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Liberal Studies Program

Stewart Justman, Director

The Liberal Studies Program offers students the opportunity to work in a combination of disciplines within the humanities, including literature, philosophy, and history as well as neighboring fields.  The Liberal Studies Program offers degree options in:

  • General Humanities
  • Asian Studies
  • Religious Studies
  • Women's and Gender Studies

In addition, the Liberal Studies Program offers a minor in Liberal Studies and South and Southeast Asian Studies.

The Liberal Studies curriculum is designed for the student who seeks a liberal education with emphasis on the humanities.  While allowing ample room for electives, the coursework for the LS major focuses on the literary and religious works, cultural records, and ideas that enrich our common inheritance.  The aim of the program is to foster critical understanding and appreciation of our inheritance and world through the study and discussion of these texts and traditions.  Emphasis in all cases is on critical thinking, close reading of primary sources, analytical writing, and historical understanding.  Students who graduate from the program will be prepared to enter various fields in the private and public sectors, pursue further professional training, and be better prepared to meet the demands of citizenship.  More information about the program is available at the Liberal Studies Program office in LA 101, (406) 243–2949, or online at  For advising assistance contact the humanities advisor in LA 145 or call (406) 243-6082.

Majors in Liberal Studies may not take any course work presented for the major for CR/NCR. Upper–level students transferring into this program should have at least a C average in all credits attempted. The upper-division writing expectation must be met by successfully completing an upper-division writing course from the approved list in the General University Requirements section of this catalog (such as LSH 484).

General Humanities Option

Degree Requirements

Lower-Division Curriculum (courses numbered under 300)

  1. Liberal Studies 151L, Introduction to Humanities: Bible, Greeks, Romans 4 cr. 
  2. Liberal Studies 152L, Introduction to Humanities: Medieval to Modern 4 cr.
  3. Literary Studies - Survey of American or British Lit 3 cr.
  4. Historical Studies - American or European History 3 cr.
  5. Asian Studies 3 cr. (including courses in Religious Studies, Anthropology, Geography, and Sociology)
  6. Religious Studies 3 cr.

Students must also satisfy the following requirements:

  1. WRIT 101 (ENEX 101) Composition (coreq. or prereq. to LSH (LS) 151L – 152L) 3 cr.
  2. Foreign Language Two years of a single foreign Language, 18 cr. 

Upper-Division Curriculum (courses numbered 300 and above)

  1. History 3 cr.
  2. Philosophy/Political Philosophy 3 cr.
  3. Women's and Gender Studies or Native American Studies or African-American Studies 3 cr.
  4. Liberal Studies (from among LS 326, 327, 368, 428) 6 cr.
  5. Religious Studies 6 cr.
  6. Senior Liberal Studies capstone seminar 3 cr.

Suggested Course of Study

The course of study for Liberal Studies majors varies greatly depending on student interest and course availability. The core curriculum may take more than two years to complete, while the upper–division requirements typically take less than two years. Following is one possible course of study for the first two years:

First Year Autumn    Spring  
WRIT 101 (ENEX 101) Composition 3 -
Foreign Language 101 and 102 Elementary 5 5
Historical Studies - American or European - 4
LSH (LS) 151L and 152L Introduction to Humanities: Bible, Greeks, Romans; Medieval to Modern 4 4
M 105 (MATH 107) Contemporary Mathematics 3 -
Lower–division Native American Studies - 3
Total 15 16
Second Year Autumn Spring
Foreign Language 201 and 202 Intermediate 4 4
Literary Studies - American or British - 3
Lower–division Religious Studies  3
Lower–division Asian Studies 3
General Education Requirements 9 6
Total 16 16

Liberal Studies Minor

To earn a minor in Liberal Studies, students must complete the following 23 credits:

  • Liberal Studies 151L, 152L and 161H
  • Six credits from among LSH 326, 327L 368 (LS 326, LS 327L, LS 368), and LSH 428
  • Six credits from among upper-division Religious Studies courses

Asian Studies Option, Professor Bradley Clough, Advisor:

The Asian Studies Option offers opportunities for those students who wish to focus on the diverse societies of the Asian continent through the study of literature, geography, history, peoples, religious and other cultural traditions, and languages. 

Interested students must major in Liberal Studies with an option in Asian Studies.  In addition to select Liberal Studies courses, students will choose from specified courses offered in many departments and areas in the College of Arts and Sciences, such as History, Japanese Studies, Chinese Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Geography, and Religious Studies.

Students who choose the Asian Studies option must meet with the Asian studies faculty advisor.

Degree Requirements

Lower-Division Requirements

Language Requirement:

Two years (or equivalent proficiency) in an Asian language appropriate to the student's academic goals and approved by the academic advisor.  Students who plan to pursue graduate work are strongly advised to complete three years, including at least one study abroad in Asia experience.

Liberal Studies, Introduction to the Humanities (8 credits)

LSH (LS) 151L, 4 cr.
LSH (LS) 152L, 4 cr.

