Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Liberal Studies Program of the University of Louisville College of Arts and Sciences

What is the Liberal Studies major?

The B.A. in LBST offers highly motivated and self-directed students the opportunity to design their own major. As an alternative to traditional majors, the Liberal Studies Program allows students to pursue their educational goals in areas not available within an existing departmental curriculum.  The proposed program and accompanying curriculum must be interdisciplinary, drawing from at least three fields or disciplines, and it may not duplicate an existing major.  Unless the student is transferring relevant coursework, the curriculum must be composed of departments and courses available at the university.

Which LBST staff person do I contact initially for information and any questions I may have?  Please contact the program advisor sarah.gierke@louisville.edu.

What do I need to include in the email for requesting preliminary approval?

Once you have confirmed your eligibility and determined the suitability of a LBST major, please send a request for preliminary approval to Dr. John Hale jrhale@louisville.edu. In this email you'll identify your program title (refers to a specific career, intellectual interest, or graduate/professional program), total hours earned, cumulative grade point average, and the 3-5 departments that you intend to integrate into your curriculum.

See Steps in the Proposal and Admission Process for more information.

What happens after I get preliminary approval?

Once Dr. Hale approves your candidacy, you begin the first draft of your proposal.  When the draft is ready, please call the program advisor (852-2249) to schedule the first advising meeting.  At this meeting the advisor will review the first draft of your proposal and both the advisor and candidate will construct the individualized degree plan.  When the proposal and plan are in final form, you will schedule a meeting with Dr. Hale (jrhale@louisville.edu or 852-2248) to discuss the proposal.

Are requests for preliminary approval as a candidate ever rejected, and if so, on what basis?

Because you will have discussed already your ideas for an individualized major with the program advisor before you request preliminary approval,  it is unlikely a request for preliminary approval would be rejected.  As long as all eligibility requirements  (minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA including all college level coursework, minimum 45 hours earned, and an interdisciplinary goal with relevant, supporting concentrations) are met, we can usually assist you.

What are the College of Arts and Sciences Approved Minors?

Please visit Undergraduate Catalog - minors for available A&S minors.  Because this link shows ALL available minors at UofL, you will see some which are not under A&S.

After your program plan has been approved by the director, you may apply for your minor at Arts and Sciences Advising - Apply (please click on Apply for Your Minor button; your LBST major must be entered by the program advisor before the minor application can be processed).  Some minors require the completion of specific courses before an application for minor can be processed.

What constitutes an area outside the College of Arts and Sciences?

One area of concentration may be a block of courses from one of the five University divisions outside the College of Arts and Sciences. These areas are: Business, Education, Music, Nursing, and Speed Scientific School.  If sufficient in credit hours and relevant to the major's program, a block of transfer courses might be used.

Can I get some help in writing my proposal?

Absolutely!  The program advisor reviews your first draft during the first advising appointment and, if you need, is available to review subsequent drafts as well.  The university Writing Center, located on the 3rd floor of Ekstrom Library, is also an excellent resource.

More information regarding the proposal, including prompt questions, are available on this site.  If you have additional questions before beginning your draft, please contact the program advisor.

What do you want to see in a proposal?

The formal proposal for a new Liberal Studies candidate has three parts.

First, you must identify the title you have chosen for your personalized curriculum, followed by the first area of concentration (this is usually an approved A&S minor) and the additional areas of concentration.

Second, you must provide a personal statement that explains why you have decided to create your own individualized major, rather than pursuing one of the existing A&S majors.  Here you should write about your goal, whether it is a career, or a graduate or professional program that you hope to enter, or simply an intellectual interest.  In this narrative section, you may include specific experiences, ambitions, previous educational work, hopes and dreams.  Tell your own story!

Third, you must give an objective description of the degree program that you have designed, as if it were an entry in the UofL catalog of degree programs and majors.  Be sure to show how the concentrations that you have chosen, and also specific courses that are included in your curriculum, will be integrated in an interdisciplinary way in order to make a logical course of study.  Remember, you must show how your curriculum fits the title of your program.  List your areas of concentration by name, and explain the relevance and purpose of each choice you have made.

