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Bachelor of Liberal Studies Courses

The Liberal Studies program consists of general education, required core, and elective courses.

For a full list of courses, view the BLS program course planner.

The required courses help students develop a broad base of understanding in a variety of areas. Elective courses allow students to customize their education experience.

The following list contains descriptions for the core courses and program electives.

Communication 214

Interpersonal Speech Communication (3 cr) (XC) (HU)

Examination and explanation of the components of interpersonal speech communication. Lectures, discussions, observations, and controlled experiences will enable the student to learn and apply relevant concepts and variables of human interaction in dyadic, face-to-face communication situations. Intercultural Communication focused. Credit cannot be received for both Communication 213 and Communication 214.

Communication 304 

Business and Professional Speaking (3 cr) 

An examination of the unique communication problems and practices in business and industry. Through investigation, case study and practical exercises students should understand and be able to participate effectively in a variety of communication experiences faced by managers in business and the professions. 

Prerequisite: Communication 118 or 236 or consent of instructor.


Liberal Studies 208

The Ecology of Occupation (3 cr) (SS) (XS)

Examines the relationship between occupation (both work and discretionary) and values, identity and health/wellness in contemporary society. Focuses on the complex variables (economic, psychological, sociological, genetic) which affect occupational choice, and hence our freedom (or lack thereof) to engage in meaningful, rewarding occupation. 

Prerequisites: WBIS 188, English 101, or department consent; also open only to students enrolled in one of the following majors: Liberal Studies, Leadership and Organizational Studies, or Fire & Emergency Management or department consent.


Liberal Studies 209

Introduction to Liberal Studies (3 cr)

Introduces the concepts related to self-directed, life-long learning with a focus on various types of thinking and writing skills through exposure to a broad range of academic subjects. Students will be introduced to the principles and processes involved in developing a learning portfolio, which will be required in their Capstone course. 

Prerequisites: WBIS 188, English 101, or department consent; also open only to students enrolled in Bachelor of Liberal Studies or Bachelor of Applied Studies.


Liberal Studies 230

Introduction to Leadership (3 cr)

This course will introduce students to a variety of theories and issues involved with leadership, including power and influence; vision, values and ethics; effecting change through teams and coalition; and the importance of embracing diversity. Examples will be drawn from a broad range of contexts, including organizations, education, politics, and communities. 

Prerequisite:  concurrent or prior enrollment in Liberal Studies 209 or department consent.


Liberal Studies 301

Contemporary Global Issues and Problems (3 cr)

This course explores the ethical and religious dimensions of several global challenges in contemporary international society: (1) the expanding role of religion as a motivation for violence as well as a force for justice and peace; (2) the increasing deterioration of the global environment; (3) international efforts to protect human rights in countries where there is systematic oppression or genocide; and (4) the chronic gap in wealth between rich and poor nations. 

Prerequisite: Concurrent or prior enrollment in Liberal Studies 209 or department consent. 



Liberal Studies 302

The Web of the Future: Workplace Communication and Trends (3 cr) 

Examines the history, operation, economics, and applications of computer technology and its significance in contemporary life. Consideration is given to a careful description of present technology and what some of the main decisions are that must be made if humanity is to utilize and control this technology. 

Prerequisite: Concurrent or prior enrollment Liberal Studies 209 or department consent.




Liberal Studies 305

Religious and Ethical Values in American Society (3 cr)

This course examines the role of religion in American public life historically and in recent times. It provides a perspective on the meaning of the separation of church and state as understood by the Founding Fathers, as interpreted by Supreme Court over time, and in current political debates. The course also analyzes a variety of ethical and religious perspectives that underline contemporary cultural conflicts over the proper direction of some of our most important social institutions-the family, schools, and the legal system. Finally the course explores the moral and religious arguments surrounding four critical issues-abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, and affirmative action-and what public policies should result from these positions. 

Prerequisites: Concurrent or prior enrollment in Liberal studies 209 or department consent.


Liberal Studies 306 

Popular Culture in the Mass Media (3 cr)

This course will examine key issues related to popular culture and its representation in different media. In an attempt to focus and organize our consideration of this rather nebulous phenomenon, we will approach the course theme in three ways. First, we will discuss some narratives about popular culture. Second, we will then study the role of narrative in popular culture (and its importance in how we make sense of the world in general). Third, we will explore a couple of the most prevalent “pop culture” genres such as a gangster film, a mystery novel and others. 

Prerequisites: Concurrent or prior enrollment in Liberal Studies 209 or department consent.


Liberal Studies 307

Encountering the Arts (3 cr) 

An interdisciplinary study of the arts in which relationship are drawn among music, visual arts, literature and drama. Students gain insights into the various artistic expressions of human feeling—their distinctive relationships and individual qualities. Significant cultural patterns that have influenced the arts in the Western and non-Western world are explored. Elective. 

Prerequisites: Concurrent or prior enrollment in Liberal Studies 209 or department consent.


