Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts

Liberal Arts and Integrative Studies
University Advisement and Enrichment Center, Suite 180
MSC06 3680
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
(505) 277-0122

Degree Offered

  • Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts (B.A.)

The faculty of The University of New Mexico offers the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts (B.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.A. in Liberal Arts degree also enables students who have obtained an associate degree at an accredited community college to complete a bachelor’s degree at UNM. This 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 the requirements for the B.A. in Liberal Arts 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.

Shared-Credit Undergraduate/Graduate Degrees Program

Undergraduate students in the B.A. in Liberal Arts program may seek admission to the Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) under the Shared-Credit Undergraduate/Graduate Degrees Program. See the "Shared-Credit Undergraduate/Graduate Degrees Program" section of this page for specific admission information and requirements.

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:

1.  Demonstrated competence in the writing of English as evidenced by one of the following:
     • Completion of ENGL 1110 (or ENGL 1110Y; or ENGL 1110Z) and 1120 with a grade of "C" (2.00) or higher in both;
     • A score of 29 or better on the English portion of the Enhanced ACT;
     • A score of 650 or better on the verbal portion of the SAT;
     • Successful completion of a Writing Proficiency Portfolio (see the English Department for details); or
     • Credit for ENGL 1120 through CEEB advanced placement program.

2.  A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or higher.

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

4. Completion of LAIS 199 with a grade of "CR".

Application Process

Application to the Liberal Arts program includes a preliminary advisement session with a 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.

Students must submit the following to a LAIS Advisor:

Plan of Study: This comprehensive Plan of Study must list all coursework taken, including transfer work, and especially all remaining courses that the student intends to take to complete the degree. In preparing a Plan, the student must consult the University Catalog to find courses appropriate for the multidisciplinary (theme-based) plan.
Statement of Purpose: This statement, which must be no less than 250 words, 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 degree.
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.

Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts

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 B.A. in 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 General Education curriculum. Refer to the Undergraduate Program section of this Catalog for information on courses that meet General Education curriculum and U.S. and Global Diversity and Inclusion requirements.

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 the degree.

5.  A minimum grade-point average of 2.00 on all upper-division coursework completed at The University of New Mexico.

6.  Submission of a Graduation Essay, no less than 500 words to a 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 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 15 credit hours of academic work earned while enrolled in the B.A. in 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 15 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).

Courses for Which Degree Credit Is and Is Not Given

Credit toward a degree is given for:

  • Up to 4 credit hours of physical education (PENP, PHED); and up to 4 credit hours of music ensemble.
  • Up to 30 credit hours of correspondence coursework.
  • Any approved coursework from an accepted Associate or Baccalaureate degree program.

Credit toward a degree is not given for:

  • Any course numbered below 101.
  • Any credit hours in a course that exceeds the maximum number of credit hours the originating department stipulates for that course in the Catalog.

Shared-Credit Undergraduate/Graduate Degrees Program

The Shared-Credit Undergraduate/Graduate Degrees Program offers B.A. in Liberal Arts students an accelerated route to earning both the B.A. and Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) degrees. The Program allows students to earn graduate credit during their senior year, thereby reducing the time needed to complete both degrees by approximately one academic year.

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

Steps in the B.A. in Liberal Arts/M.P.A. Shared-Credit Degrees Program

  • Step 1: Application to the B.A. in Liberal Arts/M.P.A. Shared-Credit Degrees Program typically occurs at the end of the first semester of the junior year. However, since student schedules vary, academic records of all B.A. in Liberal Arts students are reviewed at the end of each academic semester in order to identify students who have satisfied program criteria. Invitations are sent to qualifying B.A. in Liberal Arts students. Students wishing to participate in the program may then apply for admission to the School of Public Administration, and upon acceptance, to the Program.
  • Step 2: Student completes B.A. in Liberal Arts requirements. The program determines that all B.A. in Liberal Arts requirements have been met, including the required M.P.A. 500-level courses.
  • Step 3: On completion of all undergraduate requirements, the student receives a B.A. in Liberal Arts degree. The student is then formally admitted into the M.P.A. Program.
  • Step 4: The student and M.P.A. Coordinator prepare an M.P.A. Study Plan Worksheet, documenting coursework to be completed during the M.P.A. program. The M.P.A. Study Plan Worksheet is updated at the end of each academic term during the M.P.A. program. The student completes M.P.A. coursework in accordance with the student's M.P.A. Study Plan Worksheet.
  • Step 5: The student completes a Program of Studies to be filed with Graduate Studies.
  • Step 6: Upon completion of M.P.A. coursework, the student completes the M.P.A. capstone component. The component may be a thesis or a professional paper.
  • Step 7: The final step is graduation with the Master of Public Administration.

