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About The Liberal Studies Program

Unlike a student's chosen major, which offers depth of knowledge in a single focused field, liberal studies provide breadth of scholarship across many different areas of study and introduce the institution's unique Catholic, Vincentian, and urban mission and identity.  At DePaul, faculty from virtually every department, interdisciplinary program, and college help to teach the courses that meet liberal studies requirements. This wide spectrum of participation on the part of students and faculty alike contributes to a strong sense of intellectual community at DePaul, and a shared commitment to its mission and values.

The Liberal Studies Program (LSP) is divided into two primary components. The first is termed the Common Core, and is the part of the program that most intentionally embeds opportunities for real-world application of knowledge, skills, and values; it consists of a series of classes typically taken sequentially by students as they progress towards their degree.

The second component of the LSP provides a breadth of knowledge and is made up of courses in seven distinct Learning Domains: 1) Arts and Literature, 2) Historical Inquiry, 3) Math and Computing, 4) Philosophical Inquiry, 5) Religious Dimensions, 6) Scientific Inquiry, and 7) Social, Cultural, and Behavioral Inquiry.

Common Core

Core requirements begin when incoming students in autumn take a Chicago Quarter (CQ) course.  Students select a single class from over a hundred different topics; they may choose from Discover Chicago sections, which include an intensive immersion week experience prior to the start of fall classes, or Explore Chicago sections, which meet during the regular fall term. Regardless of type, CQ instructors use both traditional and experiential pedagogies to teach students not only relevant course content, but also information about the city's people, communities, institutions, and system of public transportation. All CQ classes further include a co-curricular component called the Common Hour which is designed to facilitate students' transition to the college experience and give them initial exposure to DePaul's distinctive mission.

Students take additional Common Core courses during their first year that develop the specific intellectual skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond. The First-Year Writing sequence introduces different conventions of writing, and instructs students about how to analyze readings, write for different audiences, and take a rhetorical stance. Upon completion students are better able to express themselves creatively and can defend a clearly articulated thesis in a scholarly paper. The Focal Point Seminar further emphasizes different forms of writing and helps students to develop strong oral communication skills. Applying critical perspectives and through multiple lens of inquiry, students learn to discuss and debate ideas and issues beyond their own opinions. Lastly, first-year students take Quantitative Reasoning (LSP 120), designed to teach them how to critically evaluate real-world issues and problems by applying quantitative reasoning. The skills gained in QR and Math & Computing domain (MCD) courses (Statistical Reasoning [SR] and Computational Reasoning [CR]) provide students with the necessary tools to live and work in a global community that is increasingly quantitative and technological. Some students may be required to take preparatory math classes before being eligible to enroll in QR and MCD courses, while other students may have their QR, SR, and CR requirements met by AP scores, transfer credit, or proficiency tests.

In the second year, the suggested Common Core course is the Seminar on Multiculturalism in the U.S. (LSP 200). Multiculturalism Seminar topics range widely in subject matter but each is meant to inform students about key debates in the history of multiculturalism, and give them the ability to incorporate and apply multicultural perspectives in a diverse workplace and society. The Common Core requirement recommended for the junior year is an Experiential Learning course, which can take the form of laboratory or field research, study abroad, community service, or completion of an internship in their field of study. Integrating in-class readings and writing assignments with real world applications and experiences are key features of experiential learning. The final Common Core requirement is the Capstone Seminar. This course provides students with the opportunity to synthesize the methods and knowledge of their chosen major with what they have learned in their liberal studies classes.

Learning Domains

The second component of the LSP is made up of courses in seven distinct Learning Domains: 1) Arts and Literature, 2) Historical Inquiry, 3) Math and Computing, 4) Philosophical Inquiry, 5) Religious Dimensions, 6) Scientific Inquiry, and 7) Social, Cultural, and Behavioral Inquiry. These areas reflect an expansive liberal arts curriculum that is not strictly discipline-based. Within any one domain, courses share basic criteria, learning outcomes, and modes of inquiry, but can be quite dissimilar in content. Faculty from multiple departments, programs, and colleges across the university serve as instructors for these courses. Students are assured breadth of learning by being required to take courses in each domain, but are also given latitude to experience and apply the many exciting forms of intellectual inquiry taking place in today's modern university.

DePaul University's Liberal Studies Program provides students with a well-rounded and challenging education. The intellectual skills and multiple perspectives students develop as a result of their LSP requirements, combined with opportunities to apply their knowledge in real-world settings, facilitate their academic success and graduation, and beyond that, enable them to pursue meaningful, productive careers. With this foundation, DePaul graduates are prepared for learning throughout their lives. Ultimately, the LSP seeks to educate thoughtful, informed, and engaged individuals who will lead efforts to create a more just and humane world.