Explore the Degree
The Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies prepares students to advance their understanding of the world and develop the tools they need to reach their life goals. Through flexible class schedules and formats, a wide breadth of concentration options, and extensive support from program faculty and staff, students receive a comprehensive educational experience rooted in Georgetown’s tradition of academic excellence.
Students must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours to graduate, including:
- 12 core classes (four credits each) and one interdisciplinary writing course (three credits)
- 16 courses in a chosen curricular field of study (three credits each)
- Seven general elective courses (three credits each)
- An optional three-credit thesis course reflecting the student’s field of study (counted as a curricular field of study course)
(Note: Some fields may have additional graduation requirements.)
The Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies degree must be completed within 10 years of first registration. Extensions for good cause can be granted by the associate dean.
The core courses and the writing course provide the foundations for successful undergraduate study from the liberal studies perspective. Within these core courses is a set of 10 interdisciplinary courses that acquaint students with the evolution of Western civilization, from ancient times to the third millennium.
The core courses are:
BLHS 100: Introduction to Ethics
BLHS 101: Introduction to the Social Sciences
BLHS 102: Greeks and Romans
BLHS 103: Biblical Literature and the Ancient World
BLHS 104: Medieval Thought and Culture
BLHS 105: Faith and Reason in the Middle Ages
BLHS 106: The Renaissance
BLHS 107: The Early Modern World
BLHS 108: Enlightenment, Revolution and Democracy
BLHS 109: The Nineteenth Century
BLHS 110: War and Peace
BLHS 111: The New Millennium
BLHS 120: Writing in an Interdisciplinary Environment
Students' first core course should be one of the following: BLHS 100 (Introduction to Ethics), BLHS 101 (Introduction to the Social Sciences), BLHS 102 (Greeks and Romans) or BLHS 103 (Biblical Literature and the Ancient World).
Additionally, students should plan to take BLHS 120 (Writing in an Interdisciplinary Environment) during their first two semesters.
In addition to the core courses, students must complete 48 credits (16 three-credit courses) in one of the program’s concentrations.
In addition to completing the core and concentration course requirements, students must complete 21 credits (seven 3-credit courses) in courses outside of their concentration. The concentration and elective courses together must include two courses (six credits) in non-Western studies; these can be courses that were used to fulfill other degree requirements.
Optionally, a student may complete a thesis, which counts toward credits required in the concentration. To pursue this option, a student must have a minimum letter grade average of “C” and a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0.
Other Georgetown University Courses
With the approval of the associate dean, students may take a limited number of courses from other units of Georgetown University. Ordinarily these will count toward a student's electives requirement unless otherwise approved by the associate dean.
Courses at Other Institutions
Students also have the option to take a limited number of courses at other Washington, D.C., educational institutions. For these arrangements, students pay the standard Liberal Studies tuition rate to Georgetown University. Information is available in the Undergraduate Bulletin and the necessary forms are available from the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies office.
Independent Study Course
Students may design an independent study project with any willing Georgetown University faculty member. Instructions and forms are available on the forms page. The completed proposal must be submitted to the associate dean before the first day of class.
In addition to the core courses, students must complete 48 credits (16 three-credit courses) in one of the program’s concentrations. The program’s interdisciplinary courses are structured to work together, providing students with a rich menu of topics and disciplines to explore.
Students can choose one of the following degree concentrations:
- Individualized Study (custom-designed, with approval by associate dean)
- American Studies
- Catholic Studies
- Classical Civilizations
- Ethics and the Professions
- International Affairs
- Literature and Society
- Organizational Leadership
- Religious Studies
- Social and Public Policy
- The Theory and Practice of American Democracy
- Urban Analysis and Community Development
Students may declare their concentration at any time and they may change it at any time. Some concentrations require specific courses from the concentration, while others are less structured. All concentration choices or changes must be emailed to the associate dean or program director. The student's chosen curricular field will appear on his or her official transcript.
Many Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies courses carry credit toward two or more related concentrations. The courses that are currently available are listed on ExploreGeorgetown.
Optionally, students can complete a thesis in their concentration, which will count toward the credits earned in the concentration. Learn more about the thesis option.
Georgetown’s Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies program offers courses in both online and on-campus formats. Both instructional approaches feature interdisciplinary, values-oriented curricula taught by expert scholars and designed to foster inquiry, intellect, and curiosity.
We offer several courses in an online format. The core courses offered online are: BLHS 100, Introduction to Ethics; BLHS 101, Introduction to the Social Sciences; BLHS 102, Greeks and Romans; BLHS 103, Biblical Literature and the Ancient World; and BLHS 109, The Nineteenth Century. Electives offered online are: BLHS 221, History of Mass Media in America; BLHV 393-140, China and the Internet: Challenging America in Cyberspace. The program plans to offer additional courses in each subsequent semester. Please consult the course schedule for details and updated information.
For any issues while using BALS online courses, please visit our help center or call the Georgetown Canvas Support Hotline at 855-338-2770.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which of the courses should I take?
The BALS program team will assist you in making this choice. The four core courses all are introductory courses that, by design, are equally suitable for new students in the BALS program. For example, it is fine to take BLHS 101 even if you haven’t taken BLHS 100.
How much time do the courses require?
The core courses all earn four semester credits, which means that they require a significant investment of your time and effort. You should expect to devote 12–16 hours each week to a single core class, completing activities such as reading, writing, watching online videos, and participating in online discussions. The elective course carries three credits, so it requires less work than a core course.
Do you offer courses to students in my state?
BALS online courses are available to residents of most states. The current list of states in which BALS online courses are available can be found here. If your state is not on that list, please check back, because new states are added frequently.
Do I have to travel to Washington, D.C. for classes?
While we would be happy for you to visit our campus, no residence is required in our online courses.
Can I take online and on-campus courses?
Yes. Students in the BALS program are welcome to take both types of courses if they so desire.
How much does it cost?
Tuition for online courses and on-campus courses is the same, currently $984 per credit hour, or $2,952 for the elective course or $3,936 for any of our online core courses (which are four credits each).
Can I use federal financial aid?
Yes. Once you are admitted, please submit a FAFSA form using Georgetown’s FAFSA code of 001445.
Can I use veterans’ benefits?
Yes, although the federal government may offer different housing benefits for online and on-campus students. Contact the university's Veterans Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
How do I apply?
The online application, requirements, and instructions can be found here.