General Education Courses

Click on the course titles below for descriptions of courses in the School of Professional Studies general education program. These courses all have the prefix of "GS" in their course number. You can view course descriptions for each of the major course areas on their program requirements pages:

For a complete list of all North Park's programs and course offerings, review the academic catalog.

GS 0500 – eLearning-Prepare for Success

GS 1000 – College Composition
The goal of the course is competent writing, critical reading, responsible thinking, and applied understanding of the rhetorical range of the English language. Weekly essay and research paper. Enrollment by placement. In order to pass, students must earn a grade of C- (70%) or higher.

GS 1010 – Spanish I
Introduction to contemporary Spanish through materials relating to culture and civilization, with equal emphasis on listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Coordinated laboratory work.

GS 1015 – Introduction to Algebra
This course develops proficiency in basic mathematics and algebra. It is intended for adult students who need a refresher course in mathematics and/or algebra preparatory to taking the mathematics course (GS 1030, GS 1490 or above) necessary to fulfill the general requirements.

GS 1020 – Spanish II
Introduction to contemporary Spanish through materials relating to culture and civilization, with equal emphasis on listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Coordinated laboratory work. No credit for Spanish/French/German/Swedish/ Norwegian will be granted to students who have more than two years of high school Spanish, etc. or the equivalent within the last five years.

GS 1030 – Mathematical Concepts and Structures
Topics such as symbolic logic, set theory, axiomatic systems, non-Euclidean geometry, probability, and basic computer concepts will be covered.

GS 1040 – Chemistry in Our World
A seminar-based approach to some of the relevant issues of chemistry as applied to sociological, economic, and international contexts.

GS 1050 – Introduction to Psychology
An introduction to the methodology and the major content areas of psychology.

GS 1100 – Conceptual Physics
An introductory algebra-based course in physical science, this course will cover selected topics in physics and astronomy with some introduction to geology and meteorology as they pertain to planetary evolution and environments. Emphasis will be placed on the role of technology in society, physics as a human endeavor, and the present and future status of space exploration. Lab is included in this course.

GS 1160 – Astronomy
An introduction to basic principles and issues in astronomy. Topics include celestial observations, planetary mechanics, comparative planetology, star evolutions, galaxies, the earth-moon system, and the solar system. Students will also develop important insights into scientific inquiry through use of a variety of data sources. Lab is included in this course.

GS 1200 – Natural History of Illinois
A survey of the natural history of Illinois. Introduces basic concepts of natural history and environmental science. Develops the ability to think critically about scientific problems and concepts. Includes laboratory and field experiences.

GS 1250 – Nutrition
A general course in nutrition that will evaluate the eating habits of the student and suggest how to improve their diet. The digestive process, the role of macronutrients and micronutrients, and weight control will be explored. Nutrition will be examined from pregnancy through the elderly years. Eating disorders, food safety and the general problem of malnutrition throughout our world will be addressed. Independent laboratory activities will be assigned weekly to supplement lecture presentations.

GS 1400 – Personal Development
Examination of the traditional domains of mind, body and spirit, while exploring a holistic approach to the integration of those domains. This course will help students create a personal framework, which will serve them for life. Familiar habits that may lead to ill health will be challenged. Attitudes that respect the wisdom of the body will be cultivated. The interactions among the body, mind, and spirit will be explored. Contemporary interpretations of what contributes to wellness will be examined and applied in the service of identifying and implementing lasting lifestyle changes.

GS 1450 – Adult Fitness and Wellness
Comprehensive instruction in adult fitness and wellness strategies and activities. Particular attention will be paid to practical applications of fitness theories, appropriate nutritional behaviors, and examinations of commonly encountered health and wellness challenges encountered by adults. Includes applied exercise and activity components to assure comprehensive learning and fullness of appreciation for achieving personal fitness and wellness goals.

GS 1490 – Statistics in Practice
This course introduces students to modern statistical practice, focusing on the analysis of data. The most commonly used descriptive and inferential methods are covered. Students develop analytic skills for working with data to gain understanding of real-world problems in a variety of fields, and critical thinking skills regarding the role of statistics in the modern world.

