New Student Academic Planning Guide

Course Planning

When planning courses each term, you will want to consider a variety of factors related to your progress towards graduation, including:

  1. Your major(s), minor(s), or, if still undecided, your primary areas of academic interest
  2. Union’s Complex Questions: Global Challenges & Social Justice Curriculum
  3. Union’s Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Program

Finding a Major

You can find a complete list of academic programs here. You can also find a guide to appropriate first-year course sequences for a variety of majors and programs here.

Complex Questions: Global Challenges & Social Justice Curriculum

The Complex Questions: Global Challenges and Social Justice curriculum is the new General Education program for students entering Union College in the fall of 2022 and beyond. This program combines the breadth of traditional liberal arts distribution requirements with addressing contemporary and enduring global issues affecting society, from global conflicts to climate change to gender inequities to artificial intelligence to mental health to racial injustice and more. Students will tackle these issues from multiple Perspectives. The Complex Questions: Global Challenges and Social Justice Curriculum will be phased-in, with the class of 2026 and class of 2027 completing a minimum of six Perspectives and the class of 2028 completing a minimum of seven Perspectives. The curriculum will be fully implemented for students entering in the fall of 2025 (class of 2029), with students completing eight Perspectives.

Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC)

At Union, we believe that students learn best when they write across a wide variety of courses and contexts. Union’s Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program is committed to the development of student writers through writing-rich coursework within the disciplines and across the curriculum—through all four years of college.

All Union students are required to complete the following WAC requirements as they move through their undergraduate experience:

Tier 1: The First-Year Inquiry Seminar

Tier 2: Five courses from at least two different academic divisions that have been certified as WAC courses, at least one of which must be designated WAC-R

Tier 3: A Senior Writing Experience (WS) such as a senior thesis, research project, or designated departmental WS course.

The three “tier” structure of Union’s WAC program assures that students practice writing in a wide range of contexts from the moment they first step foot on campus to the moment they graduate from college.