Eureka’s 10 Essentials

General Education customized by YOU!

At most schools, a general education curriculum consists of specific required classes and a list of content areas from which you must choose a course each.  At Eureka, we believe strongly in allowing students to tailor their learning experience to their individual needs and interests while acquiring essential skills desired by employers and needed by the world.

Rather than giving you a list of set course/content area requirements to “get out of the way,” we focus on ensuring that you can demonstrate and document a set of 10 essential capabilities before you graduate.

For each essential capability, YOU can select one or more courses from among several content areas that are designated as helping to develop that capability.  During these courses, you will document your proficiency with that capability by adding examples (artifacts) to your electronic portfolio.

Once you have met proficiency standards for an essential capability in one course, you may check that capability off of your list or continue to add to and curate that section of your portfolio.  Our goal is for you to leave Eureka not having simply completed a set of general education coursework, but to leave Eureka being able to document that you have the skills needed to learn, serve, and lead in your chosen field, in your community, and in the world.

Learn more about each capability below.

Watch this video to learn more about how Capabilities work.


  • Understand and articulate the relationship between works of art and the cultures that created them.
  • Analyze the formal elements of performances and works of art using standards and vocabulary appropriate to the form and cultural context.
  • Engage in the artistic process, including conception, creation, and ongoing analysis.

ART101W - Art Appreciation (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None.

Art Appreciation is an introduction to the visual arts designed to help students develop an understanding of the function and meaning of art. This course emphasizes humanistic and aesthetic values rather than an historical approach and will examine works from multiple cultures and time periods. Art majors should take the class during freshman or sophomore year and transfer students should take it during their first semester of enrollment. Aesthetic Sensibility Capability course.

ART106 - Design Fundamentals (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None.

An introduction to the basic elements and principles of visual communication fundamental to all studio courses. Students complete several projects related to these principles utilizing a variety of media. The creative problem solving strategies utilized in this course have applications in many disciplines and careers. Aesthetic Sensibility Capability course.

ART110 - Drawing Fundamentals (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None.

Introductory level course in which students learn the fundamentals of drawing. All studio investigations will be based on direct observation of subject matter from still life set-ups. Students will learn about perspective and all aspects of representational drawing. Aesthetic Sensibility Capability course.

ART111 - Painting Fundamentals (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None.

Introduction to painting fundamentals in which students will explore basic painting techniques, composition, and color theory. All studio investigations in class will be based on direct observation of subject matter. Students will learn color mixing and how to organize a representational painting. Aesthetic Sensibility Capability course.

ART370 - Environmentally-Based Art (3 credits)

Prerequisite: Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Art, or Digital Media & Design major or minor and Sophomore standing.

This course employs art media to explore and comprehend environmental topics and concerns. It is designed to help the student gain an understanding of how works of art are employed to address visual environmental communication by exploring both expressive and documentary models. The purpose of the course is to teach the student to use art as a communication tool, to explore environmental theories, issues, and practices and to learn the practical application of matching medium to content. Aesthetic Sensibility Capability.

THA130 - Acting I (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None.

This class will explore the nature of acting through a variety of theatre experiences to encourage an understanding and appreciation of the actor’s craft. The class utilizes physical and vocal exercises, improvisations, ensemble and partner interaction, self-analysis, and the observation of others. Aesthetic Sensibility Capability course.

THA161 - Introduction to Theatrical Design (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None. (Offered in alternate years)

Introduction to design techniques in costume, sets, and lighting design for the stage. Script analysis and portfolio development skills will be introduced as part of the class. Aesthetic Sensibility Capability course.


  • Critically evaluate and identify potential sources of appropriate and credible information.
  • Define a problem or topic scope by stating assumptions, limitations, seeking information, and clarifying causes.
  • Generate and evaluate strategies to find or generate solutions for problems which consider ethical, logical, and cultural dimensions.

ECC110 - Giving with Understanding (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None.

