Course work at North Central College is divided into three components: general education, exploration and the major. Each occupies about one-third of the student's college experience.
- General Education — The core complements the majors by introducing students to the liberal arts, giving particular attention to writing, communication and critical thinking. All-college requirements enhance the integrative and interdisciplinary aspects of the core by making connections across areas of study and by addressing problem-solving from a variety of perspectives. Students complete 42.5 to 48.5 credit hours within general education.
- Major — Each North Central graduate must complete a major. The major provides depth and focus in a subject which may relate to the student's career choice. Requirements for majors are listed under department or interdisciplinary program headings; most require 30 to 51 credit hours. Some students are able to complete two majors. A few develop individualized majors .
- Minor — A student may decide to complete a minor as an optional part of their curriculum (some students may be required to complete a minor as part of their major course of study). Requirements are listed under the various department and interdisciplinary program headings.
- Exploration — Although credit hours completed to fulfill general education and the major account for between two-thirds and three-quarters of the student's academic program, for most students some 35 credit hours may be selected virtually without restriction except where prerequisites are required. Exploration studies may come early or late in a student's education. Those which come early may help the student choose a major. Those which come later, such as international study, Washington Term, internships or independent studies, may help the student make useful connections between a chosen major and other interests. Many students use the exploration component to develop a second major or a minor.
The courses listed herein have been approved by the faculty as authorized by the Board of Trustees. Courses are subject to change through normal academic channels, and information about new courses approved after publication of this catalog can be obtained in the Office of the Registrar or from appropriate departments. Typically, 13.5 hours per week of combined class and study time are expected for each three credit hour course.
The frequency of offering each course is determined by the institution as demand indicates. Course numbering is intended to reflect the level of preparation which a student should have to enroll in a specific course, but courses are not numbered according to difficulty within a hundred series. Courses numbered below 100 affect the cumulative grade point average, but are not applied to the 120 credit hours required for graduation at North Central College.
Learning Outcomes Assessment
In order to provide for continual improvement in the quality of a North Central education, the College has developed an Outcomes Assessment Program, not just to find out how much and how well students learn, but also how and where they learn. What is discovered through the assessment program is used to make decisions about everything the College does, from curriculum planning to student activities to support services.
While not all students participate in every aspect of the assessment program, each student at North Central is expected to participate as needed in this important effort. Student contributions provide a clearer picture of what it means to be a North Central graduate. Consequently, the College can communicate to employers and others the qualities which they can expect in a North Central graduate.
First-Year Experience Program (FYE)
FYE is North Central's first-year experience program. This program is designed to encourage a successful transition from high school to college. Continuing throughout the first year, FYE connects students with the information, the people and the resources needed for a rewarding and successful North Central College education.
FYE has several interrelated parts. It begins with summer orientation—a one day introduction to North Central's curriculum, technologies and campus. During this time, students will meet their academic advisors and be introduced to the central question for this course. At the end of the day, students will receive this year's summer reading.
When students return to campus in September, Welcome Week provides a more thorough opportunity to become familiar with the campus, meet fellow students and prepare for the academic and social opportunities of college life. During this week, students also begin the Fall FYE 100 course—a course taught by their FYE faculty mentor and organized around the central question for the year.
During the Winter and Spring terms, students will meet with their academic advisors to explore curricular options, discuss career plans and to consider opportunities (study abroad, academic clubs, athletic teams, community engagement) that a North Central College education can provide.
History of Ideas
The History of Ideas option provides motivated students with an opportunity to meet many of their general education requirements in an alternate manner. The program gives students the opportunity to read and discuss primary texts in a seminar format. An interdisciplinary approach is emphasized, drawing upon the fine arts, history, literature, philosophy, political science, religion and the social sciences. Each course is designed as an honors class, open to College Scholars and to other students who seek a stimulating interdisciplinary experience. For students interested in pursuing advanced work in the History of Ideas, the sequence also provides a foundation for the History of Ideas minor .
