The Saint Augustine Center in springtime

The Graduate Certificate in Advanced Liberal Studies requires 15 credits or five three-credit courses consisting of the following:

  • One foundational proseminar course
  • Four courses chosen from graduate course offerings in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers nearly 200 courses in the humanities and social sciences to choose from across the curriculum. Almost all courses are offered in the late afternoon and evening. To ensure a breadth of exposure to multiple disciplines, students may take no more than two courses in any one graduate department to satisfy the graduate certificate requirements.

All courses will be selected by the students in consultation with their academic advisors. It is expected in completing the Liberal Studies program's requirements that the student will select courses that form an integrated course of studies, shaped by the student’s individual interests.


An American Studies track offers students the opportunity for the interdisciplinary study of America and American culture in an increasingly globalized world.

Past courses have included:

  • Current Issues in American Education
  • Mass Culture and the Modern American Novel 
  • The Harlem Renaissance
  • 19th Century American Literature
  • American Civil War Studies
  • The Gilded Age
  • Topics in Modern American Social History
  • American Philosophy
  • American Political Behavior
  • Urban Politics and Government
  • Catholicism in the United States: Past, Present, Future

An Ancient Worlds track allows students to gain a deeper understanding either of the intersections of ancient civilizations, such as Greece, Rome and Mesopotamia, or of one particular ancient civilization.

Past courses have included:

  • History of Latin Literature
  • Roman Drama
  • History of Greek Literature
  • Plato 
  • Greek Tragedy
  • Ancient Mediterranean History
  • Aristotle: Theoretical Philosophy
  • Augustine’s Practical Philosophy
  • History of Political Thought
  • The Bible and Archeology
  • Ancient Christianity

A Great Books track allows students to explore the great books of human civilization.

Past courses have included:

  • Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
  • Victorian Prose
  • Irish Literature before 1900
  • American Fiction
  • American Cultural History
  • The Enlightenment
  • Vergil
  • Ovid
  • Aristotle: Theoretical Philosophy
  • Kant’s First Critique
  • Nietzsche
  • Sartre
  • Liberalism and its Critics
  • Topics in Political Theory
  • Playwriting
  • Catholic Social Thought
  • New Testament in Context

A Peace and Justice track prepares students for careers in social justice, advocacy, peacemaking, conflict resolution, journalism, teaching and activism. Its focus is the development of leaders capable of assessing the conditions for creating social justice and maintaining peaceful relations.

Past courses have included:

  • Intercultural Communication
  • Multiculturalism, Gender and Inclusion in Schools
  • Topics in American Economic History
  • Industrial Revolution: Social Consequences and Ideologies
  • The Impact of War on Society
  • American Foreign Relations Since 1914
  • Catholic Social Teaching and Peace
  • Feminist Theories
  • Political Philosophy
  • Urban Politics and Government
  • American Foreign Policy in the Middle East
  • The Politics and Foreign Relations of Developing Countries
  • Social Ethics 
  • Christian Ethics and Globalization


Ready for the Next Step?

Program Director
Dr. Emory Woodard



Fall Assistantship: February 1

Fall: Rolling until August 1

Spring: Rolling until December 1

Summer: Rolling until May 1

Begin your application.




Krista Cantrell ’22 MA

Liberal Studies Master’s Degree Helps Recent Grad Align Career and Life Goals with Personal Values

Krista Cantrell ’22 MA began her graduate studies in the summer of 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic and civil unrest. During this time of isolation and uncertainty, Villanova’s master’s program in Liberal Studies served as both an opportunity to connect with others and as a path to align her career with her personal values of equity and justice. Cantrell’s academic excellence led to her induction into the National Honor Society of the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs, and, today, she works for a national nonprofit focused on changing the conversation about mental health. READ MORE