North Park University - Chicago North Park University - Chicago

General Education Program

General Education Requirements

The School of Professional Studies’ general education programs includes a set of professional studies core courses and other courses that cover a wide range of disciplines and provide a strong liberal arts foundation to accompany any of the SPS majors. Students earning a bachelor of arts (BA) degree in any School of Professional Studies major must earn 44 semester hours of general education courses. These may be taken at North Park University or transferred to the University from a previous institution.

Professional Studies Core Courses

All students in the School of Professional Studies will begin their coursework at North Park by taking two core courses that are designed to prepare adult students for the college classroom. They must be successfully completed before you taken any courses for your chosen major.

Foundation Seminar (4 sh)

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.

Research Writing Designation (4 sh)

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.

General Education Courses

Students may choose from the following courses to fulfill their remaining required semester hours, provided they meet the required semester hours for each category represented.

Human Society (8 sh)
Each of the following courses fulfills 4 sh: 

Focus on macro (external) and micro (internal) environments of business, and monetary and fiscal policy as applied to interest rates, growth, income and prices. The expanding role of the international economy is discussed. The ethics of business and governmental policymaking are examined.



Provides an interdisciplinary and critical analysis of the criminal justice system in the United States. Emphasis is on key theories, causation of crime, and pertinent research that assesses the implications for policies related to crime control and prevention. An analysis of the roles of the police, prosecution, defense attorneys, and courts, from diversionary processes to arrest, trial and sentencing and imprisonment. An examination of contemporary structures and practices of corrections will build upon a historical understanding of the criminal justice system in the United States. Representative Supreme Court decisions in the law of arrest, right to counsel, capital punishment, search and seizure, and self-incrimination are analyzed.


An introduction to the methodology and the major content areas of psychology.

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.

Christian Life and Thought (4 sh)
Each of the following courses fulfills 4 sh:

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.


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.


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


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.

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.

Biblical Studies (4 sh)
Fulfills 4 sh:

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.

Art & Aesthetic Interpretation (2 sh)
Each of the following courses fulfills 2-3 sh:

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.


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.

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.

Health and Well-Being (2 sh)
Each of the following courses fulfills 2 sh: 

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.

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.

Analytical & Quantitative Reasoning (4 sh)
Each of the following courses fulfills 4 sh: 

Topics such as symbolic logic, set theory, axiomatic systems, non-Euclidean geometry, probability, and basic computer concepts will be covered.

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.

Ethical Reasoning (2 sh) Integrated into majors
Each of the following courses fulfills 4 sh: 

An intense examination of the ethical dilemmas and diversity issues facing the professional criminal justice practitioner. Myths and realities surrounding race, gender, social class, and the relationship to the criminal justice system are discussed. Typical applied ethical issues might include the following: plea bargaining, capital punishment, insanity defense, mandatory sentencing, search and seizure rules, white collar crime, terrorism, and community-based alternatives to incarceration.


The practicum includes observation and hands-on experience within an appropriate agency. The student will develop and/or work on a larger institutional-wide project. It involves reflection and application of theory and research learned in the classroom to practical situations in the work setting. The student will apply counseling theory and methods utilizing traditional and multicultural perspectives to inform their practice. The practicum is designed to increase the student's knowledge related to the available resources in communities, churches, hospitals and social service agencies. The practicum is one full semester in length.


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


An introduction to ethics and to ethical decision-making. A basic overview of value systems and ethical paradigms, utilizing a seminar format. Discussion of how values and ethics may be applied to the issues and dilemmas of the business world.

Natural Sciences (4 sh) Must include lab component

Each of the following courses fulfills 2 sh: 

A seminar-based approach to some of the relevant issues of chemistry as applied to sociological, economic, and international contexts.


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.


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.

Each of the following courses fulfills 4 sh: 

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.

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.

Intercultural & Global Competence (8 sh)
Each of the following courses fulfills 4 sh: 

This is a course designed to introduce students to international business and the role of multinational corporations (MNC) in today's global economy. The course will address international business issues that need to be understood by managers of organizations with worldwide operations and/or plans to commence foreign operations. The course focuses on, international business issues such as; political, cultural, social, legal, economic, financial, trade and investment, regional trading blocks, role of nation state, and multi-national institutions. By the end of the course, students should gain a global perspective and be aware of the potential of international business in today's fast changing competitive business environment.


Application of principles and methods which address social issues and problems related to diverse populations. Topics addressed may include law and justice, health and health care, education, and inter-group relations. Engages the student in the applications of principles and methods of counseling and social services. The student develops abilities in the areas prevention and social level interventions. Systemic and ecological theories of human behavior as they pertain to the individual and community will be discussed. The student will develop skills in interviewing, assessment, and evaluation with diverse populations.


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


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.


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.


An introduction to the cultures, historical developments and global interactions of the world history through an intense examination of one of its significant themes.


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.

PLA: Language Exam (4-8 sh)

Writing Intensive Designation (4 sh) Integrated into majors
Each of the following courses fulfills 4 sh: 


Provides a capstone experience for the business administration and organizational and management and leadership major. As such it will summarize and synthesize the various disciplines of management and will assist the student in creating a strategic future for the (business) organization. The course will examine the key dimensions of strategic management: mission determination, environmental scanning, organizational analysis, strategy selection and organizational implementation. Students will complete a summary project requiring individual and team research, quantitative data gathering and qualitative analysis in service of creating a new direction for an existing organization. Throughout, the ethical dimensions of decision-making and implementation will be emphasized. The course will allow students to apply the lessons of strategic thinking to their own career direction.


The contemporary juvenile justice system is analyzed from historical and philosophical perspectives. An overview of the procedures, structures, and treatment of juvenile offenders are provided as well as an exploration of the purpose and primary operations of juvenile detention and probation services. Further emphasis is placed on the nature and extent of delinquency, theories of causation, current trends, prevention, problem solving, and the delivery of services to this population. Students compare and contrast different approaches and future trends in juvenile justice among countries within and outside of the United States.


Designed to expose the student to how the scientific enterprise is applied to research on human development. A three-pronged focus includes research design, data collection, and the use of statistics in the analysis and interpretation of data.


Uses a case-finding approach in a study of biopsychosocial disorders across the lifespan, particularly their assessment and treatment. Traditional categories of psychological disturbance will be discussed as well as issues associated with the duality of illness and wellness, and the legal and ethical implications of mental dysfunction.


Addresses the four main processes that nonprofits use to interact with internal and external audiences for the purpose of building public and financial support for their missions: 1) Marketing; 2) Fundraising; 3) Social Enterprise; and 4) Advocacy/Government Relations. Current trends and best practices in nonprofit marketing and fundraising. Provides an overview of current approaches to earned-income generation, along with the potential and pitfalls of these methods. Identifies and addresses ethical issues related to fundraising, marketing, earned-income, and lobbying.



Communicating in the workplace with emphasis on written, verbal, non-verbal, and other visual modes of communication. The processes of imparting and receiving information are emphasized. Business writing, the use of visual aids, and professional presentation methods are put into practice. Ethical behavior in communications is examined.

The environment of marketing, including market identification and selection, the concepts of marketing mix, target markets, and the product life cycle as applied to the global economy, are fundamental to the course. Company mission and Maslow's hierarchy are implemented to determine organizational fit. Consumer behavior, organizational markets, product planning and development, and the essentials of marketing communication are presented and analyzed. Service and non-profit marketing procedures are included. The ethics of marketing and processes are examined.

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.

Major Course Requirements

General education courses accompany the individual course requirements of a student’s chosen major. You can view the course requirements and descriptions for each of the majors on their program requirements pages: