Loyola University Maryland

Graduate Program in Liberal Studies

A Message from the Director

Photo of DonaldsonHello and welcome to Loyola’s Graduate Program in Liberal Studies!

The aims of Jesuit education are formation and transformation, forming individuals so that they can transform themselves and the world about them. In Liberal Studies we encourage each individual to examine or re-examine some of life’s central issues from a more mature vantage point and to hone basic skills like analytical thinking, communication, and thoughtful, incisive, written expression. Ideally students trained in the Jesuit tradition will contribute intelligently and effectively to the welfare of society because they are informed, discerning, and articulate.

The graduate Liberal Studies program at Loyola University Maryland is traditional in that it is a graduate program which emphasizes the academic rigor long associated with a graduate school and with the Jesuit traditions of Loyola University. However, the emphasis on focused research in a narrow area often typical of traditional graduate programs has been replaced by an emphasis upon broad reading and rigorous writing across the disciplines.

Learning aims for the program are organized around five themes: academic rigor; integration of knowledge across disciplines and across time; eloquentia perfecta; discernment; and cura personalis. The overall goals are reflected in individual courses through an emphasis on disciplined written and oral expression, critical thinking, and close attention to the intellectual development of each individual.

Liberal Studies is unique among graduate programs at Loyola in that it is not practitioner-oriented. Rather it continues on the graduate level the commitment to the liberal arts and sciences central to Loyola’s mission. The graduate program in liberal studies aims to “liberate” in the classic sense of that term. Its primary aim is to deliver a rich and satisfying intellectual experience in an environment which respects a broad spectrum of cultural traditions and nurtures the development of strong analytical and communication skills. Although the Liberal Studies curriculum purposely allows a student considerable latitude in planning his or her program of study, the hope is that each student will emerge with a better understanding of and appreciation for  the diverse elements which today define what it means to be a citizen of twenty-first-century America.

The program is centered on three themes: historical approaches; themes in the modern experience; and the creative process. Courses with an historical approach emphasize the origin, evolution, and development of ideas and movements crucial to the modern American experience. Thematic courses concentrate on central characteristics of an idea or institution and ways in which these elements contribute to the uniqueness and relevance of that idea or institution. Courses on the creative process stress the importance of students’ discovering their own forms of expression. Emphasis is on the communication of ideas in a variety of media.

In Liberal Studies we are proud of our program, our faculty, and our students. In and out of the classroom we come together in community to enjoy each other, celebrate our common humanity, and delight in the life of the mind.

Donaldson's Signature

Randall P. Donaldson, Ph.D.