College of Liberal Arts

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Departments: Africana Studies; Anthropology; Art and Design; Communication Studies; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Economics; English; Geography and Environmental Resources; History; Languages, Cultures and International Trade; Linguistics; Music; Philosophy; Political Science; Psychology; Sociology; Theater.

College of Liberal Arts

Meera Komarraju, Dean

College of Liberal Arts Website

The College of Liberal Arts offers the following majors leading to the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Music or Bachelor of Science degrees. Minors are possible in most of these areas. For exceptions, refer to footnotes.

1 Minor Only.
2 Available as a specialization within the Languages, Cultures and International Studies major offered by the Department of Languages, Cultures and International Trade. 

The College of Liberal Arts provides instruction in basic subject matter courses for the University Core Curriculum; majors in twenty-four subject areas; graduate programs for students pursuing Master’s and Ph.D. degrees; and preprofessional curricula for specialized schools such as law, and courses offered through the Division of Continuing Education. The Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Fine Arts, the Bachelor of Music, or the Bachelor of Science degree is granted to students who fulfill requirements for graduation from the College of Liberal Arts. The courses of study outlined by the departments determine the degree awarded. Students in the College of Liberal Arts may also prepare directly for teaching at the secondary level by including in their studies certain professional courses offered by the College of Education and Human Services.

Through the diversified offerings of the College of Liberal Arts, students develop the ability to seek and weigh evidence and to think critically and independently; they gain a fundamental understanding of the ever changing social, political, and physical environment, and a deeper understanding of people, cultures, art, and literature.

Academic Requirements

To receive a degree from the College of Liberal Arts, students must fulfill the following:

  1. University requirements including those relating to University Core Curriculum, residency, total hours completed, and grade point average.
  2. College of Liberal Arts academic requirements:
    1. Writing: (i) one English Composition course at 200-level or higher (ENGL 290, LING 290, ENGL 291, ENGL 390, ENGL 391, ENGL 392; creative writing courses may not be used to fulfill this requirement) and one approved writing- intensive course designated by the major department as fulfilling the Writing-Across-the-Curriculum (WAC) requirement; or (ii) two approved writing-intensive courses designated by the major department as fulfilling the Writing-Across-the-Curriculum (WAC) requirement.
    2. Foreign Language: A minimum of one year (two courses) or higher of one foreign language, satisfaction by coursework or exam. Students may not use the same language course to fulfill requirements in both the University Core Curriculum and the College of Liberal Arts. International students who have met the Office of International Admissions competency requirement may satisfy this requirement with their native language by providing a secondary school certificate from their native country. (Bachelor of Fine Arts degree students in Art, Bachelor of Fine Arts degree students in Musical Theater, Bachelor of Music degree students, Bachelor of Arts degree students in Music Business Specialization, and Bachelor of Science degree students in University Studies do not have to fulfill the foreign language requirement.)
    3. International Coursework: Successful completion of 2 courses providing a global or comparative perspective on the world, and selected from the 30+ courses from ~12 disciplines listed in Section A of the Global Studies Minor [] (or comparable list of the International Studies major/minor). Some courses may be used to fulfill the international coursework requirement as well as a University Core Curriculum requirement. (Bachelor of Fine Arts degree students in Art, Bachelor of Fine Arts degree students in Musical Theater, Bachelor of Music degree students and Bachelor of Arts degree students in Music Business Specialization do not have to fulfill the International coursework requirement, though they are strongly encouraged to take Core Curriculum courses that would also meet the requirement.)
  3. Completion of an approved major in the College of Liberal Arts.
  4. Completion of a minimum of 39 hours of course work at the 300- or 400-level.

Liberal arts major requirements provide for a number of elective courses, giving students maximum flexibility in planning their overall program of study at the University. To assist students in planning their programs, the college maintains an academic advisement office in Faner Hall 1229, as well as faculty advisors in each department. Students are urged to consult these academic advisors on how they can best use their electives to fulfill their intellectual interests and to prepare for particular career opportunities. A carefully planned minor or second major field can lead to additional career opportunities for the liberal arts major. Students who are planning to attend graduate school or one of the professional schools such as law or medicine should consult with their advisors on how best to plan their undergraduate curriculum.

Instructional Support Equipment Fee

The School of Art and Design assesses all undergraduate art and design majors an instructional support equipment fee of $10.00 per credit hour; a maximum of 12 credit hours will be charged each for fall and spring semesters and six for summer. 

