About the Program of Liberal Studies

Founded in 1950, the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) offers a three-year prescribed sequence of seminars and tutorials anchored in the Western and Catholic traditions.

The Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) has its roots in the Great Books movement that began in the early twentieth century at Columbia in New York and at the University of Chicago.

At the core of the Program’s undergraduate curriculum are the Great Books seminars, in which small classes of 12-16 students meet twice weekly to study and discuss major texts from the Western and, to a limited extent, Eastern traditions. Parallel to the seminar, PLS students take a required sequence of tutorials that offer deeper, more focused explorations in literature, philosophy, science, theology, political theory, the fine arts, and intellectual and cultural history.

Through the course of the Program, students acquire a broad intellectual background while developing their abilities to read texts critically, formulate articulate and thoughtful arguments, and communicate effectively. As a result, PLS graduates leave the Program well-prepared to succeed in a wide range of professions.

PLS alumni/ae have become leaders in business, finance, law, medicine, science, education, and academic scholarship; they have developed innovative programs to help the poor and disadvantaged; they have flourished in publishing, journalism, film, and the fine arts; and they have served the Church as clergy or in religious life.

To learn more about our alumni/ae and to hear what they had to say about their time in PLS, please check out our 2013 survey. You can find more recent job placement data on our graduates here

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