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Grand Valley State University    
2013-2014 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog 
  Sep 19, 2018
2013-2014 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Liberal Studies - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies  section in this catalog.

Chair: Burns-Ardolino. Professors: Ford, McClinton, Whipps; Associate Professor: Burns-Ardolino; Assistant Professors: Hussain, King, Peterson, Shell-Weiss, Wendland; Affiliate Professors: Fauvel, Krohmer, Lake, Maodush-Pitzer, Pettibone, Povolo, Wolverton.


Students may choose a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. The major provides an option in which students can pursue interdisciplinary studies and can reach across disciplinary fields to develop expertise in specified areas of interest. Students begin with core courses and work with an academic advisor to develop an individualized study plan with electives and emphases based on academic and career goals. It is appropriate as a major for students who wish to:

  • Organize their studies around problems, issues, and themes rather than around the traditional disciplines; for example, the relationship between poverty and society, community organization, and/or local music cultures and activism.
  • Emphasize a particular interdisciplinary area of study; for example, cultural studies, American studies, sustainability studies, gender studies and more
  • Concentrate simultaneously on a general education and a particular academic discipline or career field.

Career Opportunities


The liberal studies program allows students the opportunity to bring together – or integrate – courses from a wide variety of academic areas or disciplines to support their academic and career goals. The program also integrates on-campus with community-based, experiential methods of learning to enhance these goals. Liberal studies faculty teach the skills of integration, communication, collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking, democratic dialogue, global understanding and synthesis to prepare students for a wide variety of careers.

The Internship requirement of the liberal studies major is an important element in the application of liberal education and career development. The Internship portion of the liberal studies major provides supervised work experience through which students can relate liberal studies principles, academic work, and practice to advance career engagement. This career engagement is informed by an understanding of context, and of historic, cross-cultural, and ethical perspectives. It promotes flexibility, which is critically important as career shifts become more and more typical in our working lives.



Prospective majors should contact the Brooks College Advising Center to make an appointment with an advisor: 616-331-8200 or Substantial information, forms, guidance, and resources are also available on the departmental website at

Student Organizations

There are two registered student organizations for liberal studies majors: The Interdisciplinary Studies Student Organization (LSSO) and the Traverse City Liberal Studies Student Organization (TC Libs). Potential majors may find it helpful to dialogue with current majors. Meeting times and events connected with these two organizations vary. Please check the departmental website for details.

Liberal Studies in Holland

The liberal studies department, in partnership with continuing education and Grand Rapids Community College, now offer an adult degree completion program through the Meijer Campus in Holland. See the website, for more information.

Liberal Studies in Muskegon

Muskegon Community College and Grand Valley State University have collaborated to provide a degree completion program at one convenient location. After completion of an Associate of Science and Arts or the MACRAO program (plus selected foundation courses) at Muskegon Community College, students will begin degree completion courses through Grand Valley State University.

Grand Valley State University courses will be offered in a cohort fashion. Aside from the required core courses in the liberal studies major, students will choose between courses specific to organizations and leadership. Students will customize remaining coursework to coincide with their individual needs and interests. See for more information.

Liberal Studies in Traverse City

The Liberal Studies Department, in partnership with continuing education and Northwestern Michigan College, now offer an adult degree completion program in Traverse City. Students design a program that suits their specific interests, talents, and career goals. Working closely with a faculty advisor, students will develop a major area of study based on a specific theme, issue, problem, or career interest. The Traverse City program provides the liberal studies core courses and a selection of electives that may apply to your emphasis area. Students will combine coursework transferred from NMC, other community colleges, or four year institutions to complete the degree requirements.

The following program is available:

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies