Bachelor's Degree Requirements
Letters, Arts, and Sciences is a multi-disciplinary, theme-oriented, and student-designed major leading to a bachelor of arts degree. The major consists of 36 credits, divided into two sections. The core (12 credits) consists of 3 credits each in the following: research methods/projects; communication skills; theory/application; and critical analysis. The remaining 24 credits consists of courses directed toward the student's theme, 15 credits of which must be at the 400 level.
In order to be eligible for entrance to the major, the student must submit a proposal. In consultation with an LAS adviser, the student formulates a proposal designing a program that investigates a theme from the viewpoint of at least three different subject areas. Students may not duplicate existing majors from any academic area. An important standard for entrance to the Letters, Arts, and Sciences major is the student's ability to design a program with academic integrity worthy of a bachelor of arts degree.
Early Admission Program for Professional Schools: If a student is accepted and enrolled as a degree candidate in a professional postgraduate degree program requiring three years or more to complete (such as medical school, dental school, law school, theological seminary, etc.) and if that student completes 94 undergraduate credits at Penn State including General Education, B.A. requirements, and the LAS 12-credit core requirements, that student may use up to 30 credits from the professional school to complete the B.A. in LAS.
It must be emphasized that only top students are accepted into professional school programs on such an early admission basis and that not every professional school has such a policy. Students must have enrolled in LAS prior to attending the professional school to request graduation in LAS.
What are the program requirements in Letters, Arts, and Sciences?
To earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Letters, Arts, and Sciences, a minimum of 120 credits is required in the following areas:
General Education: 45 credits
B.A. Degree Requirements: 12—24 credits
Major Requirements: 36 credits all major courses must be completed with a “C” or above.
Electives: 15 — 27 credits
CORE (12 credits): Each of these courses must relate to your theme and contain the elements of the skills outlined below.
Research methods/projects - 3 credits in a course that involves research methodology or that focuses on a research project relevant to your plan of study. Types of courses include: all courses numbered 294/494, all laboratory courses, all statistical analysis courses, all research methodology courses.
Critical analysis - 3 credits in a course that focuses on evaluation, synthesis, and analysis. An independent study course designed to be a capstone course for your plan of study is recommended. Other types of courses include: criticism, comparative studies, and policy analysis.
Communication skills - 3 credits in a course that focuses on verbal, written, or symbolic expression. Types of courses include: speaking, writing, acting, production of the fine arts, signing, and symbolic logic.
Theory/application - 3 credits in a course that focuses on theory, principle, central concepts, or fundamental issues in a disciplinary group. Types of courses include: theory, major figures, basic problems, and basic principles.
24 REMAINING credits are chosen to further develop your major theme. At least 15 credits must be at the 400-level.
At least 9 credits in the LAS major must be taken in the social sciences and humanities.
For more information:
Dr. Sandra H. Petrulionis
Distinguished Professor of English and American Studies
Arts and Humanities
Office: 129 Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts
Sandra Harbert Petrulionis is the author of "To Set This World Right: The Antislavery Movement in Thoreau’s Concord," the editor of "Thoreau In His Own Time," and Thoreau's "Journal 8: 1854," and the co-editor of "The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism" and "More Day to Dawn: Thoreau’s Walden for the 21st Century." In addition, she has published on Herman Melville, Louisa May Alcott, and other American writers and reformers. Her current research includes two long-term projects--a cultural biography of 19th-century activist, author, and editor Thomas Wentworth Higginson; and, with Noelle A. Baker, a scholarly, annotated, digital edition of the complete Almanacks of Mary Moody Emerson. Sandy is also the Director of the NEH Summer Institute on "Transcendentalism and Social Reform."