Liberal Studies BLS

Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS)

The Bachelor of Liberal Studies is a degree program that enables students to combine structured areas of academic emphasis in ways more relevant to their interests than the standard academic major.

Students who participate in this program must declare their areas of study (two minors or a minor and undergraduate certificate) at the time they declare that BLS is their intended degree. The plan of study must be approved at the beginning of the program.

The BLS program is administered through the Department of Philosophy.

To obtain a Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS), a student must complete:

  • UMSL General Education Requirements (consult General Education section of course listings)
  • In addition, students must complete the State Requirement (3) and Cultural Diversity Requirement (3) if not met in General Education course selection
  • The university requirement of proficiency in English Composition
    • ENGL 1100 - First Year Writing (to be completed in the first 24 credit hours at the university)
    • Junior Level Writing
  • The university requirement of proficiency in Mathematics (to be completed in the first 24 credit hours at the university)
  • Two emphasis areas that are satisfied by completing the requirements for:
    • two designated BLS Minors in participating departments or other units  OR
    • a designated minor and any undergraduate certificate. No course may be used more than once.
  • A capstone course1 (minimum of 3 hours) selected from one of the concentration areas that make up the identified BLS core.

Also Required

  • Minimum of 45 credit hours in upper level course work (2000 or higher)
    • Electives 28-42
    • A minimum of 120 credit hours
    • Overall GPA of 2.0 or better
    • GPA of 2.0 or better in BLS combination areas (unless otherwise specified)
    • Minimum grade of C in all courses used in BLS combination areas unless otherwise specified by the department
    • Residency requirement, in addition to campus residency, unless otherwise specified, 9 graded hours in each minor and certificate at 2000 level or above and one capstone course

Note: Not all minors have a designated BLS capstone course so students must be careful to pair minors and certificates so that they have a capstone course.

The Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CAS), Business Administration (COBA), College of Education (COE), the Pierre Laclede Honors College (PLHC), and the School of Social Work (SW) have joined together to make available Liberal Studies combinations involving the following units:

  • Department of Art and Design (CAS)
  • Department of Biology (CAS)
  • College of Business Administration (COBA)
  • College of Education (COE)
  • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (CAS)
  • Department of Communication and Media (CAS)
  • Department of Computer Science (CAS)
  • Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice (CAS)
  • Department of Economics (CAS)
  • Department of English (CAS)
  • Department of History (CAS)
  • Pierre Laclede Honors College (PLHC)1
  • Department of Language and Cultural Studies (CAS)
  • Department of Mathematics, Physics, Astronomy and Statistics (CAS)
  • Department of Music (CAS)
  • Department of Philosophy (CAS)
  • Department of Political Science (CAS)
  • Department of Psychological Sciences (CAS)
  • Department of Sociology (CAS)
  • School of Social Work (SW)
  • Undergraduate certificates

Must be admitted to Honors program.

Bachelor of Liberal Studies: Capstone and Other Restrictions

  1. Students who are planning to earn a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree should declare the BLS as their major within the first 90 hours of the program. Declaration past this time may prevent timely graduation as all capstone courses are not available every semester.
  2. The College of Nursing and the Joint Engineering Program are not participants in the BLS program.
  3. The following Colleges/Departments participate in the BLS program but do not offer a capstone course and must be paired with a minor from one of the areas listed below: Business, Studio Art, Statistics, Undergraduate Certificates, and Interdisciplinary minors.
  4. Students admitted to the Pierre Laclede Honors College who wish to present the Honors Certificate as a minor for the BLS must complete the Honors Capstone, (one or two credit hours) and also direct three to six hours of their Honors independent study requirement to work demonstrably relevant to their BLS program. Students should consult the BLS faculty advisor in the Honors College about this requirement.
  5. The capstone is required in addition to the courses presented for the minor. A minimum grade of C must be earned in the capstone course. The capstone course is not counted toward the minor residency requirement.
  6. The following have identified a Capstone, so at least one of these minors must be included in the BLS program:
    One additional 4000 level course in Anthropology not used in the minor.3
    Art & Design
    One additional 4000 level topics course in Art History not used in the minor.3
    BIOL 3302Evolution3
    3 total hours from the options listed:3
    Introduction to Chemical Literature
    Chemical Research
    Seminar in Chemistry
    One additional 3000/4000 level Communication course not used in the minor.3
    Criminology & Criminal Justice
    One additional 4000 level course in Criminology and Criminal Justice, not used as part of the minor.3
    One additional 4000 level Economics course (except ECON 4105, ECON 4160, and ECON 4550) not used in the minor.3
    A 3 hour capstone course must be selected from the following:
    ECH ED 4989Practicum I: Early Childhood Education/Early Childhood Special Education Site Based Experience3
    EDUC 4989Internship I1
    ELE ED 4989Practicum I: Elementary/Special Education Site-Based Experience3
    ELE ED 4992Practicum I: Elementary/Special Education/TESOL Site-Based Experience3
    ELE ED 4994Practicum I: Elementary/TESOL Site-Based Experience3
    MID ED 4989Practicum I: Middle Level Education Site-Based Experience3
    SEC ED 4989Practicum I: Site-Based Experience3
    One additional 4000 level English Literature course not used in the minor.3
    One additional 4000 level course in Gerontology not used in the minor and to be coordinated with the program director for Gerontology before starting the course.3
    HIST 4999Senior Seminar5
    Honors College 1
    3 total hours taken from the options listed:
    Independent Portfolio Writing
    Independent Study in Honors
    Independent Study: Internships
    Languages and Cultures
    FRENCH 3211Contemporary French Culture3
    JAPAN 3280Readings in Japanese3
    SPANISH 3210
    or SPANISH 3211
    Mathematics/Computer Science
    Computer Science: One additional 4000 Level Course in Computer Science not used in the minor.3
    Mathematics: One additional 4000 Level Course in Mathematics not in the minor.3
    Media Studies
    One additional 4000 level course not used in the minor.3
    Select one of the following:3
    Directed Studies
    Directed Studies: Variable Topic
    Directed Study: Variable Topic
    Directed Studies: Variable Topic
    One additional 4000 level course not used in the minor.3
    PHYSICS 4381Directed Readings in Physics3
    Political Science
    POL SCI 4950Senior Seminar in Political Science3
    One additional 4000 level Psychology course not used in the minor.3
    One additional 4000 level course in Sociology not used in the minor, excluding:3
    Special Study
    Internship in Sociology

Must be admitted to Honors program.