Introductory Asian Studies (3 credits)

Choose one course from the following:  
SSEA/LSH 102H (LS 102H) Introduction to South and Southeast Asia
LSH 161H (LS 161H) Introduction to Asian Humanities

Foundational Asian Studies (9 credits)

Choose two courses from the following:
HSTR 240 (HIST 201H) East Asian Civilizations
SSEA/LSH 202 Introduction to India 
JPNS 150H (JPNS 210H)/MCLG/LSH 150H Japanese Culture and Civilization
CHIN/LSH 211H (MCLG 211H) Chinese Culture and Civilization
SOCI 212S (SOC 212H)/SSEA 212S Social Issues in Southeast Asia

And, choose one course from the following:
RLST 232H (RELS 232H) Buddhism
RLST 233 (RELS 233) Traditions of Buddhist Meditation
RLST 234 (RELS 234) Hinduism
RLST 236 (RELS 236) Chinese Religions
RLST 238 (RELS 238) Japanese Religions

Upper-Division Requirements

Choose 21 credits (7 courses, all 3 credits) from the following list:
RLST 353 (RELS 353) Topics in South Asian Religions
RLST 354 (RELS 354) Topics in East Asian Religions
RLST 360 (RELS 360) Classics in Buddhist Literature
RLST 366 (RELS 366) Tibetan Civilization
RLST 367 (RELS 367) Approaches to the Study of Zen Buddhism
RLST 368 (RELS 368) Contemporary Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia
RLST 369 (RELS 369) Contemplative Traditions of Asia 
CHIN/MCLG/LSH 313L Classical Chinese Poetry in English Translation
CHIN/MCLG/LSH 314L Traditional Chinese Literature in English Translation
CHIN/MCLG/LSH 432 Twentieth Century Chinese Fiction in English Translation
GPHY 444 (GEOG 410) High Asia
HSTR 343 (HIST 381H) Modern Japan
HSTR 345 (HIST 380H) Modern China
HSTR 448 (HIST 481) Tradition and Reform in China
HSTR 449 (HIST 482) Revolution and Reform In China
JPNS/MCLG 311 Classical Japanese Literature in English Translation
JPNS/MCLG 312 Japanese Literature from Medieval to Modern Times in English Translation
JPNS 386 History of Japanese Language
JPNS 391 (JPNS 395) Special Topics
JPNS 411 Modern Japanese Writers and Thinkers
JPNS 431 Post-War Japanese Literature
PSCI 329 (PSC 329) Politics of Japan

Religious Studies Option, Professor Paul Dietrich, Advisor: 

Religion has been taught as an academic discipline at the University of Montana since 1924.  Located within the Liberal Studies Program, the study of religion is pursued in the University in an interdisciplinary setting that offers opportunities for exploration and discovery in many areas of the humanities, art, and sciences.  Our Religious Studies courses emphasize the scholarly analysis and interpretation of the history, literature, beliefs, myths, symbols, rituals, ethical and legal codes, and communities and institutions of the world's religious traditions.

We investigate how the world's religions address enduring human questions and influence responses to daily problems, and we explore how religious traditions shape lives and societies, from the emergence of the earliest civilizations to 21st-century global conflicts.  Our students engage ideas about the good life and death, suffering and happiness, war and peace, revelation and salvation, God, mysticism, and religious experience. The curriculum is designed to provide students with a broad and deep understanding of religion as a field of human activity and inquiry. Students acquire the skills necessary to investigate specific religious traditions in historical depth and to understand the forms, expressions, and roles of religion in the world today. 

Degree Requirements

  1. Two years of a single foreign language: 18 cr.
  2. LSH (LS) 151L 4 cr., LSH (LS) 152L 4 cr., LSH (LS) 161H 3 cr.
  3. Two 200-level Religion courses, including one from among RLST 204H, 205, 221, or 225 (RELS 106H, 107, 220, and 225); and one from among RLST 232H, 234, 236, or 238 (RELS 232H, 234, 236, and 238): 6 cr.
  4. RLST 300 (RELS 300) Theory and Method in the Study of Religion: 3 cr.
  5. Five courses from among NASX 304E (NAS 301E), RLST 310 (RELS 310), RLST 320 (RELS 320), RLST 335 (RELS 335), RLST 336 (RELS 336), RLST 353 (RELS 353), RLST 354 (RELS 354), RLST 360 (RELS 360), RLST 366 (RELS 366), RLST 367 (RELS 367), RLST 368 (RELS 368), RLST 369 (RELS 369), RLST 370 (RELS 370), RLST 376 (RELS 376), RLST 281E (RLST 381E), and AAS 374 and AAS 417: 15 cr.
  6. Two LSH (LS) courses with Religious Studies content (e.g. LSH (LS) 342): 6 cr.

Please consult the Religious Studies section of this catalog for more detailed information.

Women's and Gender Studies Option, Professor Elizabeth Hubble and Professor Ione Crummy, Co-Directors of the Women's and Gender Studies Program:

Students who choose the Women's and Gender Studies (WGS) option must register with the WGS advisor, who will supervise their program. The following requirements must be met to complete the WGS option within the liberal studies major.

