Requirements — General Education

These requirements will apply to students enrolling at AU in the 2017-2018 academic year. Current students can find the requirements that apply to them by consulting the relevant academic catalog.

General Education Program Requirements

Aurora University implemented an updated General Education program that applies to all new students entering the university as of Summer 2017. (Students who entered the university prior to Summer 2017 should consult the undergraduate catalog in place when they entered in regard to their General Education requirements.)

The university’s approach to general education reflects a commitment to the transformative power of learning. Grounded in the university’s core values of integrity, citizenship, continuous learning and excellence, the General Education program and the university’s degree programs seek to develop and graduate responsible citizens who discover and reflect, communicate effectively, and think critically. Students in their first year at Aurora University develop foundational academic skills in quantitative reasoning, argument-based writing, discussion and critical reading. Specifically, students satisfy the mathematical competency requirement through coursework or examination. They take the university’s core composition course, ENG1000 Introduction to Academic Writing. They also take IDS1200 Discover What Matters and IDS1150 First Year Experience. While the mathematics requirement and composition course focus on key academic skills, the IDS1200 course is focused on guiding students to reflect upon their interests, skills, and values, and consider how these might inform career and life aspirations, The IDS1150 course is focused on orientating students to college life, engaging them in campus activities and community service, assisting students in the development of essential academic, college, and life skills, and providing opportunities to meet and work with faculty and staff from across campus. Adult Degree Completion students engage in IDS3040 Global Justice, rather than the first year IDS courses, given the extensive life experience that they bring to their studies. The courses set a tone of inquiry, careful reading, critical thinking, and the communication and application of ideas.

During their junior year, students participate in an assessment, advising and mentoring process. Students demonstrate their learning to this point in the curriculum through campus-wide assessment. They receive guidance in relation to their final two years of study, including ways they can broaden their experiences of strengthen their skill sets. Attention is given to the step students need to take to pursue their interests beyond college, whether in their lives, careers or graduate study. Students also receive one-on-one mentoring with major faculty where these conversations may best take place.

In addition, the university includes a course requirement in several broad distribution categories to ensure breadth of study and engagement with a range of approaches, perspectives, and resources. Similarly, students are actively encouraged to use their elective choices to contribute to a balanced education consistent with the liberal arts tradition.

The university is committed to assessing within its General Education program six categories of learning outcomes. These include:

  • Creative Thinking
  • Discovery and Reflection
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Intercultural Knowledge
  • Social Scientific Inquiry and Analysis
  • Scientific Reasoning

In addition, the university is committed to assessing the following two University Learning Outcomes in both the General Education program and the major programs:

  • Effective Communication
  • Critical Thinking

The university is committed to measuring the achievement of the program’s outcomes and using assessment as a rationale for program revisions.

These six categories are a distillation and reflection of careful discussion among faculty and staff as to what skills and characteristics ought to represent an Aurora University graduate. What has emerged is a picture of a graduate who demonstrates intellectual and ethical integrity; who is well informed and seeks quality evidence; who reflects critically on values, actions and consequences; who engages with those holding values and perspectives different from his or her own and seeks out alternative perspectives; who participates responsibly in the community and world; and who contributes to a culture of compassion and respect for dignity. Students who demonstrate effective communication and critical thinking can be characterized as those who read and listen critically; who discuss ideas with respect and openness; who pose and pursue meaningful questions in a range of areas; who analyze, synthesize and evaluate information and arguments; who make connections among academic and nonacademic experiences; who use technology responsibly; who collaborate and exhibit creativity; and who write and speak with clarity and purpose.

Finally, there is a commitment within the core curriculum to engage with primary sources, i.e., original writings, research or productions by scholars, experts, artists or thinkers. Interaction with primary sources, rather than other people’s interpretations of them only, marks the entry into the process of inquiry and critical thinking. The ultimate aim is a curriculum grounded in the university’s core values, which provides the kind of transformative education articulated in the university’s mission and vision statements.


