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Rationale for Liberal Studies
At Western Carolina University, all bachelor’s degree programs include courses in Liberal Studies designed to provide each student with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of an educated person. These include the ability to think critically, to communicate effectively, to identify and solve problems reflectively, to use information and technology responsibly, to appreciate the creative and performing arts, and to seek personal development and lifelong learning.
Through a First-Year Seminar in Liberal Studies, first-year students begin to experience intellectual life at the university level. Through participation in an Academic Learning Community, students begin to experience the integration of knowledge. The core provides students with the academic skills and intellectual habits needed throughout the undergraduate experience; therefore, it should be completed as soon as possible. The Perspectives component of the Liberal Studies program exposes students to important modes of inquiry, discovery, and interpretation through study of the concepts, principles, and theories of the Liberal Arts. Because all disciplines at the university can offer courses in the Liberal Studies program, the Perspectives provide a broadened worldview and knowledge base, with opportunities to take courses outside areas of familiarity or major interest. Students also take at least one three hour course at the upper level (300 or 400 level) in a Perspectives area outside their major. It is a primary goal of the Liberal Studies program to promote a lifelong love of learning.
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Liberal Studies Program Requirements
If a particular Liberal Studies Perspectives course (with the exception of the Upper Level Perspective) is required by a degree program or major, the Perspectives category requirement met by that course will be satisfied for students in that program.
Courses transferred from other institutions to fulfill Liberal Studies requirements will be evaluated by the registrar in consultation with the appropriate department head, advising center designee, or the assistant vice chancellor for undergraduate studies, based on university guidelines. Credit earned by examination and advanced placement may be applied toward fulfillment of Liberal Studies requirements.
Students who have completed the general education core (44 hours) or the Associate of Arts degree or the Associate of Science Degree in the North Carolina Community College System will have the Liberal Studies requirements waived. However, if a student has completed the Associate of Applied Science Degree or other degree program in the North Carolina Community College System, the student’s academic transcript will be evaluated for transfer credit on a course by course basis. When a transfer student has completed the General Education or Liberal Studies requirements of a public or private institution outside of the University of North Carolina system, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for undergraduate studies, in consultation with the Advising Center and the Liberal Studies Committee, will determine whether that institution’s general education program is sufficiently similar to Western Carolina University’s Liberal Studies program to warrant a blanket waiver of the Liberal Studies requirements.