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Liberal Studies

  1. Description
  2. Application
  3. Curriculum
  4. Tuition


Liberal Studies graduates must earn a minimum of 120 semester hours of credit and must complete all General Education requirements. Students typically enter their first Liberal Studies course once they have earned 60 hours of credit. It is in this first course that they develop a plan for their major. LIS Degree Plans must include:

  • 7 hours Liberal Studies core courses
  • 10 hours of ECCE requirements
  • 37 hours focused elective coursework

Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE)
All undergraduate students are required to take a minimum of 10 hours in the Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE), a set of courses tied to UIS' heritage, mission, vision and values. These courses provide a distinctive element to the baccalaureate education at UIS and encourage a commitment to making a difference in the world. Most of the course work in this category is interdisciplinary and is designed to help students recognize the value of multiple perspectives. ECCE categories help students meet the Goals and Learning Outcomes for Baccalaureate Education, particularly Goal Five, Engaged Citizenship.
The Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) includes 200-, 300-, and 400- level courses. All undergraduates at UIS will be required to take the following ECCE course work: 1 hour of Speaker Series and two of the following three ECCE categories for at least 9 credit hours: US Communities, Global Awareness, and Engagement Experience. Some degree programs may require students to take particular ECCE courses. Students should consult with advisors in the major for further guidance.
Courses taken to meet the 10 hours of ECCE requirements cannot be used to meet lower division general education course work, but they may count toward requirements, electives, or prerequisites in the major and minor.
Students must complete a minimum of 3 hours in two of the following three categories:
  • U.S. Communities
    Courses in this category aim to broaden students' knowledge about substantial, distinctive, and complex aspects of the history, society, politics, and culture of United States communities.
  • Global Awareness
    Courses in this category help students to understand and function in an increasingly interdependent and globalizing environment and to develop an appreciation of other cultural perspectives. They foster awareness of other cultures, polities, or natural environments, past or present.
  • Engagement Experience This category offers students structured opportunities to integrate knowledge, practice, and reflection in the context of an engaged citizenship experience. Students may fulfill this part of the ECCE curriculum through an internship, Prior Learning Assessment, a service-learning course, a research project, a group project course, or study abroad, among others.
Student who desire or are required to complete an internship or project may do so through the Engagement Experience.

ECCE Speakers Series
For one semester, students will be required to participate in a series of campus-sponsored lectures by speakers who exemplify engaged citizenship. Credit will be awarded upon completion of all course requirements. Students must complete one hour of Speakers Series course work, but may take an additional hour in a different semester if desired.

37 hours of focused elective coursework

Students must choose 37 hours of elective courses that focus on the Boyer Categories. Possible courses that may meet the requirements of these categories include the following:

  • Self designed themes you may design their electives around goals for the future. For example, students who plan to continue their education in a graduate program, may use their electives to meet prerequisite course work or learning deficits. Career professionals may wish to enhance their current career with selections that meet their learning needs.
  • Minor Concentrations You may choose courses to comprise a minor concentration from a number of minors offered, including Women's Studies, African-American Studies, or International Studies. Check individual program websites to determine the number of hours and courses required.
  • Multidisciplinary Courses UIS offers multidisciplinary courses that provide a thematic integration across disciplines. Offered each semester, these are compatible with the general goals of a Liberal Studies Online degree.
  • Credit for Prior Learning The Credit for Prior Learning Program offers a course to assist in the development of materials used to assess experiential learning. Through the process of completing AST 401, the Assessment of Experiential Learning gained through extensive work or volunteer experiences, students prepare a written portfolio that includes a series of written essays and documentation.
  • Independent Studies/Tutorials Students who wish to structure one-on-one learning experiences that are not regularly available, but nevertheless relevant to their programs, can register for independent study or tutorial courses. These courses are offered for variable credit, ranging from two to six credit hours.


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