Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Program of Liberal Studies?

The Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) is Notre Dame’s “Great Books” program. PLS offers an integrated, liberal arts education constructed around careful reading of major texts from the Western canon and a complementary sequence of courses in literature, philosophy, theology, music, the sciences, and intellectual history. Hallmarks of a PLS education include small classes, discussion-based seminars, extensive faculty-student interaction, engagement with major questions in the Western intellectual tradition, and the development of students’ abilities to read complex texts, to write incisive prose, and to speak effectively. 

Can I have a second major alongside PLS?

Yes. Many PLS students have second majors, including majors from the College of Arts and Letters (such as ALP2) but also from the College of Science. A second major from the College of Engineering is possible through the Five Year Engineering/Arts & Letters Dual Degree (with financial aid available through the Reilly Scholars Program). Students with certain second majors may obtain exemptions from a limited number of relevant PLS courses after consultation with the PLS Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Can I study abroad while being a PLS major?

Yes. The majority of PLS students study abroad at some point. The department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies will work with each student to create a viable schedule that permits studying abroad while also satisfying requirements for PLS and for relevant second majors or minors. For maximum flexibility, any student interested in studying abroad while majoring in PLS should consult the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies as early as possible to discuss individual options.

What University and College Requirements are fulfilled through the PLS curriculum?

PLS majors fulfill most University and College Core Requirements through normal PLS courses; interested students should consult the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies for details.

Can I start taking PLS classes in my first year?

Yes. PLS faculty offer University Seminars that parallel regular PLS Great Books seminars and provide an excellent introduction to the program. Furthermore, PLS-intents may enroll in certain sophomore PLS courses during their first year.

What do PLS majors do after graduation?

Anything and everything. PLS alumni/ae have successfully pursued careers in medicine, science, business, finance, law, education, fine arts, technology, and non-profits. Moreover, with appropriate selection of electives, PLS students have gone on to leading graduate programs in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Where can I get more information about PLS?

Interested students are strongly encouraged to contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Eric Bugyis, in the department office (215 O’Shaughnessy) or via e-mail at ebugyis@nd.edu. Professor Bugyis can answer questions about the Program (including how to combine PLS with various second majors), arrange a visit to a PLS class, and help you register for PLS courses during your first year. Read our student and alumni/ae profiles to learn more.