B.A. Liberal Studies

B.A. in Liberal Studies Plan  


Academic Advising Services, Gateway Student Success Center

NAU, PO Box 5650, Flagstaff, AZ 86011-5650



BAiLS Advisor

Tamara L. Harrison  


BAiLS Director

Larry A. Gould  

Undergraduate Introduction  

You may pursue the following academic plan in the liberal arts:  

NAUís flexible, interdisciplinary bachelor of arts in liberal studies (BAiLS) offers you an opportunity to design a plan of studies, in consultation with an advisor, to meet your individual educational needs. You may choose this degree if you plan to enter an occupation that requires a broad general education, if you are seeking career advancement or personal intellectual enrichment, if you are considering a preprofessional plan, or if you are enrolled in one of NAUís distance education plans.  


We designed this degree to broaden your background, but not to substitute for a degree that meets specific professional or occupational needs. If you are preparing for an occupation where entry is governed by licensure and/or professional certification, you should seek admission to the appropriate degree plan.  


We also offer this degree as part of NAUís distance education program.

Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies  (extended major)  

To earn the BAiLS degree, you must complete at least 120 units of coursework, which we describe in the sections that follow:  

Be aware that some courses required for your degree may have prerequisites that you must also take. Check the courses in the appropriate subject.  (You may be able to count these prerequisites toward your liberal studies or general elective credit.)  


Please note that you must complete NAUís diversity requirements by taking two 3-unit courses, one in ethnic diversity and one in global awareness. These courses may be used to meet other requirements within your academic plan if you choose them carefully. Click here for a list of the available diversity courses.


Also be aware that for the B.A. in liberal studies, you must take at least 36 units of upper-division courses (those numbered 300 and above).


Additionally, please note that you may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement; however, you must still meet the total of at least 120 units to graduate. Contact your advisor for details.  


Finally, please note that the requirements for any particular BAiLS plan will be more specific than the general academic description given here. See the specific academic area in this catalog, which are listed at the end of this section, for the BAiLS plan you are interested in.

Liberal Studies (General Education) Requirements  

Click here to go to the section titled NAUís Undergraduate Academic Plans for information about the 35 units of liberal studies credit that we require. Contact the department of your emphasis for information about liberal studies courses that are specific to your major.  


Be aware that you may not use courses that have the same prefix or course code as the courses in your emphasis to satisfy liberal studies requirements; in addition, you may not use the specific courses in your focus to satisfy liberal studies requirements. (For the interdisciplinary emphases in arts and letters, public agency service, and womenís studies, you may use the emphasis course prefixes; however, you may not use the specific courses from those emphases to satisfy both emphasis and liberal studies requirements.)  

Major Requirements  

You must complete 51-60 units for this majoróin an emphasis, a focus area, and communications skills requirements.  


Please note that you must have a combined grade point average of 2.5 or better for all emphasis and focus courses averaged together.  


You must take 21-28 units in an emphasis approved by the BAiLS advisory council. See the end of this section for a list of BAiLS emphases, each of which has been designed with a clear and specific learning objective.  


As part of NAUís general university requirements, these units include a junior writing course and senior capstone experience, which we specify within each individual emphasis.  

Focus, Minor, or Certificate Requirements

Meet this 15-unit requirement by choosing one of the three options described in this section.


Take at least 15 units in a structured, interdisciplinary or disciplinary plan of study outside your emphasis field. You must work with your advisor to determine the courses you will use for this student-individualized plan as early as possible to ensure that you graduate in a timely fashion. Please be aware that your advisor must approve these 15 units of coursework.


You may also fulfill this requirement by completing a minor outside your emphasis field, instead of either a focus or certificate. The minor, which will require at least 15 units, must be completed according to the requirements listed in your catalog of graduation. Refer to specific academic areas within this catalog for information about the coursework requirements for particular minors you may be interested in. (Please note that not all minors are available statewide or on line.).


You may also fulfill this requirement by completing a certificate outside your emphasis field, instead of either a focus or a minor. The certificate, which will require at least 15 units, must be completed according to the requirements listed in your catalog of graduation. Refer to specific academic areas within this catalog for information about the coursework requirements for particular certificates you may be interested in. (Please note that not all certificates are available statewide or on line.).

Communication Skills Requirements

You must take the following 15-17 units:

(This coursework must help you to understand in general the technical components of computers and information systems, the role of computers in modern society, how to solve problems using information systems technology, and how to use the World Wide Web and common software productivity tools.)

You may choose 6 units of performance-based courses or a combination of 3 units of performance-based and 3 units of theory-based communication coursework from the following lists

performance-based courses:

EMF 124; SC 111, 311, 312, 314, 315, and 318; and TH 242

theory-based courses:

SC 271, 321, 323, 351, 365, 424, 472, and 477

(Please note that you canít use CLEP or locally prepared exams to satisfy this requirement. Transfer credit used to satisfy this requirement must be approved by the BAiLS/BAS Advisory Council.)

(You can take CLEP or AP exams to fulfill all or part of this requirement; however, you canít use ďtravelersĒ or ďconversation onlyĒ language courses for this requirement.)

General Electives  

Additional coursework is required, if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.  


You may take these remaining courses from any academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you. (Please note that you may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they werenít used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.)


The following BAiLS emphases are offered through specific academic departments at NAU. See the appropriate section of this catalog or contact the appropriate department for specific information about each emphasis.  




Section in Catalog

administration of justice

Public Agency Service





arts and letters

Arts and Letters



communication sciences and disorders

Health Sciences

criminal justice

Criminal Justice

early childhood education

Teaching and Learning

enterprise in society

Business Administration

environmental communication


environmental sciences

(NAUĖYuma only)

Environmental Sciences

ethnic studies

Ethnic Studies

learning and pedagogy

Teaching and Learning

library science

Teaching and Learning

mathematics and statistics

Mathematics and Statistics


Modern Languages

news editorial


organizational communication

Speech Communication

parks and recreation management

Geography, Planning, and Recreation





public agency service

Public Agency Service



speech communication

Speech Communication

womenís studies

Women's Studies


Click here for more information about Liberal Studies faculty.