The Liberal Arts in the Contemporary World

LIBS 300/6.0


In this course students will draw upon the three knowledge traditions of the liberal arts—the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences—to explore and to explicate a question of global importance chosen by the course instructor—examples might include the fossil fuel economy, climate change, the rise of new diseases like the Zika virus, or global terror. Students will be placed in groups of five and each group will have to conceive, plan, and execute a multidisciplinary research project that will take final form in a digital format that can be made available publicly.  

At the beginning of the course the instructor will assign the groups a common question of present-day relevance, and the group will have to draw upon their knowledge of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to develop a multidisciplinary and academic approach to the question. This approach should also provide conclusions that can be used to inform public discourse, recommend particular policy outcomes, or provide unique assessments of the question being explored.  The projects that the students design as their final summative project will be publicly available and will enable the course to contribute to ongoing public discussion.

Learning Outcomes

After completing LIBS 300, students will be able to:

  1. Compare and contrast  the utility of the three liberal arts by applying them to a question of salient public interest addressed by the group project
  2. Critically apply each discipline’s approach to the group project
  3. Articulate each discipline's strengths and weaknesses
  4. Demonstrate the ability to provide constructive feedback to peers, to synthesize disparate forms of information, and to communicate such synthesis effectively
  5. Develop a collaborative multimedia presentation .


Fall/Winter 2023/2024
Course Dates
Exam Dates (if applicable)
Delivery Mode


10% - Forum Participation
10% - Research Synthesis Paper 1
10% - Research Synthesis Paper 2
10% - Project Design
10% - Annotated Bibliography
5% - Draft Project Critique
5% - Final Peer-/Self-Assessment
40% - Capstone Group Project

**Evaluations are subject to change.**

Textbook and Materials

ASO reserves the right to make changes to the required material list as received by the instructor before the course starts. Please refer to the Campus Bookstore website at to obtain the most up-to-date list of required materials for this course before purchasing them.

The following text is suggested, but not required, for LIBS 300.

  • Kate L. Turabian, Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 8th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013).

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend approximately 9-10 hours a week (114 hours per term) in study/practice and online activity for LIBS 300.