Liberal Studies

Liberal Studies

The Liberal Studies Program is designed to help the students in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) develop and plan an interdisciplinary course of study that explores a particular problem or theme through a multi- disciplinary constellation of courses, enhances critical thinking with ethical thought, develops problem-solving skills, and creates well-informed, responsible and engaged global citizens.

The B.A. in Liberal Studies creates an academically sound and rigorous interdisciplinary course of study with thematic integrity and continuity. The program provides an interdisciplinary undergraduate education that can be gained by close contact of the faculty and the student, individual advising, and multi-curricular programming in relevant courses of the approved degree programs at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

Kathryn Besio
Liberal Studies Coordinator

Degree Requirements

See undergraduate education in the UH Hilo Catalog for a detailed listing of the B.A. requirements.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the B.A. in Liberal Studies, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of basic concepts and understand issues and methods from multiple academic disciplines of humanities, social sciences and natural sciences (Information Literacy, Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning);
  • Employ computer technology and conduct interdisciplinary research to find information (Information Literacy, Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning);
  • Critically examine social, cultural and historical human behaviors, conditions and movements and interpret the underlying contexts (Critical Thinking, Information Literacy, Communication);
  • Present ideas, results and creative activities in oral and written forms (Communication);
  • Identify and evaluate the ethical dimension of an issue and demonstrate the importance of behaving ethically in the target field (Critical Thinking);
  • Produce senior-level interdisciplinary essays or projects (Critical Thinking, Information Literacy, Communication).

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 Liberal Studies Program Coordinator, 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.

Please email the Liberal Studies Coordinator for an application.

  1. A statement addressing the student’s educational goals as embodied in the proposal for a Liberal Studies major-equivalent;
  2. An explanation of why these goals cannot be achieved through an existing major program;
  3. A Student Learning Outcomes statement for the proposed program;
  4. 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, write the Student Learning Outcomes, 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, including the baccalaureate degree requirements.

The application form must be submitted for review to the Faculty Advisor and the Liberal Studies Coordinator, then to the appropriate UH Hilo College Curriculum Review Committee, and to the College of Arts and Sciences College 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 their faculty academic advisor each semester before registering.