Jun 22, 2024  
Course Catalog 2021-2022 
Course Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Compass Curriculum

Wheaton’s Compass Curriculum (for student entering Fall 2020 and later) gives students the freedom and flexibility to create their own path to success, with personalized advising and professional mentorship. The Compass Curriculum builds on Wheaton’s core principles of intellectual curiosity, global citizenship, experiential learning, social justice, diversity and inclusion, and enables students to link the liberal arts with career and professional paths. 

These key elements are required for graduation:

Connected First-Year Experience (FYE)

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.

All new students are required to complete an FYE during their first semester. Transfer students who arrive as first semester sophomores or earlier will be enrolled in an FYE within their first year at Wheaton. The placement of upperclass transfer students will be treated on a case by case basis. 

The Sophomore Experience

The Sophomore Experience (SE) connects student learning to the real world by engaging in hands-on, experiential learning. This allows students to explore career possibilities, make connections with practitioners in their chosen fields, and/or develop projects they are passionate about. Options include internships, guided research, service learning, and experiential courses.

Sophomore Experience Learning Objectives:

In an experience of 60 hours or more, students will:

  • Examine how professionals in the private, public, or non-profit sectors approach problems and practice these approaches themselves;
  • Apply elements of the liberal arts to tasks and activities within the SE;
  • Take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results, consistent with professional practice, and
  • Practice interpersonal skills and verbal and nonverbal communication in everyday social and professional exchanges.

The Sophomore Experience may be completed any time between the summer after the first year and before the end of summer following the sophomore year.  PLEASE NOTE: Transfer students should complete in the next year.

Students can select from any one of the many options. There are resources available to help them determine the best alternative for them.  Students should consult with their MAP Advisor, faculty who are teaching their courses, Career Services staff, major advisor, student success advisor and/or other mentors.

Course Options

Each semester, departments and programs will offer course options with integrated experiential learning. Courses will be tagged as “SE” for Sophomore Experience.  Students can search the Course Schedule for Compass: Sophomore Experience under Attributes to find the list of courses.

Off-Campus Experiences

Students may complete the SE requirement through an internship or sustained volunteer/service experience not affiliated with a course. Experiences must total at least 60 hours and include clear learning goals agreed to by the supervisor and outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding.  MAP Advisors will review and approve these MOUs prior to the student’s beginning.

Students will send an email connecting the experience supervisor and MAP advisor to confirm satisfactory completion of the experience.

We encourage students considering this option to reach out to Career Services for support in their off-campus experience search.

Approved On-Campus Experiences

Some on-campus experiences that meet the learning goals of Sophomore Experience, such as student employment opportunities, research with faculty members, and more, will be pre-approved to count toward the requirement. These experiences will not need a Memorandum of Understanding or pre-approval by your MAP advisor.

EXAMPLES: Dialogue Facilitator with the Marshall Center, Collections and Curatorial Assistants with the Permanent Collection, Social Entrepreneurship Launch Program

Verifying Sophomore Experience Completion

At the close of the off-campus or on-campus experience: THE STUDENT is responsible for providing their MAP Advisor with proof of completion of the experience (typically an email from the student that includes both site supervisor and MAP Advisor stating the experience is complete).

IMPORTANT: This step is critical to ensure that the requirement is completed for notation on your student record.

The indication that Sophomore Experience is COMPLETE on the student record:

  • Courses Tagged as “SE” for Sophomore Experience 
    • Course will appear as completing the Sophomore Experience and will display on the DegreeWorks audit.
  • For Off-Campus and On-Campus experience options
    • A notation will be made on the DegreeWorks audit recording the Sophomore Experience as completed once notification of completion is submitted by the MAP advisor.


The Major 

Wheaton’s major and minor offerings are expansive, encompassing more than 100 options. Some, such as biology, are located within an academic department; others, like environmental studies, are interdepartmental programs. In either case, you will find the requirements for established majors and minors outlined on each program’s web page as well as in the “Courses of Instruction” section of this publication.

You also may propose an independent major in which you determine and define the focus of study. These are normally designed with the guidance of faculty advisors and combine courses from two or more departments. These majors require the approval of the provost, and must be declared by the end of the fifth semester. (Contact Academic Advising for more information.)

All Wheaton students elect a major by the end of the sophomore year. Visit Academic Advising for guidance in choosing a major, and plan to meet with a faculty advisor for the area in which you intend to study before formally declaring a major or minor to the Office of the Registrar.

The major provides an opportunity to select more focused and advanced work in a particular area of study. You should be prepared to declare a major by the end of your fourth semester (your sophomore year) and should meet with advisors in your sophomore year to do this.

