While many students at Marlboro pursue an interdisciplinary course of study, combining visual arts and literature for example, liberal studies provides an opportunity for students to design their own degree field when existing subjects do not meet their needs. Liberal studies is a degree field that enables students to pursue primary work in interdisciplinary concentrations such as medieval studies, gender studies, food studies, visual studies, Latin American studies, science and technology studies, organizational studies etc. For example, a student could graduate with a degree in “LIBERAL STUDIES” and add a subfield of “Gender Studies,” so their degree more accurately represents their interdisciplinary field. This degree will obviously still include elements of visual arts, literature, or other degree fields, but the major emphasis is on an interdisciplinary approach to gender studies.
When is a liberal studies degree appropriate?
Students may propose a degree in liberal studies with an interdisciplinary concentration if they can demonstrate the following:
- that existing degree fields do not adequately meet their academic areas of interest;
- that there is a body of scholarship that provides a suitable foundation for their academic work; and
- that the student has acquired the requisite methodological and theoretical background.
When is a liberal studies degree not appropriate?
The degree field in liberal studies is not intended as a substitute for all interdisciplinary Plan work. Instead, it is intended for students whose work falls most appropriately into a particular interdisciplinary field (such as food studies) that is already established in academia. It is not an appropriate choice when other existing degree fields can be easily combined to accommodate a student’s academic interests. The establishment of the degree field in liberal arts does not preclude new degree fields being added in the future.