UW General Studies


General Studies (GEN ST) courses support the undergraduate academic experience by offering students a holistic education beyond a particular discipline.

Housed and administered within Undergraduate Academic Affairs, General Studies courses serve as a place for curricular innovation, intellectual curiosity and experimentation. Courses are created and sustained by innovative educators and programs across campus.

General Studies courses facilitate formative and transformative learning experiences and promote critical reflection. These include facilitating positive academic transitions, developing learning communities, providing academic support, offering experiential learning opportunities, and propelling students’ leadership development.

Course goals and criteria

General Studies Courses fall under three basic themes, which influence the goals of the courses being offered. When the General Studies committee reviews a new course proposal, we evaluate how and where the course falls under the themes. Many of our courses that are currently offered touch on all of the themes, but with stronger focus in one particular area. For a list of courses offered this quarter, please view the Time Schedule.

Academic Transitions and Support

  • Demystify the intellectual, professional, and scholarly expectations of the University learning context, perhaps in comparison to students’ earlier experiences.
  • Teach practical strategies, habits, and mindsets that support students, from a variety of different backgrounds, to successfully transition to university expectations and that aid them in improving their academic performance.
  • Provide opportunities for transitioning students to sample unfamiliar disciplines, topics, or programs, as a part of learning what the university has to offer.
  • Examples: GEN ST 101, GEN ST 197, GEN ST 199, GEN ST 297, GEN ST 391 (select sections)

Experiential Learning

  • Introduce students to experiential learning opportunities, such as community engagement, research, and internships at the UW, in Seattle, and abroad.
  • Offer opportunities for self-reflection and evaluation in the context of experiential learning.
  • Introduce scholarship about the challenges and complexities involved in experiential learning.
  • Examples: GEN ST 348, GEN ST 350, GEN ST 391 (select sections)

Leadership Development

  • Offer opportunities for undergraduates to assume leadership roles and to cultivate their leadership potential within the UW community and beyond.
  • Introduce scholarship and encourage critical thinking about the challenges and complexities of practicing leadership in a modern university setting and beyond.
  • Offer ongoing education and guidance to undergraduate students who will serve as mentors, tutors, or teachers.
  • Examples: GEN ST 347, GEN ST 348, GEN ST 391 (select sections), GEN ST 470

General Studies 391 application

Students wishing to enroll in GEN ST 391 should find a faculty member knowledgeable in the area of their proposed study who is willing to serve as a sponsor. Three hours of work per week is required for each credit. Students normally enroll for 1 to 5 credits in a given quarter. A maximum of 15 credits of GEN ST 391 may be applied toward graduation. Fill out the application form to formally request permission.

Teaching General Studies courses

Thank you for your interest in teaching a General Studies class!

Whether you are a new or a previous GEN ST instructor, we look forward to learning more about your proposed class. Below are the steps we need instructors to take to facilitate review and confirmation of courses.

General Studies Course Proposal

For new instructors

First, please read over our course goals and criteria in order to better understand the purpose of the General Studies curriculum. Questions for you to consider: What theme (Academic Transition and Support, Experiential Learning, Leadership Development) might your class fall under? Why? Is General Studies the best location for your curriculum on campus?

Second, you may want to review some GEN ST syllabi to get a better sense of the course goals in General Studies. Consider looking more closely at syllabi related to the theme your course is most aligned with.

Finally, if you feel like your class is a good fit under the General Studies criteria, you can put together a proposal. Details and deadlines are below.

For all instructors

We need all instructors — new and continuing — to submit a General Studies Course Proposal for each and every course. This allows us to review new courses, have comprehensive information for each quarter’s time schedule listing, and maintain a comprehensive database of General Studies courses. If you are hoping to teach a course on a recurring basis, you can indicate that on the form.

If you have any questions about the proposal process, please email genst@uw.edu.

If you are a faculty member interested in teaching a Collegium Seminar, (GEN ST 197), please can visit the Collegium Seminars website for more information and course proposal instructions.


Please note that our deadlines — which align with the time schedule deadlines — are nearly 3 quarters in advance of the quarter in which you want to teach.

  • Course Offered: FALL QUARTER
    • Proposal Due: End of Week 2 of preceding Winter Quarter
  • Course Offered: WINTER QUARTER
    • Proposal Due: End of Week 3 of preceding Summer Quarter
  • Course Offered: SPRING QUARTER
    • Proposal Due: End of Week 3 of preceding Fall Quarter
  • Course Offered: SUMMER QUARTER
    • Proposal Due: End of Week 6 of preceding Fall Quarter

Note: All deadlines are Fridays by 5 p.m. If you are ever unsure about when to submit your materials, please email genst@uw.edu.

Teaching support and resources

Staff Teaching Community (STC) — Formerly UAA Staff Teaching Committee, the STC is a learning community established to create space for staff members and other instructors to come together, discuss teaching and share resources with one another. This community tries to come together several times a quarter to discuss thoughtful teaching practices. The committee is open to UAA staff instructors and other staff members across campus interested in teaching. If you are interested in joining or would like to be added to our listserv, please contact Ryan Burt (rburt@uw.edu).

Center for Teaching and Learning — For additional information on teaching, you may want to explore the resources available through the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Syllabus Guidelines and Resources: https://registrar.washington.edu/staffandfaculty/syllabus-guidelines/

Faculty Resource on Grading: https://depts.washington.edu/grading/

General Studies Committee

The General Studies Committee works to solidify policies and procedures for GEN ST courses. We work closely with partners around course topics and goals, keeping both consistency and innovation in mind. New courses fitting into existing curriculum structures will be reviewed by the General Studies Committee and any proposed curricular changes in course numbers, descriptions, or purpose will be accomplished through the College Arts & Sciences Curriculum Committee.


  • Ryan Burt, Academic Support Programs
  • Kathryn Pursch Cornforth, Community Engagement & Leadership Education Center
  • Antonia Dorn, UAA Advising
  • Dan Feetham, UAA Advising
  • Michaelann Jundt, Undergraduate Academic Affairs (Lead)
  • Fran Lo, Community Engagement & Leadership Education Center
  • Jim Scott, UAA Advising
  • LeAnne Jones Wiles, First Year Programs

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