The College Scholars Honors Program was created at North Central College in order to 1) attract students capable of superior work and invite them to be part of a "community of excellence," with increased opportunity for challenging and broadening intellectual experiences; 2) develop a coherent set of academic experiences emphasizing interdisciplinary study, individualized research, global learning and the cultivation of leadership and teamwork skills within a community of highly-motivated peers; and 3) provide a range of social and academic activities that encourages honors students to build relationships with each other, professors and honors students from other institutions (through state, regional and national honors conferences). The College Scholars Program is open to students from all academic disciplines, and its curriculum can fit with any of North Central's majors or minors.
Based upon high school records, test scores and academic interests, some students are invited to apply to College Scholars as incoming first-year students. For other interested students, including transfer students, admission can be granted by submitting an application and letter of faculty recommendation to the College Scholars Committee at any point during the year. Once admitted, a student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and a cumulative honors GPA of 3.0, in order to remain in the program.
The title of College Scholar is bestowed upon graduating students who have completed all the specified program requirements. Each student in the program who completes the curriculum is recognized as a "College Scholar" at Commencement and on all official transcripts distributed by the Office of the Registrar. For further information about the program specifics, see the Honors section.
North Central has long maintained a commitment to interdisciplinary study. Interdisciplinary courses, drawn from two or more academic departments, express the College's conviction that knowledge flows across disciplinary boundaries. These courses promote the mutual enrichment of fields of inquiry and encourage an integrative and holistic approach to research and problem solving. Courses with an interdisciplinary focus can be found co-listed under two departments or listed under Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS).
North Central's general education curriculum features team-taught courses, interdisciplinary seminars and course clusters that promote interdisciplinary and integrative inquiry. Interdisciplinary majors or minors are offered as fully developed multi-disciplinary programs in such areas as East Asian Studies ; Environmental Studies ; Gender and Women's Studies ; Global Studies ; History of Ideas ; Leadership, Ethics and Values ; Middle Eastern and North African Studies ; and Urban and Suburban Studies . Students may also choose to develop an Individualized Major Program with an integrative emphasis in consultation with the Director of Integrative Programs and the Academic Standing Committee.
The Leadership, Ethics and Values Program (LEV)
Leadership, ethics and values are hallmarks of a North Central College education. Recognizing the need for responsible, values-sensitive leaders in business, government, the professions and service organizations, North Central has developed a distinctive, comprehensive program of courses and co-curricular activities designed to help students develop their own leadership capabilities. It is the College's conviction that students who develop skills in leadership enhance their prospects for meaningful work, rewarding careers and the personal satisfaction that comes from taking the initiative and engaging others in the pursuit of worthy goals.
The Leadership, Ethics and Values Program is successful if it touches each student in some way that advances our institutional mission of creating "productive, principled and involved citizens and leaders over a lifetime." The College has created a rich variety of LEV options for students including academic coursework, Leadership and Ethics Concentrations, academic degree options and co-curricular activities with depth and meaning. Students complete an advanced level seminar that focuses on LEV themes. LEV courses at the introductory and advanced levels offer opportunities to study the emergence and exercise of effective, moral leadership under various complex conditions which characterize our society and our world (see Course Descriptions for descriptions). The LEV program also offers students three minors concerned with leadership, social change and conflict resolution. Non-credit workshops help students develop leadership skills which can be practiced in campus and community activities. The program also sponsors—frequently in association with other campus groups—a range of conferences, speakers and seminars which bring to the campus academic experts on values and applied ethics, as well as recognized leaders in the professions, business and government.
Please see the Leadership, Ethics and Values section of the catalog for further details on academic opportunities.
Individualized Instruction and Off-Campus Study
Directed Study is the study of a course listed in the catalog on a tutorial basis. With the approval of the department chair and the division chair, a directed study is limited to rare cases for juniors and seniors.
