The department’s mission is broad but students must take only 8 courses (32 credits) in the department. The program is structured to make maximum use of the limited time that we have to accomplish the purposes of general education. Four courses are broad, introductory courses and are to be taken in the first 2 years of college. These cover communication, economics, the humanities, and the social sciences.
The Liberal Studies faculty have helped me to learn how to convey my knowledge to others and realize my full potential as a person. Our insights and knowledge are only beneficial if we are able to share them with the world. No one cares what’s in our heads; only what we can share with them.
~Jacob Gee, Mechanical Engineering, 2007 graduate
The other four courses are to be taken in the last 2 or 3 years of college; each course provides greater depth of understanding of a discipline than do the introductory courses. Students are required to take a communication class designed to develop advanced professional and technical communication skills. They choose an upper division humanities elective (e.g. Literature of Multicultural America, Moral and Ethical Philosophy) and an upper division social science elective (e.g. Imperialism, Analysis of Social Dissent).
We engineers love our math and science, but through Liberal Studies classes, I’ve had the opportunity to branch out and explore my other creative interests.”
~Caroline Chung, Mechanical Engineering, graduating in 2009 or 2010
All students are required to take a capstone course entitled “Senior Seminar: Leadership, Ethics and Contemporary Issues.” This is a highly demanding course that requires students to use the critical thinking skills that they developed through the rigorous reading, discussion, and writing assignments of prior courses. The objectives of this course are to promote student understanding of 1) ethical issues in a contemporary setting, 2) current ethical issues in corporate leadership, and 3) the social contexts of leadership and ethical problems. Students read and discuss 5 or 6 books, write critical essays and a major paper. Each participant assists in leading a seminar discussion.
LS courses challenged my understanding of the world around me and provided me with a variety of valuable tools to continuously improve and further my knowledge. My professors helped me to form mature opinions on many difficult ethical and social issues. The senior seminar forced us to think for ourselves, necessary for all students. The value of my education would have been significantly lower without it.”
~Irina Novikova, Electrical Engineering, 2006 graduate