All schools & programs >

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Visit their website » Print...

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Aims

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (called the College or CLAS) is KU’s largest academic unit with 53 departments and programs. The liberal arts and sciences include disciplines in the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and natural and mathematical sciences. The humanities are the study of the constructions or creations of humans over time (literature, religion, philosophy, history, culture, language, etc.). The social sciences are the study of how and why humans behave as they do individually, in groups, or in society (psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc.). The natural sciences involve explanations and predictions of the natural world. Each department lends a unique perspective on the world. Look for the “Why study…” statements in each department’s page to begin to understand their unique contribution to your education.

Liberal education at the undergraduate level is typically broad rather than specialized. Its aim is to develop a citizenry that is broadly informed and capable of critical appraisal and to provide fundamental knowledge in many fields. The mission of the College, as reflected in KU’s bachelor’s degree requirements, is to provide such an education, both for CLAS students and those in the professional schools. The College takes full advantage of KU’s role as a research institution to ensure that the knowledge imparted to students is current and that they learn the skills of inquiry and critical evaluation.

Go to the top of the page top

Undergraduate Programs

It is the students’ responsibility to become thoroughly acquainted with all requirements for the degree programs in which they plan to participate. These include all university requirements, as well as the requirements of CLAS outlined in this section of the catalog. Students are also responsible for understanding the requirements that are unique to individual programs.

In general, the student is subject to the requirements in place at the time of admission as a degree-seeking student. If degree requirements change, the student may opt to follow the new requirements or to continue under the requirements in place at the time of admission.

CLAS Baccalaureate Degrees

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers 3 degrees at the baccalaureate level:

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.),
  • Bachelor of General Studies (B.G.S.), and
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.).

The majority of students in the College earn a B.A. degree. The B.A. degree may be earned with a major in all departments and programs in the College except atmospheric science. The B.A. is the traditional baccalaureate degree, structured to ensure both breadth and depth of knowledge by extensive general education degree requirements and approximately ¼ of total course work in the major. The B.A. requires exposure to world languages and cultures, ever more important as the world’s global community becomes central in our lives.

The primary distinction between the B.A. and the B.G.S. degree is the study of a foreign language, which is required for the B.A. but not for the B.G.S. Other general education requirements are limited as well, allowing maximum flexibility in course selection. See the chart of CLAS General Education Degree Requirements.

The B.S. degree is offered by all natural science areas except human biology, as well as economics and cognitive psychology. General education degree and major requirements are determined by each program offering the degree and may be different for each B.S. degree in the College. With fewer required non-science general education degree requirements, the B.S. permits more depth in the major. It requires additional work in supporting science areas.

View the list of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Departments & Programs.

Two Degrees

Double Degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

The following combinations of degrees are allowable within CLAS as long as the student has completed at least 15 hours unique to each major:

  • 2 (or more) B.S. degrees. These must be different B.S. degrees, not different concentrations within the same B.S. degree.
  • B.A. and B.S. degrees as long as the degrees are in different majors. Students may not, for example, earn both a B.A. and a B.S. in mathematics.
  • B.G.S. and B.S. degrees as long as the degrees are in different majors. Students may not, for example, earn both a B.G.S. and a B.S. in economics.
  • Students may complete the requirements for more than one emphasis area or concentration in a major or degree program but should be aware that they are not completing a second degree or major. The following 2 examples illustrate this point:
    1. A student who completes all requirements for both the genetics option and the cell biology option is earning one degree, the B.S. degree in biology;
    2. A student who completes all requirements for both the traditional English option and the creative-writing option is earning one degree, either the B.A. in English or the B.G.S. in English.
  • Students may earn a B.A. or a B.G.S. with more than one major but not more than one B.A. or B.G.S. degree from CLAS.
  • Students normally may not earn a B.A. degree and a B.G.S. degree. Exceptions to this must be approved by the committee on undergraduate studies and advising (CUSA). Requests for exceptions should be discussed with the assistant dean of College Student Academic Services.

Double Degrees in CLAS and a Professional School

Students who wish to work simultaneously for a degree from CLAS and a degree from one of the professional schools may do so, with the expectation that all general education requirements are met for both degrees.

Go to the top of the page top

KU Edwards Campus Undergraduate Programs

Students who would like to complete a bachelor’s degree in the Kansas City area may choose from 4 CLAS undergraduate majors offered on the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park. Contact the CLAS undergraduate adviser, Dan Mueller, dmueller@ku.edu, 864-8659 (from Lawrence) or 913-897-8659 (outside of Lawrence), about each of these degrees.

  • Developmental Psychology. B.A. and B.G.S. degrees are offered. See requirements for the major under Psychology.
  • Literature, Language, and Writing. B.A. and B.G.S. degrees are offered. See requirements for the major under English.
  • Molecular Biosciences. The B.S. degree is offered. See requirements for the major under Biology Undergraduate Program.
  • Public Administration. B.A. and B.G.S. degrees are offered. See requirements for the major under Public Administration.
Go to the top of the page top

Special Opportunities in the College

CLAS Dean’s Scholars Program

The Dean’s Scholars Program offers 15 to 20 scholarships a year to academically talented juniors and seniors in CLAS who are interested in pursuing graduate study in a discipline represented by the College. Dean’s Scholars are from groups traditionally underrepresented in graduate education. Eligible students include those who would contribute to the diversity of graduate education programs and of future faculty. See the University Policy on Diversity of the Student Body for eligibility criteria.

