SFU Calendar 2001-2002

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Liberal Studies Program

2100 Harbour Centre, (604) 2915152/5104 Tel, (604) 2915159 Fax, www.sfu.ca/gls, glsp@sfu.ca


M.D. Fellman AB (Mich), PhD (Northwestern)

Graduate Program Chair

J. Sturrock BA, MA (Oxf), PhD (Br Col)

Steering Committee

J.L. Berggren, Mathematics

S. Duguid, Humanities

H. Gay, History

R.L. Koepke, Liberal Studies

J. Martin, Education

G. Merler, French

K. Mezei, English

A.C. Paranjpe, Psychology

P. Schouls, Simons Chair

This program, which leads to the degree of master of arts, liberal studies, is designed for adults returning to study on a part time basis. The program, which is affiliated with the Department of Humanities, is offered at the University's Harbour Centre campus during evening and weekend hours.

In the best tradition of liberal education, the program addresses some of the great works of our intellectual and artistic heritage, studies the perennial concerns that have shaped our culture, and explores contemporary perspectives on traditional ideas and values. Small, interdisciplinary seminars provide the opportunity for wide reading, careful reflection, and intense discussion. They are taught by Simon Fraser University faculty chosen for their expertise and teaching excellence, and for their interest in interdisciplinary studies.


Applicants must satisfy the liberal studies graduate program committee of academic suitability for the program. In addition to fulfilling the normal graduate admission requirements, prospective students must demonstrate readiness through reference letters, samples of written work, and normally an interview. Exceptionally, the graduate program committee may recommend for admission applicants who do not meet normal requirements but who, by reason of prior experience, strong interest and demonstrated competence, are particularly suited.

Degree Requirements

Students complete six seminar courses and submit:

Two of the six required courses are core courses, which normally must be completed in the first two semesters of attendance (LS 800 and 801). The remaining four may be selected from among those offered within the program.

Students may enrol for one or two courses per semester. Exceptionally, and by agreement of the graduate program committee and the department involved, a student may take one graduate course in another department toward this degree.

The extended essays are developed from course work papers. The project, which may make significant use of nonwritten media, will also be developed from course work and will be examined as for the examination of a master's thesis under 1.10.1 of the Graduate General Regulations (page 302). One of the two additional courses (see above) must be LS 898 and the other may be any LS course other than LS 998 or 999. Field examination preparation is on the supervisory committee's advice.

The program, for students seeking educational breadth at the graduate level, emphasizes a community of inquiry and discussion over independent research. For this reason, it entails several special expectations within the general regulations for graduate study.

Newly admitted students must attend an introductory short course prior to the beginning of the first core course in the fall semester.

Supervisory committees will be arranged by the chair of the graduate program committee. By approval of the dean of graduate studies, the supervisory and examination process for the extended essays or project requirement may be modified to emphasize collegial exchange.

Students should expect to participate in out-of-class activities, such as pre-class dinners, that encourage interchange among the participants, and to enhance a sense of intellectual community.

Because the program is designed for individuals having other obligations, and who may for that reason require greater or lesser amounts of time to complete the program, the program has been approved for part-time study. see "1.4.5 Part Time Study"..

Liberal Studies Courses

LS courses are intensive seminars. The core courses LS 800 and 801 develop a common readings base for all students. The other six seminar courses may vary in approach and in specific content each time they are offered and will address a central tension in our intellectual lives, trace some of its sources, and consider its impact on our experience of the present. All courses are cross-disciplinary and may draw on faculty from across the University to contribute expertise.

Graduate Courses

LS 800-5 Thinking about Human Passion

The first of two core courses that constitute an extended examination of the tension between reason and passion in human experience. This course will emphasize close reading and discussion of works, drawn from different cultures and epochs, that reflect on human passion.

LS 801-5 The Capacity and Limits of Reason

The second of two core courses that constitute an extended examination of the tension between reason and passion in human experience. This course will examine writings by some who have insisted on the indispensability of reasoning as a guide to action and the source of truth, as well as writings by some of those who on various grounds have cast doubt on this faith in human reason.

LS 810-5 Self and Society

This course will examine some aspects of the relationship between selfhood, as idea and experience, and social organization. Approaches to the topic will vary, but may involve scientific, social scientific, philosophical and aesthetic perspectives.

LS 811-5 Tradition and Modernity

This course will examine ways in which ideas of tradition and traditional societies conflicted with forces of modernization and ideas of modernity.

LS 812-5 Science and Human Values

This course will deal with issues surrounding the nature of the scientific attitude, the growth of scientific knowledge and the impact of scientific and technological change. Specific attention will be given to the value implications of science and technology in relation to other forms of human understanding and experience.

LS 813-5 Religious and Secular World Views

This course will deal with the conflicts and continuities of secular and religious approaches to such fundamental issues as the origins of the universe and of the human species, human virtue, and human destiny.

LS 814-5 Liberty and Authority

This course will examine the tension between liberty and authority as expressed in some of the following: political and judicial ideas and systems; conflicting economic ideologies; personal relationships.

LS 815-5 Organizing Social Realities: Gender, Class, Race, Nation

This course will examine how distinctions among people create pattern and conflict, by studying some of the fundamental organizing concepts of society which both unite and divide people.

LS 819-5 Selected Topics

This course provides an opportunity for the occasional offering of a seminar course appropriate to the program but on a topic outside the regular courses.

LS 829-5 Directed Study

This course provides an opportunity for individual study on a topic of the student's choice, under the guidance of one or more faculty. Arrangements for this course must be approved by the graduate program committee in advance of registration

LS 898-5 Graduating Seminar

The final seminar for those students in the graduate liberal studies program pursuing the course option MA. The seminar will revisit the themes raised in the two opening core seminars (LS 800 and 801).

LS 998-0 MA Extended Essays

Students will present two of their essays for formal examination in order to satisfy the Simon Fraser University requirements for a master's degree.

LS 999-0 MA Project

This course is for students choosing to satisfy part of the requirements for an MA in liberal studies by presenting a project for formal examination.

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Index : searchable with the Find function in your web browser Calendar.pdfs Office of the Registrar / SFU
Table of Contents : searchable with the Find function in your web browser Course Database or Course Outlines
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Financial Assistance