BA in Liberal Studies
Location: AU Los Angeles
Credits for Degree: 180 quarter credits
Standard Mode of Instruction: Classroom
Standard time to completion: 36 months
The BA in Liberal Studies Program uses an interdisciplinary approach toward learning and emphasizes critical thinking, creative problem-solving, awareness of multiple perspectives, social and intercultural awareness, civic and community engagement, and an ability to connect learning to one’s lived experience. The Liberal Studies program is particularly structured to give students flexibility while designing their path to a meaningful degree. For this degree program, students can transfer in units from across a wide range of general education subjects without needing to follow a specific pattern of prerequisites. The core curriculum is recommended, rather than required, so that students can easily individualize their learning experience.
Although all students in the BA in Liberal Studies Program graduate with the same degree, students can choose an area of concentration to focus their studies. Students select a Major Area of Concentration from the following:
- Addiction Studies
- Business and Management Studies
- Creative Writing
- Liberal Studies
- Urban Studies
Students can also choose a Minor Area of Concentration in any of the above specialized areas, as well as the following:
- Child Studies
- Queer Studies
Areas of Concentration
Students must complete a minimum of 40 units and a maximum of 80 units in a Major Area of Concentration. The BA in Liberal Studies Program currently offers six Major Areas of Concentration with a wide variety of core courses, electives, internships, and independent study opportunities for each.
Note that units counted toward an Area of Concentration cannot be used to meet the domains of knowledge requirements and vice versa.
Students may also opt for a Minor Area of Concentration in any of the above-listed specialized Major Areas of Concentration. To earn a Minor Area of Concentration, a student must accrue at least 20 units in the concentration.
Students are encouraged to work closely with their faculty advisors as they develop degree plans appropriate to their educational and career goals. The faculty strongly recommends that at least half of the units in the student’s chosen Major or Minor Area of Concentration be upper division. Students who are not able to accrue 20 upper-division units in one of the specialized Major Areas of Concentration should opt for Liberal Studies as their Major Area of Concentration. Students are also strongly advised to take as many of the core courses in the specialized Major Area of Concentration, as listed in this catalog and as identified on the quarterly course schedule. Students who take the recommended core courses acquire a strong foundation in their chosen discipline.
The student should choose and declare the Major Area of Concentration in the first two quarters of enrollment and work closely with his or her advisor to identify internship opportunities and independent studies that will reinforce the learning in the chosen discipline. If a student has not completed 40 credits in a specialized Major Area of Concentration by the time of candidacy review, the Major Area of Concentration will be designated as Liberal Studies.
Liberal Studies: Major Area of Concentration
The Liberal Studies concentration allows students considerable freedom in designing their educational program and encourages students to be active agents in defining the parameters of their concentration. To this end, there are no set core courses for the Liberal Studies concentration. Each student, with an advisor, has maximum flexibility in shaping her or his course of study and meeting individual learning objectives. The Program recommends that students earn all 180-200 quarter units across a broad array of disciplines with 9-15 quarter units in each of the six Domains of Knowledge but no more than 39 units in any single Domain. The program faculty also recommends that students strive for a balance of upper and lower division learning in establishing their degree plans.
Students choosing the Liberal Studies concentration should work closely with their faculty advisors to develop a degree plan characterized by:
- Breadth across all domains of knowledge
- Depth of study in specific areas of interest
- Development of critical thinking, writing, and oral presentation skills
- Integration of theory and practice
- Independent study
- Cross-disciplinary approaches to issues of power relations, race, class, sex, gender, and diversity issues
The faculty recommends that students supplement their course work with an internship in a setting that acquaints students with the work of community organizations or professional fields in which they are thinking of focusing their careers. In addition, independent studies provide opportunities for students to pursue new learning in specialized areas of interest in self-directed individual or collaborative projects under the guidance of faculty mentors. The prior learning activity is another option that affords students the opportunity to reflect on the knowledge, values, and commitments gained in the course of lived experience outside of the formal classroom.
Current Tuition and Fees
University Tuition and Fees