Independent Study is the study, on a tutorial basis, of a topic not covered in course offerings listed in the catalog. With the approval of the department chair, the student and the faculty member agree upon the subject, but the responsibility for developing and completing the independent study lies primarily with the student.
Independent study opportunities are listed as course numbers 299, 399 and 499. They are normally available to juniors and seniors and require a 3.0 cumulative grade point average or a 3.0 grade point average in the major.
The first draft of the completed independent study form must be submitted to the supervising faculty member no later than the seventh week of the term prior to the term in which the independent study is to be completed. Application forms must be received in the Office of the Registrar no later than the first day of the term in which the student plans to do the independent study.
Richter Independent Study Fellowships provide North Central students an opportunity which is truly distinctive among undergraduate institutions. Grants up to $5,000 are awarded for independent study projects of unusual merit and scope. These projects normally require fieldwork, first-hand observation, interviews or access to primary information sources. Recent projects have involved travel abroad to Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America. In addition, small grants are available for faculty-led group projects and travel grants are available for participation in academic conferences. Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program and must be in good academic standing. Selection is competitive and is made by the Richter Independent Study Committee on the basis of an evaluation of proposals submitted by interested students. Detailed information as to the proposal process and the selection criteria is available in the Office of Academic Opportunities.
Internships give students an opportunity to apply their general liberal arts background to the professional work environment. The corporate and scientific communities in the area near North Central provide excellent opportunities for students to enrich their classroom experiences in this manner. Students may participate in an internship experience either for academic credit or on a non-credit basis.
Through credited department-based internships—courses numbered 297, 397 and 497—the student, in conjunction with a faculty supervisor and an on-site supervisor, designs a course of study that explores a particular subject in the context of the work environment. Each credit hour of internship requires a minimum of 50 hours on-site field experience and 10 hours of academic research and writing. Students must complete and submit the Internship Agreement Form prior to beginning the on-site experience. The internship must be completed by the end of the term in which the student receives academic credit. Completion of the required field experience hours is necessary to earn a passing grade. If the required hours are not verified by the on-site supervisor, a failing grade is assigned.
Non-credited internships are also available through Career Development. A minimum of 150 hours of on-site field experience is required for passing notation of the non-credited internship on the academic transcript.
SIROL (Student-in-Residence-on-Leave) status allows a student to attend a special program at another accredited institution overseas or in the United States while remaining officially enrolled at North Central. The student may participate in a Study Abroad program directly with a university abroad or a program sponsored by another American college or university (arrangements are made through the study abroad advisor) or attend such programs as the Washington Term at American University in Washington, D.C. (arrangements are made through the chair of the department of political science). SIROL status is normally granted for a maximum of one academic year.
Study Abroad is encouraged by North Central to enrich the academic and personal experiences of students. The College currently sponsors the following study abroad opportunities: student exchanges in Melbourne, Australia; Birmingham, Canterbury and Leicester, England; Angers, France; Athens, Greece; Chiba, Kameoka, Morioka, Nagoya and Tokyo, Japan; Nairobi, Kenya; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Seoul, South Korea; Seville, Spain; Växjö and Kalmar, Sweden; Taichung, Taiwan; and Istanbul, Turkey; and direct enrollment programs in Australia, Chile, China, England, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Scotland, Singapore, and Spain. In addition, programs are available through NAC&U (New American Colleges and Universities Study Abroad Programs) consortium, EAST (Educators Abroad Student Teaching) and SIROL.
Internships can be completed alongside course work in Melbourne, Australia; Beijing and Shanghai, China; San José, Costa Rica; Athens, Greece; Kameoka, Marioka and Nagoya, Japan; Nairobi, Kenya; Berlin and Heidelberg, Germany; Pune, India; Milan, Italy; amd Amman, Jordan. Students studying in Costa Rica and Marioka, Japan are required to do an internship as part of their program.