While all giving has good intentions behind it, these intentions are not always sufficient to address the problems or issues giving is meant to solve. In order to truly help, charitable individuals and organizations need to have a sophisticated understanding of a given problem. In this course, students will begin to understand the difference between immediate needs and systemic problems, recognizing how to approach either one. They will also learn to track what organizations seem to be effective in their philanthropy and which have problematic aspects in their handling of resources or their core beliefs and
practices. Students will also gain the skills to approaching giving in a thoughtful, informed way, truly helping groups or individuals that they mean to help.

ECC290 - The Boy Crisis (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None.

In the last decade or so, parents, activists, psychologists, sociologists and social workers have identified a “Boy Crisis”. Boys, they argue, are growing up in a confusing, hostile, and contradictory world that is doing them harm. People point to video game and porn addiction, bullying, gun culture, dropping male college enrollment and completion rates, attention deficit disorder, binge drinking, and suicide rates as indicators of the problem. In this course, students will assess and describe the boy crisis using credible sources and offer potential amelioratives for it.

ENG395 - Publishing Workshop (3 credits)

Prerequisite: ENG120, ENG125, and one writing workshop course.

This course is designed both to introduce students to the most basic tasks necessary for publishing a literary magazine and familiarize them with current publishing trends and philosophies. It will also require them to do significant research and planning to establish a realistic plan for Eureka Literary Magazine’s (ELM) future. Students will both discuss the abstract, philosophical concerns for establishing an editorial vision and also discuss the real world concerns that both limit and shape a literary magazine. by the end of the course, students should be fully prepared to step into an internship at ELM or any other literary magazine. Analytical Inquiry and Problem Solving Capability course.

PSY225 - Industrial/Organizational Psychology (3 credits)

Prerequisite: PSY101. (Offered in alternate years)

A study of major areas in industrial psychology, including: personnel selection and placement; work motivation, attitudes, and morale; organizational structure and change; conflict resolution; communication and decision behavior; consumer behavior. Analytical Inquiry and Problem Solving Capability course.

PSY315W - Cognitive Neuroscience (3 credits)

Prerequisites: PSY101 and PSY215. (Offered in alternate years)

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the newly emerging field of Cognitive Neuroscience. Cognitive Neuroscience strives to understand the relationship between brain function and the mind using a variety of investigative techniques including electrophysiological recordings, brain stimulation, and others. We will cover topics ranging from specialized neural processes underlying face perception to brain regions implicated in language processing; from brain regions underlying particular memory systems to the neural processes that give rise to consciousness. In the end, we hope that students will have a better appreciation for how the mind emerges from the brain. Analytical Inquiry and Problem Solving Capability course.

SPE375 - Response to Intervention (3 credits)

Prerequisite: EDU227W, PSY205, or consent of instructor.

During the course the student will gain knowledge of the identification and remediation of academic and behavior problems at the elementary and middle school levels. Students will learn strategies for the prevention of academic and behavior problems through early intervention. In addition, students will gain an ability to use informal assessments and teaching strategies to address academic and behavior concerns. The student will learn the use of the Response to Intervention model (RTI). Analytical Inquiry and Problem Solving Capability course.


  • Demonstrate proficiency in written communication with language choice that is imaginative, memorable, and enhances content.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in oral communication and presentations that are compelling, polished, and communicate meaning to the audience with clarity and fluency.
  • Critically evaluate arguments and sources of information.

COM110 - Introduction to Public Speaking (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None.

Students gain experience in how to research, organize, and deliver a variety of speech types including persuasive and informative presentations. Students will be required to both present and analyze speeches. Communication Capability course.

HIS200 - Historical Methods and Skills (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None. (Offered in alternate years)

Introduction to the skills of secondary and primary source research, critical analysis of documentary sources, historical reasoning and the preparation of written reports.  Attention to research procedures, record-keeping, citation, and bibliography.  Introduction to the major schools of historiography. Communication Capability course.


  • Analyze and articulate core beliefs, their historical origins, and their contemporary relevance.
  • Recognize ethical issues when presented with complex content.
  • Use a variety of data and experiences to engage in ongoing reflective practice to inform ongoing personal, academic, and professional development.

