College of Liberal Arts

GWAC Requirements

The Great Works Academic Certificate program (hereafter GWAC) requires either 22 or 25 credits, which students can tailor to their needs and interests. All students must complete History 105 (European Civilization to 1648) and 106 (European Civilization to Present), with the exception that honors students may substitute appropriate honors courses. In addition, students have the choice of completing either (a) 15 credits of courses in great works or (b) 12 credits of courses in great works and 6 credits of a single foreign language. At least 6 credits of courses in great works must be at the 300- or 400-level. Every student in the program must take at least one course with readings from before 1648 and at least one course with readings from after 1648; but those courses need not have all of their readings within only one of those two periods.

GWAC relies almost entirely on existing courses in departments. A course in great works is one that falls into either of the following categories: (a) Two-thirds or more of the readings on the syllabus consist of works (studied in whole or in part) on a list approved by the GWAC Committee. (b) The course is one of the following courses in art or music: ART 260, 261, 266, 461, 462, 463, 464, 465, 466, 467, 468, 469, 470, 472, 473, 474, 475, 477, 479, 480, 481; MUS 121, 331, 332, 341, 342, 343. Students may count only 3 credits of art or music (not both) toward the program, and any course counted in art or music must cover a historical period that overlaps with one of a student’s other GWAC courses.

See the readings on the list of great works. Not all works by an author are listed; the committee will likely accept all works by authors on the list. The list is not an unalterable canon. The committee may modify the list at its discretion; it will consider suggestions for authors and works made by students and others. Intellectual diversity is inherent in the list; it reflects radical disagreements in philosophy, religion, politics, science, and literature.

The program has no admissions process of its own. To participate, a student must be formally admitted to UNLV and have a grade point average of at least 3.00. A student must submit to the committee a syllabus of a course in order to ascertain definitely whether the course will count toward GWAC. In order to receive the certificate a student must have a minimum grade point average of 3.00 for courses taken within GWAC. No course in which a student receives below a B- may be accepted for GWAC. There is no required order in which courses must be taken, but students are urged to take European Civilization as early as possible. A student may count independent studies, as well as courses taken to fulfill graduation requirements (university, college, and departmental), toward fulfillment of GWAC requirements if they meet the requirement for content. Transfer courses that meet that requirement may be accepted for GWAC, but at least one-half of the courses must be completed at UNLV.

Upon completion of the course requirements, a student will be required to submit a portfolio of papers or other written work from courses taken within GWAC. The committee will review the portfolio as a means of assessing what the student has learned. No grade will be given, but the committee reserves the power to decide not to grant the certificate. It is expected that such a decision will rarely, if ever, be made. Students who fulfill the requirements will receive a notation on their transcript, in addition to the certificate.

Students should notify the director of their interest in the program as soon as possible in their college career. Students who think they have already fulfilled some of the requirements are urged to contact the director.

Seniors in the program are required to take a one-credit seminar, the purpose of which is to provide an opportunity for students to discuss one or more great works in a common reading list and at the same time synthesize the material in that list with what they have studied in their other GWAC courses. Writing assignments for the seminar may encourage students to compare and contrast the material read in the seminar with material read outside the seminar.