Liberal Studies


Description of Liberal Studies Major

The Liberal Studies major allows students design their own plan of study (major) organized around a theme. The theme is created by the student to support their career and personal goals. This interdisciplinary approach provides greater breadth and flexibility than can be found in other majors.  Students mix and match courses from disciplines in the College of Liberal Arts at OSU-Cascades. 

These departments include: American Studies, Anthropology, Art, English, Communication, Political Science, Psychology, Spanish and Sociology at OSU-Cascades campus. 

Students in Liberal Studies receive a well-rounded education that prepares them for a variety of experiences and careers. Liberal Studies introduces students to diverse subject matter. In addition to this breadth of new knowledge, students will develop communication skills and the ability to think critically, a combination in demand everywhere in today's job market. The OSU-Cascades Liberal Studies program encourages students to seek opportunities beyond their degree requirements to further facilitate their ability to think critically and communicate competently in contexts outside the university.

Tools for Liberal Studies Majors


Students typically choose to create their own theme for the Liberal Studies major course requirements.  The theme should reflect a students career and personal goals.  Students will work with their advisor to help develop their theme.  Check out the Themes website for more info.

Students may choose a pre-designed themes established by departments within the OSU-Cascades College of Liberal Arts (CLA) instead of creating their own theme/plan of study.  Students should still work closely with their advisor to plan within the designed themes.

OSU-Cascades Liberal Studies Degree Requirements

1. The Liberal Studies (LS) program consists of a minimum of 45 credits organized around a theme articulated in a plan of study and an application essay. Students should develop their Plan of Study with their advisor. This plan includes at least 27 upper-division credits and is developed from the course offerings of three or more departments within the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). Students often include some sort of practical experience through an internship or project as part of their major.

  • The plan of study and application essay must be approved by the OSU Director of Liberal Studies. Check with your advisor for strict deadlines for submitting the Plan of Study. 
  • All courses included in plan of study must be offered by a department within the OSU CLA.

2. Students must satisfy the University Baccalaureate Core, College of Liberal Arts Core Requirements, and LS major requirements.

3. Student must earn a 2.3 or better cumulative GPA in LS courses and at least a C- in the WIC requirement.

4. At least one Writing Intensive Course (WIC), offered by one of the CLA departments selected for your major theme, must be completed with a grade of C or better.

Liberal Studies Advising

Detailed advising information can be accessed by visiting the OSU-Cascades Advising Website.

New students, including transfer students, begin their advising process by registering to attend a required new student orientation session at which time they will meet with an academic advisor.

Dianna McGinnis is the current Academic Advisor who meets with admitted OSU-Cascades Liberal Studies students.

Sample Plan of Study/Essay: American Studies

Sample Plan of Study/Essay: American Cultural Literacy

Sample Plan of Study/Essay: Constructing Culture

Pre-Education Tools

If you are interested in pursuing Education/Teaching within Liberal Studies, you may consider choosing the Pre-ed Option in Liberal Studies.  Students will complete a revised version of the University Baccalaureate Core and the College of Liberal Arts Core Requirements.
Sometimes the Pre-Education option is not ideal for transfer students.  Many students complete the general Liberal Studies major (without the Pre-Ed option) while simultaneously preparing for entrance into the MAT program.   Work with your Academic Advisor to work toward your degree and take the pre-reqs for the MAT program.

Pre-Education website 

Master of Arts in Teaching website

Pre-Law Tools

Check out these helpful websites to prepare and research a pre-law focus as a Liberal Studies major. 

Pre-Law Program College of Liberal Arts

3+3 Law Program - OSU and Willamette partnership

Liberal Studies Faculty

neil-browneNeil Browne, Associate Professor, English

natalie-dollarNatalie Dollar, Associate Dean, Arts & Sciences; Associate Professor, Speech Communication; Liberal Studies Lead

james-fosterJames Foster, Professor, Political Science

henry-sayreHenry Sayre, Distinguished Professor, Art History

Visiting Faculty 

Ellen Santasiero, English

Liberal Studies OSU-Cascades Courses