ECC490W - Ethical Reasoning Seminar

Prerequisite: Senior standing.

The purpose of the Ethical Reasoning Seminar is to help students assess what they have learned as undergraduate students and translate that learning into their behavior in the world. The course also acts as a bridge to life-long learning. Classes are conducted in a discussion format and address a broad range of ethical questions on which individual courses will focus. Required of all students in their senior year. Ethical Reasoning Capability course.


  • Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental aspects of fitness and wellness.
  • Develop a plan for lifelong fitness and wellness (both mental and physical) with goals that are clear, specific, realistic, and measurable.

ECC281 - Happiness and Human Flourishing (3 credits)

Prerequisite:  None

Ancient Greek philosophy holds that happiness (εὐδαιμονία) is the soul’s highest good. But happiness means more than instant gratification or indulging in what makes us feel good in the moment. Happiness as εὐδαιμονία conveys the meaning of mental wellness, overall health, life-satisfaction, and the absence of anguish or mental agitation. This course explores wellness and human flourishing as desirable goods to which various habits and practices lead. Among other questions to be considered: What do texts in classical philosophy and contemporary psychology speak to the human predicament and desire for happiness or flourishing? How are habits such as resiliency, wisdom, vulnerability, courage, moderation, hope, solidarity, rest, creative engagement and love important to human flourishing and overall wellness (εὐδαιμονία)? How are these shaped by our sense of place, identity, and community in relation to other people? How does happiness as well-being relate to human experiences such as suffering, grief, anguish, loneliness, or forms of trauma?

EVS170 - Horticulture for Health and Well-Being (3 credits)

Prerequisite:  None


HED170 - Wellness (2 credits)

Prerequisite: None.

The course is designed to teach the student the role of physical movement activities and consumption in maintaining adequate health and improved quality of life. The course includes the assessment, development, and implementation of a complete lifetime fitness and wellness program and its components. Health, Fitness, and Well-Being Capability course.

PSY260 - Health Psychology (3 credits)

Prerequisite: PSY101.

This course is designed to give a broad overview of the field of health psychology, including concepts, theory, and research. Health psychology is a young and exciting field of study that examines the bi-directional relationship between psychology and mental and physical health. Development of a health behavior change plan to demonstrate capability. Health, Fitness, and Well-Being Capability course.

PSY360W - Biological Psychology (3 credits)

Prerequisite: PSY101. (Offered in alternate years)

Exploration of the physiological, neurological, biochemical, endocrinological, and immunological bases of human and animal behavior. Topics include the biological substrates of perception and action, motivation, consciousness, learning and memory, and emotion. Emphasis will be placed on the methods used by psychologists in studying these mechanisms. Health, Fitness, and Well-Being Capability course.


  • Recognize and explain how one’s culture, political, and social lenses shape one’s  view of the world, and how this principle applies in your own case.
  • Respond sensitively to, and see the value in, cultural perspectives other than your own.
  • Identify and evaluate the social, political, historical, and aesthetic contexts of cultural productions.

BUA310 - International Business (3 credits) [Beginning Fall 2020]

Prerequisite: ECO111 or ECO112.

The study of the nature of international business with particular emphasis on exporting, licensing, joint ventures, trading companies, and global enterprises. Special emphasis is placed on recognizing and adapting to differing cultural, legal, ethical business standards throughout the world.

ECC240 - Contact and Expression (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None.

This course will look at different cultural perspectives on shared cultural events. If you consider Twitter and Facebook posts about major trends or events, you can quickly see how the language and frames of reference that people use to discuss a topic deeply impacts their perception of it. With this in mind, the course will examine how cultural traditions and practices can lead to vastly different understandings, and it will challenge students to think about the ethics of their regular communications and cultural assumptions. By the end of the course, students should be able to identify underlying assumptions within a variety of contemporary discourse communities. Intercultural Understanding Capability course.

