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2012-2013 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies

Students who choose the liberal studies major must each individually design their own study plan and emphasis area. Study plan forms and sample emphasis area forms are located on the departmental website under Advising Resources for Students. The liberal studies major consists of 44 credits, distributed as follows:

  • The Core (Credits: 12)
  • The Emphasis (Credits: 18, of which 15 need to be at the 300-level or above)
  • Contextual Electives (Credits: 9)
  • Internship (Credits: minimum 2) or Practicum (Credits: minimum 2)
  • Senior Seminar (Credits: 3)

Students must still complete and satisfy Grand Valley's degree cognates, themes, and general education requirements like any other major.

Requirements for a Major in Liberal Studies

The Core (Credits: 12)

All majors are required to take four core courses that introduce them to the basic principles of liberal education. Students typically begin with LIB 100, a course on educational philosophy, in which they examine the implications of different visions of what education can and should be for themselves and for their society. The second core requirement, PHI 102, is an ethics course, which engages questions of value and judgment. For their third core course students take either LIB 311 or LIB 312 to develop skills of interpretation and rhetoric. They also take LIB 400 or LIB 401, courses that study the life and work of a visionary figure.

The Emphasis Area (Credits: 18)

At least 15 of these 18 credits must be at the 300-level or above.

Liberal studies students work in consultation with their advisors to develop an individualized emphasis area of six or more courses drawn from the whole Grand Valley curriculum. Typically emphasis areas are organized around either a major issue in human life or an interdisciplinary area of study. You may consider taking all of the courses in an upper-level theme for your emphasis (for example, Ethics; The Human Journey; or Gender, Society, and Culture). Other recent emphasis areas in the program include sustainability, social relations, gender studies, American studies, business and society, religious studies, peace studies, oppression and human rights, scientific culture and the humanities, cultural studies, business and Economics, humanities, technical and scientific communication, political economy, childhood development and literature, and management and society.

The Contextual Electives (Credits: 9)

The program also emphasizes the importance of integration in education, of seeing how things fit together, including the integration of liberal and career studies. To these ends, all majors are required to select a body of at least three elective courses. Students may select their electives from across the entire Grand Valley curriculum. Students could consider structuring their elective as a career component to their study plan, including areas such as business, computer science, and international study.

The Senior Seminar and Internship/Practicum (Credits: 5 or more)

The required internship/practicum and senior seminar provide opportunities for students to apply theoretical knowledge to life issues outside the classroom and to synthesize the components of their major. LIB 490 or LIB 491, the internship or practicum, allows students to put into practice their ideas and explore the applications of their emphases. Guidelines for constructing an internship or practicum are on the departmental website under Advising Resources for Students. LIB 495, the senior seminar or Capstone, asks students completing their programs to prepare and share their senior theses in which they reconsider the central issues they have engaged in the major.


Degree Cognates

Liberal studies majors may earn either of the following degrees:

  1. B.A. degree (by demonstrating third semester proficiency in a foreign language)
  2. B.S. degree (by successfully completing the following courses)

Admission to the Liberal Studies Major and Submission of the Study Plan

To be admitted to the major, students must consult with an advisor and prepare an approved study plan that lists the courses included in the emphasis area and the electives. See departmental website for sample study plans and emphasis areas. Study plans are submitted to the chair for review and approval. Changes in study plans must be made in consultation with advisors and approved by the chair.

Liberal Studies Program Description

Click here for the program description.

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