Study abroad must be planned and arranged in consultation with the study abroad advisor by the end of the winter term of the year preceding the academic year in which the student plans to study abroad. Such study, undertaken without prior approval of the study abroad advisor, may not be accepted for credit at North Central.
Consortium Exchange coursework is available to North Central students through the College's membership in the Council of West Suburban Colleges (CWSC). North Central degree candidates may cross-register for courses at Aurora University or Benedictine University as part of their regular course load without additional tuition. Information is available in the Office of the Registrar.
Morton Arboretum — The College maintains this affiliation through the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area. Located nearby in Lisle, Illinois, Morton Arboretum offers courses in botany, soil science, ecology and related areas in which North Central students may enroll for credit. Specific courses are announced annually, with key courses repeating on a two-year cycle. Information is available from the Department of Biology. Registration is arranged through the Office of the Registrar.
Shedd Aquarium — The College maintains this affiliation through the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area. Located in downtown Chicago, the Shedd Aquarium is truly one of the world's best aquariums and offers a variety of courses for credit in both freshwater and marine biology, some of which include trips to the Caribbean. Detailed information is available from the biology faculty. Registration is arranged through the Office of the Registrar.
Hooke College of Applied Sciences — The College maintains this affiliation through the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area. Located nearby in Westmont, Illinois, Hooke College of Applied Sciences offers courses in microscopy and related areas in which North Central students may enroll for credit. Detailed Information is available from either the Chemistry or Physics Departments. Registration is arranged through the Office of the Registrar.
Pre-Health — The Pre-Professional Health Program provides support and guidance to students planning for careers in healthcare. Students work toward a B.A. or B.S. degree at North Central in a major of their choosing based on their interests, skills and abilities. They apply for admission to a health professions program, typically in the junior or senior year of college, and begin that program following graduation from North Central. Pre-health areas include dentistry, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, podiatry and veterinary medicine.
Admission to health professions programs (masters or doctoral) is a competitive process based on academics and activities achieved prior to applying for the program. North Central's designated Pre-Professional Health Program Coordinator serves as a critical resource in identifying the academics and activities needed to be a competitive applicant, provides guidance and support during the application process and arranges for mock interviews as students prepare for the final steps prior to acceptance to their preferred programs. Prerequisite coursework varies for individual health professions programs, with common courses required in biology, chemistry, physics, math and psychology.
A wide range of support services is available to students preparing for careers in healthcare. The Pre-Health Organization (PHO), a student-led branch of the Student Government Association (SGA), was created to instill cooperation, education and a sense of community among pre-health students. The PHO sponsors a health professions speakers series, makes recommendations for healthcare related volunteer opportunities and identifies research opportunities for current students. In addition, the PHO reaches out to alumni that have achieved success in various health professions and encourages them to serve as mentors for North Central students.
Interested students should contact the Pre-Professional Health Program Coordinator or a member of the PHO executive board for more information.
Affiliate Program in Nursing — North Central College students are eligible for preferential admission to the Graduate Entry Master's (GEM) program at Rush University College of Nursing.
North Central students select a major of their choosing and complete specific prerequisite courses for the GEM program. Interested students apply to the GEM program during their senior year at North Central and begin the program in the Fall, Spring or Summer following graduation from North Central. Contact North Central College's Pre-Professional Health Program Coordinator for information about the program and prerequisite course work.
Podiatry — North Central College has developed an articulation agreement with the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine program. This intercollegiate program seeks to identify prospective students from North Central with an interest in earning the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree from the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine. Under this agreement, students will have the opportunity to participate in an accelerated 3+4 program receiving both the B.S. degree in Biology from North Central and the DPM degree from the Dr. William M. School College of Podiatric Medicine. For more information about the program, contact North Central's Pre-Professional Health Program Coordinator.
