Apr 20, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Academic Information

Academic Affairs

For the student pursuing a program of study at PennWest University, the catalog is an important planning tool. It provides essential information that will assist the student in meeting the requirements and standards related to that program of study as well as the range of services and opportunities provided by the University in support of the student’s educational goals. The catalog should be used in working with the student’s advisor. The information contained in the catalog applies to the program of study for individuals entering during the year for which the catalog is dated. The information in this section of the catalog explains the essential elements of academic policies, procedures and standards in effect at the time of its publication. Additional information concerning these issues is available from the Office of the Provost. Students are expected to follow their program of study outlined in the catalog in effect at the time of their admission to that program. Students who transfer to a new program or who interrupt their program of study for a period exceeding one calendar year and are subsequently reinstated will be expected to meet the requirements of the program in effect at the time of their transfer or reinstatement. When this is impractical, students, together with their advisor and chairperson, will develop a program to be approved by the dean of the school. Reinstated students who return to the University within one calendar year of their last enrollment have the option of continuing under the curriculum and graduation requirements for which they were responsible when they left the institution.

Academic Advisement and Student Responsibility

Upon entering PennWest University, each student is assigned a faculty advisor who, by experience, professional background and example, should be particularly qualified to assist the student in planning the program of study, in developing successful strategies for academic success and in providing insight into preparation for a career and the value of the program of study the student has undertaken. Academic advisors are available during regularly scheduled office hours or by appointment to meet with their advisees. The academic advisement process is a critical element in a university education. In addition, professional counseling is available to those seeking assistance with academic or personal problems. These opportunities are listed elsewhere in this catalogue and in other publications provided to students. The student is responsible for ensuring that all requirements for graduation have been met. It is expected that each student will discuss, on a regular basis, the development and execution of a plan of study for his or her academic program with the assigned academic advisor. However, the final responsibility rests with the student.

Academic and Student Resources

Dean of Students Office

The Dean of Students Office for PennWest promotes responsible citizenship by protecting student rights and maintaining the principles outlined in the Student Code of Conduct and Community Standards Document. The office administers campus disciplinary procedures, seeks to maintain a positive living and learning environment and encourages the building of a respectful and inclusive community. Additionally, the office works with the campus based Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT), and the Title IX process, as well as with student complaints. The office also serves as a resource to the university community regarding conflict management and resolution by providing services that promote the development of critical life skills. A mediation service is available to assist students in resolving interpersonal conflict.

Study Abroad

Studying abroad is an incredible opportunity and Pennsylvania Western University encourages students to explore such an opportunity. A study abroad experience can be short-term (two to ten weeks), for a semester, or academic year. Pennsylvania Western University offers short-term, for credit, study abroad programs at various locations throughout the world for all students. Programs are offered in the summer, during winter and spring breaks, and our faculty accompany our students. Recently, students have traveled to England, Scotland, Italy, China, Japan, Ireland, and the Dominican Republic on long and short-term experiences. Getting started is easy! The Global Education Office will provide students with a basic overview of study abroad opportunities and the process. Individual guidance is provided to meet a student’s specific goals regarding location, finances, classes/transfer credits, and preparation. Students can learn more by emailing globaled-edn@pennwest.edu.


General Education Program

Goals and Purpose

PennWest empowers students to build meaningful lives through a broad array of accredited programs, career-focused learning, and an unwavering focus on student success. As a comprehensive institution, PennWest provides accessible, affordable higher education through a specialized education in a major program of study combined with a common general education program. Specialized education provides a student with a depth of knowledge in a particular vocation, profession, academic discipline, or area of study.  Through PennWest University’s General Education program, students build and strengthen foundational skills (Foundations); discover and explore the arts, the humanities, and the social and natural worlds (Discoveries); and develop and strengthen competencies key to a fulfilling career and engaged citizenship (Competencies). Specific programs may prescribe courses in each category for their students. 


General Education Requirements 

I. Foundations (12 credits) - Students develop foundational skills by taking four courses designed to be taken during the beginning of a student’s academic career. 

a. Oral Communication 

b. Written Communication 

c. Quantitative Reasoning  

d. Technological Literacy 

II. Discoveries (27 credits) - Students explore diverse areas of inquiry and develop “broad knowledge of the world” (PASSHE policy 1993-01) by taking 27 credits of Discoveries courses. 

a. Arts and Humanities (9 credits) 

b. Social Sciences (9 credits) 

c. Natural Sciences and Technology (9 credits) 

*At least two disciplines must be represented within each of the three discoveries categories. 

III. Elective (3 credits) - Students have the option to take up to three credits of approved Dimensions of Wellness and Health courses or a Foundations or Discoveries elective as directed by their program of study. 


IV. Competencies (9 courses) - Students will take a variety of courses that develop one or more competencies key to a fulfilling career and engaged citizenship in a dynamic world.

1. Quantitative Applications (1 course)

2. Applied Methodologies (1 course)

3. Intercultural Fluency (1 course) 

4. Ethical Reasoning (1 course)

5. Information Literacy (1 course)

6. Writing Intensive (2 courses) 

7. Keystone Experience (1 course) 


Within the General Education program, specific courses may be approved to fulfill Gen Ed requirements for both Foundations or Discoveries; however, a student may only use that course to satisfy either a Foundations or Discoveries requirement but not both. 


Students cannot take more than two courses (of three or four credits each) in a specific, or similar, course prefix to meet their Foundations requirements. 

Students cannot take more than two courses (of three/four credits each) in a specific course prefix to meet their Discoveries requirements. 


Degree programs can prescribe that majors take up to three specific Discoveries courses (of three/four credits each) (or take up to three courses among a range of Discoveries courses), but programs cannot prescribe more than two courses within a given Discoveries area. 


Within the Competencies requirements, courses from all disciplines and course levels may be designated as developing one or two (but not more than two) competencies. 


Discoveries courses may also be designated as meeting one or two Competency requirements. Foundations courses may not be designated as meeting Competency requirements. 


For the Quantitative Application, Intercultural Fluency, Ethical Reasoning, Applied Methodologies, and Information Literacy Competencies, a degree program can 1) require students to take a specific course (or course among a range of options) to meet the Competency or 2) permit the student to take any course (major, Discoveries, or free elective) that is designated to meet the Competency. 


At least one of the two Intensive Writing Competency courses must be taken within a student’s degree program (which could be a specific course designated by the degree program or one of multiple Writing-Intensive-designated courses within the major). 


It is recommended that one Writing-Intensive designated course be taken within the first two years of student work and the other in the last two years of student work. 


Students will satisfy the Keystone Experience Competency course requirement with a course within the student’s degree program (for example, a capstone course, research experience, clinical training)