2024-25 Academic Catalog

Liberal Arts

Advisor: Kate Sawaya
Office: 513 Allen Hall

The College of Arts and Sciences recognizes that students' interests may include more than one discipline and that some majors are not formally available at MSU. Students who prefer to specialize in more than one field of study may earn a B.A. degree in Liberal Arts (BALA). Through BALA, students can pursue a major that crosses two or more disciplines offered in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The BALA degree requires satisfactory completion of the following:

  1. University General Education and College Core curriculum;
  2. College of Arts & Sciences B.A. requirements;
  3. Satisfactory completion of the BALA major core;
  4. A total of 121 semester hours;
  5. A 200-word minimum exit essay

The BALA major core consists of IDS 2111, GLA 4001, and a program of study consisting of at least 36 upper-division hours in approved emphasis areas.

Each BALA program of study must consist of a broad, but coherent pattern of courses in 2-4 disciplines within the College of Arts and Sciences. These disciplines make up the emphasis areas within a student's program of study. Students may propose an individualized combination of emphasis areas, or they may select a preestablished concentration pathway that specifies the emphasis areas they must complete. 

Each emphasis area must comprise at least 9 hours of upper-division coursework in that discipline, and a minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in each area of emphasis. 

Students seeking admission to the BALA major will be required to submit an application to be reviewed by the Liberal Arts committee. BALA applications must contain the following: completed BALA application form (see BALA advisor); student's proposed program of study; a 100-word entrance essay.

To ensure an orderly progression of work toward the degree, interested students should meet with the program’s advisor as early as possible.

Liberal Arts is not suitable for students who are uncertain about their choice of a major; these students should see the Undeclared listing in the Academic Affairs section.

Political Communication Concentration

The Political Communication Concentration combines coursework in Political Science and Communication and Media Studies. It prepares students for careers in campaigning, public address and public affairs, and any public-facing roles related to governmental agencies and policymaking. The Political Communication Concentration is particularly useful for students who want to pursue law school or professional careers in legislation, campaigning, lobbying, and community outreach.

General Education and College Requirements

English Composition
EN 1103English Composition I3
or EN 1104 Expanded English Composition I
EN 1113English Composition II3
or EN 1173 Accelerated Composition II
Foreign Language
Foreign Language I3
Foreign Language II3
Foreign Language III3
Literature - A&S core3
History - A&S core3
Philosophy - A&S core3
Humanities Electives 19
A&S core 23
Fine Arts
A&S core3
Natural Sciences
Physical Science w/Lab - A&S core3-4
Life Science w/Lab - A&S core3-4
Natural Science Elective - A&S core3-4
Social Sciences
A&S core 26
Social Sciences Electives 312
Major Core
IDS 2111Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies1
GLA 4001Senior Project1
Emphasis Area Courses 436
Oral Communication 33
CO 1003Fundamentals of Public Speaking 53
or CO 1013 Introduction to Communication
Jr/Sr Writing
Consult advisor - may be specified in emphasis areas or concentrations3
General Electives
Consult advisor 68-11
Total Hours121

Note: Students must complete 31 upper-division hours in A&S in residence at MSU. 


Humanities electives must be courses in A&S and must cover two disciplines.


Concentrations may require specific courses; see concentration and consult advisor.


Social Science electives must be courses in A&S. The total 18 hours in Social Science must cover four disciplines; maximum of 6 hours per discipline; only one EC and one CO from A&S core list allowed


Concentrations require specific courses; see concentration and consult advisor. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in each area of emphasis.


Concentration may require CO 1003; consult advisor.


Concentrations may require other prerequisite coursework. Students should consult advisor and plan to take additional prerequisite courses as general electives.

Political Communication Concentration

Introduction to Statistics
Social Science
American Government
Introduction to Communication Theory
Oral Communication
Fundamentals of Public Speaking
Jr/Sr Writing
Political Analysis
Emphasis Area - Communication
Choose 18 hours:
Principles of Public Relations
Public Relations Case Problems
Public Relations Multimedia
Interviewing in Communication
Communication and Leadership
Nonverbal Communication
Political Communication
Elements of Persuasion
Intercultural Communication
Mass Media Law
Emphasis Area - Political Science
Choose 18 hours:
Political Leadership
Gender and Politics
Constitutional Powers
Civil Liberties
Law and Politics
Legislative Process
Public Opinion
Political Behavior
Principles of Public Administration


GLA 4000 Directed Individual Study in General Liberal Arts: 1-6 hours.

Hours and credit to be arranged

GLA 4001 Senior Project: 1 hour.

(Retricted to GLA majors or permission of the instructor) One hour lecture. Cohesive capstone course that draws together the diverse threads of the liberal arts. This course encourages analysis and criticism of social, ethical, and related issues that challenge the modern world

GLA 4990 Special Topics in GLA: 1-9 hours.

This course is to be used on a limited basis to offer developing subject matter areas not coverd in existing courses