Compass gives students the freedom and flexibility to create their own path to success, with personalized advising and professional mentorship. The curriculum encourages students to connect academics to career interests and builds on Wheaton’s core principles of intellectual curiosity, global citizenship, experiential learning, social justice, diversity and inclusion, and collaborative community.

These key elements of a Wheaton education encourage academic rigor, career exploration and skills development and are required for graduation:

Connected First-Year Experience

Taught by faculty teams, the First-Year Experience course combines the deep discussions, reading and writing of a traditional first-year seminar with cross-discipline discovery, encouraging students to consider complex problems and questions through multiple lenses, right from the start.

Sophomore Experience

In their second year, students begin infusing their education with real-world experience and professional connections, through a required service or research project, internship, practicum, study abroad or other experiential opportunity.

The Major

Students must choose at least one major and meet course and experience requirements for those programs or may develop an independent major, working with faculty to craft an appropriate list of coursework. Students may also choose minors and/or additional majors, with additional course requirements.

Mentored Academic Pathway (MAP)

Students will meet regularly with staff and faculty advisors as they craft their educational plan, follow up, reflect and refine that plan. A required portfolio will help students reflect on their experiences, set their goals and chart their course, present their work and share with employers and post-graduate programs.

Honors programs

Honors programs, though not required, encourage all students to expand their studies in exciting ways, through global exploration, breadth of coursework and high academic standing. All honors will be noted on a student’s final transcript.

Global Honors

Awarded to students who achieve advanced proficiency in a second language, engage with other countries and cultures and complete a global project or study abroad program.

Eliza Wheaton Arts and Sciences Scholar

Encourages breadth of study by recognizing students for taking classes spanning eight areas, including the natural and social sciences, creative arts, and humanities, with at least one course that examines structures of power and inequality.

Taylor and Lane Social Justice Scholars

Recognizes students who pursue Wheaton’s mission of social justice, inclusion and diversity by taking courses that address these issues across several departments, maintaining a solid GPA and completing a related project. Named for the first two black women to graduate from Wheaton.

Professional experience and mentorship

Other elements can be built into a student’s path to guide and support them while encouraging them to develop key skills in their fields. These include:

  • LEAPS certificate: A set of elective courses that are skills- focused, interdisciplinary and experiential, overseen by both a faculty advisor and alumni or professional mentor
  • Skills courses: Half-credit elective courses that help build specific professional and life skills
  • The Wheaton Edge: A continuance of The Wheaton Edge program, which supports internships and other deep impact experiential learning opportunities as well as campus leadership experience