Three major dimensions of American culture are explored through American Studies: the historical origins and development of the nation; the political and philosophical ideas which brought about the United States Constitution and an evolving political system; and the religious beliefs, cultural traditions, and literary texts which, for more than three centuries, have shaped the nature and direction of American society and civilization. The goal of this concentration is for you to develop a critical, balanced, and integrated view of American life and society and, in the process, answer the question posed by Hector St. John de Crevecoeur in the 18th century: "What, then, is the American, this new man?"
The Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies program offers a number of concentration options, including the following:
Courses in this concentration focus on both the theological and the cultural dimensions of Catholicism, showing the connections between Catholic faith and life. Catholic Studies courses are divided into three categories: Systematic, Catholic Culture and Society, and Biblical. You’ll explore the theological development of Catholicism from the biblical world through major thinkers of the past to contemporary thought. You’ll also examine the many ways in which Catholicism has shaped a view of God, world, and human experience as manifested in art, literature, ethics, and spirituality.
This concentration explores many aspects of the ancient Mediterranean cultures of Greece and Rome, which present a continuous, constantly developing tradition from the earliest surviving poetry (Homer, about 800 B.C.E.) to the rise of medieval Europe some 1500 years later. You’ll study history, literature, art history and archaeology, philosophy, myth, and specialized areas such as women's studies. From this variety of disciplines, you’ll synthesize your knowledge into not only a more comprehensive view of culture itself, but also a greater understanding of how ancient Greece and Rome have so profoundly influenced Western thought, art, and politics.
This concentration promotes an understanding of the complexities of the communications industry and, through interdisciplinary study, introduces you to the major roles found within the communications industry. You’ll develop a broad foundation in the basic skills and knowledge required for success in a wide variety of mass communications-related professions while taking courses in areas such as general communications, journalism, media studies, and public relations.
The Entrepreneurship concentration provides you with the strong foundation you need to become a leader within local, national, and international communities in today’s ever-changing business climate. You’ll study the human and social factors that shape innovation and entrepreneurship through courses based in leadership and social justice. You’ll also build a solid base of practical business knowledge, including how to identify business opportunities and the effective application of accounting, marketing, finance, and management skills.
In this concentration, you’ll grapple with a constellation of issues surrounding the conduct of professional workers in contemporary culture. Professional careers are prized and pursued within our social system, but the moral practices that guide the professions have come under increased scrutiny. You’ll examine normative ethical systems to assess the moral dilemmas faced by professional workers as they relate to their clients. You’ll also develop a deeper understanding of the moral complexity of professional life and, ultimately, arrive at a balanced, consistent, and defensible judgment of the ethical conduct expected of those in positions of responsibility.
If you’d rather design your own field within the broad scope of liberal studies courses, we offer an option for Individualized Study. Instead of pursuing one of our program’s predefined concentrations, you’ll create your own area of specialization. Working closely with the program director, you’ll select a set of core human values courses and a thesis topic that meets your individual interests and academic needs.
This concentration provides you with the opportunity to shape an integrated, interdisciplinary program of study in art, philosophy, theology, literature, and history. Throughout your studies, you’ll explore the distinct ways in which each discipline seeks to know and reflect the world in which we live. You’ll also examine and evaluate the enduring insights of these disciplines in an effort to answer for your own life the abiding private and public questions no person should escape or avoid.
In this concentration, you’ll form a critical awareness of the complexity of issues in foreign policy and international affairs, as well as an ethical framework for making informed decisions about these issues. Besides examining basic value conflicts in international relations such as questions about war and peace, human rights, nationalism, and democracy, you’ll have the opportunity to explore international politics, business, international economics, defense issues, the developing countries, and special geographic regions.
The integration of practical skills with moral purpose is the defining characteristic of this concentration. Courses emphasize the analytical and practical skills necessary for effective leadership while examining leadership in organizations through the lens of several major themes: models and frameworks, power and conflict management, institutional and change management, and virtue and action. Courses are organized around theories of leadership and motivation, team and group dynamics, critical thinking, and ethical decision making. You’ll learn how to develop business strategies and build an organization that can adapt effectively to change while understanding how to lead with moral purpose and vision.
Courses in this concentration examine traditional historical periods, major authors, and the genres of literature. Grounded in a careful reading of texts, these courses give close attention to the human values implicit in literature. You’ll explore the relationship of literature to such disciplines as art, film, theatre, photography, theology, and cultural history.
This concentration provides an interdisciplinary and holistic approach to building your skills in managing and leading within an organizational context. You’ll develop your skills in negotiating, managing workplace diversity, resolving conflict, and setting strategic goals while mastering the practices needed to compete in today's business environment.
In this concentration, you’ll deepen your understanding of religion by asking such questions as: Why have humans been so habitually religious? Is religious understanding compatible with reason and science? Can one retrieve anything of significance from ancient religious texts and traditions? What is the status of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other kinds of theology in a religiously plural world? Courses in this concentration are divided into four categories: Foundational, Biblical, Comparative, and Religion and Culture. You’ll explore the question of the coherence, meaning, and plausibility of religion; inquire into the meaning of biblical texts; investigate religious traditions; and relate the religious dimension of human life with other aspects of culture such as art, literature, ethics, science, psychology, and economics.
In this concentration, you’ll analyze the political process; the role of government, private, and public organizations/institutions in public policy decisions; national problems such as crime, poverty, and social inequality; and issues such as the role of the media, the intelligence community, and the impact of war. Courses emphasize scientific discoveries and technological innovations that dramatically affect every aspect of society's choices regarding science and technology, including issues such as bioethics, computerization, privacy, and genetic engineering.
History, philosophy, and social science intersect in this concentration. You’ll examine the origins and distinctive character of the American form of democracy, analyze the political processes by which the consent of the governed is achieved, and confront issues which reflect the ever-present struggle to make democracy work for all elements of the society. You’ll also explore the continuing influence of the Constitution on American society and movements for change or reinterpretation. Finally, you’ll review institutional or international influences—such as the media and foreign relations—on government.
This interdisciplinary concentration provides you with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary to better appreciate the challenges and opportunities facing people in urban areas. This concentration aims to help you better understand yourself in the context of the larger community. You’ll learn qualitative and quantitative methods and theoretical frameworks while exploring the range of communities found in post-industrial and developing countries. Additionally, you’ll cultivate a vision of social justice to guide social change and incite people to work together in constructing communities to make them more just, equitable, and humane.