Program of Liberal Studies

The foundation of a Clark undergraduate education is the Program of Liberal Studies. Through this program, you will acquire the intellectual habits, skills and perspectives that are essential for self-directed learning. You are given a framework within which you can select a program of study and receive a broad introduction to liberal and lifelong learning.

The Program of Liberal Studies has two components:

1. Critical Thinking Courses

While every course in the University involves work in critical thinking, two types of courses place special emphasis on the cultivation of these skills. You will take one course in each of these areas:

Verbal Expression

Verbal Expression courses place special emphasis on the relationship between writing and critical thinking within a particular discipline. Sample coursework includes:

  • Introduction to Literature
  • Heart of a Poet — Heat of Poem
  • Writing: Sense of Place
  • Art and Science of Management
  • Modern Drama
  • Factual Film and Television

Formal Analysis

Formal Analysis courses include the use of a formal, symbolic language as appropriate for a specific discipline, rules of logic for that language, and the use of that language for modeling the subject matter of the discipline. Sample coursework includes:

  • Calculus I
  • Linear Algebra
  • Introduction to Management Information Systems
  • Analytic Reasoning
  • Principles of Economics
  • Financial Intelligence
  • Discovering Environmental Science


2. Perspectives Courses

Perspectives courses offer breadth and introduce you to the different ways in which various disciplines or fields define thinking, learning and knowing. You must successfully complete one course in each of the following six perspectives categories, with each course taken in a different academic department:

Aesthetic Perspective

Aesthetic Perspective courses emphasize artistic expression and the perception, analysis and evaluation of aesthetic form. These courses are designed to enhance your appreciation and understanding of the arts. Sample coursework includes:

  • Introduction to Graphic Design
  • Age of Michelangelo
  • Drawing: Eye, Mind, Hand
  • Roman Art and Architecture
  • Jazz History
  • Creative Actor
  • Modern Dance I

Global Comparative

Global Comparative Perspective courses introduce you to comparative analysis by exploring the cultural, political or economic aspects of human diversity around the world. They provide you with tools for analyzing human experience by examining similarities and differences in a global or international context. Sample coursework includes:

  • Economics and the World Economy
  • Health and the Urban Environment
  • Miracles of Asia
  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • Revolution and Political Violence
  • Global Society

Historical Perspective

Historical Perspective courses develop your capacity to understand the contemporary world in the larger framework of tradition and history. Courses focus on the problems of interpreting the past and can also deal with the relationship between past and present. All courses are broad in scope and introduce you to the ways scholars think critically about the past, present and future. Sample coursework includes:

  • Survey of U.S. History to 1865
  • History of Ancient Greek Philosophy
  • American Race and Ethnicity
  • History of American Broadcasting
  • Public Schools and Democracy
  • Religious Experience in the Ancient World

Language and Culture Perspective

Language and Culture Perspective courses foster the study of language as an expression of culture. You may study foreign languages, which highlight the relationship between language and culture, or English-language courses that deal with the same issue. Sample coursework includes:

  • Intermediate Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese, French or German
  • Readings in Hispanic Literature
  • French Popular Culture
  • Discourse, Self and Coolness

Natural Scientific Perspective

Scientific Perspective courses teach the principal methods and results of the study of the natural world. Courses focus on the knowledge and theoretical bases of science. They also include laboratories or similar components to introduce you to the observation of natural phenomena and the nature of scientific study. Sample coursework includes:

  • Introduction to Biology
  • Introductory Chemistry
  • Introduction to Computing
  • Exploring the Universe
  • Forensic Science
  • Oscillations, Waves and Optics

Values Perspective

Values Perspective courses examine the moral dimension of human life as reflected in personal behavior, institutional structures and public policy in local and global communities. Courses taught from the values perspective focus not only on the systematic formulation and analysis of moral and ethical claims, but also on how moral decisions affect both the individual and society. Sample coursework includes:

  • Creating Culture of Innovation
  • Holocaust: Agency and Action
  • Making a Difference
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Topics in Men and Emotion
  • Gender, War and Peace
  • Business Ethics and Law