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2014-2015 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 area of focus. Study plan forms and sample areas of focus are located on the departmental website under Advising Resources for Students. The Bachelor of Science degree in liberal studies consists of 56 credits; the Bachelor of Arts Degree consists of up to 59 credits. Credits are distributed as follows:

  • The Core (Credits: 18)
  • B.S. or B.A. requirements (Credits: 9)
  • Area of Focus (Credits: 18, of which 15 need to be at the 300-level or above); OR Emphasis in Leadership (Credits: 18, see below listing for courses)
  • Contextual Electives (Credits: 9)
  • Internship (Credits: minimum 2) or Practicum (Credits: minimum 2)
  • Senior Seminar (Credits: 3)

Requirements for a Major in Liberal Studies

The Core (Credits: 18)

All majors are required to take six core courses that introduce them to the basic principles of liberal education.

Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts (9 credits)

The Bachelor of Arts degree requires the completion of a third semester of language proficiency.

The Bachelor of Science degree requires the completion of the following courses (9 credits):

Area of Focus OR Emphasis in Leadership (Credits: 18)

Area of Focus (Credits: 18)

Liberal Studies students work in consultation with their advisors to develop an individualized area of focus comprised of six or more courses drawn from the whole Grand Valley curriculum. At least 15 of the 18 credits in the Area of Focus must be at the 300 level or above. Typically areas of focus are organized around either a major issue in human life or an interdisciplinary area of study. A student may consider concentrating study within an upper-level issues area to complete an area of focus in Globalization, Human Rights, Health, Innovation, Information and Technology, Sustainability, or Identity. Other recent areas of focus in the program include, social relations, gender justice, American studies, business and society, 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.

Emphasis in Leadership (Credits: 18)

Liberal studies majors may elect to do their emphasis in leadership by taking 18 credits in coursework that develops leadership competencies. It provides the basis for long-term personal and professional growth through studying the principles and practices of engaged leadership.

Required for emphasis:

The following courses can count toward the remaining 15 credits in the Leadership Emphasis:

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 focus of study. 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.

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 or focus area and the electives. See departmental website for sample study plans and areas of focus. 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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