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    Northern Illinois University
   
 
  Sep 21, 2017
 
 
    
2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Education Requirements


The required 29-41 semester hours in the general education program are divided between the core competencies (0-12 semester hours) and distributive studies (a minimum of 29 semester hours)

The four broad learning goals of the general education program are: 

a. Students develop habits of writing, speaking, and reasoning necessary for continued learning.

i. Students communicate clearly in written English, demonstrating their ability to comprehend, analyze, and interrogate critically.

ii. Students communicate in a manner that unites theory, criticism, and practice in speaking and writing. 

iii. Students perform basic computations, display facility with use of formal and quantitative reasoning analysis and problem solving, and interpret mathematical models and statistical information. 

iv. Students are able to access and use various information resources.

b. Students develop an ability to use modes of inquiry across a variety of disciplines in the humanities and the arts, the physical sciences and mathematics, and the social sciences.

i. Students demonstrate knowledge of the historical and prehistorical development of societies and cultures, and of the relations of such development to the present. 

ii. Students demonstrate an ability to articulate the significance of the arts and an ability to apply analytical and interpretive skills to the critical examination of the social/cultural values and aesthetic qualities found in the arts and popular culture(s). 

iii. Students demonstrate knowledge of the cultural traditions and philosophical ideas that have shaped societies, civilizations, and human self-conceptions. 

iv. Students demonstrate an ability to use scientific methods and theories to understand the phenomena studied in the natural and social sciences.

c. Students develop an understanding of the interrelatedness of various disciplines by integrating knowledge from several disciplines and applying that knowledge to an understanding of important problems and issues.

d. Students develop social responsibility and preparation for citizenship through global awareness, environmental sensitivity, and an appreciation of cultural diversity.

Core Competency Requirements and Course Descriptions


The requirement of 0-12 semester hours of core competencies ensures that students demonstrate or acquire those basic skills which form the foundation for baccalaureate studies. The core competencies cover reading, writing, listening, speaking, and mathematical skills. Because these skills will be applied, reinforced, and evaluated in courses at every level across the undergraduate curriculum, core competency courses should be completed during the first year of a student’s program.

Core Competency Requirements


All students must satisfy core competency requirements in English, oral communication, and mathematics for 0-12 semester hours of general education credit.

The requirements in the core competencies may be met by successfully completing the designated course, by transfer credit, by passing a competency examination, or, for some core competencies, through credit by examination. (See “Credit by Examination.”) Although passing a competency examination fulfills the requirement for the core competency, it does not result in the awarding of NIU course credit (i.e., it reduces the required number of general education hours but does not reduce the number of hours required for a degree.) Students with strong academic credentials are encouraged to attempt the competency examinations. Information on competency examinations is available from the Office of Testing Services.

The specific ways to satisfy the core competency requirements are listed below.

The English core competency requirement can be satisfied by

  • obtaining a grade of C or better in ENGL 103 and ENGL 104, or
  • obtaining a grade of C or better in ENGL 105, or
  • obtaining equivalent transfer credit, or
  • passing the English Core Competency II Examination, or
  • obtaining credit for ENGL 103 and ENGL 104 through credit by examination (Advanced Placement)

NOTE: For students who have earned a D in either ENGL 103 or 104, or both, equivalent courses in which the student earned a grade of C or better at institutions participating in the Illinois Articulation Initiative will be accepted to satisfy the English core competency requirement, but do not earn transfer credit. Equivalent courses in which the student earned a grade of C or better at other institutions may be accepted to satisfy the English core competency requirement, but do not earn transfer credit.

