Institutes, Pre-Professional & Honors Programs

Asian Studies Major

The Asian Studies Major at the William Paterson University of New Jersey brings together highly qualified faculty and interested students from different departments of the university. With its distinguished faculty's solid and broad background on historical and contemporary Asia, the program provides students with various career goals a multi-disciplinary education in the language, culture, art, anthropology, geography, history, philosophy, political science, and sociology of Asia.

 Biopsychology Honors Program

The Honors Program in Biopsychology draws on newly emerging discoveries in such fields as behavior, the brain sciences, genetics, psychopharmacology and many others to unravel the biology of the mind and behavior. We were awarded two grants by the National Science Foundation to support the development of this exciting program. As all honors programs at William Paterson, biopsychology is not itself a major, but a distinctive cluster of courses that deepens, broadens and adds challenge to students' chosen majors. This program is highly recommended for students planning graduate study, including pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-veterinary, and pre-graduate nursing studies and, in general, for those students interested in clinical or research careers. In addition, the Biopsychology Program offers an applied component in its curriculum with a focus in Human Neuropsychology. As an honors program, biopsychology is designed for highly motivated individuals. For further information, contact Prof. Robert Benno, Biology Department, at (973) 720-3440, or by e-mail at

Cognitive Science Honors Program

A center for the study of Cognitive Science, a field bringing together Philosophy, Psychology, Computer Science, Linguistics, Neuroscience, and Anthropology, in order to develop a unified theory of the mind/brain. Since Fall 1999 there has been a new University honors program in cognitive science. Students in this program take courses from each of the constituent disciplines and all take three new courses designed to introduce them to Cognitive Science, foster interdisciplinary communication and collaboration, and provide intense one-on-one supervision in the construction of their own research project and its accompanying thesis. The department has a Cognitive Science Laboratory staffed by the Philosoghy Department Faculty. For information please contact professors Katherine Makarec, Peter Mandik

Critical Languages -- Department of Languages and Cultures

The term “Critical Languages” or “Critical-Needs Languages” has gained usage since 2001 to indicate world languages for which there is high demand and relatively little expertise in the U.S. Once subsumed under the rubric “Less Commonly Taught Languages,” their importance in our increasingly global economy and society demands that higher education address the need for training professionals in a wide variety of fields who will have linguistic proficiency in these languages.   

The Department of Languages and Cultures at WPUNJ offers well-designed programs combining language skills, cultural competencies, and grounding in the literary traditions of some of the world’s most-widely spoken languages. In recent years, the Department has added faculty expertise and course offerings in seven Critical Languages: Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Turkish. Persian will be added as its eighth critical language in academic year 2007-2008. 

William Paterson University, recognizing the need for instruction in the critical languages and in international and area studies, began the millennium with new  B.A. programs in Asian Studies and Latin American Studies and complementary language programs.  The new Asian Studies degree program supports a full-range of language offerings from basic through the advanced level in Chinese and Japanese, and of basic and intermediate level in Hindi and Korean.  Courses in Chinese, Indian and Japanese literature and culture complement these language offerings.  WPUNJ students may concentrate in the study of language, culture and general competencies in either regions of East Asia or South Asia, reflecting the political, economic  and cultural importance of China, India and Japan.

Recently, the Languages department has added offerings in basic and intermediate level Arabic and basic level Turkish, and soon will be adding basic level Persian.  The introduction of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish supplements campus-wide faculty strengths in Islamic Studies, another critical area of study. (See History, Sociology and Women’s Studies course offerings.)

 PROGRAM STRENGTHS:                 

  • TEACHER PREPARATION: WPUNJ has a 150-year history as educator of teachers.  It plans to train licensed teachers with degrees in Asian Studies and language tracks in Chinese and Japanese.  (Hindi may be added later, depending on the demand for licensed teachers of Hindi.)

  •  FACULTY: A diverse and dynamic faculty of internationally-reputed scholars of Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Islamic cultures shares its expertise with the University, business community, and non-profit agencies.

