Chicago State University

Liberal Studies

Program Coordinator: Janet I. Halpin

The Liberal Studies major at Chicago State University is an interdisciplinary liberal arts program which integrates fundamental aspects of knowledge in the humanities, fine arts, social and behavioral sciences, and in the natural sciences and mathematics. The core course requirements within the major ground all students in the basic and essential knowledge of a liberal arts education.

The concentration provides a foundation for deeper knowledge and expertise in either the humanities, the social and behavioral sciences, or in the natural sciences and mathematics. The program graduates students with a competence in many disciplinary perspectives, an appreciation of the unique characteristics of the different liberal arts disciplines, and the integration of these diverse approaches into an organized, creative, and insightful set of skills and knowledge. The Liberal Studies major is a traditional degree program in the sense that the core courses address specific learning outcomes, while the concentration permits more focused study in an area of interest. However, the program is exceptional in the sense that each of the core learning outcomes can be met with a choice of courses, and the concentration remains interdisciplinary.

The program is appropriate for students interested in a career where broad rather than specific knowledge and research skills are required. The program is best suited for students who are intellectually focused and who can work with an advisor to plan their specific curriculum within the Liberal Studies framework. Built into the program are tools to help facilitate the planning and maintenance of an integrated set of courses: regular advisement and program review each academic year, a portfolio containing course syllabi, graded materials and reflective essays, and the Liberal Studies capstone seminar.

Educational Outcomes

Educational outcomes in the general education courses are addressed in the University’s assessment plan. Educational outcomes within the Liberal Studies major address a series of goals and objectives consistent with a Liberal Studies education. Upon completion of the Liberal Studies major, students will be able to:

  • Study, analyze, interpret and enjoy a wide range of literary texts.
  • Critically analyze ideas and texts using the foundational tools of a philosophical education.
  • Appreciate and articulate the diversity of human experience, with regard to race and ethnicity, gender, social class, age, human identity, and personality.
  • Apply the basics of the scientific method, including the formulation and testing of hypotheses, the use of empirical observation, and data collection and analysis.
  • Articulate how artistic expression and the creative processes are developed in the fine arts, including those of non-Western culture.
  • Effectively communicate ideas through written expression.
  • Employ fundamental elements of history and/or political thought to demonstrate an awareness of the interconnectedness of the political, economic, social, and cultural aspects of society and the role these connections play in the local, national, and global community.
  • Exhibit personal responsibility, competence, and confidence in the development of the whole person as a component in the liberal education of the individual.
  • Integrate diverse disciplinary approaches into an organized and insightful skill set capable of seeing the individual through a detailed and comprehensive project.
  • Exhibit a deeper knowledge and appreciation of a general area within the liberal arts, chosen from the humanities, the fine arts, the social sciences, or mathematics and the natural sciences.

General Requirements

Admission to the program is contingent upon good academic standing. The program will not accept transfer courses with a grade of D or below. A grade of C is required in all major courses. Completion of 120 credit hours: 42 hours of General Education, comprising 6 hours in composition; 6 hours in a foreign language; 3 hours in mathematics; 9 hours in Social Science; 9 hours in Humanities, of which 3 hours must be a Fine Arts course; 9 hours in Mathematics/Physical Science/Life Science/Computer Science, of which 3 hours must include a laboratory component; 3 hours Critical Thinking and 3 hours Diversity and 3 hours Interdisciplinary embedded within the above and chosen from the list of approved courses; 27 credit hours of core requirements; 18 credit hours in a concentration in one of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics; and 33 credit hours of university electives.

Specific Requirements

Liberal Studies Core Courses* (27 credit hours)

Select one course from each of the nine categories below. Note: some of the courses

listed have prerequisites.

Literature:ENG 2150/215, 2160/216, 2190/219, 1330/233, 2340/234, 2410/241, 2440/244, 2910/291, 4316/316, 4370/370; FREN 3220/287, 4140/314; SPAN 3220/222, 3230/223, 3500/250, 3510/251, 4150/315

Philosophical Foundations: PHIL 1010/101, 2700/201, 1040/203, 1020/204, 1030/221, 2250/235, 2720/240, 2510/266

Diversity in Human Interaction: AFAM 1020/102; ANTH 2120/212, 2130/250; HIST 2160/216; PSYC 3200/351, 2200/367; SOC 1200/255, 2230/270, 3430/355

Research Methods: AFAM 3010/301; GEOG 4800/342, 4880/380; PH S 1080/108; PSYC 4120/343; SOC 4820/389, 4810/390

Fine Arts: ART 1100/101, 2110/201, 2120/235, 2101/296, 2102/297, 2103/298; MUS 1134/134, 2216/216, 2217/217, 2285/285; CMAT 2040/204, 2140/214, 2310/231, 3130/313, 4314/314

Advanced Writing: ENG 2090/209, 2100/210, 2280/228, 2790/279, 2800/280, 2920/292

History and Political Thought:HIST 2200/220, 2300/230, 2320/232, 2710/271, 2840/284, 2850/285, 4070/307, 4170/317, 4200/320, 4270/327, 4280/328; POL 2020/202, 3030/203, 3040/204; ECON 2050/205.

Personal Development and Enrichment: HPER 1200/220; HSC 2220/220; FIN 1010/101; PSYC 1000/123, 303

Liberal Studies Capstone Seminar:LBST 3900/390

*Liberal Studies core courses may not be counted towards General Education requirements.

Concentration** (18 credit hours)

Choose a concentration from one of the following three areas: Humanities/Fine Arts***; Social Sciences; Mathematics/Natural Sciences. Courses within the concentration are chosen with the advisor. At least two different disciplines are represented, and all courses must be at the 2000, 3000, and 4000 levels.

**General Education courses in the student’s Liberal Studies concentration area will be waived.

(***PE 2090/209 – Dance Performance Study/Activity, and PE 4170/317 – Progressive Rhythmic Activities will be allowed to count as fine arts courses)

Elective Courses (33 credit hours)

Electives to complete the degree requirements are chosen in consultation with the advisor. Minors may be completed in fulfilling electives and are encouraged by the Liberal Studies Program.

Liberal Studies Course Offerings (LBST)


Introduction to the expectations of the university. The nature of an interdisciplinary approach to learning. Promotion of effective study skills, utilization of university resources including academic library, computer and laboratories. acclimation to university life.


Interdisciplinary approach to knowledge and information analysis, interpretation and presentation.  Preliminary development of personal intellectual contract and learning plan. 


Prerequisites: Junior standing or above and consent of the department.

Individually supervised study of selected topics. May be repeated for a maximum of six credit hours under different topics.


Capstone seminar in Liberal Studies. Interdisciplinary approach to knowledge analysis, interpretation and presentation. Exploration of various themes focusing on the value of a liberal education. Prerequisites: Senior Standing