Liberal Studies Prospectus
The Liberal Studies prospectus is an opportunity for the prospective student to demonstrate character, maturity, and direction in a brief (~750 word) written essay. The purpose of the paper is to share the background and motivations of the student, and to present the specific combination of academic disciplines that will be integrated to form that individual's degree program.
While any variety of essay structures could be effective, this suggested outline could help students explain themselves in the prospectus:
- Introduction. The first paragraph describes the background of the student, including any important developments that led the student toward a particular career, goal, or aspiration, including both educational experiences and other personal events. The student may choose to discuss what paths led to Liberal Studies, and present a brief synopsis of why the Liberal Studies degree is best. The four disciplines chosen should be stated in this paragraph.
- Discipline 1. Each discipline chosen by the student should be discussed in light of its importance to the overall objectives of the degree program. Familiarity with the discipline should be demonstrated through the use of terms, concepts, methods, or the like. For each discipline, it is important to indicate how that discipline will serve the goals of the student. What things about this discipline appeal to you, and what is it you expect to get out of it? What specific classes will you use to complete your program of study?
- Discipline 2.
- Cognate Area A.
- Cognate Area B.
- Summary. After each discipline is presented, the overall theme of the degree program should be defended, using an approach that integrates each area into a complete whole. How do the four areas come together to create an interdisciplinary degree? What abilities will you have as a result, and what do you expect to do with this degree? Some mention of the career ambitions would be appropriate here, even if they remain ambiguous at the moment.
When the prospectus is finished, students will present it to the Coordinator for evaluation and discussion. Subsequent editing may be necessary, and then the prospectus must be approved by another faculty member of the program advisory committee. Once accepted, the student should schedule a meeting with a professor in the area of Discipline 1 to help identify courses to complete the program. At this point, the student will be enrolled in the Liberal Studies Seminar course.
The prospectus will be evaluated according to these student outcomes:
- The student shows academic promise based on writing and communication skills;
- The student has structured interests within the program;
- The student demonstrates preliminary knowledge of the proposed disciplines;
- The student includes an effort to incorporate interdisciplinarity into coursework.