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Liberal Studies


The important things, Aristotle has told us are to be known “for their own sakes,” not simply for their use. Aristotle knew that the basis of education was the investigation of the nature of the human being, the meaning of the “good life,” and the search for truth in human experiences. The Liberal Studies major at Maryville aspires to hold fast to such ideas. Through our Liberal Studies program we want students to encounter and learn about both the rational and the spiritual sides of human nature and human understanding through the study of philosophy, history, literature, religion, the sciences and the social sciences. Our program hopes to help the student find a guide to the “fundamental things” of human life and experience.

In the Humanities we believe that an authentic liberal arts education corresponds to what private sector leaders and educational leaders see as a knowledge based economy in need of men and women who have high level skills in language written and spoken language, creative and analytical thinking, and a deep understanding of ethical and moral values and decision making.

The Liberal Studies major at Maryville University is a multidisciplinary program that provides for special interests and individualized programs of study. Liberal studies majors may pursue concentrations in art history, humanities, music, philosophy, political science, social sciences or physical sciences; or they may develop a thematic concentration representing such areas as American studies, international studies, women’s studies, two or more liberal arts disciplines; or even a conjunction of liberal and professional study. If students combine a Liberal Studies concentration with a professional concentration, at least 30 credits must be in the Liberal Studies concentration. The General Education requirements listed below apply to all individualized plans of study in the Liberal Studies Major

A student interested in creating an individualized liberal studies major should draw a plan of study in consultation with his or her adviser. The rationale for the concentration must be clearly articulated. The plan must be filed no later than the beginning of the junior year and must be approved by the student’s adviser, an adviser in any conjoined discipline or area of study, the Liberal Studies Committee and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Liberal Studies major requires 48 credit hours or 30 credit hours plus a minor or secondary concentration. In either case, at least half the credits must be at the upper-division level, and half must be earned at Maryville. No more than two of the major courses may be counted for General Education credit.

Due to the nature of its audience, the curriculum for the Liberal Studies major offered in Maryville’s Weekend and Evening College format varies slightly from the traditional undergraduate curriculum. The WEC general education requirements retain the same focus and content but have different course restrictions and credit hours as affected by the 3-4 credit hour variances. Specific WEC major or minor requirements can be found in any WEC office.

Liberal Studies plans may not substantially duplicate established programs or majors.
Liberal Studies students will be required to establish and maintain portfolios documenting their activities and coursework in fulfillment of their liberal studies plans. The presentation of this portfolio to the student’s Liberal Studies Committee is a requirement for graduation as a Liberal Studies major.

Students enrolled in this program are encouraged to take full advantage of Maryville’s consortium agreement with other schools. A semester abroad and other exchange and internship opportunities also may represent options for students pursuing the liberal studies major. For more information on the study abroad program, see Maryville’s Study Abroad program. Students who would like a more directed program in Liberal Studies may complete the Liberal Studies Major described below or may choose one of the other areas of concentration in Liberal Studies Art History; Philosophy; Political Science.

Program Features

Develop an Action Plan
If you choose to major in Liberal Studies, you will need to draw up an individualized plan of study with the help of an advisor and clearly articulate your rationale and goals for your concentration. Plans are filed no later than the beginning of the junior year for approval by advisors – in any conjoined discipline or area of study – the Liberal Studies Committee and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Document Your Work
In order to graduate with a liberal studies major, you will need to build and maintain a portfolio that documents the activities and coursework you have done to fulfill your liberal studies plan, and then present the portfolio to the Liberal Studies Committee.

Study Abroad
As a student of liberal studies, you may take full advantage of our consortium agreement with other schools. You could spend a semester abroad or partake in the other exchange and internship opportunities available for liberal studies majors. For more information, explore our Study Abroad opportunities.

Professional/Career Opportunities

Liberal studies graduates are prepared to succeed in a variety of careers, including management, government, public service and communication. Some students who receive a degree in liberal studies go on to graduate school in business, law, library science and teaching, and many become successful lawyers, social workers, human resources officers, librarians, journalists, public relations directors, public involvement specialists, technical writers, editors, copywriters, policy research and development specialists, internal communications officers, information management officers, banking and financial employees, and business management or administration employees.

If you have heard that a liberal arts education is “impractical,” consider what some of our recent graduates are doing today. Our students have gone on to earn stock broker’s licenses, write for magazines and area publications, become business recruiters, teach in primary and secondary schools, attend law school and work at cultural institutions, such as museums.

Degree Offerings and Requirements

Admission Requirements

If you’re interested in joining our liberal studies program, you need to meet the general admissions requirements for the University. We recommend that you complete a variety of high school or college prep courses in English, science, math, social studies and foreign language before applying.


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