College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Liberal Studies (B.A.)

Contact the Interdisciplinary Programs Office at 216-687-3914 for further information.



The Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies is administered by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. This degree provides a broad-based liberal education in the sciences and humanities. It is especially appropriate for students who wish to take an active role in shaping their studies.

The B.A. in Liberal Studies differs from traditional degree programs in allowing maximum freedom and flexibility in course selection. Students may organize a program that suits their own academic, professional, or other personal goals such as a foundation for graduate study, as a prerequisite for professional training, or as exploratory intellectual experiences in their own right. (Some graduate or professional careers require more specialized backgrounds than Liberal Studies permits, so for them a more traditional B.A. might be more appropriate.)

Liberal Studies is for any student whose academic interests do not fit well into any of the pre-defined major programs at Cleveland State University but whose academic interests are supported in our course offerings.  Students design the theme of their own education.

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Admission to the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies Program

After admission to the university, a student makes an appointment with a Liberal Studies adviser. The adviser explains the nature of the program (including its advantages and disadvantages) and helps to determine whether such a broad-based education is in the student's best educational and career interests. Transfer credits from other schools and from other colleges within Cleveland State are also explained and evaluated. To enter the program, a student must have a minimum GPA of 2.75 either cumulatively or in the last 24 semester hours taken before admission.

The student then consults with the director of Liberal Studies or a faculty adviser about applying for admission to the program — ideally before attaining senior status. A letter of application requests admission to Liberal Studies and includes the following:

  • a statement of understanding about the freedom of choice associated with this degree
  • a statement of future plans to use this degree for itself, for further study, or for employment
  • an outline of a projected course of study and date of graduation

The letter is reviewed by the program's director and advisory committee. When an application is approved, the student's major becomes effective in the following term.

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Majors in Liberal Studies meet each term with the director or an adviser assigned by the director to discuss progress in the program and to register for the following term. They are also encouraged to seek additional advising from specific departments and programs, especially if they are planning graduate study or other professional training after graduation.

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Time for Completing the Degree

The B.A. in Liberal Studies can be completed in four years of full-time study, or longer through part-time attendance. Some transfer credits from other schools and from other colleges within Cleveland State may reduce the time required. Students entering the program in their junior year or later may require additional time.

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Major-Field Requirements

  1. Liberal Studies majors must complete all university residence and distribution requirements as well as all general requirements of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
  2. In addition to university and college requirements, a B.A. in Liberal Studies includes 66 semester credits of C or better:
    • 16 in Social and Behavioral Sciences
    • 16 in Natural Sciences and Mathematics
    • 16 in Humanities and Fine Arts
    • 18 in Electives
    These 66 credits may be broadly distributed across the four areas. They may be concentrated in various areas of interest (including certificates or formal minors in other departments), or they may be organized in a formal program of study of one or more major themes (such as critical thinking, cultural heritage, science and technology). No more than 18 credits in any one department will normally be counted toward the 66 credits of the major.
  3. At least 16 upper level credits that are applied to the major must be taken at CSU after the semester in which the student is accepted into the program.  Unless special permission is given, the Liberal Studies Capstone Course must be among the 16.
  4. The Liberal Studies Capstone Requirement may be fulfilled by taking a Capstone course offered by any department in CLASS or COS. Those based on that of departments in other colleges or substitutions consistent with personal academic goals require approval of the Director.
  5. Upon petition to the director and advisory committee, a student may include in the Liberal Studies major up to 42 transfer credits from other colleges within Cleveland State typically for courses that have specific counterparts in Liberal Arts and Social Sciences courses. A maximum of 31 credits in business courses may be counted toward the 66 credits of the major.

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