BA in Liberal Studies: Urban Ecology
Location: AU Seattle
Credits for Degree: 180 quarter credits
Standard Mode of Instruction: Classroom
Standard time to completion: 36 months
In line with the mission of Antioch University, the BA in Liberal Studies degree completion program is a 180-quarter-credit program built on principles of rigorous liberal arts education, lifelong learning and social responsibility. Guided by these principles, the curriculum places the student at the center of their learning process. Antioch offers a bachelor’s degree completion opportunity for self-directed learners ready to steer their own educational pathways.
Students come to AUS with backgrounds ranging from recent community college experience to students with up to 30 or more years of work and life experiences. Students in the BA in Liberal Studies Program may have accumulated college credits from other accredited institutions, from recognized testing processes, from military service, and/or from prior learning experience. From these diverse backgrounds, BA Liberal Studies students, with faculty guidance, design their own plans of study to round out liberal arts learning outcomes and focus on an area of personal and career interest.
The BA degree completion program is designed to meet learners where they are personally, professionally and academically. Antioch’s BA in Liberal Studies program is meant for the learner who is planning, among other things, to:
- Change career directions
- Get a promotion
- Pursue a new job opportunity
- Attend graduate school
- Become a community or environmental activist
- Launch one’s life dream/project
- Experience the personal fulfillment of completing a bachelor’s degree
Many Antioch BA students are currently employed and have clear personal and professional goals. They are managers, artists, small business owners, social service workers, parents, community activists, military veterans, independent scholars and recent (or not-so-recent) graduates of community and technical colleges. Others are at early stages of their careers and want to explore ways to match their ideals with their studies and future work, especially with regard to social change and social justice.
All these students share:
- A desire to shape their education to fit professional and personal goals
- Interest in self-directed learning
- Drive for a personally meaningful education
- Strong motivation to enhance their professional and personal lives
- Appreciation of the value of collaboration
- Strong desire to make a significant contribution to society and create social change
Customization is Key
In the BA program, each study plan is based on the student’s past experience, current needs and interests, and future goals. Students work in close collaboration with faculty advisors, instructors and other students to shape their studies. Students build on earlier college work and on skills learned at home, at work, through independent reading and volunteer activities.
MA/Graduate Pathway (12 overlapping credits)
The MA pathway provides an accelerated route for qualified students in the BA in Liberal Studies Program to transition into a graduate program at Antioch University while completing their undergraduate coursework. The Pathway requires acceptance into an Antioch Master’s degree program, of which there are many options in Psychology and Education. Students apply to the MA program when they are within approximately 3-4 quarters of finishing their BA. If accepted into an MA program, the student launches into the first 12 credits of their graduate program while completing the BA in Liberal Studies degree.
A core curriculum in liberal studies supports students to design and successfully complete their bachelor’s degree. Students begin with a liberal studies seminar in which they explore the liberal arts in relation to their own interests, needs and goals. Throughout their time at Antioch, students also pursue liberal studies chosen from offerings both at Antioch and at other institutions. They study the diversity of the human community, evaluate and demonstrate their own personal academic strengths and work collaboratively with other students. They share the results of their own studies and express their creativity in peer group settings. All students do a project in the community during their time at Antioch. Students finish with a capstone project that brings various elements of their learning together into a coherent synthesis.
Areas of Academic Concentration
In consultation with their academic advisors, students create a concentration that is in many ways like a traditional academic major. The significant difference is that students help design the combination of courses that make up their area of concentration, creating a unique mix of lower and upper division, and interdisciplinary coursework. In this way, students develop an area of concentration around their intellectual interests and career goals, drawing on past or current passions to shape concentrations that prepare them for graduate study or future career changes.
Concentrations require a minimum 40 quarter credits of coursework, comprised of transfer courses, prior learning, Antioch courses, independent studies, service learning, internships, and other learning activities. Concentrations must include a minimum 3 credits of community-based learning, and a final, capstone/senior synthesis project.
Students choose concentrations in one of two ways: 1) Individualized Concentrations are created through a degree committee structure, where the student, an academic advisor and two community advisors guide the student to design learning activities to form a coherent plan of disciplinary or interdisciplinary study, named by the student. Or, 2) Students choose one of the several areas of concentration established by the BA faculty drawing from a curriculum designed specifically to support these fields of study. In either instance, the student develops a learning plan with advisor approval to fulfill the area of concentration requirement.
Optional Emphasis Areas (12 quarter credits minimum)
Students may elect an ‘emphasis’ of in-depth study within their area of concentration. These emphasis areas provide students with a specialized area of knowledge and skills. Emphasis areas are framed by the student, approved by the academic advisor, and must comprise at least 12 quarter credits that cohere around a central topic.
Urban Ecology Area of Concentration
This concentration prepares students for work and/or graduate studies in a wide range of fields, including: social entrepreneurship, community development, social change advocacy, environmental stewardship, climate change activism, urban environmental education, public policy & law, urban design and government agencies (departments such as parks, utilities, social services or neighborhoods). A highly interdisciplinary concentration, Urban Ecology engages students in the study of political economy, food systems, environmental justice, cultural studies, policy studies, urban planning, education and social change. This concentration educates students to take innovative leadership roles with communities facing the challenges and opportunities of dense urbanization, a growing urgency for social justice, and quickly evolving environmental conditions. Graduates with this concentration are committed to nurturing resilient communities in which residents thrive culturally, psychologically, spiritually, and economically.
- Applied Political Economy: Land & Life
- Displaced Persons: Immigrants & Refugees
- Wealth and Poverty
- Post-Colonial Literature & Theory
- Global Media & Resistance
- Sustainable Cities: Water, Energy & Resource Flows
- Water Rights & Wars; Global Perspectives
- Urban Agriculture
- Environmental Racism, Environmental Justice
- Eco Spirituality
- Movements of the Marginalized
- Critical Pedagogy
- Community Organizing in Action
- Far-From-Equilibrium: Systems Perspectives on Change
- Facilitating Participation
- Narrating Change: Stories for Collective Action
Sample Community-Based Learning Experiences:
- Apprentice with a local artist, writer or film-maker focused on community issues
- Organize a speaker/lecture series on a global issue
- Training with an international NGO
- Practicum with a labor union or community-based organization
- Work with a Community Garden
Sample Synthesis Projects:
- Develop a project on local, sustainable agriculture in the greater Seattle area
- Design an advocacy project promoting outdoor recreation and experiential education for troubled youth in public high schools
- Research the effects of global warming on coastal urban areas
- Facilitate a community issues forum
- Compare and contrast different farming systems (agri-business, organic, bio-dynamic, and permaculture)
- Design an advocacy project promoting experiential environmental education for at risk youth in public high schools
- Oral history project dealing with an immigrant community
Current Tuition and Fees
University Tuition and Fees