Admission Requirements

This Shared-Credit Degrees Program is available only to UNM B.A. in Liberal Arts students who have achieved junior-year academic standing or higher. Invitation is based on academic performance; only students with an overall cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.25 or higher are considered.

Admission to the graduate portion of the program is provisional until completion and award of the undergraduate degree.

Progression (Junior, Senior, and Graduate Year)

The B.A. in Liberal Arts/M.P.A. Shared-Credit Degrees Program provides a seamless process whereby a student progresses from the B.A. in Liberal Arts to the M.P.A. degree. In order to participate in the program, a student must be enrolled in the B.A. in Liberal Arts program. Students complete 300-level and 400-level required and elective courses during the junior and senior academic years. By the end of the senior academic year, all B.A. in Liberal Arts degree requirements should be satisfactorily completed.

The following M.P.A. courses must be completed by the time B.A. in Liberal Arts degree requirements are finished.

  • PADM 500 Public Management and Policy
  • PADM 521 Institutional Development and Behavior
  • PADM 525 Human Resource Management in the Public Sector
  • PADM 544 Public Budgeting
  • PADM 596 Research Methods for Public Managers
  • PADM 597 Program Evaluation

Application to the B.A. in Liberal Arts/M.P.A. Shared-Credit Degrees Program typically occurs at the end of the first semester of the junior year. However, since student schedules vary, academic records of all B.A. in Liberal Arts students are reviewed at the end of each academic semester in order to identify students who have satisfied program criteria. After invitation, students who wish to participate in the program may then apply for admission to the School of Public Administration, and upon acceptance, into the Shared-Credit Degrees Program.

When a student admitted to the Program satisfies B.A. in Liberal Arts degree requirements, and upon approval of the student's academic record, the student's status changes from undergraduate to graduate. The student is considered to have achieved graduate status and is advanced to M.P.A. candidacy. All 500-level M.P.A. courses completed during the junior and senior academic years appear on both the student's undergraduate and graduate record.

Should an admitted student choose not to complete the graduate portion of the program, the B.A. in Liberal Arts degree is awarded on completion of all undergraduate requirements.

Suggested Timeline

Upon admission to the Program, a student proceeds with the following timeline:

Year 1 Senior Year

  • Complete B.A. in Liberal Arts requirements.
  • Complete the following M.P.A. courses:
  • Fall Semester: PADM 500, 521, 596.
  • Spring Semester: PADM 525, 544, 597.

Year 2 Graduate Year

  • Complete six M.P.A.-approved courses.
  • Complete the M.P.A. culminating experience.
  • Fall Semester: PADM 552 and three PADM elective courses.
  • Spring Semester: PADM 553 and three PADM elective courses.

See the School of Public Administration: Graduate Program section of this Catalog for graduate degree and course information.

Departmental Honors 

A separate departmental honors designation is not available for the B.A. in Liberal Arts 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 199. Customized Curriculum: The Future of Degrees. (3)

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

LAIS 311. Experiential Learning and Research. (3, may be repeated three times Δ)

LAIS 340. Elements of Global and National Security [Introduction to Global and National Security]. (3)

LAIS 341. innovationAcademy. (3)

LAIS 342. Disney College Program Internship. (3)

LAIS 343. Create Sell Bank I. (3)

LAIS 344. Student Athlete Identity. (3)

LAIS 345. Elements of Community Safety and Human Security [Introduction to Community Safety and Human Security]. (3)

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

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Office of the Registrar

MSC11 6325
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Phone: (505) 277-8900
Fax: (505) 277-6809