The formal proposal should be a minimum of 500 words in length.  It should be presented to the Director of Liberal Studies in hard copy, typed and double-spaced, with your name and the title of your program at the top of the first page, or on a cover sheet.

NOTE:  Although your written proposal should certainly reference your chosen curriculum, the degree plan, consisting of all courses relevant to your program, is completed in addition to the narrative and in collaboration with the program advisor.

Can my GER courses cross count within concentrations?

GER courses may not be cross-counted for the concentrations, except in cases where a GER course is a departmental requirement for completion of the minor (e.g., Psych 201 may count, in a LBST curriculum, toward the GER/SB and also within a Psych minor).

What are the Liberal Studies 300 course and the LBST section of the English 309 course?

The Liberal Studies 300 course, Forms of Interdisciplinary Inquiry, is a course that will introduce the student to interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary forms of inquiry, with an emphasis on how these forms operate [or are pursued] in higher education. The course, which is required for Liberal Studies majors, is offered Thursday afternoon (4:00-6:45 p.m. during Fall term and 1:00-3:45 p.m. during Spring term). Additionally, this course is taught as a Learning Community class with the English 309-WR course, Inquiries in Writing. The Learning Community section of ENGL 309 accompanies the LBST 300 course and involves the same group of students and concurrent discussions and reading between the two courses. Corresponding with the LBST 300 schedule, the Liberal Studies Section of English 309 meets Tuesday afternoon (4:00-6:45 p.m. in the Fall and 1:00-3:45 p.m. in the Spring).

What is the Senior Seminar?

A Liberal Studies Major is required to designate a class at the 400 or 500 level, usually within his or her minor, to satisfy the Senior Seminar requirement. This course should reflect the theme of the student's program design. The Senior Seminar course may "cross count" as a course within the minor or other concentration; consult the Liberal Studies advisor regarding selection courses intended to fulfill Senior Seminar requirements.

Can I take courses that are not on my original curriculum plan and count them toward my plan?

Yes, but with this caution:  it is a good idea to check with the program advisor first!   We both want you to graduate on time so please confirm the suitability of substitutions WELL BEFORE the first day of classes.

Will my transfer credits work with this degree?

In most cases, yes -- the courses must be from an accredited school, be recognized by our transfer equivalency unit, and be applicable to the program you have designed.

Can I major in Liberal Studies and another major?

Yes, as long as coursework required for the second major is not used as a concentration within the LBST plan.  Most students who choose to complete a double major choose a subject that complements their interdisciplinary plan and overall goal.

If I major in Liberal Studies, can I graduate with Honors?

Yes!  Many of our majors participate in the Honors program and graduate with honors.

How can I describe this major on a resume?

A student often specifies on a resume the focus of the individualized major.  For example, a student might write "degree with an emphasis in diversity studies; course highlights include..." and then list coursework related to the self-designed major.

How do employers and graduate schools view this major?

It depends on the job or graduate program.  If a student wants to be an accountant, s/he should major in accounting!  But for many purposes, the Liberal Studies major is an asset.  In part because of the proposal requirement, students in this program tend to be very articulate about what they have done and why.  The proposal gives focus and expression to a student's individualized academic program.  They explain their programs of study well either to prospective employers or to graduate school admission committees.  Indeed, majors have actually included part of their original proposal in cover letters or in autobiographical statements of purpose when applying for jobs or graduate programs.  The initiative, maturity, discipline, and creativity necessary to successfully design and complete an individualized major translate well into life after the B.A.

Send a request for preliminary approval to Dr. John Hale jrhale@louisville.edu. In this email you'll identify your program title (refers to a specific career, intellectual interest, or graduate/professional program), total hours earned, cumulative grade point average, and the 3-5 departments that you intend to integrate into your curriculum.

See Steps in the Proposal and Admission Process for more information.