Doctor of Liberal Studies

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31 Oct 12-1pm ET
Graduate Liberal Studies Webinar  

To earn a Doctor of Liberal Studies, you must successfully complete 12 courses (36 credits total) and your doctoral theses (detailed below).


  • 4 foundation courses (12 credits):
    • During the first four semesters in the program, you must complete, in sequence, the four foundation courses. These courses are specifically designed to develop your general understanding and mastery of interdisciplinary approaches to academic research, argumentation, values reflection, and oral and written communication.
  • 8 elective courses (24 credits):
    • Your selection of elective courses should support your doctoral thesis.
    • You may select up to three Directed Readings (3 credits each) towards your elective courses. If you choose this path, you will work one-on-one with a professor to develop your Directed Reading syllabus and coursework.

Doctoral Thesis

After completing the above coursework, you will focus on your doctoral thesis, which consists of three stages:

  • Written & Oral Qualifying Exams: Your faculty mentor and the faculty director will design two questions surrounding your research methodology and interdisciplinary scope of your thesis.
  • Doctoral Thesis Proposal: After passing the qualifying exams, you will develop a thesis proposal for your research plans. You will be examined by your thesis committee on the content and methods of your proposal.
  • Doctoral Thesis: Once your thesis proposal is approved, you will craft your doctoral thesis. You will deliver a final oral defense in front of the entire thesis committee. 

For more information on the doctoral thesis process, please review the DLS Curriculum and Timeline document.

​Past doctoral thesis titles include:

  • “Getting Pay Right: Perceptions of Fairness and the Influence of Transparency and Trust” by Angela Beatty (G’21)
  • “Women in Combat Arms: An Unnecessary Ethical and Moral Mistake” by John Jackson (G’21)
  • “Black Voices: The Dichotomy Between Black Artists of the African Diaspora and Critics in the Age of Global Resistance” by Eden Reff-Presco (G’21)
  • “Narcissus as Poet and Lover: Transcendence of Gender Binaries in the Works of Lou Andreas-Salomé and Virginia Woolf” by Rebekah Dyer (G’19)
  • “Anointing the King: Hallowing Hope for the World in the English Coronation” by Susan Bond (G’19)
  • “Religious Freedom Advocacy and the Challenge of Pluralism: Principles of Engagement” by Walter Ratliff (G’19)

You’ll have the flexibility to earn your degree at a pace that suits your schedule:

  • Full-time students typically take 9 credits (3 courses) during the fall and spring semesters. 
  • Part-time students typically take 3 to 6 credits (1 to 2 courses) during the fall and spring semesters.
  • Although students are not required to take credits during the summer semester, they have the option of registering for one or more courses in order to continue their progress year-round.


All programs offered by Georgetown University are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.