The Liberal Studies Degree
Liberal Studies Major
A liberal studies major seeks to capitalize on the integral nature of learning that characterizes a liberal arts education. The danger of specialization, an obsession in the modern academy, is that it takes away from seeing the world in a holistic manner. This is particularly detrimental for Christians, who understand that all of life is created, sustained, and given meaning by the divine logos, Jesus Christ. A liberal studies major allows students to see that all of life is ordered by the divine creator-sustainer.
The goal of a liberal arts education is to produce critical creative citizens—young men and women who confidently engage the world in order to work toward a society in harmony with God’s good creational order. A critical student humbly seeks to interpret God’s world aright, understanding its basic nature to live accordingly. God commissioned humanity to watch over, protect, and name the creation. Such a duty requires patient and responsible examination. Second, as image bearers of God, humans are fundamentally creative agents, cultivating their humanity by creating. It’s not that we create out of nothing, but, rather, create (i.e., develop) from what God has graciously given to us. Finally, a person trained in the liberal arts will be a highly valued and value-minded citizen. Someone equipped with a biblical liberal arts education is well positioned to face a variety of experiences and thus have a more positive impact locally and globally.
Cultivating the critical and creative is to live in accordance with who we are as image-bearers of God; in this way, we come closer to understanding who God is, which, in turn, moves us in the direction of gaining a better understanding of what it means to be human, for a true knowledge of God, the Creator, results in a true knowledge of the self, the creature.
The major in liberal studies provides students with a unique opportunity to view the world in a holistic and unified manner. Rather than examining reality through the lens of only one discipline, students are able to view life and the world from a number of perspectives. The multifaceted and integral nature of creation, which was formed and is held together by the Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-3), is explored and appreciated, both for its unity and its cohesion. A student with a major in liberal studies will have gained a broad understanding and appreciation of God, his creation, and life within it and will be equipped with the tools to research problems, evaluate evidence, and communicate conclusions.
Program Learning Outcomes
Core competencies to be assessed for all Providence students. (Bullet points indicate elaboration of meaning and point to the kind of evidence appropriate for assessment.)
1) Interdisciplinary Competence: Students will be able to produce evidence of the ability to make connections across the disciplines of the Liberal Arts (humanities and sciences) curriculum.
- Articulate a Reformed biblical perspective that is integrated in all areas of study
- Integrate a broad liberal arts perspective through self-reflection and participation in experiential education
- Exhibit awareness of diversity in both historical and contemporary cultures (* see number 5)
- Construct and effectively present research using quantitative and qualitative reasoning and scientific data
- Create capstone projects that reflect interdisciplinary competencies and a love of life-long learning
2) Creative- and Critical-Thinking: Students will be able to critically evaluate claims and research, consider multiple perspectives, discern sound premises, and develop biblical viewpoints and creative solutions to problems.
- Incorporate a Reformed Christian worldview into thought, attitudes, and actions, seeking to diminish the power of egocentric and socio-centric tendencies
- Work diligently to develop the habitual virtues of intellectual integrity, humility, civility, empathy, and justice
- Think with contextual discernment in order to live reflectively, rationally, reasonably, and compassionately
- Analyze and evaluate issues objectively in order to form sound judgments and reasoned actions
- Develop and demonstrate creativity, innovation, and imagination
3) Media and Information Literacy: Students will understand the functions of media and other information providers to evaluate critically and make informed decisions as users and producers of information and media content.
- Use media, information, and technology as a redemptive tool
- Foster responsible, conscientious engagement in digital communication and communities
- Embody the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to research with wisdom and discernment
- Demonstrate media literacy by accessing, evaluating, using, producing and communicating information and technological content
- Communicate transparently by identifying and accounting for presuppositions and biases in media resources
4) Communication: Students will be able to communicate across diverse audiences effectively, creatively, and persuasively in oral, visual, and written formats.
- Assimilate a biblical worldview into all types of communication
- Weigh the personal, social, ethical, and spiritual consequences of communication and honor the dignity of every person as created in the image of God
- Create effective communications for intercultural and cross-cultural contexts
- Communicate collaboratively with others in discovering truth and developing solutions to complex problems
- Promote reasoned and civil discourse in philosophical, political, and religious arenas
5) Cross-Cultural Engagement and Community Connectedness: Students will exhibit biblical habits of the heart through nurturing respect for all, building a sense of community belonging, and being responsible and active global citizens
- Nurture wisdom and discernment (Deeper Learning for Greater Wisdom ™) in order to fulfill God’s mandate for faithful stewardship over the creation and service to humanity
- Serve God and neighbor through compassionate moral action with a clear sense of calling for the service of humanity and glorification of God
- Assume an active role in facing and resolving community and global challenges in order to become proactive contributors in the redemption of creation
- Participate in the complex process of developing wisdom, discernment, and maturity by committing to lifelong learning
Upon recommendation of the faculty and approval by the board of directors, the degree of Bachelor of Arts is conferred upon students who have met the following requirements for graduation:
- Unit Requirements Students must complete a minimum of 126 total semester credit hours. For transfers, at least 54 credits must be taken at Providence with at least twelve upper-division credits in their concentrations.
- GPA Requirement Students must earn a minimum C average (2.00 GPA on a 4.00 scale) in courses taken at Providence and in the concentrations. Students must also earn a C or better in each concentration course numbered 300 or higher.
- Foreign Language Requirement The Foreign Language Requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam (AP or CLEP) or by completing approved course work (in high school or college).
- Cross-Cultural Requirement Students can satisfy this requirement through an Avodah Immersion course or any course whose focus is primarily devoted to: a) Non-Western cultures; b) Inter-societal or cross-societal injustice emanating from man’s fallen nature; c) Comparative world cultures; d) Cross-cultural theory or practice (i.e. Cross-cultural Communication). A student can typically fulfill this requirement by enrolling in “Christ, Culture, and Contextualization.”
- Core Liberal Studies Requirement See the Core Liberal Studies Curriculum below for more details.
- Concentration Requirements All students must complete at least two areas of concentration. (Beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year, students will complete one of the redesigned concentrations. Students from 2017-2018 who would like to move to the one concentration model will also need to meet the requirements of the redesigned Core Liberal Studies Curriculum for 2018-2019.)
- Residence Requirements All students must complete 24 of their last 30 semester credit hours in residence. To be considered in “residence”, students must be registered for classes at Providence or through one of its approved affiliate programs. Transfer students should expect to be enrolled at Providence for at least four semesters.
See the Registrar’s Office for additional clarification.