EDU351 - Language and Diversity in Education

Prerequisite: EDU 227W, PSY 101 or consent of instructor

This course examines linguistic and educational issues related to students who are members of minority groups including racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants and refugees, members of the LGBTQ+ community, members of religious minorities, and students from other marginalized groups.

ENG272 - Non-Western Literature (3 credits)

Prerequisite: ENG103W or consent of instructor.

A study of representative literature from outside the western (Euro-American) canon; works studied may be from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and from historically colonized and marginalized literatures of America (e.g. Native American, African-American). Works will be studied within their appropriate cultural, historical, and political context. All readings in original or translated English. Intercultural Understanding Capability Course.

ENG318 - Literature and Gender (3 credits)

Prerequisite: ENG125.

This course will introduce students with literature, popular culture, and critical theory concerned with contemporary issues of gender, especially as it intersects with race and class. Through close reading, class discussions, and reflective writing, students will come to understand the ways in which gender is constructed, and how authors of different backgrounds have interrogated and pushed back against those constructed gender roles. Intercultural Understanding Capability course.

SPA305 - Spanish and Spanish-American Cultures (3 credits)

Prerequisite: SPA260 or placement; Pre or Corequisite: SPA280.

A survey of Spanish and Latin American cultures from the eighteenth century to the present day.  This course covers major historical developments that led to the formation and/or fragmentation of diverse national identities in the modern Hispanophone world.  In particular, students will develop their skills of textual analysis as we examine cultural artifacts from both sides of the Atlantic.  Class discussion, assignments, and course readings in Spanish. Intercultural Understanding Capability course.

SPA306 - US Latino Cultures

Prerequisite: SPA260 or placement; Pre or Corequisite: SPA280.

This course introduces students to the history, art, and literature of U.S. Latinos. Through exposure to texts in both Spanish and English, students will learn about the diverse demographic and linguistic characteristics of U.S. Latinos and consider relevant issues of cultural and ethnic identity. They will continue to develop their critical thinking and Spanish language skills during classroom discussion and written compositions. Intercultural Understanding Capability course.


  • Recognize injustice when presented in a complex context.
  • Apply academic study through civic engagement to address problems of local, national, and global importance.
  • Function effectively as a member of a team by demonstrating the ability to engage in learning based on reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationships.

ECC101 - Justice and Civic Responsibility Seminar (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None.

An introduction to Eureka College and the liberal arts, this course is designed to assist students in making a successful transition to Eureka College, lay the foundation for liberal arts study, and develop skills to ensure academic success. The course includes a group service learning project which students complete during the semester. Should be taken in the first semester of enrollment by all first-year and transfer students. Justice and Civic Responsibility Capability course.

ECC235 - The Rise of the Individual (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None.

This course will examine the roots of concepts of individualism, and it will challenge students to consider the consequences of putting a primary focus on competition and distinction. By the end of this course, students should be able to recognize the ways in which putting a premium on individuality influences their life decisions, and they should also recognize the consequences of how we as a culture define individualism and identity. Justice and Civic Responsibility Capability course.


  • Demonstrate understanding of how scientific inquiry is based on evidence and that scientific understanding evolves based on new evidence and differs from personal and cultural beliefs.
  • Participate in scientific inquiry and communicate elements of the process.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of a variety of research and quantitative methodologies in the sciences.  Use quantitative information effectively.

BIO137 - Natural Systems (4 credits)

Prerequisite:  None

Designed as a general education course to fulfill the scientific literacy competency requirements, this course will explore the fundamentals of ecology using the lens of evolution to understand interspecific and intraspecific relationships.

BIO141W - Principles of Biology I (4 credits)

Prerequisite: MAT095R, an ACT Math score of at least 23 or an SAT Math score of at least 560, or by placement.

Introduction to biology expressly designed for students interested in majoring in biology or in a pre-professional program. Presents the basic principles of biology (evolution, ecology, cell structure and function, genetics) in some detail. Lecture and Laboratory. Scientific Literacy Capability course.