Writing-Across-the-Curriculum Courses

Anthropology 480; Art and Design 308, 318, 358, 368, 389, 400C, 401C, 402C, 403C, 404C, 405C, 414C, 438, 452, 489B, 489D; Communication Studies: Speech Communication 262, 310, 326, 381, 401, 411, 471, 476, 481; Criminology and Criminal Justice 316, 492; Economics 308; English 301, 365, 471; Geography and Environmental Resources 304; History 359, 392 and 499, 406B, 410, 412A, 412B, 413, 417, 418, 420, 426, 427, 429, 442, 447, 455, 464, 467A, 467B; Languages, Cultures, and International Trade: Chinese 370, 435; Classics 415, 416, 491, 496; French 320B, 410; German 320B, 410; Japanese 410, 435; Spanish 320B, 410; Linguistics 406; Music 357 sequence, 471; Paralegal Studies 300A, 300B; Philosophy 304, 305A, 305B, 405; Political Science 405, 406, 416, 420, 435, 455, 459, 480; Psychology 211, 311; Sociology 312, 497, 498; and Theater 311A.


The College of Liberal Arts has a pre-law designation to identify and assist students interested in pursuing a career in the law and/or enrolling in law school. Students planning to apply to law school can select any major course of study and, because their undergraduate grades are important in the law school application process, they are encouraged to select a major in which they can perform very well.

Applying to Law School

Students who plan on applying to law school will need to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) sometime during their junior or senior year. The LSAT is administered by a company called Law Services and is offered at SIU. A practice LSAT is offered by SIU Testing Services and the SIU Division of Continuing Education offers a LSAT preparatory course. Students who perform exceptionally on the LSAT may be subject to certain conditions, enroll, and be admitted into the SIU School of Law as a junior. More information about the LSAT and the law school application process can be obtained from advisors in the College of Liberal Arts (CoLA) Advisement Office (Faner 1229), from Law Service at <>, or from the SIU School of Law, Office of Admissions and Student Affairs at <http://www.>.

Student Organizations

Students interested in a career in the law and/or enrolling in Law School can join the Pre-Law Association, a registered student organization that schedules speakers and events related to a legal career. Students are encouraged to visit the Pre-Law Association website at <http://www.prelaw.rso.>. In conjunction with the Pre-Law Association, the Department of Political Science sponsors an annual moot court competition for pre-law students that are held in conjunction with the Model Illinois Government simulation.

Suggested Courses

Students interested in pursuing a legal career should recognize that certain courses available in the College of Liberal Arts might be helpful in preparing either for the LSAT, the study of  law, and/or a career in the law.

For example, the Paralegal Studies program is one course of pre-law study in which a student takes a variety of legal courses including legal writing and research, civil procedure and torts. Students in the Political Science program can declare a pre-law specialization within their major, which includes courses in ad- ministrative law, civil liberties and constitutional law.

Any course, however, that develops or improves a student’s analytical reasoning, reading comprehension, logical reasoning, or writing skills will be beneficial for the LSAT, the study of law, and/or a career in the law. Development or improvement of oral communication skills, which are currently not tested on the LSAT but are very important for the study of law or a legal career, is also strongly recommended.

A list of courses that offer the opportunity to improve or develop these skills appears below. This is not an exhaustive list. With some exceptions, students do not need to be enrolled in a particular major to take any or all of these courses. Students who are not in a CoLA program, therefore, are strongly advised to take one or more of these courses to supplement their studies. For more information about these courses, contact an academic advisor in the CoLA Advisement Office. Anthropology 202, 298, 370, 410A and 410E; Criminology and Criminal Justice 203, 310, 320, 374 and 408; Economics 240, 241, 340 and 341; English 290, 291, 300, 391 and 491; History 330A, 400, 450B, 467A,B, and 490; Linguistics 104, 200, 201 and 415; Philosophy 105, 309I, 310, 320, 344 and 441; Political Science 332I, 334, 435, 436, and 437; Psychology 211, 223, 301, 304, 311, 431 and 420; Sociology 308, 312, 372, 424, and 473; Speech Communication 221, 310, 325, 326, 411, 421 and 463.

University Studies Degree Program

In the University Studies Program, students pursue either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree through an individually designed, broad-based curriculum rather than a traditional specialization. The program accommodates multidisciplinary and non-traditional approaches to education and to related careers. To determine eligibility for the University Studies Program as well as to explore specific possibilities, students should consult the website at university-studies-degree/index.html.