General Education requirements (with no grades lower than “C”) are as follows:

1.     Mathematical competency requirement (see below)

2.     ENG1000: Introduction to Academic Writing

3.     IDS1200: Discover What Matters –or-
        GWC1000: First Year Experience (for George Williams College Students) –or-
        IDS3040: Global Justice (for ADC or AU Online Students)

4.     IDS1150:First Year Experience** –or-
        GWC4000: GWC Senior Experience (for George Williams College Students)
        NOTE: IDS1150 is not required for ADC and AU Online students.

5.     Satisfactory participation in IDS3500/IDS3550 Junior Mentoring Program, which is designed to guide students to successful 
        completion of their degree and to encourage planning for next steps beyond graduation. 
        NOTE: IDS3500/3550 are not required for ADC and AU Online students.

6.     Distribution Requirements: Students will complete one approved course* from each of the following categories:

  • Creative and Artistic Expression
  • Cultures and Civilizations
  • Individual and Society
  • Scientific Reasoning

In addition to the above, ADC students will also complete one approved course from the following category:

  • Integration and Application 

 *Only courses that are approved to meet the distribution requirement can be used toward this requirement. Courses taken to meet distribution requirements are 4 semester hours apiece, with the following exceptions:

  • An approved transfer course of at least 2.50 semester hours can be used to satisfy a distribution requirement.
  • Multiple courses may be accumulated to satisfy the Creative and Artistic Expression category.
  • EGR1500 and EGR2500, two semester hours apiece, may taken in sequence to fulfill the Scientific Reasoning requirement.
  • Courses with co-requisite lab components may be used to satisfy a distribution requirement, provided that the student successfully complete both the three-credit hour course and the single-credit hour lab component.

 ** IDS1150 will be implemented in Fall 2018

Ways to Satisfy the Mathematical Competency Requirement:

As part of the General Education program, students will demonstrate mathematical competency by coursework, or by performance on a university competency examination, or on the basis of their ACT or SAT mathematics. The General Education requirement may therefore be satisfied by any of the following:

  1. ACT math subscore of 25 or higher, SAT mathematics subscore of 580 or higher (for tests taken prior to March 2016), or SAT mathematics subscore of 600 or higher (for tests taken after March 2016).
  2. A grade of “C” or better or transcribed credit in MTH1030 Quantitative Reasoning or above.
  3. Elementary Education and Special Education majors meet math competency via MTH1210 and MTH1220.
  4. Demonstrated competency via an AU mathematical examination (students may earn a maximum of four credit hours through this process).


Additional General Education Course Planning Considerations:

  1. A new first-year student is expected to take IDS1200 or GWC1000 and IDS1150 (Aurora students only) in the first semester at Aurora University. GWC students will take GWC4000 during their senior year. All students should take IDS3500/3550 during their third year at Aurora University.
  2. First-year students wishing to meet the ENG1000 requirement via CLEP or AP credit must have official score results submitted to the Registrar’s Office prior to the beginning of their first term of attendance, or registration in ENG1000 will be required during the first year of study.
  3. A single course may be used to satisfy a major requirement and a General Education requirement.
  4. No single course may be used to satisfy more than one General Education requirement.
  5. New transfer students will be advised as to the best timing to take any required IDS courses (see “General Education Requirements for Transfer Students”). They will otherwise follow the progression outlined above.
  6. Transfer students entering without having completed an English Composition course equivalent to ENG1000 must complete the requirement as early in their Aurora University career as possible. Transfer students who have transferred in the equivalent of ENG2010 need not take ENG1000. (No credit will be given for ENG1000.) Under no circumstances should a transfer student earn more than nine semester hours at Aurora University or accumulate a total of 84 semester hours toward graduation without enrolling in ENG1000 if this General Education requirement has not already been met by transfer credit, CLEP credit, or AP credit. Transfer students wishing to meet the ENG1000 requirement via CLEP are required to take the examination during their first term of attendance. Once a transfer student has enrolled at Aurora University, the ENG1000 requirement must be met via CLEP and/or appropriate Aurora University coursework. Transfer of English composition courses taken after a student enrolls at Aurora University will not be