2008-09 Catalog 
    Jun 15, 2024  
2008-09 Catalog [Archived Catalog]

General Education

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The general education program at Northwestern College is intended to enable students to act as Christ’s salt and light in the educated conversations and substantive activities of their communities. General education provides students with enough knowledge and practice to understand educated
conversations in other fields and to recognize how their learning mutually transforms and is transformed by their perspectives on it.

Development of foundational knowledge and understanding 

  1. Students will develop their knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of:

    1. biblical teaching and evangelical and reformed theology;
    2. the Western tradition;
    3. the riches and diversity of other cultures;
    4. the physical and biological world;
    5. human, societal, and institutional behavior;
    6. the nature of art and the creative process;
    7. personal physical fitness and wellness;
  1. Students will develop an understanding of the relationships between the Christian faith and the academic disciplines.
  2. Students will develop an understanding of how the academic disciplines interrelate in a holistic view of knowledge and truth.

Faith development

  1. Students will develop a Christian world and life view, informed by a foundation of biblical teaching and the insights of various academic disciplines.
  2. Students will develop an understanding of what they believe and why, and how their beliefs compare with those of others.
  3. Students will develop a Christian system of values that will guide them in personal, professional, civic, and community decision making.

Understanding of the contemporary world

  1. Students will develop an understanding of the challenges and opportunities of the contemporary world.
  2. Students will develop the commitment, confidence, and ability to address contemporary world issues in a manner that is constructive and culturally sensitive.

Development of competencies and skills

  1. Students will develop the ability to read, write, listen, and speak in a wide range of contexts.
  2. Students will develop quantitative skills, including the ability to interpret and apply numeric data.
  3. Students will develop critical thinking skills, including the development, analysis, and evaluation of ideas and arguments.
  4. Students will develop problem solving skills, including the ability to understand problems, apply knowledge and resources to these problems, and recognize and evaluate potential solutions.
  5. Students will develop skills in the retrieval and application of information, including an understanding of library and computer information systems and the ability to evaluate and apply information to their tasks.

A summary of the general education requirements is listed below, followed by a detailed listing of the various course requirements and/or course options within the various categories listed in the summary. Course descriptions and course prerequisites not given below are included in those sections of the catalog dealing with the various academic departments.

General education requirements for the B.A. or B.S. degree:

No course can count toward meeting more than one general education requirement.

Biblical and theological studies   8
Cross-cultural studies   4
Fine arts   3-4
History   6
Kinesiology   2
Language   0-9
Literature   4
Mathematics   3-5*
Natural science   4
Philosophy   4
Social science   4
Speech   0-2
Writing   4*

Total credits: 46-60


*Students with low ACT/SAT scores in English and/or math are also required to take ENG124, Basic Writing and/or MAT090, Basic Algebra.

Students accepted provisionally to Northwestern College are required to complete a section of GEN101, Introduction to Christian Liberal Arts taught by their adviser.

General education requirements for transfer students with earned degrees:

Students who transfer to Northwestern with an associate or baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university must meet the following modified general education requirements, with these courses to be taken either at the original institution or at Northwestern College.

Biblical and theological studies   4
Fine arts   3-4
History, literature or philosophy
  (two courses, from different departments)
Kinesiology   2
Language or cross-cultural studies   3-6
Mathematics   3-5
Natural sciences   3-4
Social sciences   3-4
Writing   3-4

Total credits: 30-41


*International students are required to take ESL101, Introduction to American Culture.


Choose one option:


The language placement exam is used to determine initial placement into a modern foreign language sequence prior to taking language courses at Northwestern College. Once a student is in the language sequence, the student must complete the 201-level course in that language to  meet the generaleducation language requirement. A student may repeat the placement exam prior to beginning the language sequence, with the highest score used for placement. Once a student is in the language sequence, the language placement test cannot be used to meet the general education requirement.

Students who claim proficiency at a 201-level in a modern foreign language not taught at Northwestern College may take an appropriate standardized placement test to determine if the student has the level of proficiency needed for exemption from the foreign language requirement. If 201-proficiency is not indicated by the exam, the student may meet the requirement by taking and transferring credits from a college or university offering that language.

Exception: A student for whom English is the second language has no foreign language requirement.


*Students with Math ACT 19 or below (SAT 460 or below) or no ACT or SAT math score must pass MAT090, Basic Algebra (C- or better) or the mathematics department placement exam (70% or better) in order to take a general education math course at Northwestern College. Additional prerequisite requirements apply to some mathematics courses.



Complete two courses designated as speech intensive. Details available from the registrar’s office.


Prior to graduation, each student at Northwestern College shall pass the appropriate writing courses based on their English ACT or verbal/critical reading SAT college entrance scores, as indicated below:

1. English ACT 19 or below (SAT below 470)


2. English ACT 20 through 29 (SAT 470 through 680)



Students who do not have ACT or SAT scores are required to take both ENG124, Basic Writing and ENG184, College Writing for a total of 8 credits.

International students who are not adequately prepared for ENG124, Basic Writing or ENG184, College Writing, (as determined by ACT/SAT scores, the English Placement Exam, TOEFL scores, and the academic adviser) shall be enrolled in ESL203, ESL Writing.

Based on the international student’s performance in ESL203, ESL Writing, and the results of the Writing Test (administered as part of ESL 203-ESL Writing), the academic adviser shall have the option of enrolling the international student in either ENG124, Basic Writing or ENG184, College Writing.

All International students will pass ENG184, College Writing, prior to graduation from Northwestern College.

With the permission of the faculty adviser and the instructor of an advanced writing course, students with an English ACT score ranging from 25 through 29 (SAT 570 through 680) may choose one or two advanced writing courses (4 credit hours) rather than college writing if their writing ability warrants such a change. The normal way of ascertaining such ability is through a writing sample that two writing teachers assess. For writing sample guidelines, contact the English department chairperson.

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