The Comprehensive Liberal Studies major (CLS) offers students the opportunity to design an individual program of study that reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the liberal arts. Unlike the departmental majors, this major allows students to create a unique major that integrates studies in all four academic schools of the University in a coherent program with a clear intellectual focus.
The major consists of 44 semester hours chosen from courses in four academic schools of the student’s choosing. Please note that whichever of the four schools the student chooses to use for their contract, they must include a Lab Science Course. Each student’s program must adhere to the following guidelines:
- Sixteen semester hours must be taken in each of two academic schools, while 12 semester hours must be taken in a third academic school.
- At least 24 of the 44 total semester hours in the major must be taken at the 300/400 level. These 24 upper-level semester hours must be distributed across at least two academic schools.
- No more than half of the semester hours from courses in any one school may be taken in the same department or discipline.
- One interdisciplinary course designated INST may be included in the major and counted either as a humanities or social sciences course. An INST course may not be counted in the major as a natural sciences and mathematics course.
- At least one laboratory science course must be included as part of the major. If the student is not using the Brock School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics as one of the four schools listed on their contract, they may list the laboratory science course as falling under any one of the four schools of their choosing for the purposes of their contract, counting the four credits they obtain from their laboratory science course toward the total number of credits required for the academic school under which the class is listed.
- English and foreign language courses taken to satisfy core requirements in the Program of General Education may not be included in the major, but courses satisfying other General Education requirements may be included.
- A 2.5 grade point average in all courses included in the CLS is required for graduation.
A student wishing to declare the CLS major must file a Declaration of Major form with the Office of the Registrar at least two semesters before graduation, summer not counting as a semester. In addition, a contract outlining the plan of study must be worked out in close consultation with an academic advisor, who may be a full-time faculty member from any one of the four academic schools declared in the contract. This contract must include (1) a list of the courses the student plans to take and include in the proposed CLS major; and (2) an essay explaining the student’s goals and reasons for choosing the CLS major and articulating a unifying theme that will define and give clear direction to the major; and (3) a statement identifying courses that will be used to fulfill the university’s requirements for oral communication competence computer proficiency and showing how those courses will fulfill these requirements.
The contract must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor and by the Director of the CLS major, who sign the completed contract, which is kept on file by the advisor. The contract may be renegotiated if the courses listed become unavailable, but any changes must be approved by the student, the advisor and the CLS director.
Students completing the CLS course of study are required to write a reflective essay, to be composed and approved by the CLS director during the final semester of attendance at VWU. The essay will review the goals and unifying intellectual theme of the major as stated in the declaration essay and will explore in some detail how the goals and themes of the major have been realized.Finally, students must submit the final written project for their WES 300 seminar, whether or not this class is counted toward the CLS major, for the purposes of assessment.