Welcome New Students

PROGRAM OF LIBERAL STUDIES

Ensure your mastery of intellectual skills and increase your breadth of knowledge. The Program of Liberal Studies (PLS), a flexible set of liberal arts requirements, helps establish the foundation of your Clark University degree. You can find the Program of Liberal Studies courses throughout Clark’s curriculum.

Over your four years, you are required to take eight courses to fulfill the PLS requirements. PLS courses fall into two categories: Critical Thinking Courses and Perspectives Courses. Once you get to campus, you will work with your adviser to choose courses to fulfill these specific PLS requirements.

Critical Thinking Courses

One course in verbal expression (VE). VE courses help you develop the ability to organize and communicate ideas. Based on writing placement (learn more about the writing placement requirement), there are two other writing courses that you may be required to take BEFORE entering the required verbal expression courses:

  1. ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE: If English is not your first language you may be required to take an ESL course prior to taking other writing courses.
  2. EXPOSITORY WRITING: This is a standard, first-year college composition course. Placement in this course is based upon the evaluation of your writing sample.

One course in formal analysis (FA). These courses emphasize the development of formal, logical or algebraic thinking. These courses can be found in mathematics and computer science, music, economics, psychology, philosophy and other departments.

Perspectives Courses

One course in each of the six perspectives areas listed below. Perspectives courses introduce you to the ways that different disciplines or fields organize ideas. Each perspective must be completed in a different academic department

  • Aesthetic Perspective (AP) courses give primary emphasis to artistic expressions of the imagination and to the perception, analysis and evaluation of aesthetic form. These courses are designed to enhance the appreciation and understanding of the arts.
  • Global Comparative Perspective (GP) courses introduce students to comparative analysis by exploring the cultural, political or economic aspects of human diversity around the world. They provide students with tools for analyzing human experience by examining similarities and differences in a global context.
  • Historical Perspective (HP) courses develop the 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 students to the ways scholars think critically about the past, present and future.
  • Language and Culture Perspective (LP) courses study language as an expression of culture. A student may study a foreign language, which by its nature involves becoming oriented toward the relationship between language and culture, or an approved English-language course that deals with the same issues.
  • Natural Scientific Perspective (SP) courses teach the principal methods and results of the systematic study of the natural world. Courses focus on the knowledge and theoretical bases of science, as well as on the observational and experimental methods of scientific study. Courses involve a laboratory or similar component to introduce the student to the observation of natural phenomena and the nature of scientific study.
  • Values Perspective (VP) courses try to make sense of the moral dimension of human life, as this dimension is reflected in personal behavior, social policy and institutional structure. Courses with a Values Perspective focus on the systematic analysis of ethical issues and engage students in the formulation and reasoned evaluation of moral and ethical claims.