GS 1500 – North Park Dialogue I
The First-Year Seminar is an interdisciplinary seminar focused on the classic philosophical question, Who am I? Students gain an introduction to the educational experience at North Park and sharpen skills of oral and written communication.

GS 1750 – Studies in Literature
Reading and analysis of the major forms of literary expression. This course is designed to acquaint the student with principles of aesthetic criticism applied to significant works of world literature.

GS 1850 – Introduction to Biblical Studies
An introductory survey of the history and theology of the Biblical narrative as it informs Christian faith today. Particular emphasis on the theological unity of the Bible's message.

GS 1910 – U.S. History to 1877
Development of a Western civilization on the American seaboard from colonial beginnings to 1877; emphasis on the colonial experience, Revolution, Constitution, evolution of institutions, division, and reunion.

GS 1920 – U.S. History Since 1877
Development of an industrial and urban society and its political, economic, social, and intellectual significance; emergence as a world power.

GS 1930 – Introduction to Sociology
Problems, fields, and methods of sociology. Emphasis on a theoretical frame of reference to explain basic social process, the role of culture in social behavior, the nature of social organization, and social and cultural change. Intensive reading in descriptive studies from a wide range of societies.

GS 1940 – American Government
This course will provide a general survey of American politics and government. The purpose is to explain, analyze, and increase your understanding of the processes and institutions by which our nation makes political decisions.

GS 2000 – North Park Dialogue II
The Second-Year Seminar focuses on the question Why should I be ethical? It furthers each student's entry into the life of the mind and continues the development of essential communication skills.

GS 2030 – Musical Connections: The Classical Tradition and American Jazz
This course is an introduction to the basic elements of music common to all periods and styles of music. Melody, harmony, and form will be defined as variables that create unique and recognizable musical styles. These styles will be illustrated with lectures and guided listening. The development of American Jazz as it emerged alongside the Western Classical Tradition will be a significant component. A sampling of major composers and their words from both traditions will be covered.

GS 2040 – Women in U.S. History
Intensive exploration of the history of work as exemplified by women in the United States. Emphasis on developing the requisite skills for historical inquiry. Opportunity for independent inquiry within the overall theme of the course.

GS 2050 – Strategies and Technologies for Professional Development
Students will develop transferable skills for academic and professional success, including written and oral communication, use of technology, problem solving, critical reasoning, and lifelong learning. Adult learners will assess their own learning styles, practices, and experiences; reflect on personal and professional roles and goals; and develop learning plans for achieving those goals. Emphasis on understanding fundamental concepts of information technology necessary to effectively exploit computers as tools for academic and professional development. Orientation to expectations of baccalaureate education in general and North Park University learning resources in particular. This is a required course for all incoming School of Adult Learning students.

GS 2070 – Fluency with Information Technology
This course will develop proficiency with contemporary word processing, spreadsheet, database, presentation, e-mail, and browser application. The course will also introduce fundamental knowledge underlying information technology including how computers work, how information is represented digitally, modeling and abstraction, and algorithm discovery. Finally, this course will facilitate development of higher-level thinking processes necessary for exploiting IT: problem solving, reasoning, managing complexity, and troubleshooting. Limitations and social implications of technology will also be addressed. Second course in SAL Core sequence.

GS 2080 – Writing for the Disciplines
The focus of this course is on helping students to develop communication skills, both written and oral. The course provides instruction and practice in the explanatory, analytical, and persuasive writing that is found in multiple disciplines, emphasizing a writing-to-learn method. Students are given guidance through the writing process and through providing sources and ideas for thinking, rhetorical analysis and writing of complex essays, at least one of which utilizes and documents research, so that students also develop skill in information literacy and the appropriate method of documentation. Additionally, they develop skill in effective and persuasive oral presentation. Overall, students are given opportunities to learn and practice skills for success in their chosen careers, both in college and beyond.

GS 2210 – Jesus of Nazareth
The life and teachings of Jesus studied with reference to current research. Explores the quest for the historical Jesus, the historicity of the gospels, and the method and message of Jesus' teachings.