The oral communication core competency requirement can be satisfied by

  • passing COMS 100, or
  • obtaining equivalent transfer credit, or
  • passing the Oral Communication Core Competency Examination

The mathematics core competency requirement can be satisfied by

  • passing MATH 101, or
  • obtaining a grade of C or better in MATH 155, MATH 201, MATH 206, MATH 210, MATH 211, or MATH 229, or
  • obtaining credit for one of the mathematics courses listed above, except MATH 101, through credit by examination (Advanced Placement), or
  • obtaining a grade of C or better in STAT 208, STAT 301, STAT 350, ISYE 335, or UBUS 223; and obtaining
    • a grade of C or better in MATH 110, or
    • an ACT mathematics score of at least 24, or
    • an SAT mathematics score of at least 560, or
    • an A- or B-level placement on the mathematics placement examination
  • (If STAT 208 is used in the manner described above to fulfill the mathematics core competency requirement, then it cannot also be used in the sciences and mathematics area of distributive studies), or
  • obtaining equivalent transfer credit, or
  • passing the Mathematics Core Competency Examination.

Enrollment in courses offered at NIU which fulfill NIU’s core competency requirement in mathematics requires an entry-skill level, determined through placement testing and/or explicit prerequisites, at least equal to that expected from the successful completion of an intermediate algebra course. Such a course is not offered by NIU. However, an intermediate algebra course offered by Kishwaukee College can be taken on the NIU campus.

Core Competency Course Descriptions


Distributive Studies Area Requirements and Course Descriptions


The required minimum of 29 semester hours in the distributive studies areas (humanities and the arts, sciences and mathematics, social sciences, and interdisciplinary studies) will help students attain a sound liberal education and acquire sufficient general knowledge and intellectual versatility to enable them to become informed and resourceful members of society. Therefore, students will be introduced to widely varied modes of thinking and points of view in courses which develop the intellectual processes, perspectives, and methodologies implicit in each discipline. The course work in distributive studies will expand the student’s awareness of human thought and relations conducive to the understanding and appreciation of cultural heritage. It will also give an appreciation of the scientific method of inquiry, engage the student in an analysis of scientific facts and principles pertaining to the physical, biological, social, and cultural world, and impart an understanding of their implications for human welfare.

Distributive Studies Area Requirements


All students must satisfactorily complete the following requirements in the distributive studies areas.

Humanities and the arts (9-12)

Students must earn from 9 to 12 semester hours in the humanities and the arts area with at least one course taken in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and at least one course taken in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, with no more than 6 semester hours taken in any one department.

Sciences and mathematics (7-11)

Students must earn from 7 to 11 semester hours in the sciences and mathematics area in courses taken in at least two but no more than three departments.

Social sciences (6-9)

Students must earn from 6 to 9 semester hours in the social sciences area with no more than 6 semester hours taken in any one department.

Interdisciplinary studies (3-6)

Students must earn 3 to 6 semester hours in the interdisciplinary studies area.

The required minimum of 29 semester hours in distributive studies courses cannot include more than three courses in any one department.

Students are not permitted to count a course in their major department for fulfillment of distributive studies area requirements unless they are completing a second major. (This provision does not include a second emphasis within the same major department.) However, majors in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures may take FLCL 271, FLFR 371 (except French majors), FLIT 272, and FLRU 261 (except Russian majors) for general education credit.

Individual departments may impose additional restrictions on the courses that their majors may apply to general education requirements. These are described in the departmental sections of this catalog.

The requirements in the distributive studies area may be met by successfully completing the designated courses, by transfer credit, or, for some distributive studies courses, through credit by examination. (See “Credit by Examination.”) Credit for all 100- and 200-level general education courses in the distributive studies area may be earned through credit by examination. For more information, contact the department offering the course.

Distributive Studies Area Course Descriptions


Humanities and the Arts (9-12)


Students must earn from 9 to 12 semester hours in the humanities and the arts area with at least one course taken in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and at least one course taken in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, with no more than 6 semester hours taken in any one department.

The designators ANTH, COMS, ENGL, FLCL, FLFR, FLIT, FLRU, HIST, and PHIL are for courses in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Courses with designators beginning with FL are credited in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

The designators ARTH, MUSC, THEA, and TH-D are for courses in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Courses with designators beginning with TH are credited in the School of Theatre and Dance.

Sciences and Mathematics (7-11)


Students must earn from 7 to 11 semester hours in the sciences and mathematics area in courses taken in at least two but no more than three departments. General education credit for STAT 208 is credited in the Department of Mathematical Sciences.