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Curriculum and Concentrations

To earn the B.A. degree with a major in Liberal Studies, students must develop and complete a coherent curriculum with a concentration of at least 30 semester hours (15 of which may be transfer credit). The chosen concentration is designed to ensure depth of learning beyond the introductory level.

    The concentrations are:

  1. Psychology and Human Development
  2. Arts, Writing, and Literature
  3. Global Studies, History, and Culture
  4. Environmental Studies and Sustainability
  5. Education
  6. Self-Designed

The Six Concentrations: Conceptual Framework and Core Knowledge

Union Institute and University offers the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies. All students will earn a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies. Students choose a concentration within that major. Each concentration addresses five dimensions of learning appropriate to the concentration: Methods, Theories and Concepts, History/Context, Controversies and Application. These dimensions are referenced in each of the concentration descriptions below, some directly and some indirectly. For further information, please consult a core faculty member in the concentration.


Demonstrate understanding of the social context and/or historical background of the concentration as it has emerged and is practiced.

Theories and Concepts:

Demonstrate comprehension of theories, concepts, questions, and/or viewpoints relevant to the concentration.


Understand and apply basic methods of inquiry relevant to the concentration.


Recognize contemporary and historical controversies relevant to the concentration.


Demonstrate an ability to apply principles and methods of the concentration in a real world setting.

Students are encouraged to think not only about their concentration but also about all their independent studies and seminars in terms of these dimensions. Even if the study is not part of one’s concentration, it will still address theories, concepts, methods, etc. in the topic area. Although all five outcomes will probably not be addressed each term in each study or seminar, a study or seminar ordinarily will address two or three of these outcomes, depending on how the topic and its study are structured.

Global Studies, History and Culture

Conceptual Framework:

This concentration addresses both the humanities and the social sciences. Global studies, history, anthropology, women's and gender studies, religion, spirituality and ethics, geography, sociology, political science, economics, communications and media, and holistic studies provide context and framework for questions that students pose about their own society and the world at large. It also provides a platform for constructing knowledge about the world.

Core knowledge:

The global studies, history and culture concentration is an investigation of individuals and groups in their social and cultural contexts. It requires that students situate their inquiry in a scholarly context and pursue the content, methodologies, theoretical questions, and history of their chosen fields.

Students often approach their studies in an interdisciplinary manner. For example, students can pursue area studies in American studies, Middle Eastern studies, or other regions of the world. Such a focus could encompass history, culture (including literature and arts), politics, economy and geography. Students may also focus specifically on any of the areas named in the conceptual framework above - for example, women’s studies, anthropology, or religion.

As with all concentrations, global studies, history and culture requires 30 credits in which students will learn to gather evidence, weigh and sift information, write academic essays, and correctly document sources. They will learn, practice, and incorporate critical thinking skills throughout their studies.

With their bachelor’s degrees, students in this concentration build a firm foundation for journalism, teaching, archival and museum work, business and management, public policy and planning, writing, law, human services, government, community development and advocacy. Many graduates continue in graduate school in law, the humanities, or social sciences. Students often undertake religious, spiritual or holistic studies because they plan to pursue studies for the ministry or graduate work in the healing professions.

Representative Outcomes:

  • Articulate a coherent description of the intent and scope of the approach that they have taken to their academic work within this concentration.
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct research and collect information and sources that are credible, reliable, and current; use this research to write academic essays that are adequately documented.
  • Describe a controversial topic, question or position within their area of inquiry, describe differing positions, and convincingly explain their viewpoint, backed by evidence.

Degree: B.A. - Liberal Studies
Credits: 120
Transfer up to 78 credits
Min Time: 42 credits (3.5 terms)
Start Dates: Jan, May, Sept

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