Each major has slightly different requirements for completing it; these are outlined in the college catalog. Major advising sheets, detailing the requirements for all majors, minors and dual-degree programs, are available at the Filene Center, at the Office of the Registrar and on department websites. Alternatives to the standard major programs offered in each department, independent majors, are outlined below. The connection between your choice of major field and your choice of career field probably holds more possibilities than you are aware of. Career Services, located in the Filene Center, can help you understand better what the choice of major offers for your career interests. It is most important to pick a field in which you are interested and in which you know you will do comparatively well. And it is important to remember that many liberal arts graduates, by the time they are five years out of college, are working by choice in jobs or fields that have little obvious connection to their undergraduate major.

Mentored Academic Pathway (MAP)

Mentored Academic Pathways (MAP) is a program designed to foster deep reflection and facilitate effective mentoring between students and faculty. Students participate in the MAP program every semester with their MAP Advisor, one member of the team advising model provided by Wheaton.

The MAP is designed as a series of reflections that students engage with over the four years at Wheaton. Students will respond to reflection questions in writing, and their answers will be shared with their MAP Advisor, typically at least a week before MAP days. Advisors will respond to these reflections either in writing or during the one-on-one advising conversation.

One day each semester, MAP Day, will be dedicated to advising, reflection, and planning. On these days, student cohorts will meet with their MAP advisors, participate in cohort-to-cohort advising, and engage with Career Services, Academic Advising, and other campus partners.

Students will be registered automatically for a MAP course each semester. MAP courses carry no credit and are not graded. The MAP advisor assigns an “S” for satisfactory or “U” for unsatisfactory at the close of each semester to indicate whether the student met the course objectives. MAP courses will not appear on students’ official academic transcripts and have no impact on the GPA; however, students must earn a “S” for each semester’s MAP course in order to meet the graduation requirement.

MAP-101: Explore and Engage 1

The Mentored Academic Pathway: Year One, First  Semester. The theme of year one is Explore and Engage. Students will connect in cohorts to discuss academic and co-curricular interests, begin reflective exercises, and consider initial steps towards an academic major or a plan for continuing to explore majors. 

MAP-102: Explore and Engage 2

The Mentored Academic Pathway: Year One, Second Semester. Students transition from community member to community contributor, linking academic, co-curricular and career. Continuing discussion of academic interests and choosing a major.

MAP-201: Making a Plan 1

The Mentored Academic Pathway: Year Two, First Semester.  The theme of the Second-Year MAP is Making a Plan. This involves considering academic, co-curricular and workplace experiences and skills, planning for a semester abroad, evaluating interests and finding ways to be challenged.

MAP-202: Making a Plan 2

The Mentored Academic Pathway: Year Two, Second Semester. Declare academic major and review initial MAP responses from Summer Orientation. What are your goals now and what is the timeline for these goals? Early planning for post-graduate academic experiences.

MAP-301: Engaging the World 1

The Mentored Academic Pathway: Year Three, First Semester. A dynamic semester to adjust to student needs as many students will find themselves planning for or traveling abroad. Advising helps as students immerse themselves in academic communities, global learning experiences, and gain essential skills (including interpersonal skills) for the future and clarify future academic and career goals. 

MAP-302: Engaging the World 2

The Mentored Academic Pathway: Year Three, Second Semester. Network to establish connections and investigate possibilities for post-graduate plans. Develop a plan for post-graduate success.

MAP-401: Looking Back, Looking Ahead 1

The Mentored Academic Pathway: Year Four, First Semester. This year, the MAP will focus on the future… Implement steps to pursue post-graduate goals. Ensure that all degree requirements will be met in time for graduation.

MAP-402: Looking Back, Looking Ahead 2

The Mentored Academic Pathway: Year Four, Second Semester. Finish strong in academics. Apply, interview, negotiate offers, etc.  Continue to strengthen professional networks.  Continue to reflect and learn!

Honors and Scholars Programs

Wheaton’s signature honors and scholars programs are not required, but are open to all students. These programs encourage students to deepen their studies through global exploration,  social justice and diversity work, and/or a broad-based curriculum of courses across the Wheaton curriculum. 

Successful completion of honors and scholars programs will be noted on a student’s final transcript.

Before deciding to pursue honors and scholars programs, students should consult with their MAP and/or major advisors.

Students who entered Wheaton College prior to Fall 2020 are also eligible to participate in the Global Honors and Taylor and Lane Scholars Programs. 

Latin Honors 

(Eliza Wheaton Scholar + cumulative grade point average)

For students entering Wheaton College in the Fall 2020 and after, to be awarded the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Latin honors, a student must have completed all requirements of the Eliza Wheaton Scholars program AND have achieved the following cumulative grade point average:

  • summa cum laude 3.90
  • magna cum laude 3.70
  • cum laude 3.50

Eliza Wheaton Scholars

(required for Latin Honors) 

The Eliza Wheaton Scholars program provides a map for students to explore and celebrate the breadth of the liberal arts and challenge themselves to take courses across the disciplines.

Beginning with students entering in the Fall of 2020, students who seek to graduate with Latin Honors must complete the Eliza Wheaton Scholars program. Latin Honors will not be awarded without successfully completing the Eliza Wheaton Scholars program.

Students interested in pursuing the Eliza Wheaton Scholar designation should consult with their MAP and major advisors and declare their intention using the form available in WINDOW in insideWheaton.


Students will be designated Eliza Wheaton Scholars when they earn at least one credit each in each of the following areas:

  • QUAN Quantitative Analysis 
  • NSCI   Natural Science
  • CA       Creative Arts
  • HM      Humanities
  • WRIT  Writing (100-level+)
  • SSCI   Social Sciences
  • SPI      Structures of Power and Inequality
  • FORL  Foreign Languages (2 semesters in the same language) 

There is no grade point average requirement for the Eliza Wheaton Scholars program. Pending approval by Academic Advising, all IB and AP may be applied to meet the requirements of the Eliza Wheaton Scholars program. Transfer students may apply credits toward the Eliza Wheaton Scholars program with approval of the appropriate department.

Global Honors

Global Honors encourages students to discover and experience cultures outside of the United States, develop advanced proficiency in a second language, and reflect on their place in the world. The Global Honors program provides students the skills to connect and collaborate with diverse communities and build possible career paths in many areas, including government, private companies that operate abroad, and non-profit organizations.  


In order to qualify for Global Honors, students must:

  • Take 5 classes designated as Global Honors courses. The courses must be across at least 2 academic divisions (Creative Arts, Humanities, Natural Science, or Social Science), and at least 3 of the 5 courses must be at the 200-level or above. 
  • Achieve a grade point average of at least 2.85 in all courses required for Global Honors, or be recommended for Global Honors by 2 different faculty members.  Students may only count one grade of “P” toward Global Honors.
  • Complete a Study Abroad experience or a Global Project. Wheaton-approved Study Abroad and Global Projects should offer students immersive and transformative learning experiences by providing meaningful opportunities to analyze and explore cultures other than the US. Students are encouraged to complete their study abroad experience in areas of the world that speak the same language in which they will demonstrate proficiency but this is not required. Study abroad programs are ordinarily one or two semester-long programs.

Students unable to participate in a study abroad program can complete a global project, a substantial and critical engagement with the target culture developed in conjunction with the advisor. Examples include a paper of no less than 10,000 words, a substantive creative project, or an international internship with a reflection component.  Students engaging in global projects can use them as the foundation of their final Global Honors essay with the agreement of the advisor. 

Courses taken abroad will only count towards the completion of the five courses for Global Honors if a given course matches the learning goals for Global Honors. The Global Advisory Committee will evaluate requests for credit toward Global Honors. Those requests should typically include evidence of the learning goals of the course (e.g. a complete syllabus). Students will typically complete no more than two of their five Global Honors courses abroad or away from Wheaton.

  • Demonstrate advanced proficiency in a second language. This will ordinarily be accomplished through a 300-level class taken at Wheaton after a study abroad experience or a global project, but other forms of assessment can be used for languages not available at Wheaton at that level (i.e. comprehensive interview, formal presentation and/or standard research paper written in the target language.)

Advanced proficiency is generally defined for the purpose of Global Honors as the ability to use the target language as part of normal social or professional duties at a normal rate of speech and to reliably elicit information and opinions from native speakers. Examples include answering objections, clarifying points, stating and defending ideas, and reading with almost complete comprehension a variety of materials on familiar and unfamiliar topics such as news reports, emails, general correspondence, and technical material in trained fields of competence. 

Students not raised or educated primarily in English, with the approval of their advisor and the Global Advisory Committee, may propose a course of study that identifies English as their second language. Working with the support of a faculty advisor, they will propose a course of study for approval by Global Advisory. Based on guidelines established by the Global Advisory Committee, courses will be designated as fulfilling Global Honors by approval of the Educational Policy Committee.

  • Complete a global honors essay or creative project under the guidance of two faculty.  The global honors essay should critically and comparatively analyze or bring attention to the place of the student in worldwide systems and their legacies, including natural systems (biological, chemical, or physical sciences) and human systems (cultural, economic, social, political, and built environment). Final essays may also reflect on how cultures have assigned places within power structures that determine hierarchies, inequalities, and opportunities and how they vary over time and place. Topics can include, but are not limited to, understandings of race, ethnicity, gender, nationhood, religion, ability, and class within a comparative global perspective. 

