Liberal Studies is an interdisciplinary humanities department. The humanities include the disciplines which study philosophy, religion, history, literature, and the arts. Through these disciplines, people in different cultures have thought about truth and the meaning of human experience, standards of moral judgment for human actions, and the nature of beauty and the cultivation of taste in the arts.
The department teaches students to ask how works of the humanities have been shaped by their historical and cultural contexts, and how they in turn have influenced readers and audiences. The department supports study of the humanities in the cultures of Europe, the Americas, China, Japan, South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and in predominately Islamic areas.
We provide high quality GUR courses with limited enrollments, an opportunity for student discussion, and substantial written assignments. The department’s GUR courses prepare students to be knowledgeable and effective citizens by providing practice in using methods of the humanities, knowledge of Western and of non-Western cultures, historical knowledge about modern cultural conflict and change, and practice in critical thinking and written communication.
Through the B.A. Humanities degree programs, the department prepares students to engage in individual scholarship in the humanities. Students learn to define problems, to analyze texts and works of art, and to evaluate and use multiple methods of inquiry. In small seminars students are taught to lead discussions and to do independent research. Most programs require a substantial senior paper. Students acquire skills which are broadly applicable to professional careers and graduate education.