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Coordinator: Dr. Sunita Manian

Liberal Studies is a major in the College of Arts and Sciences that is designed for students who prefer a broader and more varied approach to learning than that of the traditional single-discipline major. It is appropriate for students who plan to do graduate study in fields that require no specific major or that encourage interdisciplinary undergraduate study. It is also designed for those students whose educational objectives are intellectual and personal growth and enrichment.


The Liberal Studies major is open by admission only. Since students wishing to pursue this major are seeking freedom from the requirements normally set by disciplinary majors, they must demonstrate their academic maturity by meeting the following admission requirements.

  1. The student must have completed a minimum of 30 semester hours.
  2. The student must have a minimum cumulative academic grade point average of 2.50.
  3. The student must have a personal interview with the Coordinator.
  4. The student must submit and have accepted a prospectus form in two parts: (1) a list of the four disciplines to be used in the major; (2) a typed essay of 500-750 words in length describing why the student has chosen this major and the four disciplines and how he or she plans to coordinate the disciplines. The prospectus must be approved by the Coordinator and one other Liberal Studies Committee member before the student can be admitted to the major. Any changes of disciplines listed must be registered with the Coordinator.

As is the case with all programs requiring admission, only courses completed AFTER the student has been admitted to the program can be counted toward the major requirements. (Exceptions may be granted to this policy where extreme circumstances warrant it by the Coordinator of Liberal Studies.) Thus, it is highly recommended that students seek admission by the end of the second semester of the sophomore year if they wish to graduate at the end of the second semester of the senior year. Area F courses and language courses can be completed before admission.

Courses must be taken in two disciplines, distributed as follows:

  1. Discipline One - 15 hours
  2. Discipline Two - 9 hours

ALL courses for the major must be at the 3000-4000 level. All courses must be chosen from disciplines listed in Area F above; all Music prefixes count as one discipline. With the exception of CSCI and ECON, no courses outside the College of Arts and Sciences may be used toward the Liberal Studies major requirements.

Cognate Area A

9 semester hours

Courses at the 3000-4000 level in any approved university discipline not used for the major or for Cognate Area B (9 hours).

Cognate Area B

6 semester hours

Courses at the 3000-4000 level in any approved university discipline not used for the major or for Cognate Area A (6 hours).

Liberal Studies Seminar

2 semester hours

IDST 2930 (2-0-2). Two-hour seminar class to be taken upon acceptance into the Liberal Studies program. This course introduces the student to the goals and methods of interdisciplinary learning and research through examination and critical analysis of current topics.

Senior Capstone Requirement

6 semester hours

Area F

18 semester hours

Students must take 18 hours at the 1000-2000 level in addition to those taken in Areas A-E above, distributed as follows:

  2. Social Sciences (3-9 hours):  AFST,  ANTH, BLST, CRJU, ECON, GEOG, HIST, INST, POLS, PSYC, SOCI, WMST.
  3. Natural Sciences and Math (3-9 hours): ASTR, BIOL, CHEM, CSCI, ENSC, GEOG, GEOL, MATH, PHYS.

Note: When selecting from the natural sciences (ASTR, BIOL, CHEM, ENSC, GEOG, GEOL, PHYS), both the lecture course and the companion laboratory course (when it exists) must be successfully completed to apply the credits from either course to this degree requirement.

(Any transfer student who has not completed the courses in Area F, or their equivalents, must take these courses at GCSU.)

Major Requirements

24 semester hours

IDST 4930 (2-2-3). Senior Capstone. This course introduces advanced topics in interdisciplinary research and prepares the student for IDST 4931 - Senior Project. The two courses are typically completed in a two-semester progression during the student's graduating year. In this course, the student will acquire the skills of interdisciplinary research, assemble a student portfolio, complete a significant service learning experience, and produce a research proposal for an interdisciplinary independent study that serves as the Senior Project. An independent study or other substantial effort may be applied in the place of the Senior Capstone with the written permission of the Coordinator.

IDST 4931 (2-2-3). Senior Project. Prerequisite: IDST 4930 or permission of the instructors. In his/her final semester, the student must complete an interdisciplinary project that integrates the various areas of study into a meaningful academic work, such as a research paper, thesis, gallery show, or performance.

During the semester of graduation, the student will present his/her independent study, student portfolio, and a summative essay to a committee of at least three faculty members. That committee will consist of the Coordinator of the Liberal Studies program and two or more instructors of the student's choosing, from the major or cognate disciplines. The student will describe through the portfolio and summative essay the parallels and insights that this interdisciplinary course of study has provided.

Language Requirement

0-12 semester hours

All students must demonstrate minimum proficiency in a foreign language at the level of the fourth university course (2002) in one language (9-12 hours). This proficiency can be demonstrated in one of two ways. (1) Course work. Students who have had two years of high school foreign language and who wish to continue that language must enter the sequence at the 1002 level. They may audit the 1001 course without credit. Students with three or more years of high school language are urged to choose the most advanced possible language course appropriate for their language competence, upon consultation with the Chairperson of the Department of Modern Languages & Cultures.(2) Testing. Students may also demonstrate proficiency and possibly exempt one or more courses by (a) submitting an appropriate score on an approved national test, or (b) by challenging the appropriate course(s) beyond 1001, for which they must consult with the Chairperson of the Department of Modern Languages & Cultures. Students who are able to exempt courses receive credit hours but no letter grades.

International students with non-immigrant visa status must complete the foreign language requirement unless granted a waiver as specified in the International Students Admissions section of the Catalog.

Courses taken to fulfill the language requirement may be applied in Core Area F but may not be applied toward the 24 hours required for the major or the 15 hours required for the two cognate areas. Liberal Studies majors who take three or four courses at the university level may count three of them in Area F.


1-13 hours of other courses chosen in consultation with the Coordinator.


Liberal Studies majors who use language courses in Area F will have the higher number of elective hours.

Other Requirements

  1. A grade of C or better must be achieved in all courses counted toward the major and the cognate areas.
  2. Independent study courses, internships and workshops may not be applied toward the 24 hours of major courses or 15 hours of cognate areas unless specific written permission of the Coordinator is given, and only after a written justification has been presented to the Coordinator by the student and the proposed professor prior to enrollment in the course.
  3. Courses counted toward the 24 hours of the major or the 15 hours of cognate areas cannot be applied toward a minor in any of the four disciplines used.
  4. A minimum of 39 hours overall must be taken at the 3000-4000 level.

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