The 30-credit Master of Arts in Liberal Studies embraces studia and liberalia through personal and collective analysis of issues and texts within a spirit of inquiry (studia). These efforts are characterized by breadth, openness, and respect for all who seek understanding and wisdom (liberalia). The program’s curriculum responds to concerns articulated by Pope John Paul II in Fides et Ratio (1998) when he called for a search for understanding and meaning in the contemporary world by following ethical paths to justice and peace.
The program’s core courses provide a framework for these studies and the various 18-credit concentrations represent an educated adult’s personal investment in “cultural capital” provided by history, literature, philosophy and religious studies. Throughout these courses individuals are given the opportunity to hone their writing skills and research capabilities. The program is designed to prepare individuals for teaching advanced placement and undergraduate courses and/or more advanced studies.
This major offers students deep and well-rounded preparation for future professional or graduate study in Law or Business, as well as Communications, Criminal Justice, Education, History, Humanities, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and Theology.
Students who major in Liberal Studies have gone on to have successful careers working for NGOs and businesses, and government.
Curriculum - Present Core Courses
The core courses define liberal studies in the context of the liberal arts and humanities and the current debate on the future of civilization, describe some of the varied methodologies used in the liberal arts disciplines as background for an in-depth study of a current issue.
LST 501 Introductory Seminar
Traditional & Contemporary Visions In Liberal Studies This course will explore the still evolving tradition of Liberal Studies (Studia Liberalia), with the Latin Studia (studies) referring to the exercise of personal and collective analysis of issues and texts, and the Latin Liberalia (free) referring to a spirit of inquiry characterized by its breath, openness, and respect for all who seek understanding and wisdom. The course will examine three historical stages of this tradition: 1) the classical Western era with its understanding of the Liberal Arts as the knowledge, skills, and virtues required for individuals to exercise freedom; 2) the European Renaissance with its concept of Humanitas; and 3) the current era with its debate over meaning and wisdom for the future of a global civilization. Team-taught, the course will also provide a basic orientation to a range of Liberal Arts disciplines.
LST 510 Research Methods in the Liberal Arts
Team taught, this research-methods course trains students to identify problems, interpret them in social and cultural contexts, collect evidence, and persuasively communicate findings. One key course goal is to have every student develop the bedrock skill of a liberal education: critical analysis. This course simultaneously prepares students for advanced university coursework as well as scholarly writing, library skills, and digital archives utilized in twenty-first century professions.
LST 680 Literature, Ethics and the Liberal Arts: An Integration Colloquium
This course builds upon the “Introduction to the Liberal Arts” and the “Research Methods” courses and serves to integrate perspectives of the varied emphases contributing to the liberal arts curriculum, specifically the language arts and imaginative literature, history, philosophy, and theology. The course is team-taught with contributions in the form of guest lectures and/or online components presented by faculty from the academic disciplines in question, giving each student the opportunity to identify a topic that will serve as the basis for the “Capstone Seminar Paper.”
LST 690 Capstone Seminar
This course builds upon the “Research Methods” and “Integration Colloquium” and gives each student the opportunity to refine and research a topic that will serve as the basis for the “Capstone Seminar Paper.” Students will develop a formal prospectus and preliminary bibliography, an extensive annotated bibliography, and oral reports on each section of the paper in question. The final sessions of the class will be structured like a formal thesis defense, with members from the university community invited for final discussion of the paper.