Liberal Studies 309

Development of Scientific Ideas (3 cr)

Encourage analysis and understanding of the ideas that have effected scientific developments over the last two thousand years. Examines the growing ability of scientists to understand the phenomenon of nature; specifically, it peruses seminal ideas in astronomy, biology, physics and other sciences. Addresses broad scientific ideas and notes their practical significance for man. Prerequisites: concurrent or prior enrollment Liberal Studies 209 or department consent. 


Liberal Studies 311

Environmental Issues (3 cr) 

Introduces students to the complexities of environmental problems confronting today's global citizens. Focuses on a series of environmental issues that are, and have been, difficult to resolve. Readings, audiovisual materials, and discussions on three or more environmental controversies are employed to illustrate the many aspects of each issue that should be explored. Students investigate a problem of their choice for presentation to the class in written or oral form. A field trip extends ecological background and provides additional information on a major issue addressed in the course. 

Prerequisites: Concurrent or prior enrollment Liberal Studies 209 or department consent.


Liberal Studies 320

Gendered Lives (3 cr) (SS)

Analysis of how gender affects human experiences throughout the lifespan, from infancy through old age. Using insights from social science theories of human development and of gender, explores how males and females are expected to behave, how they actually define themselves, and how they act out or challenge gender prescription, at each stage of the life cycle. Cross-listed: Liberal Studies 320/ Women’s Studies 320. Students may receive credit for only one of the two cross-listed courses. 

Prerequisites: Concurrent or prior enrollment in Liberal Studies 209 or department consent.  


Liberal Studies 335

Transformative Leadership (3 cr)

Transformative leadership is a creative, passionate, and authentic expression of service inspired by the leadership wisdom of Bennis, Drucker, Greanleaf, Hesselbein, Hooks, and Quinn.  In this course, learners will have the opportunity to identify and develop individually unique and effective leadership styles and approaches.  Through a combination of inventories, reflection, and experiential activities, learners will explore their passion and what constrains their leadership as well as how they impact and influence others. Learners also will observe and analyze the leadership styles of leaders with whom they associate. 

Prerequisite: Concurrent or prior enrollment in Liberal Studies 230 or department consent.


Liberal Studies 336

Collaborative Leadership Dynamics (3 cr)

This course is designed to introduce a theoretical framework for collaborative leadership and the elements of group dynamics that support and maintain its success.  Opportunities to integrate theory and practice will be provided to assist learners in understanding how groups function and how they as leaders, impact the ability/behaviors of the group for solving personal, interpersonal, group and organizational problems. 

Prerequisites: Concurrent or prior enrollment in Liberal Studies 230 or department consent. 

Liberal Studies 337

Conflict Resolution: Negotiation, Mediation and Arbitration (3 cr)

Designed to introduce learners to the study of ADR or Alternative Dispute Resolution, this course explores the resolution of conflict through negotiation, mediation and arbitration.  A variety of approaches for resolving conflict are examined, from the adjudicative (arbitration, private or special judging, neutral fact-finding), to the evaluative (peer, lay, judicial, and expert evaluation) to the meditative. Emphasis is given to the meditative process and its usefulness in a wide range of venues. Learners will be given multiple opportunities to integrate theory and practice in the development of conflict resolution skills. 

Prerequisite: Concurrent or prior enrollment in Liberal Studies 230 or department consent.


Liberal Studies 338

Mentoring and Development (3 cr)

This course will examine the principles and techniques of effective mentoring, the mentor as a change agent within  the organizational entity and the impact mentoring programs have in organizational settings overall. Students will examine and critically analyze their own mentoring experiences as well as the content of existing programs, and propose recommendations on how to develop or enhance a mentoring culture in a given organization. 

Prerequisites: Concurrent or prior enrollment in Liberal Studies 230 or department consent; and Communication 111.


Liberal Studies 410

Capstone Seminar (3 cr) 

Designed as a culminating or "capstone" learning experience, this course focuses on the integration of concepts and ideas from previous Liberal Studies courses. 

Prerequisite: Department consent.


Liberal Studies 411

Senior Research Seminar (3 cr)

The Senior Research Seminar provides an overview of approaches to research and the assumption that underline each. Particular emphasis is given to the correspondence between research methods and epistemological orientation. Students develop a research question and perform a preliminary literature review around a topic of their choice. This course is the prerequisite companion course to Liberal Studies 412, the Senior Research Project. 

Prerequisite: Department consent.  


Liberal Studies 436

Senior Project (3 cr) (14 weeks)

This course is designed as a culminating or "capstone" learning experience for adults nearing the completion of the baccalaureate degree through Lifelong Learning and Community Engagement. The fundamental aim of the course is to equip participants with the learning capacities and competencies necessary for continued personal, civic and career growth. This course is an individually planned learning project that combines the concepts and ideas mastered through coursework with actual workplace environments. The student, the instructor and a workplace mentor will agree on an applied learning project. Goals, objectives, and a preliminary plan will be approved in writing by all three parties before the project is begun. The project will be supervised by the University instructor and the workplace mentor and will include a literature review and commentary, original work and a final report and presentation. 

Prerequisites: Department consent.


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