CHM121 - Survey of Chemistry (4 credits)

Prerequisite: MAT095R, an ACT Math score of at least 23 or an SAT Math score of at least 560, or by placement.

An introduction to general, organic, and biochemistry. Topics include the nature of matter, atomic and molecular structure, chemical bonding, gas laws, chemical reactions, acid-base chemistry, organic compounds, functional groups, amino acids, proteins, and enzymes. Lecture and Laboratory. Scientific Literacy Capability course.

CHM132 - General Chemistry II (4 credits)

Prerequisite: CHM131 and MAT121.

A continuation of CHM131 stresses the concepts of solutions, chemical equilibrium, acid-base chemistry, kinetics, thermodynamics, and oxidation/reduction reactions. Lecture and Laboratory. Scientific Literacy Capability course.

EVS121 - Environmental Biology (4 credits)

Prerequisite:  None.

A survey of the biological portion of our environment. Students will explore how life works and gain an understanding of the forces that generate and maintain the diversity of life on our planet. Topics include: evolution, cell structure and function, ecology, and genetics. The laboratory portion of the course is inquiry-based and includes field trips and outside field study. Designed with the Environmental Science and Environmental Studies majors in mind, but open to all students. Lecture and Laboratory. Cross-listed as BIO121. Scientific Literacy Capability course.

EVS151W - Introduction to Environmental Science and Policy (4 credits)

Prerequisite: ENG095R, ACT English sub-score of 21 or higher or SAT ERW score of 540 or higher, or by placement.

Provides students with an overview of current environmental issues from the local to the global scale. Students will examine the science behind our understanding of current environmental issues, and discuss the potential solutions to these issues. We will also address economic, political, and social factors that influence environmental change and decision making. This course serves as the foundation for the Environmental Science and Environmental Studies majors and the Environmental Studies minor. Lecture and Laboratory. Scientific Literacy Capability course.

PHS110 - Introduction to Physical Science (4 credits)

Prerequisite: MAT095R, an ACT Math score of at least 23 or an SAT Math score of at least 560, or by placement.

An introduction of the fundamentals of physics and chemistry with special attention paid to reasoning, problem solving, and utilizing the scientific method. Topics will include motion, energy, heat, temperature, waves, electricity, light, atoms, periodic properties, chemical bonds, reactions, and solutions. Lecture and Laboratory. Scientific Literacy Capability course.


  • Participate in contextual reading of works that challenge your understanding of what it means to be human.
  • Identify and express value in key philosophical and spiritual approaches to examining your life.
  • Engage with one or more spiritual or philosophical tradition’s answers to enduring questions.

ART308W - Spirituality in Art (3 credits)

Prerequisite: Junior level or above.

This course examines how human beings have expressed spirituality through varied forms of art.  Art is a means of communicating complex ideas, thoughts and feelings. From the earliest times human beings have sought to explain natural phenomena through art expression and religious practices.  Art expresses the belief systems of the maker with meaning that extends far beyond the value of craft and talent. Throughout the course we will study works by artists from different time periods, including that of both western and non-western cultures, with an understanding that we must stretch our capacity to understand works outside of our own cultural biases and personal experiences.  How we begin to understand what is universal about spirituality in art can be based on what feels genuine and honest to all humans. Fundamental truth can resonate as shared human experience that transcends boundaries of race, time, geographical and cultural barriers. In this course we will also become familiar with art forms and spirituality through our own innovative processes by inventing stories and and creating works of art. Two required field trips will enable us to share in and sympathize with the point of view of the artist.

ENG212 - Literatures in English II: 1700-1900 (3 credits)

Prerequisite: ENG103W or consent of instructor.

This course will survey a range of texts written in English between 1700 and 1900. We will give particular attention to major genres and movements, including Neoclassicism, the Realist Novel, Romanticism, Autobiography, Transcendentalism, and Slave narrative. Over the course of the term, we will discuss how changing social conditions altered the kinds of literature that were written and read in English and discuss how the rise of nationalist discourse impacted literary production. In tracking these changes, students will refine their written and analytical skills; they will also hone their ability to understand texts in relation to specific historical and social contexts. Spiritual Engagement and the Examined Life Capability course.

