education for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements.

The Modern and Classical Language Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Beyond the Classroom

Students can participate as facilitators in the WELP (Western Employee Language Program) program, which gives students first-hand experience teaching French to speakers of other languages, or get involved with the “On Parle” program, which helps high school students develop their French conversational skills. 

Many students apply to the TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France), which offers students the opportunity to work in France for seven months teaching English to French students of all ages. Each year three to eight students succeed in obtaining the assistantship and are sent to schools in various French cities. 

The French Club puts on the Table Française, a weekly table at the local pizzeria for students to converse in French. The students meet once a week for discussions, social gatherings, and cultural activities.

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

Department of Modern and Classical Languages

French/Spanish

Students of both French and Spanish studies acquire the skills required to not only speak the languages, but also to learn about and appreciate French and Spanish societies, cultures, and artistic expressions. The guiding principle of the curriculum is that one of the best ways to understand a culture is directly through its language.

Students develop a solid grammar and vocabulary base that allows them to become effective communicators with an equal emphasis on cultural awareness through culture, film, and literature courses. The department emphasizes the diversity and multicultural aspects of the Spanish and Francophone (French speaking) worlds through civilization, culture, literature and sociolinguistic courses. 

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

Beyond the Classroom

With both resources and events from both the French and Spanish programs, French/Spanish students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities:

  • WELP (Western Employee Language Program) 
  • “On Parle” 
  • Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) 
  • French Club 
  • Table Française 
  • Sigma Delta Pi, The National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society 
  • Spanish Program Volunteer Opportunities
  • La Mesa del Español
  • Cultural Ambassadors Program in Spain: North American Language and Cultural Assistants in Spain

 

Careers and Graduate Studies

Students in the French/Spanish program graduate with career and continued education plans from locally to all over the world.

 

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 
  • Linguist 
  • Travel Writer 
  • Communications Consultant

 

Department of Modern and Classical Languages

French

The study of French includes instruction in language, literature, linguistics, and culture. Students of French studies acquire the skills required to not only speak the language, but also to learn about and appreciate French societies, cultures, and artistic expressions. The guiding principle of the curriculum is that one of the best ways to understand a culture is directly through its language.

The French studies program is designed to help students develop a solid grammar and vocabulary base that allows students to become effective communicators with an equal emphasis on cultural awareness. The department emphasizes the diversity and multicultural aspects of the Francophone (French speaking) world through civilization, culture, literature and sociolinguistic courses. Training includes both language structure and literary analysis. Language structure is taught both holistically and analytically — with multimedia technology, study abroad, language skills courses, and 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 Modern and Classical Language Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

 

Beyond the Classroom

Students can participate as facilitators in the WELP (Western Employees Language Program) program, which gives students first-hand experience teaching French to speakers of other languages, or get involved with the “On Parle” program, which helps high school students develop their French conversational skills. 

Many students apply to the TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France), which offers students the opportunity to work in France for seven months teaching English to French students of all ages. Each year three to eight students succeed in obtaining the assistantship and are sent to schools in various French cities.

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 
  • Linguist 
  • Travel Writer 
  • Communication Consultant

Department of Modern and Classical Languages

French with a Teaching Endorsement

The study of French includes instruction in language, literature, linguistics, and culture. Students acquire the skills required to not only speak the language, but also to learn about and appreciate French societies, cultures, and artistic expressions. The French studies program is designed to help students develop a solid grammar and vocabulary base that allows students to become effective communicators with an equal emphasis on cultural awareness. The department emphasizes the diversity and multicultural aspects of the Francophone (French speaking) world through civilization, culture, literature and sociolinguistic courses. 

The BA in French 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.

The Modern and Classical Languages Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Beyond the Classroom

Students can participate as facilitators in the WELP (Western Employees Language Program) program, which gives students first-hand experience teaching French to speakers of other languages, or get involved with the “On Parle” program, which helps high school students develop their French conversational skills. 

Many students apply to the TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France), which offers students the opportunity to work in France for seven months teaching English to French students of all ages. Each year three to eight students succeed in obtaining the assistantship and are sent to schools in various French cities. 

The French Club puts on the Table Française, a weekly table at the local pizzeria for students to converse in French. The students meet once a week for discussions, social gatherings, and cultural activities.

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

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Financial Economics

The study of Financial Economics is a combination of economic analysis and tools from accounting and finance that can be used to guide financial decisions. Financial Economics provides an understanding of core economic concepts and how the economy and financial markets function. 

The Economics Department and the Department of Finance and Marketing jointly offer this major to provide a program which gives students rigorous training in theory and applications of accounting, economics, and finance.  An emphasis is placed on developing critical thinking skills to apply economic and financial analysis in problem solving. This major is designed for students interested in both economics and finance, and is aimed particularly at those who wish to pursue careers in corporate finance, financial analysis, insurance and real estate, and government agencies where special emphasis is placed on financial economic knowledge.

Western’s Economics Department and the Department of Finance and Marketing are part of the College of Business and Economics.

Beyond the Classroom

The WWU Student Economics Association (SEA) is a student-led club that promotes the development of skills to lead members’ transition into the job sector. The club coordinates events to help guide and inspire innovative thinking for economics students and business students alike.

Careers and Graduate Studies

Western graduates have gained employment as: 

  • Payroll Compliance Auditor: Lindquist LLP
  • Outbound Group Leader: Target
  • Fiscal Coordinator: First Choice in Home Care 
  • Dealer Services Management Associate: KeyBank
  • Broker: The Rants Group 
  • Replenishment Analyst: Smith Gardens 
  • Revenue Auditor: WA State Department of Revenue 

 

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

  • Actuary 
  • Financial Planner/Analyst 
  • Government 
  • Investment Banker 
  • Budget Analyst 
  • Banking/Securities 
  • Financial Economist 
  • Business Forecaster

College of Business and Economics

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