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Liberal Studies

Program Description

The Liberal Studies program allows students to create an individualized curriculum composed of courses and experiences which meet their individual career needs. This approach is different from many traditional, discipline-based baccalaureate programs which are designed in part to prepare students for advanced work in a specific academic discipline -- a major in history or biology, for example. This flexibility enables students to develop academic plans that meet the ever-changing requirements of the world of work, but it also requires careful planning. Students should clarify their career or learning goals as they begin designing the components of their program. The bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies can also be an appropriate preparation for students planning to attend graduate school in certain disciplines and professions. Students may earn either a baccalaureate degree by completing a planned program of 120 semester credit hours or an associate's degree with a major in Liberal Studies upon the completion of Areas A-F of the Core Curriculum.

Target Audience

While this degree program is open to all qualified students, it has been designed principally to meet the higher education needs of the following two specific groups of students:

  1. Non-traditional students who are already in the workplace, but need a baccalaureate degree to advance in their current career. Consultation with employers or supervisors will help students identify career needs which will form the basis for the design of an individualized curriculum; and
  2. Traditional students with clear academic or career goals who are open to and interested in novel ways of organizing an undergraduate experience which draws on the multiple resources of current distance learning opportunities, courses available through other institutions within the Atlanta Regional Consortium of Higher Education (ARCHE), and opportunities for internships and work/study experiences available in the larger community. .

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Why is it called Liberal Studies?

The program allows students the opportunity to bring together -- or integrate -- courses from a wide variety of academic areas or disciplines to support their individual career goals. In addition to the courses available at Clayton State, students may elect to take courses on the campuses of the Atlanta Regional Consortium like Emory, Georgia State, or Agnes Scott, or they can take advantage of distance learning courses offered by those institutions or others. The program also integrates on-campus with community-based, experiential methods of learning. Workforce skills today require new competencies such as effective collaboration and teamwork which may not be available through classroom instruction alone; these skills must be learned, developed, and advanced in real work environments. For these reasons, internship placements which support this component are arranged for all students in the program.

Clarification of Career/Learning Goals

Since this program was developed to allow students to design individualized curriculum plans, the first step in the application process is the identification and clarification of career goals. These goals will shape the outcomes of individual programs -- what students need to know and be able to do in order to be successful in the occupational or professional area chosen. This step is primarily the responsibility of students seeking admission to the program and will require considerable investigation and reflection prior to completion of the application process. Only if students have clear goals statements can faculty advisors effectively assist them in designing programs which are appropriate and which maximize the resources available.

  1. Students who are already employed and who desire a baccalaureate degree to advance in their current career should meet with supervisors in order to identify the types of courses and experiences which would best equip them to succeed in their chosen line of employment.
  2. Students who are not currently employed but who have a prospective career in mind should seek out and interview those who are successfully engaged in the line of work they desire to enter in order to identify the types of skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in the career desired.
  3. Students who plan to advance to graduate or professional school after graduation should contact these schools to determine undergraduate requirements and to insure that a baccalaureate in Liberal Studies is an appropriate program to meet graduate prerequisites. In most cases, the Liberal Studies baccalaureate is acceptable for graduate and professional programs such as law which have few discipline-specific prerequisites. It is appropriate preparation for the new Master of Liberal Studies graduate degree program at Clayton State. On the other hand, it is likely not an appropriate choice for students planning to enter traditional, discipline-specific graduate programs such as those in math, biology, or physical science.

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Curriculum Overview

Admission to the Program: Before enrolling in BALS 3901 (Liberal Studies Internship/Practicum), students must have:

  1. Completed 45 semester credit hours (Areas A-F of the core curriculum), and
  2. Achieved an overall institutional grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0.

Individualized Curriculum: Students work closely with an assigned Liberal Studies advisor to develop a curriculum plan which takes advantage of the wide range of learning resources available. Courses may be drawn from any discipline, but all courses must apply toward the baccalaureate degrees at Clayton State. Courses from a career associate degree program (AAS) generally do not count toward baccalaureate degrees. Completing a degree in Liberal Studies requires completion of 120 semester hours as follows:

Completing a degree in Integrative studies requires completion of 120 semester hours as follows:

  • Freshman and Sophomore years (lower division): 60 hours of core curriculum
  • division): 51-57 hours. A minimum of 42 hours of upper division credit is required; no more than 18 lower division hours may be applied at this level.
  • Experiential learning (BALS 3901): 3-9 hours

Academic Standing: A grade of C or better is required in the BALS 3901 course. Students must maintain a 2.0 overall grade point average to remain in good standing as defined by University System policy. In addition, no more than 6 semester hours of D grades can be counted in the courses that are chosen to fulfill the upper division requirements of the program.

