Liberal Studies

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Liberal Studies provides students with a broad, interdisciplinary understanding of the world. The degree allows students to mix courses from history, philosophy, economics, political science, science, and numerous other areas to achieve a self-tailored and comprehensive general education.

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN LIBERAL STUDIES (General Track)

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Liberal Studies allows students to plan an individualized interdisciplinary curriculum, integrating courses from across the schools of the university. Given the diverse courses taken by those with a Liberal Studies degree, those graduating from this program have an uncommon breadth of knowledge. This degree is attractive to an undergraduate who desires broad, expansive thinking. It is also especially valuable for those who have returned to university with earlier credits to finish a general studies degree. Students are encouraged to combine this degree with a minor area of concentration or a specialization.

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For more information on the Program, contact Darrell Arnold, Ph.D. by email at darnold@stu.edu

Career Opportunities

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 (Course Sampling)

Logic
This course introduces students to basic ideas of critical thinking and elementary logic, including informal fallacies and the structure of deductive and inductive arguments.

Introduction to Philosophy
This course introduces students to the discipline of philosophy through the examination of key figures in its history and philosophical theories about basic questions in philosophy. Among other things, this addresses questions about what humans can know (epistemology), about ultimate reality (metaphysics), and about what humans should do (ethics).

Ethics
Classically, the field of ethics is divided into (1) metaethics, which concerns the study and meaning of the origin of ethics, (2) normative ethics, which concerns the specific views proposed for determining the rightness and wrongness of action or ethical goodness, and (3) applied ethics, which looks at ethics applied to specific domains and questions. In this course, students will be introduced to all of these areas of ethics and become familiar with main views in Catholic ethics.

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BACHELOR OF ARTS IN LIBERAL STUDIES: Global Leadership & Philosophy

St. Thomas also offers a specialized track within the Liberal Studies program with an emphasis on Global Leadership and Philosophy. This is designed for motivated students with an interest in acquiring the critical and creative thinking skills that the study of philosophy facilitates and for those with an interest in a global perspective with a special focus on global environmental concerns. Students in the program are encouraged to take a second major or a minor in an area related to a potential career interest.

Specialization in Philosophy (15 credits)

It is not for naught that philosophy majors score the highest of all of those from the Humanities on the LSAT (law school exam) and the GRE, and that in aggregate they outscore business majors by 15% on the GMAT (the entrance exam for graduate education in business). The specialization in Philosophy at St. Thomas helps equip students with the critical thinking and analytic skills that lead to such success as well as an understanding of the history of ideas and a strong basis in applied ethics.

Featured Professors


Career Opportunities

This major offers students preparation for 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 (Course Sampling)

LST 322 Global Leadership Study-­Tour II
An ecologically oriented study-­tour on issues of global leadership in global ethics, especially as seen in the Earth Charter, and in relation to sustainable community that includes active and passive solar energy, organic horticulture, green building, etc. The study-­tour entails preparatory readings, and an extended visit to a model ecological community. Students keep a journal and write a final report. Currently, students visit the Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center in the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Tennessee.

LST 401 Senior Colloquium I
An interdisciplinary course that integrates multiple topics in liberal studies, including a focus on ecological issues. A final project identifying major course work, thoroughly discussing a relevant topic, and assessing the major will be required of each student.

LST 498 Internship
An opportunity to work on an approved project. This may be done off -­campus with a qualified on-­site supervisor in addition to a faculty mentor. This course is graded Pass/No Pass. Prerequisite: Approval of the Liberal Studies Coordinator

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MASTER OF ARTS IN LIBERAL STUDIES

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.

Featured Professors

Career Opportunities

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.

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