Students must complete a sequence of 4 seminars during their junior and senior years at KU to build specific skills for graduate studies. Seminar topics include strategies for selecting a graduate program, developing a personal application statement, soliciting letters of recommendation, and assembling a competitive graduate application. Emphasis is placed on developing professional and academic skills to improve the scholar’s competitiveness for the best graduate programs. Social activities, standardized test-taking workshops, academic and career counseling, and other services are offered. The program matches students with faculty mentors who involve them in research and guide them in graduate school preparation.

KU Language Across the Curriculum

KULAC is a pioneering program that seeks to equip students with real competency in a second language through a curriculum of courses and discussion sections taught in world languages in fields like business, history, politics, and the environment. KULAC classes allow you to study subjects that meet your interests (and graduation requirements) while sharpening your language skills, including the specialized vocabulary used in your career. Employers are looking for graduates who combine a disciplinary specialty with a second language proficiency and a knowledge of other cultures. KULAC makes it possible for you to develop these skills without slowing progress toward your degree. KULAC courses are open to any student who has completed at least two years of college-level classes in the relevant language. Courses are taught in Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Russian. There are new offerings each semester. For more information, consult the Center for Global and International Studies.

UKanTeach

UKanTeach prepares future secondary (6th- through 12th-grade) math and science teachers by encouraging students to learn to teach while pursuing a 4-year bachelor’s degree. UKanTeach invites all KU students to take the first course, LA&S 290 (1 hour). Students teach lessons they design in local schools. First-year students through seniors may enroll. Through course work and classroom experiences, students quickly learn whether they are suited to teaching.

Students pursuing any related undergraduate degree at KU can add the UKanTeach requirements to the major and earn a teaching license along with the degree.

The teaching licenses available in the UKanTeach program and some majors and interests commonly paired with each licensure area:

Licensure Area Commonly Paired Majors/Interests
Biology Any biology degree, biochemistry, any premedical profession, prepharmacy
Chemistry Any chemistry degree, biochemistry, chemical and petroleum engineering, any premedical profession, prepharmacy
Earth and space science
Any geology degree, B.S. in environmental studies
Mathematics Any mathematics degree, atmospheric science, chemical and petroleum engineering, electrical engineering and computer science
Physics Any physics degree, astronomy, engineering physics, aerospace engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering and computer science, mechanical engineering

If you know that you want to teach secondary mathematics or science (or if you want to explore the idea), the UKanTeach program can help you do so while you continue to pursue your bachelor’s degree at KU.

UKanTeach advisers would be happy to meet with you to discuss the program in more detail and show you how UKanTeach can fit into your plan to graduate.

Go to the top of the page top

Graduate Programs

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (called the College or CLAS) is KU’s largest academic unit with 53 departments and programs. Graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences include disciplines in the arts, humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and natural and mathematical sciences, as well as many interdisciplinary degree programs where often highly diverse disciplines come together to offer students a unique graduate experience. Each graduate program’s page contains program-specific information about admission, course curriculum, and faculty mentors.

The College’s participation in graduate education reflects a long and distinguished commitment to higher learning and research across the liberal arts and sciences. The College takes full advantage of KU’s role as an international research institution to ensure that the knowledge imparted to students is current and that they learn the skills of inquiry and critical evaluation. Graduate students are central to the research and teaching missions of the College. They are also the next generation of scholars who will make contributions to our communities and the production of knowledge for many years to come.

It is the students’ responsibility to become thoroughly acquainted with all requirements for the degree programs in which they plan to participate. These include the university requirements for graduate studies at KU outlined in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog, as well as the requirements of CLAS outlined in this section. Additionally, students are responsible for understanding the requirements that are unique to individual graduate programs outlined in both the graduate handbooks of individual academic units and the Departments & Programs sections of the online catalog.

In general, the student is subject to the regulations in force at the time of admission as a degree-seeking student. If degree requirements change, the student may opt to follow the new requirements or to continue under the regulations in force at the time of admission. Any student readmitted 10 years or more after his or her initial term as a degree-seeking student must fulfill the requirements in effect on the date of readmission to the graduate program.

CLAS Graduate Degrees

The College offers graduate degrees in more than 90 areas of study. Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S). degrees can be earned in more than 40 disciplines and the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree is offered in creative writing, visual art, and theatre design with a concentration in scenography. Another professional degree is offered at the master’s level in the Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) program. For students whose academic and professional goals can best be achieved through investigations at the interface of 2 or more disciplines, CLAS offers master’s degree programs in interdisciplinary studies.

The College offers Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in 35 fields, and the School of the Arts offers Doctor of Philosophy degrees in 2 fields.

View the list of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Departments & Programs.

Go to the top of the page top

KU Edwards Campus Graduate Programs

Students who would like to complete a graduate degree in the Kansas City area may choose from 3 CLAS graduate programs that are also offered on the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park. Information about program requirements, facilities, tuition, and fees is available online. Residents of Kansas City metro area counties admitted as degree-seeking students to one of these programs may qualify for the MetroKC tuition rate for Edwards Campus courses. For more information, contact the CLAS graduate adviser at the Edwards Campus by calling 864-8510 (from Lawrence) or 913-897-8510 (from other locations).

  • Communication Studies. The Master of Arts degree is offered on the Edwards Campus as well as in Lawrence. (The Ph.D. is offered only in Lawrence.) See requirements under Communication Studies.
  • Global and International Studies. The Master of Arts degree is based at the KU Edwards Campus. Students complete courses on the Edwards Campus and in Lawrence. See requirements under Global and International Studies.
  • Public Administration. The Master of Public Administration is offered on the Edwards Campus as well as in Lawrence and at the KU Public Management Center in Topeka. (The Ph.D. is offered only in Lawrence.) See requirements under Public Administration.
Go to the top of the page top

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.