Bachelor of Liberal Arts

Tracy John Skipp, Ed.D., Associate Dean
Liberal Arts and Integrative Studies (LAIS)
University Advisement and Enrichment Center, Suite 180
MSC06 3680
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
(505) 277-0122

The faculty of The University of New Mexico offers the degree of Bachelor of Liberal Arts (B.L.A.). This program, approved in 2013, was formerly known as the Bachelor of University Studies degree established in 1969, and is administered through University College.

This baccalaureate degree program provides the opportunity for students to develop a unique program of study combining courses from three or more University of New Mexico departments and/or colleges. With the help of a Liberal Arts and Integrative Studies (LAIS) advisor, students structure a comprehensive plan of study, which is thematically based and multidisciplinary in nature. The B.L.A. degree also enables students who have obtained an associate degree at an accredited community college to complete a bachelor’s degree at UNM. The B.L.A. degree is not intended for the undecided student, and it may not be part of a double major. However, it may be used as a dual or second degree. Liberal Arts is a major only, and while no official minor is required to be declared with this major, the use of an existing departmental minor is encouraged.

Strict compliance with B.L.A. requirements is mandatory for admission to and continuation in the program. Changes to approved plans of study may be made only in consultation with an advisor. Students in the Liberal Arts program must meet the general academic regulations of the University for admission, academic standing, and graduation found under the University Catalog headings of Admissions and Undergraduate Programs. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with both the specific and general current academic regulations. Students who have not been continuously enrolled for three consecutive terms must follow the requirements of the current University of New Mexico Catalog upon readmission.

Questions regarding any aspect of the program should be addressed to an advisor in the LAIS office.

Courses for Which Degree Credit Is and Is Not Given

Credit toward a degree is given for:

  1. Up to 4 credit hours of Physical Education-Nonprofessional (PENP); and up to 4 credit hours of music ensemble.
  2. Up to 30 credit hours of correspondence course work.
  3. Any approved course work from an accepted Associate or Baccalaureate degree program.

Credit toward a degree is not given for:

  1. Any course numbered 100 (e.g., ISM 100).
  2. Any credit hours in a course that exceeds the maximum number of credit hours the originating department stipulates for that course in the catalog.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Liberal Arts program for a current term must take place before the end of the third week of classes. After that deadline, admission will be for the following term (Fall, Spring or Summer). Please see an advisor for more information on LAIS admission requirements and for details on designing a Plan of Study.

Minimum requirements to transfer into the Liberal Arts program are as follows:

Demonstrated competence in the writing of English as evidenced by one of the following:

  1. Completion of ENGL 110 (or ENGL 112; or ENGL 113) and 120 with a grade of "C" (2.00) or higher in both.
  2. A score of 29 or better on the English portion of the Enhanced ACT.
  3. A score of 650 or better on the verbal portion of the SAT.
  4. Successful completion of a Writing Proficiency Portfolio (see the English Department for details).
  5. Credit for ENGL 120 through CEEB advanced placement program.

A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or higher.

Twenty-six or more earned credit hours applicable to this program.

Application Process

Application to the Liberal Arts program includes a preliminary advisement session with an LAIS Academic Advisor. The meeting is the students' opportunity to discuss their ideas and goals for their degrees, and ask any questions they may have before admission to the program.

In order to apply to the Liberal Arts program, students must submit the following to an LAIS Advisor:

  1. Plan of Study. This comprehensive Plan of Study must list all course work taken, including transfer work, and especially all remaining courses that the student intends to take to complete the B.L.A. degree. In preparing a Plan, the student must consult the University Catalog to find courses appropriate for the multidisciplinary (theme-based) plan.
  2. Statement of Purpose, no less than 250 words. This statement should describe how the student has organized courses in the Plan to meet the student’s needs as well as exactly to what end the student hopes to use their Liberal Arts degree.
  3. Qualified Signature form. The Qualified Signature form indicates that a student has discussed the relevance and appropriateness of the degree plan with a knowledgeable and experienced individual in their chosen profession and a Career Development Facilitator. Details on this form are discussed in the initial interview.

