During their first two years, all students at Wheaton take courses that provide a foundation for further exploration and for the major. The schedule of courses identifies courses that fulfill these requirements by using a letter code in the last column of the course listing.

First-Year Seminar

Each section of this course focuses on a different topic, but each is designed to illustrate how differently people may interpret or understand these topics in the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences. Required of students in their first semester, the course is designed to foster active learning and class participation and stresses many of the skills needed for success at Wheaton.


Unless exempted on the basis of Advanced Placement test scores or Wheaton’s English placement procedure, all students complete a section of English 101 in the first year. The course is taught in small groups on a variety of topics; the instructional emphasis is on developing writing skills. Across all levels of the major, students will encounter increasing emphasis on writing within the discipline.

Foreign Language

Each student completes at least two semesters of study in a single language at a level appropriate to the student’s proficiency. Advanced language courses may also fulfill the arts and humanities requirement. Wheaton offers language instruction in Chinese, French, German, Ancient Greek, Italian, Latin, Russian, Japanese, Arabic and Spanish. Students are encouraged to include language courses early in their course of study, as this may open other opportunities, such as study abroad or work in major fields (international relations, art history or philosophy). If an incoming student has been placed into English 060 and Wheaton does not offer advanced courses in that student’s first language, the student has the option of using the combination of English 101 and 2 semesters of 060 to fulfill the foreign language requirements, provided that the student has completed both semesters of English 060 by the end of his or her sophomore year.. Consult with the English Department or Academic Advising. See Learning Outcomes for Foreign Language.

Quantitative Analysis

Students must complete one course that emphasizes quantitative analysis. Courses with the QA designation include courses in math, computer science and logic, and some statistical methods courses. Math courses are designed both for students planning to continue in math or use math in other areas and for students who do not expect to study math in depth. Some math courses also are linked with other courses (in art or English literature, for example) and can count toward the Connections requirement. See Learning Outcomes for Quantitative Analysis.

Beyond the West

Recognizing that most students will have had substantial exposure to the perspectives of Western societies (Europe and English-speaking North America), students must complete at least one course that focuses on an aspect of non-Western societies. These courses are offered in several different departments, and may  serve other parts of the curriculum, such as Connections or  the major. Because the Wheaton curriculum emphasizes issues of race, gender and global perspectives throughout the curriculum, a Foundations course in history, culture or issues that have been traditionally excluded from Western inquiry will enhance a student’s entire academic career. See Learning Outcomes for Beyond the West.


Courses across the curriculum ensure that the education of Wheaton students emphasizes the study of race/ethnicity and its intersections with gender, class, sexuality, religion and technology in the United States and globally. See Learning Outcomes for Infusion.