GS 2250 – Film Studies
An exploration of relationships between film and society through the study of film aesthetics, film history, and film criticism. Emphasis will be placed on the criticism of narrative films. Critical skills will be developed through discussion, assigned readings, research, and writing.

GS 2260 – The Modern World
The Modern World is an introduction to the cultures and historical developments of the major world regions and their global interactions in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries.

GS 2300 – Faith and Business
The course will foster student understanding of the interplay between Christianity and business and encourage students to consider the issues related to individual Christians as entrepreneurs, employees, leaders and observers of business. It will also examine Christian approaches to business such as Kingdom Business, Christ-centered, marketing and management, and Biblical and moral principles for the work place. The purpose of the course is to encourage students to discover how faith and business can co-exist and to construct a theology of Christian business that will guide them in their career.

GS 2510 – African-American History to 1865
Explores the history of African Americans beginning with African origins and continuing through the Civil War. Focuses on Black religion, identity formation, participation in plantation society, and contribution to American culture. Emphasizes African-American self-expression through a reading of primary sources, especially slave narratives.

GS 2520 – African-American History from 1865 to the Present
Explores the history of African Americans from the end of the Civil War to the present. Investigates Black identity formation, migration and urbanization, leadership production, protest strategies, and recent political movements. Gives attention to the writings of African-American authors, especially those of the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights Movement.

GS 2550 – Christian Ethics
A study of the moral implications of the Christian faith, with emphasis on their integration into personal belief.

GS 2560 – C.S. Lewis
A study of the life and thought of C.S. Lewis. Emphasis will be given to his religious ideas, his understanding of the Christian doctrine, and his methods of commending the Christian faith by reason and imagination.

GS 2600 – Comparative Politics
An introductory comparative study of the political institutions of the nations of Europe and selected nations of the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Political parties, ideologies, military, social revolution, and modernization will be considered.

GS 3000 – North Park Dialogue III: Community
How are communities formed? What unites them? What divides them? How do communities change over time? What makes some communities ethical and others unethical? What role does nationalism, language, religion, race and ethnicity, economics, and geography play in the formation of community? What is the relationship between community and multiculturalism? What light do various academic disciplines bring to bear on the way communities function? This course asks students to engage with the assumptions about community embodied in a variety of historical primary texts, and to explore their own roles in the communities they inhabit. This course emphasizes reading strategies and models of intellectual inquiry, while simultaneously asking students to analyze their own participation in one or more contemporary communities.

GS 3150 – Global Themes in History
An introduction to the cultures, historical developments and global interactions of the world history through an intense examination of one of its significant themes.

GS 3520 – Christian Spirituality
An examination of the nature of Christian spirituality with emphasis on spiritual development and maturity. Relevant literature of a variety of approaches to spirituality will be introduced and evaluated.

GS 3620 – World Religions
Study of the common features and distinctive motifs that characterize some of the main religious traditions; Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and others. Emphasis on development of a methodology for reading and interpreting the world's religions.

GS 3910 – Topics in General Studies
An intensive investigation of a selected topic offered from time to time at the discretion of the department.

GS 4000 – Integrative Capstone Seminar
This capstone seminar is required for all SAL students and is to be taken in the semester prior to graduation. The student will develop a professional portfolio by revising the resume and professional development plan initiated during the first term at North Park. Participants will reflect on their own learning and professional growth through discussion and synthesis of the University learning outcomes, as well as outcomes specific to each student's major. An opportunity for feedback on the various types of services that have been part of their experience as well as discussion about methods for continuing service after graduation will be provided. This seminar serves as the final component of the School of Adult Learning assessment of student learning program. A variety of other resources will be shared to help the student continue as a life-long learner.

GS 4910 – Topics in International Settings
The School of Adult Learning encourages adult students to understand the implications of a global community, both theoretically and experientially. Topics within the overall theme of the course will be announced one year prior to offering the exchange. Study will include three to four weeks of in-class preparation, one to two weeks in a foreign country (e.g., Sweden, Mexico), one to two in-class sessions upon return. A journal will be kept throughout the experience.