Graduation Requirements

A student must see an Advisor in the LAIS office to apply for graduation one year prior to that in which graduation is planned. An “apply to graduate” hold appears on the student’s account once the student has earned 100 credit hours as a reminder of this requirement. At this time, the student and the Advisor view a LoboTrax degree audit specifying the work remaining to be completed for graduation. It should be noted that students are solely responsible for knowing and completing all requirements for graduation from the Liberal Arts program. Students must know how to run and read their LoboTrax Degree Audits in order to check progress to graduation. Students should run and save (or print) an audit each time a change is made to their schedule as audits are not saved in LoboWeb.

In addition to adherence to approved plans of study, specific graduation requirements are as follows:

  1. Completion of the University’s Core curriculum.
  2. A minimum of 120 credit hours of earned credit acceptable to the program as defined above.
  3. A minimum cumulative UNM grade point average of 2.00.
  4. A minimum of 51 credit hours earned in courses at the upper-division level (courses numbered 300–499). It should also be noted that transfer courses in which credit was earned at a lower-division designation cannot be transferred as upper-division to count towards a B.L.A. degree.
  5. A minimum grade-point average of 2.00 on all upper-division course work completed at The University of New Mexico.
  6. Submission of a Graduation Essay, no less than 500 words to an LAIS Advisor. This essay should describe how the student has organized all the courses in the Plan of Study, as well as what has been accomplished by designing his/her own degree. It should also discuss plans for using the Liberal Arts degree in the future. Essays should be submitted by April 1st (Spring graduation), July 1st (Summer graduation), and November 1st (Fall graduation). The student can use this as a portfolio of work to summarize degree goals, highlight creativity, prepare for advanced study or a profession, use as a writing sample, etc.
  7. Completion of the departmental residency requirement of a minimum of 21 credit hours of academic work earned while enrolled in the Liberal Arts program. (Not to include: credit by exam, transfer credit and/or concurrent enrollment, nonprofessional-physical education, music ensemble, or independent study/problems courses unless specifically approved by the Associate Dean.) These must include the final 21 credit hours of enrollment prior to graduation from the program.
  8. Fulfillment of the University residency requirement (30 credit hours, including the "15 after 92" rule).

Bachelor of Liberal Arts/Master of Public Administration Shared-Credit Undergraduate/Graduate Degrees Program

The Bachelor of Liberal Arts/Master of Public Administration Shared-Credit Undergraduate/Graduate Degrees Program offers Bachelor of Liberal Arts students an accelerated route to earning both B.L.A. and M.P.A. degrees. The Program allows students to earn graduate credit (i.e., M.P.A. 500-level courses) during their senior academic year, thereby reducing time needed to complete both degrees. 

Through the B.L.A./M.P.A. Shared-Credit Undergraduate/Graduate Degrees Program, students complete a minimum of 120 credit hours for the B.L.A. and 42 credit hours for the M.P.A. 

A B.L.A. degree from the University College requires satisfactory completion of College and University requirements. Upon completing all undergraduate requirements, including a minimum of 120 credit hours, the student receives a B.L.A. degree.

The M.P.A. requires a minimum of 42 credit hours. 

The unique feature of the B.L.A./M.P.A. Shared-Credit Undergraduate/Graduate Degrees Program is that M.P.A. 500-level courses may be taken during the senior year of a student's B.L.A. degree program. Thus, time needed to complete both the B.L.A. and M.P.A. degrees is reduced by approximately one academic year.

For specific information regarding Program admission, progression, and completion, refer to the School of Public Administration - Graduate Program section of this Catalog.

Departmental Honors 

A separate departmental honors designation is not available for a B.L.A. degree. However, students meeting all requirements may receive baccalaureate honors as specified in the Undergraduate Program section of this Catalog.


LAIS 150. Foundations of Integrative Thought. (3)

LAIS 309. Topics in Integrative Studies. (1-3 to a maximum of 12 Δ)

LAIS 310. Investigations in Research: Methodologies and Techniques. (3)

LAIS 311. Experiential Research. (3)

LAIS 399. Interdisciplinary Synthesis. (1 to a maximum of 3 Δ)

LAIS 409. Individual Study. (1-3 to a maximum of 15 Δ)

LAIS 499. Senior Seminar. (3)

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1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

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