Doctor of Liberal Studies


While the SCS campus remains closed, on-campus classes will continue to be held remotely. These courses usually run during their regularly scheduled time and are held in synchronous sessions conducted via Zoom. Students should work with their academic advisors to develop course schedules that meet their academic and personal needs.

To earn a Doctor of Liberal Studies, you must successfully complete 36 credits of coursework, pass both the written and oral sections of the comprehensive examinations, and successfully complete and defend a doctoral thesis.

  • Foundational Courses (12 credits): During the first four semesters in the program, you must complete, in sequence, the four foundational courses. These courses are specifically designed to develop your understanding and mastery of interdisciplinary approaches to academic research, argumentation, values reflection, and oral and written communication.
  • Elective Courses (24 credits): With the guidance of the Director of the Doctor of Liberal Studies program, you may select courses within the program, as well as across the University, that will support your anticipated area of study and doctoral thesis proposal. You may also select up to three directed reading courses.
  • Qualifying Exam: At the conclusion of the coursework, you'll sit for both a written and an oral qualifying exam to demonstrate proficiency in the areas required to progress to the creation and successful defense of a doctoral thesis.
  • Doctoral Thesis: You will be required to develop and defend a doctoral thesis proposal before embarking on the full production of a doctoral thesis. Our students pursue a range of topics in their theses, and some have seen their research published as books. Past doctoral thesis topics have included research around globalization, war, peace, religion, politics, environmental issues, and major events of human history.
    • Recent doctoral thesis titles include, "A Cultural Genealogy of Strategic Rationality" by Gino La Paglia (G’18) and "Building Ambitious US Subnational Climate Initiatives: Embracing Dignity and the American Tradition of Civic Engagement" by Cyd Slayton (G’18).

You’ll have the flexibility to earn your degree at a pace that suits your schedule—you have up to seven years to complete the degree.

  • Part-time students typically enroll in one to two courses during the fall, spring, and summer semesters.
  • Full-time students, with program approval, may enroll in three courses during the fall and spring and two courses in the summer semester.


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