An Overview of the Letters, Arts, and Sciences Program
Penn State Altoona’s B.A. in Letters, Arts, and Sciences (LASAL) is the college’s only degree that is designed entirely by individual students to meet their own needs and interests. Rather than focusing your classes on one subject, you will develop a program that combines at least three different academic disciplines.
For example, your primary interest may be criminal justice or business, but you want your college experience to include a broad liberal arts education as well. Or you might wish to focus on psychology, but would like to include human development and family studies or counseling education courses in your overall plan. You may wish to be a science reporter or business journalist and therefore need to take upper-level classes not only in media writing but also in science and business.
Letters, Arts, and Sciences puts you at the drafting table. Working closely with an advisor, you decide which classes best fit your interests and skills and build an undergraduate program that meets your needs. The 36-credit program requirements are distributed across your subjects of emphasis as follows:
- three credits in research methods/projects
- three credits in critical analysis
- three credits in theory/application
- three credits in communication skills
- fifteen credits at the 400-level, including a senior capstone or internship
- nine additional credits
Is LAS for me?
The LAS program is ideal for students who are:
- self-motivated and focused
- interested in a pre-professional area of study
- interested in creating their own interdisciplinary major
- planning to attend graduate or professional school
- seeking a broad liberal arts education in addition to specific vocational training
- dissatisfied with the narrow focus of their current major
What do current employers value?
What do hiring managers look for in today’s college graduates? Critical thinking. Communication skills. Creative problem-solving.
These qualities are at the top of the list, according to a recent survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. This study also finds that managers seek graduates with “broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences” as well as those who “demonstrate ethical judgment and integrity; intercultural skills; and the capacity for continued new learning.”
Letters, Arts, and Sciences allows you to develop these vital skills while building on your own individual academic interests and strengths.
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. She has received four grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the most recent two of which have provided more than half a million dollars in support of a scholarly, annotated, digital edition of the complete Almanacks of Mary Moody Emerson. The Director of the NEH's Summer Institute on "Transcendentalism and Social Reform," she is also underway in the research for a cultural biography of 19th-century activist, author, and editor Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Petrulionis was a Fulbright scholar in Germany and a recipient of several honors, including the George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Kjell Meling Award for Distinction in the Arts and Humanities, and the college award for Outstanding Achievement in Research and Creative Activity.