General Education Curriculum

  • All students must successfully complete the General Education Curriculum as a requirement for graduation. The General Education Curriculum (GEC) is intended to ensure that students will receive breadth, as well as depth, in their education while continuing to allow them considerable latitude in designing their individual programs of study. Included also are requirements for writing and for cultural diversity.

    The GEC consists of three main requirements:

    1. First-Year Studies (including the Writing Requirement) 
    2. GEC Breadth Requirement (Academic Divisions and Cultural Diversity)
    3. Senior Studies 

    First-Year Studies

    The General Education Curriculum begins with the College’s First-Year Studies Program, which was established to create a special, intellectually engaging atmosphere of close interaction between first-year students and their professors. First-Year Studies instructors also serve as the academic advisors for the students in their First-Year Studies (FiYS) course. These courses have as their principal aim the development of basic skills in writing, critical reading, analysis, oral communication, and basic mathematics. The FiYS course is required of all students entering the College with fewer than four credits and does not meet any GEC breadth or cultural diversity requirement. Successful completion of writing assignments and sufficient progress as a college writer in FIYS is one way to satisfy the First-Year Writing requirement. However, students who are evaluated to need additional instruction and practice in college writing skills will be required to successfully complete College Writing 100 in the Spring of the first year.

    First-Year Writing

    The College supports the transition to the College’s writing intensive curriculum through First Year Studies. Students write frequently in First Year Studies courses and are provided with substantial feedback on their writing to help them progress. At mid-term, the Director of Writing Programs, in collaboration with First Year Studies professors, will recommend students to take College Writing 100 in the spring semester. While most students will make sufficient progress as writers in their First Year Studies courses to satisfy the First-Year Writing requirement, students who need additional instruction and explicit guidance in writing processes and skills will be required to take College Writing 100 to prepare them to meet the expectations of the writing curriculum at the College.

    GEC Divisions

    For purposes of the General Education Curriculum breadth requirement, departments are classified into divisions as follows:

    Humanities
    Art, Communication, English, Modern Languages and Literatures, History, Music, Philosophy, Religion, Theater

    Social Sciences
    Economics and Business, Education, Politics, Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology, Urban Studies (only URBS 110 meets the requirement)

    Natural and Mathematical Sciences
    Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies (only ES 108, 116, 203, 204, 220, 282 and 316 meet the requirement), Mathematics and Computer Science (Math 105 does not satisfy the requirement), Physics

    Breadth: Academic Divisions

    At a minimum, students must complete two credits from each of the three liberal arts areas: humanities, social sciences, and natural and mathematical sciences. Most courses in the departments listed count toward these requirements. 

    Specific Requirements:

    • Each of these six credits must come from a different department.
    • These credits must be completed by the end of the junior year.

    Breadth: Cultural Diversity

    At least two courses from an approved list, must be taken by the end of the junior year; the two cultural diversity courses must come from different departments. (Please note: Only one course may be counted in Modern Languages and Literatures, and First-Year Studies courses do not fulfill this requirement.)

    Courses that fulfill the Cultural Diversity requirement are marked on each academic year’s course schedule.

    Successful completion of approved study-abroad programs will meet the GEC Breadth: Cultural Diversity Requirements. Approved study-abroad courses that count in Lake Forest College academic divisions (as transfer credit or as Lake Forest College Credit) will also count toward the GEC Breadth: Academic Divisions Requirements.

    Senior Studies

    A senior studies course, also known as a senior “capstone,” is a culminating experience in the student’s major. The course emphasizes writing and speaking and encourages integration of the methods and content explored in the major. Students must fulfill this requirement, for which courses are specially designated within their major department.

    Senior theses, research projects, and creative projects may also be used to fulfill the senior studies requirement, if so designated in the major requirements, or with permission of the department chairperson.

    Students who have more than one major must satisfy the senior studies requirement in each of their majors. Students may complete two separate senior studies courses or choose from one of the following options: (1) an interdisciplinary two-credit senior thesis that is satisfactory to both departments (the student taking this option should register for one credit in each department) or (2) any two-credit combination of a senior seminar, senior thesis, research project, and/or creative project, with at least one credit in each department.

    Seniors who do not pass the senior studies requirement(s) may not graduate.

    Juniors may enroll in a senior studies course and fulfill the requirement with the permission of the instructor. This requirement may be not be completed during the freshman or sophomore year.