University Core Curriculum

University Core Curriculum

Effective for students admitted or readmitted in Fall 2016, or later, the University Core Curriculum, encompassing both the General Education-Distributive Learning ("Gen Ed) program and Engaged Learning Experiences (ELE) courses will develop and enhance students' intellectual and practical skills through immersion in disciplines and fields of study and by learning within the resources of community and diversity at Northeastern. Critical inquiry, learning how to recognize and respond to important questions, is the essence of the liberal arts and sciences. Through public engagement, including research experiences, creative performance, and civic involvement, students can connect and adapt disciplinary practices and thinking beyond the classroom. Students completing the requirements of the University Core Curriculum will gain tools to become life-long learners, reflective individuals, ethical professionals, and active members of their communities. Through the University Core Curriculum, students will develop a broad foundation of knowledge and skills that will support advanced study and civic responsibility; and integrate and apply multiple intellectual perspectives of increasing complexity to new situations.

The University Core Curriculum includes both the General Education-Distributive Learning Program consisting of twelve courses, and Engaged Learning Experiences consisting of three courses.

General Education-Distributive Learning Program

For specific information on how to complete the requirements of the General Education-Distributive Learning Program, refer to the General Education-Distributive Learning section of this catalog.

Engaged Learning Experiences

Engaged Learning Experiences courses provide opportunities for deep reflection and integration of knowledge across boundaries through experiences such as interdisciplinary seminar classes, capstone projects, fieldwork, internships, study abroad, and student research.  Courses that satisfy these requirements will be designated as such in the Schedule of Classes by searching using "Attributes Type" field.

  • Discipline Specific (ELE-DS)
    These courses have prerequisites that are specific courses within a program of study.  Discipline Specific courses give students a deeper understanding of how knowledge is created and applied in their field.


  • Boundary Crossing (ELE-X)
    These are courses that cross disciplinary boundaries and/or cross boundaries through engagements outside the classroom or University allowing students to see how knowledge gained in one field might inform other fields or other aspects of society.

Please note the following requirements regarding the Engaged Learning Experiences requirement:

  • The ELE requirement must be completed at Northeastern Illinois University.
  • Three ELE courses (minimum of 7 hours) must be completed to graduate.
  • At least one of the three ELE courses must be a Boundary–Crossing (ELE-X) course.  Students can take more than one ELE-X course to fulfill the requirement.
  • At least one of the three ELE courses must be at the 300-level.
  • A course can only be counted only once toward meeting the ELE requirement, even if it is repeatable within the major or program.
  • To count toward the ELE requirement, a course must be graded with a letter grade (i.e., A, B, C, D).  No courses graded as pass/fail can count toward meeting the ELE requirement.
  • Only one "D" grade is permitted to count toward the ELE requirement.  Furthermore, the "D" can only be accepted if the course is not counting for completion of the student’s major. If a course is counted as a major requirement, it must follow the requirements of the major, which is often receiving a "C" or better.
  • Students majoring in the B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies program are only required to complete two ELE courses, one of which must be a Boundary Crossing course (ELE-X) and the credit hours will need to amount to at least 4 credit hours.