Self-Designed Liberal Arts

Roman antiquity contributed both the name and meaning to Liberal Arts. For the Romans, "artes liberales" represented those intellectual skills required among the free Roman citizens who would assume the responsibility for the actions and governance of their own society.

The skills needed by the Romans are closely related to the different disciplines and programs found in the McAnulty College of Liberal Arts today. Our programs in literature, language, and history reflect the need for citizens to be familiar with the deeds and consequences of other times and other places. The desires to write effectively and communicate well are driven from the ancient need to persuade fellow citizens toward (or from) a course of action. 

As a Duquesne Liberal Arts student, you have the option to design a major that provides more breadth than our traditional disciplines. This option allows you to combine multiple courses of study that align with your academic and career aspirations. Through this track, you are able to diversify your thinking in a way that makes sense to you and be able to apply that breadth of knowledge to your life after graduation.

Program Information

As a Duquesne Liberal Arts student, design a major for breadth and alignment with career goals. Diversify thinking and apply knowledge to post-graduation life.

Program Type






Required Credit Hours


Program Requirements

Note: a self-designed major will be represented as a "Liberal Arts major" on official transcripts.

With the self-designed major, students are challenged to build a broader theme across programs when choosing courses and determining their academic track. By finding similarities in various disciplines, you will seek truth about your communities (past and present) and become a more well-rounded member of society. This broad theme is used to guide you through your college experience and allow you to reimagine your world. 
The courses selected for the self-designed major should include 30-39 credit hours at the 200-level or above. Within those 30-39 credits:
  • 2/3 of the program requirements should be taken at the 300-level or above
  • 24 credits must be taken through the College of Liberal Arts
Students are required to complete the Bridges Common Learning Experience (University requirements), the College Distribution (Liberal Arts requirements), and minor requirements to graduate with a Bachelor's Degree. All of these requirements & the requirements for the self-designed major should be a minimum of 120 credits.

Declaring Your Self-Designed Major

You will need to identify a faculty member to serve as your faculty mentor for your self-designed major. This faculty member will need to have some expertise in your area of interest. If you need help determining which faculty member to ask, you can ask your student success coach for recommendations.

With the help of your faculty mentor and your student success coach, you will collaborate on which courses you will take that make up your theme, area, and direction of your program.

After determining the credentials of your program, you will write a letter to the dean, with copies to your faculty mentor and student success coach, explaining your reasons for wanting to design your own major and the rationale for your choice of courses. This letter should include your list of courses.

The dean will review your proposal and, if deemed acceptable, request the approval of the chairs of the departments in which you propose to take courses toward the major. The dean will then approve or deny your proposal, or may ask you for additional information, clarification or changes before giving approval.