North Park University - Chicago North Park University - Chicago

Undergraduate Programs

Core Curriculum

North Park University’s commitment to preparing students for lives of significance and service begins with the first class students take and continues until graduation. Our academic program is built around the philosophy that we, as a university, have a responsibility to help students grow in their learning to see how skills, knowledge, and values work together to help them make both a life and a living.

We mean this: We want you, as a North Park graduate, to pursue a career about which you are passionate, and through which you will find the unique ways you can make a difference, become a leader, or otherwise impact the world.

So how does it work? Starting with the framework of North Park’s identity as a Christian, liberal arts institution, our Core Curriculum is intentionally multi-disciplinary and multi-year. It is set up as a progress through three areas: Foundation Courses, Explorations Courses, and Keystone Courses. You can also take advantage of programs and opportunities outside the classroom, like the Campus Theme Lecture Series, which will enhance your learning and help you engage with the full campus community around life’s compelling questions.

Foundations Courses

Cornerstone Seminar: Making a Life of Significance

As a freshman, ideally in your first semester, you’ll enroll in a Cornerstone Seminar course, which helps you ask the questions, “Who am I?” and, “What does it mean to be human?” As you think and talk about these big questions, you’ll consider how people around the world and across time have answered them. You’ll also work on your writing and critical thinking skills as you transition into university-level coursework.

Over the next two to three semesters, you’ll complete more core requirements such as courses in Bible, a modern language, mathematics, health and well-being, and global histories, rounding out the Foundations Courses and preparing for more in-depth work in both the Core Curriculum and your major.

Explorations Courses

Part two of the Core Curriculum is the Explorations Courses. Covering subject area requirements such as the life sciences, physical sciences, culture and society, Christian life and thought, aesthetic interpretation and the arts, and ethical reasoning, you’ll get to choose from a wide range of classes, some of which may also meet requirements in your major. These classes all represent knowledge in specific disciplines, with strong emphasis on how you can use them in the context of your own life. For example, you may choose to take World Music in Cultural Perspective, in which you’ll analyze cultural and historical developments of major world regions through music.

Ethical Reasoning

A hallmark of the Explorations course grouping is the ethical reasoning requirement. By confronting ethical issues in the world, and discussing them with your peers and professors, we hope you’ll consider not only professional ethics, but also moral values, ethical principles, and how you will choose to live and act throughout your life. This ethics requirement may be met by a course specific to your major, such as Business and Professional Ethics or Nursing Ethics, or may be chosen from a menu of course options.

Writing Intensive

Our Core Curriculum is also designed to help you be a better communicator, both in speech and writing. In any career you choose, writing clearly and doing effective research are valuable skills. All of your Core Curriculum courses will include writing components, but you’ll also be required to take two courses in the context of your major—one writing intensive and one research intensive—to specifically address these skills.

Keystone Courses

In your third year, as you begin completing your major requirements and move closer to graduation, you’ll also be thinking about how to apply what you’ve been learning to whatever comes next, whether that’s a job, graduate or professional school, or another great adventure. The Core Curriculum includes Keystone requirements to help you integrate learning from your major, Core Curriculum courses, and other electives as you get ready for your next step.

Keystone Seminar: Making a Life of Service

The Keystone Seminar course will ask the question, “How do I live responsibly in my community and in the world?” and include opportunities for service-learning and community engagement.

At the end of it all, we’re confident that you’ll be ready to embark on your own journey.

Next Steps

Please note: Students who enrolled at North Park prior to Fall 2013 should still follow the previous general education requirements, including the Dialogue curriculum.