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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.

The program aims to educate students who

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

These are the general education requirements:

Academic Area Requirement
First Year Experience Seminar (required of new first-year students only) 1 course (1 credit hour)
Rhetorical Skills Sequence 3 courses (9 credit hours)
Mathematics for Liberal Arts (Math 121) 1 course (3 credit hours)
Issues of Community and Conflict Sequence 4 courses (12 credit hours)
Breadth Component 4 courses (13 credit hours)
Assessments such as the Junior-Level Writing Examination and Assessment Day


MACM 101. The First Year Experience Seminar. (1) An introduction to the College, its history, its mission, its programs, and its opportunities. The course also addresses topics and issues of concern to today's college students: how to succeed at MacMurray; how to succeed after graduating; strategies for making the most of the college years, academically and socially; and an introduction to the resources available in the local community. The class meets in small groups that use interactive, participatory approaches to discussion and learning. Required of all new first-year students.


The Rhetorical Skills sequence is designed to introduce students to the communication skills that they will need throughout their college career and in later life. It should normally be completed during the first three semesters at MacMurray. All three courses must be completed with a grade of C or better.

RHET 101. College Writing. (3) Focuses on writing to the point — expository writing with a clear thesis and relevant supporting evidence. Teaches students to read, think, and discuss critically by examining, summarizing, comparing, and contrasting the ideas in selected readings. Also includes attention to citing sources and demonstrating acceptable contemporary English usage. No prerequisite. Offered every semester.

RHET 102. College Writing and Research. (3) Focuses on writing a research paper, using the library and the Internet for research. It also emphasizes argumentation and persuasion, as well as discussion of opposing views on a contemporary issue. Prerequisite: Rhetoric 101. Offered every semester.

RHET 103. Public Speaking. (3) Teaches students to prepare and deliver informative and persuasive speeches in an extemporaneous mode. The course emphasizes organization, use and citation of evidence, argumentation, and delivery. In addition, the course seeks to develop an understanding of the personal and ethical responsibilities underlying effective public discourse. To be taken concurrently with Rhetoric 102 or in the first semester of the sophomore year. Offered every semester.


MATH 121. Mathematics for Liberal Arts. (3) Covers topics in problem solving and critical thinking; number theory; the real number system; equations and inequalities; graphs, functions, and linear systems; consumer math and financial management; counting methods and probability; and statistics. No prerequisite.

Issues of Community and Conflict

The Issues of Community and Conflict sequence is designed to be an integrated approach to understanding the major ideas which have shaped the Western World and their effects on political, scientific, economic, religious, and cultural development. Its purpose is to acquaint students with the ideas, experiences, and innovations which have had a continuing impact in history and by presenting these themes in a broad context to demonstrate the interrelatedness of all fields of knowledge and human endeavor.

The sequence consists of four courses with students beginning the sequence in their sophomore year. Throughout the sequence students will be required to read and respond to primary source materials in literature, history, philosophy, science, religion, economics, politics, government, and the arts. Students will be expected to write several papers and to articulate and defend their views about the material being covered. Thus, in addition to providing students with a common fund of ideas, and with them a breadth of perspective, the sequence also requires students to further their powers of analysis, written expression, and oral communication.

IOCC 201. The 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 from 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. Normally to be taken in the sophomore year. Prerequisite: Rhetoric 102. Transfer rules applicable. Offered every semester.

IOCC 301. 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. Transfer rules applicable. Offered every semester.

IOCC 350. Diversity and the American Experience. (3) Where the earlier IOCC courses focus on primary readings from the classical canon and discuss ideas and values present in the dominant narrative of the Western Tradition, IOCC 350 re-examines this narrative and provides a corrective to it or at least challenges the notions underlying many of the traditional values and ideas found in the classical canon. This course introduces students to the ways that some cultures and voices have been marginalized in the United States and how these groups have fought for full citizenship. Students will examine the issues and challenges that arise as American culture evolves in response to the many and varied influences that impact how we define ourselves in the 21st century. Normally to be taken in the junior or senior year. Prerequisite: junior standing. Transfer rules applicable. Offered every semester. (Formerly numbered as CULS 300.)

IOCC 401. The Modern and Post-Modern World. (3) Focuses on the ideas of the 19th and 20th centuries, with primary readings from those periods. Particular attention will be paid to the global implications of the key questions. In a final argumentative paper, students will synthesize the ideas and themes encountered in the IOCC sequence with contemporary issues applicable to their major field of study. Prerequisite: IOCC 301 Transfer rules applicable. Offered every semester.

Breadth Component

To experience and appreciate the variety of approaches and perspectives available for understanding the modern world, students take courses in four liberal arts areas outside their major. Students are required to take one course from each of the following four areas.

The Natural Science course must be a laboratory course, except for students majoring in Biology. Laboratory courses are offered in biology, chemistry, and physics.

Courses meeting breadth requirements are indicated on the schedule of classes. At the far right on the schedule, these abbreviations are used:

Junior-Level Writing Examination

MacMurray students are expected to demonstrate good writing habits in all courses. To assure writing competency, in order to qualify for graduation all students must pass a writing proficiency examination when they reach junior standing. The examination is offered several times a year. Students who do not pass may repeat the examination as often as necessary. Times and dates are announced by the Records and Registration Office.

Assessment Day

On Senior Assessment Day all seniors scheduled for graduation complete standardized assessments of the academic skills learned in a liberal arts institution like MacMurray. Recognition is provided to all students scoring above national norms on any part of this examination or on the whole examination. No other senior courses meet on Assessment Day.

Developmental Courses

To prepare students for success in Mathematics 121, Rhetoric 101, and college-level reading, MacMurray offers three developmental courses. Placement in the courses is determined by the student's record in high school and on placement exams. The courses count in the student's course load and grade point average but not as hours toward graduation.

MATH 091. Developmental Mathematics. (3) This course prepares students for Mathematics 121. It develops the arithmetic of real numbers; uses ratios, proportions, and percents to solve real-life problems; and reviews measurement and practical geometry emphasizing applications to perimeter, area, and volume of common geometric figures.

READ 091. Developmental Reading. (3). This course provides professional assistance to students needing to improve their reading comprehension, vocabulary, pronunciation, and study skills.

RHET 091. Developmental Writing. (3) For students who need to review language skills to be prepared to take Rhetoric 101. This course provides a review of basic sentence parts, correct usage, mechanics, and punctuation, as well as the use of coordinated and subordinated sentence elements. Improving sentences through sentence combining and use of embedded constructions is reviewed through guided sentence practice. Writing skills are developed through extensive paragraph and essay writing practice.

Study Skills Course

For certain students on academic probation, the college offers a study skills course.

MACM 201. Study Skills. (1) This course is designed to support students who are on academic probation through weekly contact, self-assessment, time management planning, focus on accepting personal responsibility and self-management as well as mastering the Wise Choice process to give students tools to improve their academic performance. Study strategies and self-improvement tips will be explored. Graded Pass/Fail.