Degree Requirements

  1. WRIT 101 (ENEX 101) Composition (coreq. or prereq. to LSH  (LS) 151L-152L) 3 cr.
  2. Foreign language (four sequential semesters of one language) 18 cr.
  3. Liberal Studies 151L, and 152L Introduction to Humanities 8 cr.
  4. Literary Studies-American or British 3 cr.
  5. Historical Studies-American or European History 3 cr.
  6. Asian Studies (including courses in Religious Studies, Anthropology, Geography, and Sociology) 3 cr.
  7. Religious studies 3 cr.
  8. Completion of WGS 119H/PHL 151H (PHIL119H)/ LSH (LS) 119H
  9. At least 21 credits of course work in relevant, advisor approved WGS courses numbered above 299. Each semester a list of these courses is published at pre-registration by the Women's Studies office, LA 138A, (406) 243-2584. Please consult the Women's and Gender Studies section of the catalog for additional information.

Please consult the Women's and Gender Studies section of the catalog for more detailed information.

South and Southeast Asian Studies Minor, Professor Ruth Vanita, Advisor

The Liberal Studies Program offers undergraduates at the University of Montana-Missoula an opportunity to minor in South and Southeast Asian Studies (SSEA).  Students will study South and Southeast Asian peoples, cultures, histories, and societies, as well as their literary, artistic and religious traditions.  The region includes India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, East Timor, and the Philippines. 

The South Asian faculty of Liberal Studies work closely with those faculty from other disciplines at the University of Montana who have research and teaching interests, in the area and competence in regional languages.

Students may choose to minor in South and Southeast Asian Studies with a major in any discipline.  They must meet with Professor Ruth Vanita, the advisor, and are encouraged to plan their course sequence at least one semester in advance.

Requirements for Minor

Major in any discipline, with a minor in South and Southeast Asian Studies.  A total of 18 credits as follows:

  1. ANTY/SSEA/LSH (LS) 102H (three credits).
  2. Six credits from the following lower division (100-200) courses: (SSEA/LS 202X, SSEA/RLST 232H (RELS 232H), SSEA/RLST 234 (RELS 234), and SSEA/SOCI 212S (SOC 212H))
  3. Nine credits from the following upper-division (300 and above) courses, of which at least 3 credits must be in the humanities (SSEA 342, SSEA 353, SSEA 366, SSEA 368), and 3 credits in the social sciences (SSEA 330X and SSEA 440)
  4. No language courses are required.  However, students are encouraged to study regional languages through summer institutes, such as SEASSI, or through accredited study abroad experiences in either South, or Southeast Asia.
  5. The faculty advisor may permit course substitutions

The following is a list of SSEA courses for the Minor.  Please refer to the South and Southeast Asian Studies section of the catalog for additional details.

Lower-division courses

ANTY/SSEA/LSH (LS) 102H Introduction to South and Southeast Asia 
SSEA 191 Special Topics
SSEA/LSH 202X Introduction to India 
SSEA/SOCI 212S (SOC 212H) Social Issues in Southeast Asia 
SSEA/RLST 232H (RELS 232H) Buddhism
SSEA/RLST 234 (RELS 234) Hinduism 
SSEA 291 Special Topics Variable

Upper-division courses 
SSEA/ANTY 330X Peoples and Cultures of the World: Indonesia and the Philippines
SSEA/LSH (LS) 342 Topics in Comparative Literature and Religion      
SSEA/RLST 353 (RELS 353) Topics in South Asian Religions
SSEA/RLST 366 (RELS 366) Tibetan Civilization
SSEA/RLST 368 (RELS 368) Contemporary Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia
SSEA 391 Special Topics Variable
SSEA/ANTY 440 Contemporary Issues of Southeast Asia  
SSEA 491 Special Topics Variable  

South and Southeast Asian Studies Faculty

Abhishek Chatterjee, Ph.D. University of Virginia 2010 (Political Science)

Bradley Clough, Ph.D. Columbia University 1998. (Liberal Studies)

Quan Ha, Ph.D. Texas Tech University, 2011 (English)

Ranjan Shrestha, Ph.D. Ohio State University 2007 (Economics)

Teresa Sobieszczyk, Ph.D. Cornell University 2001 (Sociology)

Ruth Vanita, Ph.D. Delhi University 1992 (Liberal Studies)

G.G. Weix, Ph.D. Cornell University 1990 (Anthropology)


R- before the course description indicates the course may be repeated for credit to the maximum indicated after the R. Credits beyond this maximum do not count toward a degree.

Liberal Studies & Humanities (LSH) - Course Descriptions

102H, 151L, 152L, 161H, 191, 291, 292, 294, 326, 327L, 329, 342, 351L, 368, 390, 391, 392, 398, 484, 490, 492, 494, 498



Paul A. Dietrich, Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1984

Stewart Justman, Ph.D., Columbia University, 1976

Ruth Vanita, Ph.D., Delhi University, 1992

Associate Professors

Bradley Clough, Ph.D., Columbia University, 1998

Nathaniel Levtow, Ph.D., Brown University, 2006


Mark Hanson, Ph.D., University of Virginia,1993

Registrar's Office

Lommasson Center 201

Phone: (406) 243-2995

Fax: (406) 243-4807