ENG270 - Myth and Literature (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None.

This course will use the genre of myth and folktales to examine how people have tried to make sense of the universe through narrative. We will look at a variety of myths, both ancient and contemporary, to consider how stories both shape and are shaped by our understanding of issues like morality and spirituality. The texts for this course will be analyzed both as literary works and as cultural markers of spiritual exploration. By the end of this course, students should be able to recognize the full, complex nature of myths from a number of cultures. Spiritual Engagement and the Examined Life Capability course.

REL127 - Global Religions (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None.

This course introduces students to the histories and sacred texts of global religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism. This course will also introduce students to some of the key themes that are prevalent in religious studies.  The focused question will be: What are the benefits and consequences of seeking common ground among the religions? Should we focus on commonalities or on understanding differences? To answer these questions, the class will venture into theories of interreligious dialogue. Spiritual Engagement and the Examined Life Capability Course.


  • Understand contemporary environmental issues, as well as the complexity of proposed solutions.
  • Understand the changing relationships between humans and nature over time.
  • Recognize interconnections among economic, environmental, and social issues to develop sustainable future-focused practices.
  • Apply academic study to address sustainability problems at various levels.

CHM131 - General Chemistry I (4 credits)

Prerequisite: MAT095R, an ACT Math score of at least 23 or an SAT Math score of at least 560, or by placement.

Examines the nature of matter: atomic and molecular structure, chemical bonding, gas laws, chemical reactions, and stoichiometry. Lecture and Laboratory. Sustainable Practices and Environmental Conscience Capability course.

ECO340W - Environmental Economics (3 credits)

Prerequisite: ECO112; Recommended prerequisite: ECO212. (Offered based on demand)

The course examines the continuing conflict between market forces and environmental integrity and explains how economic theory views the relationship between economic activity and the natural world.  Examples of local, regional, national, and international issues are presented and discussed.

ENG264 - Nature Writing: A Field Course (3 credits)

Prerequisite: ENG103W or consent of instructor. While not required, ENG120 would be a helpful preparation. (Offered in alternate years) 

Writing workshop focused on the single topic of nature, stressing invention, production, revision, and peer- as well as self-evaluation of writing in a variety of genres and its production. Class presentations and discussions of works in progress. As a field course, much of the instructional time will be spent outdoors. Cross-listed as EVS264. Sustainable Practices and Environmental Conscience Capability Course.

ENG274 - American Nature Writers (3 credits)

Prerequisite: ENG103W or consent of instructor. (Offered in alternate years). 

A survey of the nature writing of American authors, beginning with Thoreau and moving into the present. Cross-listed as EVS274. Sustainable Practices and Environmental Conscience Capability Course.

EVS260 - Introduction to Sustainability (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None, however, sophomore standing is recommended.

This course will explore the discipline of sustainability science from an integrative natural and social science approach. Students will be introduced to the principles of sustainability and given the opportunity to learn various interpretations and applications, including the role of technology in addressing sustainability issues and the importance of campus sustainability projects. Students will gain experience communicating and collaborating with faculty and staff across disciplines to improve Eureka College’s sustainability rating. Potential project areas include: energy use, solid waste management, recycling, water use, landscaping and grounds management, and dining services. We will use the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) rating system (STARS) as a guide: Lecture. Sustainable Practices and Environmental Conscience Capability course.

EVS385 - Environmental Science Seminar (3 credits)

Prerequisite: None, however it is recommended that students have completed a minimum of three semesters at the undergraduate level. Recommended prerequisite: EVS151W.  (Offered in alternate years).

The Environmental Studies Seminar brings together upper-division students and faculty from at least two disciplines to study and discuss an environmental issue from multiple perspectives. Potential topics include: Food Systems, Climate Change, People and Nature, and Environmental Ethics. Lecture. Sustainable Practices and Environmental Conscience Capability course.