Foundational Studies

From the NIU Undergraduate Catalog 2015-16

Foundational  Studies

Through Foundational Studies, students will begin to develop the fundamental skills of written communication, oral communication, and quantitative literacy, all of which are required for academic, professional, and personal success. Students will learn to: (1) write skillfully with a thorough awareness of context, audience, and purpose; (2) communicate effectively through speaking, presenting, and debating, with an awareness of the specific practices in different disciplines; (3) perform basic numerical computations, display facility with using formal and quantitative reasoning analysis and problem solving, and interpret mathematical models and statistical information; and (4) work collaboratively with peers from different backgrounds.

The Foundational Studies general education requirements consist of two courses in Writing Composition, one course in Oral Communication, and one course in Quantitative Literacy. Foundational Studies courses do not count toward general education Knowledge Domain requirements.

All students must satisfy the Foundational Studies requirements in Writing Composition, Oral Communication, and Quantitative Literacy for 0-12 semester hours of general education credit.

The requirements in the Foundational Studies can be met by completing the designated course, by transfer credit, by passing a competency examination, or, for some Foundation Studies, through credit by examination. (See "Credit by Examination.") Although passing a competency examination fulfills the requirement for the Foundational Studies, it does not result in the awarding of NIU course credit (i.e., it reduces the required number of general education hours but does not reduce the number of hours required for a degree.) Students with strong academic credentials are encouraged to attempt the competency examinations. Information on competency examinations is available from the Office of Testing Services.

The specific ways to satisfy the Foundational Studies requirements are listed below.

Foundational Studies


Foundational Studies Writing Requirements (0-6)


  • 100-level Rhetoric and Composition (0-3 semester hours). Writing and revising argumentative and analytical essays. This requirement can be satisfied by:
    • Obtaining a grade of C or better in ENGL 103 or an equivalent course, or
    • Obtaining equivalent transfer credit, or
    • Passing the Writing Composition Foundational Studies Competency Examination, or
    • Obtaining credit for ENGL 103 through examination by credit (Advanced Placement).
  • 200-level Writing in the Knowledge Domains (3 semester hours). Writing and revising argumentative and analytical essays; analyze, evaluate, and synthesize material from a variety of sources; incorporate knowledge-domain-appropriate writing and rhetorical styles as well as documentation styles. This requirement can be satisfied by:
    • Obtaining a grade of C or better in ENGL 203, ENGL 204, or an equivalent course, or
    • Obtaining equivalent transfer credit.

Foundational Studies Oral Communication Requirements (0-3)


This requirement can be satisfied by:

  • Passing COMS 100, or an equivalent course, or
  • Obtaining equivalent transfer credit, or
  • Passing the Oral Communication Foundational Studies Competency Examination.

Foundational Studies Quantitative Literacy Requirement (0-3)


This requirement can be satisfied by:

  • passing MATH 101 or equivalent course, or
  • obtaining a C or better in MATH 155, MATH 201, MATH 206, MATH 210, MATH 211, or MATH 229, or an equivalent course,
  • obtaining credit for one of the mathematics courses listed above, except MATH 101, through credit by examination (Advanced Placement), or
  • obtaining a grade of C or better in STAT 208, STAT 350, or ISYE 335; and obtaining
    • a grade of C or better in MATH 110, or
    • an ACT mathematics score of at least 24, or
    • an SAT mathematics score of at least 560, or
    • an A- or B-level placement on the mathematics placement examination
  • obtaining equivalent transfer credit, or
  • passing the Mathematics Competency Examination.

Foundational Studies Course Descriptions

COMS 100 - Fundamentals of Oral Communication Credits: 3
ENGL 103 - Rhetoric and Composition I Credits: 3
ENGL 203 - Rhetoric and Composition II, Researched Writing in the Domains Credits: 3
ENGL 204 - Rhetoric and Composition, Accelerated Researched Writing in the Domains Credits: 3
ISYE 335 - Probability and Statistics for Engineers Credits: 3
MATH 101 - Core Competency in Mathematics Credits: 3
MATH 110 - College Algebra Credits: 3
MATH 155 - Trigonometry and Elementary Functions Credits: 3
MATH 201 - Foundations of Elementary School Mathematics Credits: 3
MATH 206 - Introductory Discrete Mathematics Credits: 3
MATH 210 - Finite Mathematics Credits: 3
MATH 211 - Calculus for Business and Social Science Credits: 3
MATH 229 - Calculus I Credits: 4
STAT 208 - Basic Statistics Credits: 3
STAT 350 - Introduction to Probability and Statistics Credits: 3

 

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