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General Education Program

The General Education program or "core curriculum" constitutes MacMurray College's Foundation Program. The core curriculum provides the common, shared legacy of all MacMurray College graduates and is designed to realize two traditional objectives of a liberal education — the "training of the mind" and the development of a breadth of perspective — thereby enabling MacMurray graduates to be open to new ideas and yet to be discriminating in their judgment of the merit of those ideas. The courses of our core curriculum emphasize the development of skills that are critical for success in any field as well as enabling graduates to continue the process of self-education.

MacMurray's General Education Program aims to educate graduates who

  1. can think critically;
  2. are effective communicators;
  3. are knowledgeable about pivotal ideas and ethical insights that have shaped human civilizations;
  4. can apply this knowledge to contemporary social problems and their chosen fields of study.


(39 credit hours are required.)


CMP 101. Composition I: Basic Argumentation. (3) This course teaches students clear and focused expository writing. Basic Argumentation emphasizes sentence-level clarity as well as the development of a strong thesis and relevant support.

CMP 102. Composition II: Advanced Argumentation. (3) This course focuses on the skills necessary for successful research writing. Advanced Argumentation emphasizes strong thesis development, useful research strategies, and the synthesis of evidence using proper documentation.

CMP 103. Composition III: Communications. (3) This course teaches students how to prepare and deliver informative, persuasive, and special occasion speeches. Communications emphasizes public speaking etiquette (both verbal and non-verbal), argumentation, organization, citation of evidence, delivery, and the use of visual aids.

Fine Arts

FAA 207. Art History I. (3) History of the visual arts from the Renaissance through the Twentieth century, with major focus on epochs of Western art history. Topics include a study of the visual arts, painting, sculpture, architecture, and related arts against the background of cultural, political, and economic development.


HUP 207. Contemporary Ethics. (3) Introduction to ethical theory and its practical application to contemporary moral issues.

HUR 207. Understanding Religion in Contemporary Society. (3) An academic study of prevailing world religions. The course will focus on the components of various religious systems with particular attention to how they are expressed in contemporary society. The interplay of social, economic, and political issues with religious traditions will also be explored.


MATH 107. Foundations in Math. (3) Cover topics in problem solving and critical thinking; number theory and the real number system; equations and inequalities; graphs, functions, and linear systems; consumer math and financial management; counting methods and probability; and statistics.

Natural Sciences

NSB 207. Controversies in Biology. (3) Introduction to general biological theory for the non-science major with an emphasis on topics currently being debated in the popular media as they relate to society and daily life.

NSP 207. Explorations in Astronomy. (3) This course is designed for non-science majors; it begins with the history of astronomy and the tools of the astronomer. The course continues with the chemical and physical principles necessary to understand how we know what we know about the universe, galaxies, stars, our solar system, and other aspects of basic astronomy. We will discuss current events relevant to astronomy and learn to identify some objects in the sky. This course has no prerequisites.

Social Sciences

SSPO 207. Introduction to American Government. (3) A survey of the main concepts, theories, institutions, and actors in the American political system. The course will also analyze the US Constitution.

SSPS 207. Introduction to Psychology. (3) Introduction to the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. Topics may include learning, thinking, memory, sensation, perception, abnormal behavior, and treatments.


TEC 101. Technology in the Workplace. (3) This course examines the influence of technology on organizations with a focus on how technology can improve organizational performance. Practical application of information technology for personal and professional productivity is explored. The objective is to use technology appropriately and fluently to organize, analyze, and communicate information. Topics include hardware, software, office applications, information security and ethics, social media, and the Internet.

Value Conflicts

VC 247. Value Conflicts in the Western Tradition: Ancient and Classical Worlds. (3) Focuses on the ideas of the ancient Hebrews, the ancient Greeks and Romans, the early Christians, and the early Muslims, with primary readings form those cultures. Students will be acquainted with the social, political, and religious environments in which texts were written and asked to explore connections between historical contexts and contemporary issues.

VC 347. Value Conflicts in the Western Tradition: The High Middle Ages Through the Enlightenment. (3) Focuses on the ideas of the High Middle Ages through the 18th century, with primary readings from those periods. Students will be acquainted with the social, political, and religious environments in which texts were written and asked to explore connections between historical contexts and contemporary issues. Issues to be addressed may include the development of individualism and rise of humanism, changing epistemologies, religious schism and toleration, women and the social construction of gender roles, ethnocentrism, and the promotion of natural rights.

VC 447. Value Conflicts in the Western Tradition: Diversity in America. (3) Re-examines ideas and values found in the readings from the classical canon and introduces alternate perspectives and voices from groups outside the dominant narrative. The course introduces students to the ways that some cultures and groups have been marginalized in the United States and how these groups have fought for full participation and inclusion in American society.

VC 497. Capstone Project. (3) The Capstone Project provides an opportunity for students to synthesize and evaluate how they have met the outcomes of the core or general education program. In this course, students put the final touches on their core digital portfolio which they have been developing throughout their tenure in the online degree program as well as complete internal and external exit exams and surveys. Students complete the course by writing a position paper on a social or ethical problem pertinent to their major area of concentration. Prerequisites: senior standing and successful completion of CMP 101, 102, 103 and and VC 247, 347, 447.