The Liberal Studies Program is designed for the student in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) who wishes to (1) study a particular problem or theme through a multi-disciplinary constellation of courses, or (2) create an academic major-equivalent for which there are relevant courses but for which there is no approved degree program.
The major-equivalent must be an academically sound, interdisciplinary course of study with thematic integrity and continuity. A student seeking a Liberal Studies degree must work closely with an academic advisor to formulate the particular course of study to ensure academic substance and rigor.
Any student in good academic standing (2.0 GPA or better) may apply for admission to the Liberal Studies degree program. At the time that the degree proposal is submitted to the CAS Faculty Senate, a student must have at least 21 more credits of course work still to undertake in the major-equivalent beginning with the subsequent semester or term.
An application form for the major-equivalent must be completed, which will include the following:
- a statement addressing the student’s educational goals as embodied in the proposal for a Liberal Studies major-equivalent;
- the educational goals for the proposed program;
- an explanation of why these goals cannot be achieved through an existing major program;
- a justification of the courses that will comprise the major-equivalent, which have a minimum of 33 semester hours, of which at least 24 hours must be in upper-division courses.
The student will select a Faculty Advisor from among UH Hilo faculty, who will work with the student to design the program of courses and will provide a memo endorsing the academic rigor and coherence of the proposed program of courses.
Students pursuing the Liberal Studies major equivalent must complete all UH Hilo requirements in the General Education Basic, Area, and Integrative categories and all other graduation requirements applying to students at UH Hilo. (Please see the baccalaureate degree and graduation requirements.)
The application form must be approved by the Faculty Advisor, the Liberal Studies Coordinator, and the College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Review Committee and Dean. The form must be submitted to the Liberal Studies Coordinator no later than November 1 for the fall semester or April 1 for the spring semester. Once the proposal is accepted, the student should meet with the academic advisor each semester before registering.