Liberal Studies Policy

The College of Engineering distribution requirement in Liberal Studies:

  • At least six courses chosen from at least three of seven categories (see below),
  • No more than two from category CE (which is not an A&S or CALS category),
  • At least two courses numbered ≥ 2000,
  • For a total of at least 18 credits.

This website lists the courses in the Colleges of Arts and Science (A&S) and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) identified as Liberal Studies courses in the University Courses of Study.

Click the links in the horizontal navigation bar at the top of the page to view courses by their Liberal Studies category (CA, HA, KCM, LA/LAD, SBA, CE). For category CA (and similarly for the others), an A&S course entry contains "(CA-AS)", while a CALS entry contains "(CA)".

The category CE contains communication in engineering courses to satisfy the College of Engineering communications requirement. For more information, see the communication requirement page .

In addition, the courses (pdf file) in the "Other Yes" list are approved, and the courses (pdf file) in the "Other No" list are not and will not be approved by the College of Engineering.

Here are the six Liberal Studies categories that apply to engineering students. Their descriptions are given further below, along with the engineering category CE:

  • CA (Cultural Analysis)
  • HA (Historical Analysis)
  • KCM (Knowledge, Cognition, and Moral Reasoning)
  • LA/LAD (Literature and the Arts / Literature, the Arts and Design)
  • SBA (Social and Behavioral Analysis)
  • FL (Foreign Language, not literature)

Category CA (Cultural Analysis)

Courses in this area study human life in particular cultural contexts through interpretive analysis of individual behavior, discourse, and social practice. Topics include belief systems (science, medicine, and religion); expressive arts and symbolic behavior (visual arts, performance, poetry, myth, narrative, and ritual); identity (nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality); social groups and institutions (family, market, and community); and power and politics (states, colonialism, and inequality).

Category HA (Historical Analysis)

Courses in this area interpret continuities and changes--political, social, economic, diplomatic, religious, intellectual, artistic, and scientific--through time. The focus may be on groups of people, a specific country or region, an event, a process, or a time period.

Category LA/LAD (Literature and the Arts / Literature, the Arts and Design)

Courses in this area explore literature and the arts in two different but related ways. Some courses focus on the critical study of art works and on their history, aesthetics, and theory. These courses develop skills of reading, observing, and hearing and encourage reflection on such experiences; many investigate the interplay among individual achievement, artistic tradition, and historical context. Other courses are devoted to the production and performance of art works (in creative writing, performing arts, and media such as film and video). These courses emphasize the interaction among technical mastery, cognitive knowledge, and creative imagination.

Category KCM (Knowledge, Cognition, and Moral Reasoning)

Courses in this area investigate the bases of human knowledge in its broadest sense, ranging from cognitive faculties (such as perception) shared by humans and animals, to abstract reasoning, to the ability to form and justify moral judgments. Courses investigating the sources, structure, and limits of cognition may use the methodologies of science, cognitive psychology, linguistics, or philosophy. Courses focusing on moral reasoning explore ways of reflecting on ethical questions that concern the nature of justice, the good life, or human values in general.

Category SBA (Social and Behavioral Analysis)

Courses in this area examine human life in its social context through the use of social-scientific methods, often including hypothesis testing, scientific sampling techniques, and statistical analysis. Topics studied range from the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes of individuals to interpersonal relations between individuals (e.g. in friendship, love, conflict), to larger social organizations (e.g. the family, society, religious or educational or civic institutions, the economy, government), to the relationships and conflicts among groups or individuals (e.g. discrimination, inequality, prejudice, stigmas, conflict resolution).

Category FL (Foreign Language, not literature)

Courses in this area teach language skills, including reading, writing, listening, and spoken non-English languages, at beginning to advanced levels.

Category CE (Communications in Engineering)

Courses in this area explore communication as a way of acting in the world. The primary aim is to provide students with the opportunity to practice performing a range of engineering-related communication skills within specific genres (e.g. proposals, reports, and journal articles, oral presentations). Each of these genres potentially engages a wide variety of audiences and, depending on the particulars of context, each may have multiple purposes. The secondary aim is to enable students to be aware of the choices they make as communicators and to be able to articulate a rationale for those choices.