Jul 17, 2024  
ARCHIVED 2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
ARCHIVED 2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Natural Sciences, B.A.

The Shimer School Natural Sciences Major revolves around a series of questions into fundamental aspects of the natural world and methods devised to investigate them. Classic and major contemporary works of cosmology, biology, chemistry and physics, as well as historical analyses of their development, form the core sequence in the Natural Sciences curriculum.  Students come to know and understand these texts and the direct inquiries they guide partly through individual reflection, but also through collaborative experimentation, small-class discussions and intensive writing, peer-editing and revision of essays and accounts of experiments. While each course focuses on a single theme of inquiry, the Natural Sciences sequence as a whole pushes students to grapple not only with the complexities within seemingly simple questions, but also to understand the larger social, cultural and historical contexts in which natural scientific knowledge is developed.

Breadth and depth of knowledge and skills characterize graduates of the Shimer School.  Through the core curriculum of the Shimer School they immerse themselves in major classic and contemporary works of human expression, social thought and scientific knowledge and practice.  Their broad familiarity with fundamental ideas and methods across the Liberal Arts provides the foundation on which they build increasingly refined understanding and skills in more specialized courses in chosen disciplines taught across North Central College.  Shimer School graduates thus find meaningful employment in an unusually broad array of fields, including teaching, social work, law, small business and entrepreneurial enterprise and non-profit administration among the most common.

For additional programs and courses in this school, see Shimer Great Books School .

Major Requirements

Natural Sciences Electives

Eight elective credits in Natural Sciences:

  • Four credits that carry a prefix of SGBN at the 300-level or above
  • Four credits from the SGBN prefix or another approved Natural Sciences course carrying a prefix outside the Shimer School.


*Consult with the Department Chair for a list of approved courses

Comprehensive Examination

  • Pass the Shimer Great Books Basic Studies Comprehensive Exam (following successful completion of at least six of the required courses at the 100-level).

Additional Requirements for the B.A. Degree

Students must demonstrate elementary competence in a foreign language. For more information, see the B.A. Degree Requirements  within the Academic Regulations section of this catalog.