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M.L.S. Course Offerings

Introduction to Liberal Studies (3 credits)
Courses in this area are intended to serve as an introduction to liberal studies and fine arts through the study of significant works from a broad spectrum of areas and disciplines within the liberal arts tradition. Primary sources are selected from a variety of disciplines and time periods; secondary sources related to these primary sources are also considered. Courses in this area emphasize both the interdisciplinary nature of liberal studies and the fact that the most significant questions confronting humankind can be addressed from a variety of intellectual perspectives.

This course is divided into three major sections. The first section examines key themes and ideas of the Western intellectual tradition. The second unit surveys the history of the liberal arts and discusses its significance for today's world. The final unit examines the different methodologies used to address fundamental questions of existence with particular attention to interdisciplinary research.

Intellectual History (3 credits)
Courses in this area reflect the fact that throughout history people have employed many and varied means to understand themselves and the universe around them and that over time ideas and concepts change, merge, disappear and then sometimes re-appear. Courses are designed to help students appreciate both the diversity and continuity of human thought. Proceeding chronologically, each course in this area follows some of the ways that ideas evolve, exploring the development of faith, reason, imagination or science in the works of authors who have made a mark on civilization. Both primary and secondary sources are examined.

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Ideas and Issues in the Humanities (3 credits)
Courses in this area examine some of the most important ideas and intellectual movements in the history of the humanities, including the fine arts. Readings will come from a variety of subject areas (from literature, philosophy, and history to religious studies and the fine arts) and may include selections from writers and thinkers as diverse as Plato, Dante, Shakespeare, Sartre and Rahner.

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Ideas and Issues in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics (3 credits)
Courses in this area will provide an introduction to some of the important current and historical issues in science and mathematics. Possible topics include: evolution; cosmology, quantum mechanics and string theory; genetics (genomics); environmental issues; artificial intelligence; medicine and medical ethics; decidability and incompleteness theorems.

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Ideas and Issues in the Social Sciences (3 credits)
Courses in this area address some of the relations between individuals and social organizations (society, culture, economy, law or government). Through readings selected from economics, sociology, psychology, political science, anthropology, education or business, courses may investigate such important social issues as individualism versus collectivism, freedom versus coercion, civil society versus politics, private versus public, church versus state, national versus international, and the associated issues of individual autonomy, social cohesion, democracy, property rights, education, ethnic and cultural identity, international organization, free trade and globalization.

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Special Topics One Credit Courses
Special topic one credit mini-courses will be offered on a per semester schedule.  Students will be required to take one mini course.  Topics of these course will vary each semester.

Capstone (2 or 3 credits)
This seminar prepares students to research and write their master’s thesis. The first part of the course discusses the similarities and differences in approaching a topic from various scientific and humanistic perspectives; the second part of the course requires students to begin researching their topics, with class time devoted to sharing their initial findings with the rest of the class. At the end of the course, students will be well on their way toward completing their research projects.

Thesis Project I (1 credit)

The student develops and, under the supervision of the thesis director, writes a master’s thesis. The director of M.L.S. must approve thesis directors. Enrollment and registration in this course is available in the fall semester of each academic year. The purpose of the thesis project is to demonstrate the student’s ability to study a problem and utilize the resources available within the liberal studies program to develop a practical approach based on a sound methodology. This approach must be informed by a critical, focused and coherent analysis based on the liberal arts tradition.

Master's Thesis Project II
(1 credit)
This course is a continuation of 512, leading to the submission of the master’s thesis. Prior to final approval, a discussion of the project proposed will take place between the student and a panel of three persons (i.e., the thesis project director and two readers), at which time the thesis project is either approved, rejected or conditionally approved with recommendations for improvement. This course will be offered in the spring semester of each year.

Classical Perspectives
(3 credits)
Courses in this area invite students to think about the historical importance and continuing impact of the cultures (philosophy, literature, art, history and archeology) of ancient Greece and Rome. They may include topics up to the Renaissance, but will focus largely on the Ancient period, showing the essential classical contribution to the development of the Western world.
 Featured authors may include Homer, Aristotle, Sophocles, Vergil, Lucretius and Ovid. 

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American Perspectives (3 Credits)
Courses in this area will address diverse and definitive elements of American culture and influence.
Specific classes may deal, for instance, with American history, politics, economy, literature or art, but they will always aim to broaden and deepen students’ appreciation of American heritage and America’s place in the contemporary world by focusing on the works and ideas that have helped shape American traditions.

Examples of courses:

Diverse Perspectives (3 credits)
In order to introduce students to an increasingly diverse society and intellectual tradition, courses in this area will address the identities and perspectives of diverse populations, based on race, ethnicity, class and/or gender. Occasionally, courses may address other underrepresented populations on which there are significant bodies of knowledge.

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International Perspectives (3 credits)
Focusing on cultures and traditions outside the United States, courses in this area will expand students' understanding and appreciation of the diversity of human experience worldwide. Although approaches may engage disciplines from anthropology and art to economics, politics, science and religion, the learning experience should help students acquire an integrative world view, as well as methods for studying diverse and evolving cultures.

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Ethics and Liberal Studies (3 Credits)
Courses in this area will present the main positions in ethical thought, their development, and their application to contemporary social and political issues. The value of liberal studies for thinking and deciding about ethical issues will be emphasized.

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Continuing Master's Thesis (0 credit, $100 fee)
If a student does not complete the thesis project while enrolled in MLS 513, students are required to register for this course in every semester thereafter until the project is completed. Those students who wish to graduate in May of any year must have the final, completed thesis project turned in no later than March 1 of each year.