Engineering — North Central's dual-degree engineering program allows a student to earn both a bachelor of arts degree from North Central after four years of study and a bachelor of science degree from an engineering school after five years of study. The typical program involves three years of study at North Central, followed by two years of intensive course work in engineering at a school of engineering. During the first three years the student takes courses in chemistry, computer science, mathematics and physics-the foundation of engineering-as well as all the liberal arts courses needed for both degrees. Upon successful completion of North Central's portion of the program, the student is recommended for admission to a cooperating school of engineering where two more years of study lead to the B.S. degree in engineering. Formal agreements exist between North Central and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Minnesota. However, a student may complete the final two years of the program at any accredited school of engineering, subject to the approval of the chair of the Department of Physics. Students should note that completion of North Central's requirements does not automatically result in admission to the final two years of the program. Interested students should contact a member of the faculty in the Department of Physics for more information.
Pre-Law — The pre-law program at North Central College prepares students for admission to and success in law school. In coordination with the NCC Pre-law Club, an atmosphere of intellectual exchange and challenge is provided through courses, programs and individual consultation among students and pre-law faculty advisors.
Following the recommendations of the American Bar Association's statement on pre-law education (http://www.abanet.org/legaled/prelaw/prep.html), students are encouraged to take the most demanding courses they can find to prepare for their careers. Specifically, preparation for law school involves striving for excellence in the following skills and areas of knowledge: problem solving, critical reading, writing, oral communication and listening, research, task organization and management and a value for helping others and striving for justice.
There is no curricular track for pre-law at NCC: students matriculate into reading- and writing-intensive majors. While students of nearly any major can be admitted to and are successful in law school, the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences are recommended areas of study. Many pre-law students participate in NCC's excellent co-curricular programs, acquiring leadership experience crucial in a legal career. Some of the many relevant opportunities available are: The Mock Trial and Model UN teams, the Dispute Resolution program, internships and opportunities for service and travel in the U.S. and abroad.
Interested students should contact the current student president of NCC's Prelaw club, or one of NCC's pre-law advisors.
Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC)
North Central students are eligible to participate in two- and four-year ROTC programs leading to a commission in the U.S. Army or the U.S. Air Force. The four-year programs are open to entering freshmen, while the two-year programs are intended for junior-level transfer students or students with prior military service. ROTC classes are taught at Wheaton College (Army) and the Illinois Institute of Technology (Air Force). Students should contact the ROTC office at the appropriate institution to register for ROTC classes and to inquire about financial aid.
A maximum of ten North Central College credit hours (ten semester hours) of military science course work is accepted in transfer toward a North Central College degree. Prior to registering for ROTC course work, students should consult with the Office of the Registrar at North Central to verify which course work will be accepted in transfer. The student must also request that a transcript be sent to the North Central College Registrar after each term in which military science course work is completed.
Center for Student Success
Academic Advising — Each student is assigned an academic advisor who provides assistance with developing an academic and co-curricular plan. Students meet with their academic advisor on a regular basis to review their plan and are strongly encouraged to consult with their academic advisor prior to making any changes to their schedules. Students are expected to assume responsibility for planning their academic programs in accordance with College regulations, policies and requirements.
Academic Success Services — The academic success office provides a range of support to help students succeed academically. Services include free peer tutoring, EDGE: structured study, and BURST workshops. Walk-in tutoring is available during daytime hours at various locations across campus, while evening tutors are available as part of the EDGE program. EDGE is a structured study environment with quiet study areas, group collaboration space and walk-in tutoring. Individualized tutoring by appointment is also available. Help with study skills, test taking or other academic skills is available through our BURST workshops. Students should contact the Director of Student Academic Success Programs with questions.
Disability Support Services — The disability support office provides a range of support tailored to meet individual student needs who have a documented physical, emotional and/or learning disability. The goal of these services is to provide access and support so students may pursue their educational goals and participate in the activities of the College. More information about services and accommodations can be found under Services and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities in this catalog. Students should contact the Director of Student Disability Services with questions or to schedule a consultation.