    • 2 competitive U/S. DOE Title VI awards recognized the high quality of the programs and the faculty.

    • WPUNJ was selected as a partner with Asia Society in a program designed to train faculty to integrate the study of Asia in the undergraduate curriculum and especially in teacher preparation programs.
    • WPUNJ participates in the Fulbright Language Teaching Fellowship program, and has hosted 8 visiting fellows who have expanded offerings in Arabic, Turkish, and Swahili.

  • STUDENT DEMAND. Enrollments in Asian Studies courses and in particular Asian languages have grown in recent years; since 2001 more than 2,000 students have enrolled in Asian Studies courses.

  • INFRASTRUCTURE: Solid institutional support and infrastructure, including an excellent Multimedia Language Laboratory, sustain WPUNJ’s state-of-the-art language training.

  • PUBLIC EVENTS: The University sponsors a major Annual Bilingual/ESL Conference, an Annual Poetry Recitation Contest, and public lectures by faculty and guest speakers.

  • TRAINING THE FUTURE: WPUNJ has been offering college-level advanced placement courses in less-commonly-taught languages to area high schools over Interactive Television (ITV).  This year (2006), more than 60 high school students from Passaic County Technical Institute are taking Basic Japanese with Professor Maiko Sato.  The course uses a hybrid delivery, combining a traditional classroom format with ITV instruction.

Humanities Honors

Taught by different members of the school, the honors courses in humanities are designed to challenge the superior student's capacities through structured multidisciplinary seminars and individual study. The courses general aims are (1) to promote intellectual excellence within a common scholarly community; (2) to foster an awareness of various disciplines and their unity; (3) to offer opportunities for self-direction toward future goals. The humanities honors program is taken in addition to the student's major and it usually started in the freshman or sophomore year. A 3.2 minimum GPA is required for admission; special coordinators are available for advisement and supervision. For further information, contact John Peterman at (973) 720-3030, or by e-mail at

Latin American Studies

Latin American Studies, an interdisciplinary program, provides students with a comprehensive academic grounding in the literary, historic, economic, social, political, and cultural traditions and issues facing the region. Students will study Latin America in the context of the transnational, multilateral, and bilateral relations that shape the region's political, social, and economic structures. The program prepares students for careers in government, international organizations, private enterprise, journalism and communications, or for graduate study in the humanities, social sciences and law.

Liberal Studies Major  

The Liberal Studies Major combines interdisciplinary training in the arts, humanities and social sciences, allowing students to design a flexible yet rigorous program. In traditional majors, students complete all their coursework in a single discipline, but in Liberal Studies, students select two "tracks" from a wide variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary programs, and complete half of their major credits in each track. The Liberal Studies major is housed in the Department of Philosophy. It is excellent for anyone seeking a broad education and for pre-service teachers seeking certification in P-3, K-5, and 5-8 education. Go to for a more detailed description.


Support services for students of all majors who are interested in attending Law School.

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Writing Across the Curriculum

The Writing across the Curriculum Program at William Paterson University consists at present of writing roundtables, faculty teams working on writing in their various disciplines, and a three-day workshop on "Writing as Process" for faculty in May. With strong support from the administration, the program will expand to include writing-intensive courses in General Education and in upper-division majors by fall of 1999. For more information, contact Jim Hauser, English Department, at (973) 720-3063 or via email at

Race and Gender Project

The William Paterson University Race & Gender Project focuses on faculty development for teachers of the General Education course, "Racism and Sexism in the U.S.," and for teachers of other courses who wish to better integrate issues of race/ethnicity, gender, class, and sexuality into their work. The Project also works to educate the wider campus community on these issues.

Urban Studies Minor

The Minor in Urban Studies at WPUNJ introduces students to the methodologies of urban research and their applications to research projects and field experience. Students are exposed to urban problems from a theoretical and applied perspectives. The Urban Studies Minor is designed to take full advantage of WPUNJ’s proximity to the city of Paterson and the greater New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Region in order to provide students with multi-disciplinary training in urban studies combined with practical experience.