The final Global Honors essay or creative work should be agreed upon between student and faculty advisor. Generally, essays will be written in English and be composed of no less than 1,300 words. A creative project of comparable work, which could, for example, take the form of a podcast, photo essay, or video, could be the medium for this reflection. Creative arts projects are expected to be presented with a critical statement when appropriate. Students must secure a second (faculty/staff) reader for their work in a department or area of expertise. The reflection essay must be presented to the advisor at least one month before the last day of classes of the student’s final semester. The advisor, in consultation with the second reader, will determine if the final Global Honors essay or creative work fulfills the requirement.

Global Honors essays and creative works should be shared with the community via symposiums during programs such as Academic Festival. All works will be digitally stored and available for consultation. 

In cases where an international student wishes to pursue Global Honors with English as the second language, the student, working with the support of a faculty advisor, will propose a course of study for approval by the Global Advisory Committee.

Students interested in pursuing Global Honors should talk with their advisor and declare their intention using the form available in WINDOW in insideWheaton.

Taylor and Lane Scholars

The Taylor and Lane Scholars program provides a path for students interested in solving the problems facing our world, from racism, sexism, poverty, and violence to climate change, unequal access to healthcare, and hunger. The Taylor and Lane program helps students develop an understanding of the structures and practices that shape social problems and that form the context for solutions, global and intercultural fluency, and the ability to interact respectfully with all people in pursuit of a common objective.

Students interested in pursuing Taylor and Lane Scholar designation should talk with their advisor and declare their intention using the form available in WINDOW in InsideWheaton.

The program honors Alice Taylor Sanford ‘50 and Nadine Lane ‘50, the first African-American graduates of Wheaton College. Both women had a strong interest in education and spent their lives serving their communities: Lane as a social worker, and Sanford as a teacher and school psychologist.



All Taylor and Lane Scholars must take 4 classes with the Taylor and Lane scholar designation. These courses focus on diversity, social justice, or structures of power and inequality. These 4 courses must include the Taylor and Lane foundational course, and span at least 3 subjects.

At least 2 of these courses must be at the 200-level or above. 

At least 1 course must carry the Structure of Power and Inequality (SPI) designation.

Students may only count one grade of “P” toward Taylor and Lane Scholars. At least two of the Taylor and Lane designated courses must be taken at Wheaton for a letter grade.

Taylor and Lane Scholars can petition the Coordinator to have a course fulfill one of their Taylor and Lane course requirements, even if it is not officially designated Taylor and Lane.

Students must achieve a grade point average of at least 2.85 across the 4 designated classes, or be recommended by two different faculty members. Recommendations will go to the Taylor and Lane Program Coordinator, who will make the final determination on the student’s petition.

Experiential Learning:

All Taylor and Lane Scholars are required to participate in at least 1 full 10-week workshop session of the Intergroup Dialogue Program hosted by the Marshall Center for Intercultural Dialogue or an alternative approved by the Taylor and Lane Program Coordinator.

All Taylor and Lane Scholars are required to participate in at least 1 sustained immersive experience approved by the Taylor and Lane Program Coordinator. There are multiple options to fulfill this requirement:

  • a semester abroad
  • a semester study-away– including a semester with the College for Social Innovation (Semester in the City)
  • a faculty-led study away experience
  • an internship or research experience      
  • a sustained community service placement at a single site on a recurring basis/practicum/service-learning course for a semester
    • must be approved by Program Coordinator
    • must have supervisor support at placement site


All Taylor and Lane Scholars are required to complete designated Taylor and Lane question(s) as a part of their Mentored Academic Pathways (MAP).


All Taylor and Lane Scholars must complete a final project that is shared with the broader community at Academic Festival or some similar venue. The final project can be undertaken either in junior or senior year, or summer and winter breaks between these years, once at least 3 of the 4 Taylor and Lane courses and the immersive experience are complete.

Students interested in pursuing the Taylor and Lane Scholars program should talk with their advisor and declare their intention using the form available in WINDOW in insideWheaton.

LEAPS (Liberal Education and Professional Success)

LEAPS serve as a bridge between the liberal arts and careers, helping students identify, develop, and put into practice the knowledge and skills needed for professional success. 

Each LEAPS is overseen by a LEAPS faculty advisor and a professional mentor from the alumni body or greater Wheaton community.While each LEAPS has its own set of requirements, LEAPS completion will require:

  • 3-5 courses designated as part of the program, at least 2 of these must be full-credit courses

  • An experiential component approved by the LEAPS advisor

Additional requirements may be necessary for completion of specific LEAPS.

View available LEAPS and their requirements (scroll to bottom of Programs of Study page). Students interested in pursuing any LEAPS program should talk with their advisor.