Writing Center — The Writing Center offers peer support for writing, reading and critical thinking across all courses. Peer tutors work with students on every aspect of writing, from interpreting assignments and brainstorming, to initial drafting and revising. Your peers will ask questions, assist with organization and help you better understand style, grammar and proofreading.
Math Resource Center — The Math Resource Center provides daytime, peer tutoring assistance to help students succeed in math. This free, walk-in tutoring program supports students in a variety of 100-level math courses. During afternoon hours at the center, math faculty are also available to provide assistance.
School of Graduate and Professional Studies
Non-Traditional Studies — North Central College offers the opportunity for adult learners to complete their undergraduate educational goals through courses offered in the evenings or during the day. Adults may earn their first degree, add a second degree, complete elementary or secondary teacher certification requirements or enjoy a class as a student at-large. Students may complete all requirements for a B.A. or B.S. degree in eight majors through evening classes. This format, designed to maximize learning and facilitate efficient use of students' time, is taught by distinguished faculty members and is available each term. Additional majors are available for adult learners, but may require daytime classes to be included in the scheduling process.
For continuing studies students planning to attend classes primarily in the evening, degree programs are offered in accounting, management, computer science, entrepreneurship and small business management, finance, human resource management, marketing and psychology. In addition to minors in the areas mentioned above, minors in conflict resolution, English writing, history and leadership are also offered in the evening.
The evening course format is designed primarily for non-traditional studies students whose career and personal responsibilities make it difficult for them to pursue a North Central degree during the day. Evening classes meet either two nights per week or in a "jumbo" format one night per week. A special emphasis on assignments completed outside of class supplements class time and ensures that students taking courses in the jumbo format receive the same high quality education as students taking courses in other formats. Students taking evening classes are also eligible to enroll during the day as their schedule permits.
North Central College is committed to meeting the needs of all students in both traditional and non-traditional formats. This commitment ensures that all non-traditional studies students receive individualized academic advising and access to other college services and facilities.
Graduate Programs — North Central College offers seven graduate programs that complement and enhance the College's distinctive educational mission and liberal arts heritage by providing opportunities for advanced scholarly work and professional development:
- Master of Arts Degree in Education
- Curriculum and Instruction
- Teacher Leader or Reading Endorsements
- Educational Leadership and Administration Track
- Master of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies
- Writing, Editing and Publishing
- Culture and Society
- Master of Business Administration Degree
- Master of Leadership Studies Degree
- Professional Leadership
- Higher Education Leadership
- Sports Leadership
- Master of Science Degree in Computer Science
Administered by the School of Graduate and Professional Studies and faculty program coordinators, the graduate degrees are designed specifically for working adult students. Classes are offered in the evening, enabling students to balance work and family responsibilities with their graduate education. Most importantly, these programs are characterized by the same attributes which distinguish North Central's undergraduate programs, especially;
- Faculty recognized for their expertise in and commitment to teaching, as well as their ability to bridge academic theory with current and future professional practices
- Cross-curricular focus on the interrelatedness of knowledge among academic disciplines
- Emphasis on high-level critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills
- Small classes providing optimal student-faculty interaction and creating a learning environment which fosters both collaborative learning and individual inquiry
- Personalized academic and career advising by program faculty, counselors and administrative staff
- A "rolling" admission process allowing for multiple program entry points throughout the academic year
Integrated Five-Year Bachelor's/Master's Programs — The College offers six integrated programs leading to both a bachelor's and a master's degree: B.A. or B.S. in Accounting: CPA Track/M.B.A.; B.A. or B.S. in any discipline and M.B.A.; B.A. or B.S. in any discipline and M.S. in Computer Science; B.A. or B.S. in any discipline and M.A. in Liberal Studies; and B.A. or B.S. in any discipline and Master of Leadership Studies. Refer to Integrated Five-Year Bachelor's/Master's Programs or contact the Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies for additional details.