Liberal Studies is a B.A. program in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Authorized by the Ohio Board of Regents in September 1989, the program has accepted over 350 majors since then. Several traits distinguish the B.A. in Liberal Studies from majors in specialized disciplines:
- broad-based liberal education across the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities
- academic (rather than technical or training) emphasis
- maximum flexibility in choosing courses across the University curriculum (including technical electives)
- breadth rather than specialized depth of intellectual experience
- appropriateness for students who wish to take an active role in shaping their studies
The B.A. degree in Liberal Studies can be completed in four years of full-time study; part-time study takes longer.
Students majoring in Liberal Studies may create programs that suit their own academic, professional, or other personal goals. For example, some use this undergraduate degree as a foundation for graduate study in Business, Education, or Philosophy. Others use it to take specific prerequisites for professional training in Law, Medicine, or Physical Therapy. Still others pursue Liberal Studies to explore educational experiences for their inherent value and satisfaction.
(Note that some careers require more specialized training than Liberal Studies permits. Graduate work in polymers, for example, typically depends on extensive undergraduate work in chemistry. A medical career in pediatric neurosurgery may benefit from undergraduate emphasis on biology and psychology. Thus, for some careers, students may find a traditional B.A. more appropriate than one in Liberal Studies.)
Reasons Why to Choose Liberal Studies?
Students come to Liberal Studies for many reasons and graduate from the program with many different objectives:
- A few use the major simply to earn a college degree as quickly as possible.
- Some use the program in the broadest sense of liberal education--not to specialize but rather to explore a variety of intellectual disciplines, especially when they already have satisfactory careers or wish not to be restricted to a single discipline.
- Some majors select courses to satisfy prerequisites for future graduate or other professional study after the B.A. degree.
- Others range widely in their individualized selection of courses to discover personal interests and strengths.
By combining the B.A. in Liberal Studies with one or more minors in traditional disciplines, many students achieve depth of experience without sacrificing breadth. Others create their own academic concentrations or work for a formal certificate. And some graduates have used the program as a foundation for professional school (e.g., law, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy), graduate study (e.g., education, applied social sciences), and careers in business (e.g., financial consulting, technical writing) and entertainment (e.g., New York theater production).
For the latest views on majors, have a look at this May 29, 2006 article from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Over the Past Decade...
- Several graduates have significantly upgraded their positions in jobs they held while working on their B.A. degrees.
- A Liberal Studies major has won his first patent, opened a manufacturing plant, and is now employing people in his own company.
- Recent Liberal Studies graduates have earned professional degrees in library science, medicine, nursing, physical therapy, and social work.
- Other graduates have begun service careers in teaching, counseling, and foreign mission work. Still others work in international business, health-care administration, the Federal government, the U.S. Army, and recreation.
- Liberal Studies majors have successfully entered graduate school in Applied Social Science, Education, Library & Information Science, Professional Storytelling, and other disciplines by building key prerequisites into their undergraduate curricula.
- Some Liberal Studies majors and graduates have created their own businesses as diverse as manufacturing, massotherapy, landscape design, and electric guitar repair.
- One Liberal Studies graduate has published a book and has a second ready to print.
- Another graduate took time off to apprentice in New York with an off-Broadway musical and then directed the play in Europe for three months.
- Several Liberal Studies majors are employed at CSU, others are on staff at Lorain County Community College, and a recent graduate worked at Harvard University.
- Some majors have discovered new interests and switched from Liberal Studies to choose undergraduate degrees in studio art, biology, physical therapy, psychology, urban anthropology.
- A current major began as proclamation writer for Cleveland’s former Mayor Michael R. White and then became his Administrative Assistant.
- A 1998 graduate in Liberal Studies was President of the CSU Student Government Association and is attending law school.
- Several majors have incorporated new certificate programs into their work towards a B.A. in Liberal Studies, including formal concentrations in Writing, Gerontology, Black Studies, Health Sciences, Women’s Studies, Arts Management, and Computer Graphics.
Special Strengths and Sources of Pride
- Since Liberal Studies began at CSU in September 1989, a select group of over 300 students has been accepted into this B.A. program.
- Each Liberal Studies major creates a personalized curriculum and is advised by a senior faculty member. The objective is to match individual needs and career interests within a broad liberal education.
- Typically one-third or more of active Liberal Studies majors are on the Dean's List each quarter.
- The average GPA of Liberal Studies majors at graduation is over 3.00, and many have graduated with honors, high honors, and highest honors.
- Many Liberal Studies students graduate with at least one minor--and sometimes as many as three different minors--within the Liberal Studies major.
- Academic minors, concentrations, and specialized certificates give graduates useful entry-level skills to complement their broad education.
- Some students who got off to a poor start in their personal or academic lives have gotten back on track and created wonderful careers from their Liberal Studies experience.