Liberal Studies (BA)

Designed for the returning adult learner, the Liberal Studies major allows students the flexibility to explore a wide range of subjects across disciplines and to apply their academic studies to professional, career, and educational goals. With its interdisciplinary and integrated approach to learning, this program blends liberal arts strengths with the professional knowledge and skills needed for success in the diverse workplace of the 21st century.

This major is an excellent choice for working professionals looking to earn their first or second undergraduate degree and to advance their careers around their schedule and at their own pace.

Degree Requirements

Students must earn a minimum of 120 credits for the Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in liberal studies. Of this total, students must take a minimum of 36 credits (approximately 12 courses) according to the specifications below. See our General Education program page for the remaining degree requirements. 

Multidsciplinary Curriculum

The Liberal Studies major curriculum is comprised of 36 credits, or 12 multidisciplinary courses, unified by a central theme. At least 15 credits (approx. 5 courses) must come from one discipline, which will be your primary academic field of study. The remaining theme-related courses may be selected from one or several disciplines within the humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences areas. Professional credits may also be used in the major with prior approval.

Designing the Liberal Studies Concentration: Tools and Resources

To design your concentration, you will combine courses from two or more disciplines and apply knowledge and modes of thinking to study your chosen topic in depth. You will work with your CGS advisor to prepare a proposal and have it approved by the Undergraduate Studies Dean's Office in advance.

Four-Year Sample Degree Map

Students have a variety of options when designing their Liberal Studies degree plan and major concentration. This degree map provides a sample pathway for completing the program in four years when enrolled full-time in the fall and spring terms.

Sample Themes

You can choose to combine undergraduate courses offered by departments and programs from various disciplines and schools. Here are a few sample concentrations to help get you started thinking critically and creatively about the array of topics that lend themselves well to multidisciplinary exploration.

Planning & Getting Your Proposal Approved

Crafting a strong proposal requires time for planning and research, as well as guidance from your academic advisor and professors. Find tips and instructions for this process and a link to the proposal form here.

Program Notes

  • Students must have their proposal approved by an Assistant Dean in the Undergraduate Studies Dean's Office by the first semester of their senior year at CGS (see program residency requirement below).
  • At least two disciplines must be represented in the plan of study.
  • Up to 12 professional (non-liberal arts) credits can be used in the major.
  • Any subsequent changes to the plan of study must be reviewed and approved through the course substitution appeal process.
  • Students are encouraged to pursue an internship / study abroad experience as part of the major. Up to 6 internship credits and 9 study abroad credits are accepted.
  • A maximum of 6 credits with the S/NC grade may be used in the major.
  • This major cannot be pursued as a double major. Students can add a minor or a certificate to complement their studies (CGS course overlap rules apply).
  • Liberal Studies students must earn a minimum of 30 college level credits and half of the major requirements at the University of Pittsburgh and have a minimum GPA of 2.0 for graduation. The remaining program credits may include transfer credit and/or advanced standing credits (see CGS transfer credit policy).
  • 30 credits for the degree must be completed in upper-level classes (1000-level or equivalent) and at least half of the major requirements must be upper-level.


Your experience is what people notice. Put what you have learned in class into action by completing an internship at a location that matches your interests. We will help you find an opportunity that fits with your already busy schedule. Liberal Studies students enroll in CGS 1900 Choosing Your Path Internship. Learn about internships » 

Global Experiences / Study Abroad

Liberal Studies students are known for their intellectual curiosity and creative problem-solving skills. Globalize your worldview through an international learning experience. Our short-term study abroad programs are a perfect option for working adult students. Explore study abroad »

Need Advising for This Program

For information on how to connect with a CGS academic advisor and to schedule an appointment, visit CGS Advising.