Residency Requirement: The normal University residency requirement of 30 hours applies, with the following exceptions: (1) all BALS 3901 courses must be taken in residence at Clayton State University; and (2) 9 hours of coursework taken from schools participating in the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (ARCHE) may be counted as “in residence,” provided the courses are approved in advance as part of the student’s Liberal Studies program of study. Note: Of the 30 hours required for residency, 21 semester hours must be 3000-4000 level courses credited toward your degree.

Liberal Studies Internship: The Liberal Studies Practicum/Internship (BALS 3901) is the principal "experiential learning" component of the program, though students may also earn additional credit via other internships or cooperative education. This seminar will normally be taken during the first term of the senior year, and the placement site will be in a professional work environment related to the interests/career goals of the individual student. Placement may be with for-profit, not-for-profit, or governmental entities as appropriate. Collaborating businesses/agencies must agree to create and supervise meaningful experiences that will allow students to observe and participate in real world projects and activities that bear directly on the challenges of the contemporary workplace. Students are permitted to complete a practicum or internship in the company where they are already employed. Students are encouraged to seek experiential opportunities outside the USA.

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The Liberal Studies program provides the opportunity for a student to work with an advisor to design a curriculum that meets the student’s career and educational needs. This flexibility enables students to develop academic programs that meet the ever-changing requirements of the world of work. A bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies can also be designed to prepare students for graduate school in certain disciplines and professions.

Admission and Readmission Requirements

Before beginning upper-division study in Liberal Studies, applicants must have:

  1. Completed 45 semester credit hours
  2. Achieved an overall institutional Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.00;
  3. Completed ENGL 1101 with a grade of A, B, C, or K.

Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies Degree Program Requirements

Core Curriculum (Areas A - E) 42 hours

All Liberal Studies Core Curriculum requirements are shown in the suggested degree program.

Lower Division Core Requirements (Core Curriculum Area F) 18 hours

Humanities 3-9 hours

Any of the following 1000- or 2000-level courses: AFAM, WST, ART, CMS, COMM, THEA, ENGL, FREN, MUSC, PHIL, and SPAN

Social Sciences 3-9 hours

Any of the following 1000- or 2000-level courses: AFAM, WST, ECON, EDUC, HIST, POLS, PSYC, SOCI

Natural Sciences and Mathematics 0-6 hours

Any 1000- or 2000-level MATH courses numbered 1113 or higher not already applied to Areas A or D and/or any 1000- or 2000-level ASTR, BIOL, CHEM, or PHYS, or other science courses not already applied to Area D.

Area Major Courses 0-12 hours

Courses from Area F of any major that have not been used to satisfy other Core Curriculum category requirements.

Upper Division Required Courses 3 hours

BALS 3901, Liberal Studies Practicum/Internship 3 hours

Students may take up to 9 hours of BALS 3901, but students may only register for 1 semester of BALS 3901 per semester. Additional terms of BALS 3901 will be applied in the upper division.

Upper Division Area Major Courses 57 hours

The Liberal Studies Major requires students to complete a CSU minor program in Arts & Sciences (African-American Studies, History, English (Literature), English (Writing), Women’s Studies, Communication & Media Studies, Philosophy, Psychology, Political Science, Chemistry, etc.).

Fulfilling the requirements for a minor in an area of expertise enables students to move toward achieving career and academic goals. Additional courses may be drawn from any field, but must be in the student’s advised program of study. No more than 18 lower division hours may be applied to this category.

Total Degree Requirements 120 hours

Other Program-Specific Graduation Requirements

  1. A minimum of 42 hours must be completed in 3000-4000 level courses.
  2. All BALS courses must be taken in residence at Clayton State.
  3. Up to 9 hours of Cross-Registration in the Atlanta Regional Consortium for Higher Education, study abroad, or distance learning may be counted as in-residence if the courses are approved in advance as part of the student’s Liberal Studies program of study.

Program Entry

In order to be admitted to the upper division level of the Integrative Studies program, students must have and institutional grade point average of at least 2.0 and must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to progress to graduation.

For general Clayton State University admission information visit the Admissions website, email Clayton State University info or call (678) 466-4115.