Liberal Studies

The Liberal Studies program offers both traditional and online courses for part time and full time students looking for flexibility and convenience from a comprehensive university. Advisor-guided emphasis on courses in particular fields allows students to design their programs to meet professional or personal goals for the degree. A student may earn a Bachelor of Arts by emphasizing courses from the humanities and/or social and behavioral sciences, or a Bachelor of Science by emphasizing courses from mathematics and science and/or professional programs.

This degree is designed for:

  • Adults who are returning to college to complete their bachelor’s degree.
  • Community college students seeking to earn their bachelor's degree.
  • Working professionals seeking a career change or advancement.

The program facilitates individualized educational plans to help students achieve their goals. Advisors work with students to help them map out a baccalaureate curriculum. Previous experience is evaluated: up to 75 credits may be transferred in from a combination of accredited colleges and universities coursework as well as CLEP exams and/or portfolio credits for life/work experience. Liberal Studies offers classes in online formats as well as accelerated and traditional programs.

College Equivalency Exams

Credit may be granted for specific college-level learning gained through self-education or non-collegiate-sponsored instruction. Fairfield University is a participating institution in accepting approved CLEP (College Level Examination Program) examinations for credit. This standardized examination program is designed to let students demonstrate proficiency in various college-level subjects. An advisor should be consulted about applicable examinations prior to taking any CLEP exams. A maximum of 15 credits can be earned through CLEP exams.

Portfolio Credit for Life Experience Learning

Matriculated students may choose the portfolio assessment process as a means of receiving credit for non-collegiate sponsored learning or life experience for which there is no CLEP examination. An evaluation process of the documented learning is necessary. Portfolios must be submitted one semester prior to the anticipated graduation date. Contact the Liberal Studies director for complete information.

Degree Requirements

Complete a minimum total of 120 credits with a GPA of 2.0 or better. At least 45 of those credits must be taken at Fairfield University, including:

  • Meeting the Liberal Studies requirements of the University Core Curriculum (see below)
  • Completing GS 0399 General Studies Senior Project
  • Completing nine upper-level courses. Students will work with a faculty advisor to customize their curriculum to best serve their academic interests. No more than four courses can be taken in any one subject.

Liberal Studies Requirements of the University Core Curriculum


EN 0011Texts and Contexts I: Writing as Craft and Inquiry3
EN 0012Texts and Contexts II: Writing About Literature3
HI 0100Origins of the Modern World Since 15003
Select one additional History course3
Select one Philosophy course3
Select one Religious Studies course3
Select one additional course in any of the following three areas:3
Applied Ethics
Religious Studies
Select two Visual and Performing Arts courses 16
Select three additional courses from any of the departments/programs listed above along with Classics and Modern Languages and Literatures9
Total Credits36

Social Sciences

Select four courses from at least two of the following areas:12
Total Credits12

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Select four courses, including at least one science and one mathematics course, from the following areas:12
Total Credits12

Diversity Requirement

All students must complete one U.S. Diversity course and one World Diversity course.

GS 0399 General Studies Senior Project3 or 4 Credits

This course, required for all students earning a BA or BS degree in Liberal Studies, is typically taken during the final semester. The course synthesizes and integrates students' multidisciplinary studies. Students complete a project or thesis under the direction of a faculty member after first discussing the proposed project with an academic advisor and the faculty member. The course requires a written paper reflecting the various disciplines studied.