The Northwest Core

(General education)

Northwest prides itself on providing students with meaningful and rigorous learning opportunities through academic and other educational, co-curricular experiences.  These opportunities are integrated into The Northwest Core, which is the foundation of student life at the University.

Both the academic and co-curricular opportunities of The Northwest Core are designed to give students the knowledge and skills to:

  • lead productive and meaningful lives
  • practice life-long learning
  • engage intelligently and humanely with diverse and global populations
  • excel in their chosen careers
  • act as leaders in their communities

To accomplish these goals, The Northwest Core, through academic and co-curricular experiences, focuses on:

Communication - Northwest students will understand the role of writing and speaking in living and learning, and speak and write effectively in a variety of contexts.

Critical Thinking - Northwest students will engage in disciplined thought to generate and communicate ideas.

Managing Information - Northwest students will successfully locate, retrieve, organize, store, synthesize, and annotate various forms of information.

Valuing - Northwest students will understand the formation and context of values.

The Northwest Core - Academics

Through coursework, The Northwest Core - Academics enables and encourages students to acquire and use the knowledge, intellectual tools, and creative capabilities necessary to study the world as it is, at it has been understood, and as it might be imagined.

Courses in The Northwest Core - Academics are organized into components:

Foundations provides students with the knowledge and skills needed for success at the University, and focusing on oral and written communication, critical thinking, and contemporary technology, prepares them to lead productive and meaningful lives.

Contexts provides students with opportunities to explore and understand the world from different vantage points--globally, through the lens of western civilization, and from the American perspective.

Connections provides students with opportunities to study how the knowledge and skills gained in Foundations and Contexts coalesce in the arts and sciences.

Interspersed among these components are opportunities for interdisciplinary engagement courses, which empower students to investigate themes and concepts from the perspective of two or more disciplines simultaneously, and encourage the transfer of knowledge and skills across those disciplines.

The Northwest Core - Co-Curricular

Co-Curricular learning is designed to extend the Northwest Core competencies developed in the classroom environment to the student's involvement in an inclusive campus community experience--engagement in committed action, personal development through continuous learning, and leadership in a professional environment.  This integration of the Core curriculum with co-curricular activities prepares students for career-ready professional life and engaged citizenship in a comprehensive learning environment.


The Northwest Core - Academics Portion of Degree Requirements

In order to complete the bachelor’s degree, students must take The Northwest Core requirements for their specific degree, plus major and/or minor requirements as specified by the department, plus electives as needed to total a minimum of 124 semester hours.

It is important for students to work closely with their academic advisors when selecting courses, as not all courses fulfill requirements for all degrees. Students who change their majors, choose double majors or additional certification, or who do not choose courses carefully may need more than 124 semester hours to complete a degree program.