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Liberal Arts and Sciences Programs of Study.

Liberal Arts & Sciences Programs

"As a part-time student working full-time, I found the Master's of Liberal Arts and Sciences Program to be a great way for me to broaden my educational horizons. My classes were taught by exceptional professors, and I immersed myself in challenging academic material. An added bonus is that I forged lifelong relationships with fellow students in the program. I can't think of a better way to have spent the last three years."

-- Gretchen Steil Weiss, MLAS Summer 2013

Why Get a Degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences?

A degree in the Liberal Arts and Sciences is an interdisciplinary degree emphasizing comparative critical thinking, communication, and the creative application of a broad range of methodologies and applied skills. Students choosing this option truly embody the spirit of a liberal arts education. A grounding in the liberal arts and sciences, combined with the development of skills and knowledge for a lifetime of learning, empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. The curriculum provides students with a broad knowledge of the wider world, so crucial in our global society, and provides opportunities for in-depth study in specific areas of interest.

Liberal Arts and Sciences Graduates Are In Demand

Among other things, an interdisciplinary arts and sciences degree prepares graduates to be creative problem solvers. Successful graduates make exceptional employees who are able to draw on historical & scientific knowledge to seek effective, efficient, and ethical solutions to future challenges. Liberal Arts and Sciences graduates are known for being:

  • Adaptable
  • Innovative
  • Flexible
  • Forward-thinking
  • Able to see things from multiple perspectives
  • Able to imagine alternative options and solutions

In our knowledge based economy, the basic skill for everyone to learn is how to keep learning. Many of the good jobs of the future don’t even exist yet. In this ever-changing, global economy, a liberal arts degree prepares students for the creative thinking that leads to innovation and problem solving.” -

“In a period of rapid, unpredictable change, a combination of traditional liberal-arts education, collaborative research, workplace experiences, and a “can-do” attitude is the safest bet for future employment, as well as the foundation for good citizenship and a life that’s engaged with culture and thought.” -

“When asked about candidates in the job market today, an overwhelming 73 percent said that being well-rounded with a range of abilities is more important than having industry expertise.” -

“No one knows what the jobs of the future will be, but a liberal arts degree provides a great foundation for adjusting to new careers and further education. We do know that a third of all Fortune 500 CEOs have liberal arts degrees.” -

"If someone's studied literature, they know people and have insight into themselves and customers," said Fromm, who majored in journalism. "I find people that have a liberal arts background have a broader view of the world and will go farther in business." -

“A liberal arts education will become more important as the global economy increasingly depends on workers who have the following attributes: problem-solving skills; creativity; competence in mathematics, speaking, writing, and listening; intercultural competency; technology skills; and collaboration skills.” -

“Given the pace of technological and social change, it no longer makes sense to devote four years of higher education entirely to specific skills.” -

“A degree in liberal arts rarely restricts a student to just one career path. Whereas some majors -- engineering or computer science, for example -- provide specialized training in a specific field, liberal arts degrees tend to provide a much broader educational background and skills applicable to almost any job.” -

Get the Most Out of Your Liberal Arts and Sciences Education

Begin Planning Early. Meet with an advisor early in your degree (first semester) to discuss your goals and which emphasis of study will best serve those goals.

Reflect Often. Consider how the courses you take contribute to the skills and experiences that will lead you to the opportunities you desire to achieve your goals.

Network. Get to know your professors, build a rapport with them and your advisor, take advantage of extracurricular opportunities.

Be Proactive. This degree allows you the flexibility to tailor your degree to particular goals, and actively connecting with those who stand at the gateway to those goals is critical to success.

  • Jobs: begin visiting career fairs early to ask questions of potential employers to help you choose courses and opportunities that will lead to the career you want.
  • Advanced degrees: talk to professors and graduate advisors about graduate programs—the opportunities they will provide and the steps you need to take as an undergraduate to be competitive for the program you desire.

Our Programs at a Glance

The Bachelor and Master of Liberal Arts & Sciences (LAS) programs are flexible and focused degrees emphasizing disciplinary concentration in interdisciplinary contexts. These versatile degrees draw on the rich resources and faculty of the College of Arts & Sciences.

The Bachelor of Liberal Arts & Sciences (LAS)

The Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences is offered at both the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses of Western Illinois University. Involving focused study in the traditional areas of liberal education (Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences/Mathematics), the degree can be tailored to meet students’ academic needs and interests.

The Bachelor of LAS equips students with the transferable skills most valued by employers; it is also excellent preparation for graduate education. The degree is especially attractive to transfer students; in most cases, students entering the LAS program with an Associate in Arts or an Associate in Science degree should be able to complete the program within four semesters.

The Integrated BLAS/MLAS Program

The Integrated BLAS/MLAS Program is for students on the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses who are interested in completing their bachelor and master degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences. An integrated baccalaureate and master’s degree program provides the opportunity for outstanding undergraduates to earn both degrees in five years. Typically, a baccalaureate degree requires four years to complete and a master’s degree requires an additional two years. However, the integrated degree programs are intended to be accomplished over a period of five years. In addition to earning both degrees a year early, the integrated programs may include additional opportunities to participate in a variety of experiential educational activities such as a master’s project or thesis.

The Master of Liberal Arts & Sciences (MLAS)

The Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences is for students on the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses who need or desire advanced education but do not require a specific specialized content area. This interdisciplinary degree stresses critical thinking, comparative analysis, and highly flexible content rather than a more traditional advanced specialization in a fairly small content area. LAS is designed especially for students seeking a master’s degree as an occupational qualification and for those who wish more in-depth inquiry into the liberal arts and sciences as a step toward greater personal fulfillment. LAS promotes an advanced level of critique, analysis, and comparison; students explore the broad questions faced by human beings, as well as the specific means by which individual disciplines in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Mathematics have addressed these questions.