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The College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences is the beating heart of Washburn University.

We have 19 departments that work diligently to ensure that each student is prepared to successfully engage in an increasingly diverse, technological, and innovative world. Our strong personal engagement between faculty and students, as well as our varied educational options, make the College the ideal place to gain the communication, creative-thinking, and adaptive skills that make our graduates highly competitive in the marketplace. Our graduates are employed in exciting careers, gain acceptance into graduate and professional schools, and speak highly of their educational experience and the zeal for lifelong learning that they gain here at Washburn.

Anthropology

The chief concern of Anthropology is to understand culture, a peoples' total way of life. Both anthropology and sociology emphasize the external causes of human behavior.

Art

Studying Art involves both the history and making of visual artworks. Cultural background, design, technique, form and content are investigated as aspects of the creative expression.

Astronomy

Astronomy studies the contents of the universe and those contents' distinguishing features, composition, motion, radiation, past and future. Astronomy courses are found within the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Biology

Biology studies living things: their origin, evolution, diversity in structure and functions as well as interactions with each other and the environment. 

Chemistry

Chemistry scientifically studies matter--both animate and inanimate, its structure, reactions, and associated energy changes. Synthesis of matter, molecular modeling, and prediction of chemical properties derive from observational based theory. 

Communication Studies

Communications are vehicle which enables us to recall the past, think in the present, plan for the future, manage our relationships, and interact with our environment.

Computer Information Sciences

Computer studies the interrelationships of procedures, hardware, software, data, and people that allow the computer to be used as a tool. The discipline emphasizes the development of the analytical skills needed to apply technological solutions to complex problems. 

Education

The Department of Education works closely with other disciplines to assure that those preparing to become teachers have expertise in general education, the content areas they will teach, and instructional skills.  The master’s program includes courses in curriculum instruction, education administration, reading education and special education.

Engineering

Engineering is a broad applied field which is concerned with ways to use mathematics and natural science for the benefit of mankind. The university's pre-engineering program is part of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

English

Courses in English foster habits of creative and effective self-expression and the analytical skills appropriate to a thoughtful appreciation for the ways others have expressed themselves, creatively and effectively, through poetry, story, essay, and film.

Geography

Geography is the science that describes the interactions between human life, the planet surface, natural features and resources, and non-human living systems. There are a limited number of geography courses in the Department of History.

Geology

The study of rock formation, landform, and mountain-making movements, natural resources, geologic time, and mankind's impact on the environment. There are some geology courses within the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

History

History is the interpretation of the record of human experience. It is the discipline for imagining the past.

Integrated Studies

Integrated Studies is designed to encourage and facilitate the integration of knowledge and skills from diverse disciplines. These courses are developed between disciplines and will be administered by different departments. You can search the course schedule for interdisciplinary courses to see a complete listing of interdisciplinary courses in a given semester.

Kinesiology

Kinesiology is an academic discipline which involves the study of physical activity and its impact on health, society, and quality of life. It includes, but is not limited to, such areas of study as exercise science, sports management, athletic training and sports medicine, socio-cultural analyses of sports, sport and exercise psychology, fitness leadership, physical education-teacher education, and pre-professional training for physical therapy, occupational therapy, medicine and other health related fields.

Mass Media

Mass Media messages for communication between one person or groups of persons and a large audience through a medium (radio, television, newspapers, magazines, on-line) for the purpose of educating, informing, entertaining or persuading. 

Mathematics and Statistics

Mathematics studies numbers, their form, arrangement, and associated relationships using rigorously defined literal, numerical and operational symbols. Statistics deals with the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data. 

Modern Languages

Languages open the world.  Studying another language provides insight into another culture and other ways of thinking, a perspective on your own culture, and insights into the functions of language.

Music

Music has been both a shaping force and a reflection of culture since the beginning of recorded history. Studies in music include perceptive listening, surveys of major works, aesthetic appreciation, structure and the materials of music, and performance.

Philosophy

Philosophy is the quest for wisdom. It is, simultaneously, the seeking of wisdom, the wisdom sought, and the wisdom so far attained.

Physics

Physics treats the principles governing the inanimate world of matter and energy, force and motion, heat, electricity, light, atomic and nuclear structure.

Political Science

Aristotle called Political Science "the queen of the sciences". It describes policies, power and life at all levels of human organization from families to terrorist groups, nations, empires and modern international organizations.

Psychology

Psychology is the study of behavior and the mind using observation and experimentation to understand how we perceive, learn, remember, feel and act.

Public Administration

Public administration is a career field of employment in governments and non-profit agencies.  It involves the statistical and scientific study of management, implementation and evaluation of public programs and policies. Courses in public administration are part of the Department of Political Science.

Religious Studies

The academic study of religion seeks to understand religion through multiple academic disciplines and  analytical methods.

Sociology

Sociology is the study of social life and social change, especially in industrial and postindustrial societies. Both anthropology and sociology emphasize the external causes of human behavior.

Theatre

The study of Theatre Arts involves the analysis of dramatic texts and the understanding of the elements and process necessary to create crafted performances. Theatre informs, entertains, is a forum for ideas and a window through which we recognize comedy and tragedy.

Interdiscipinary Degrees

Sometimes the degree you want just doesn't live in a single department, An interdisciplinary studies degree program lets you choose a major or concentration in more than one area and study the subjects and topics that interest you. There are several at Washburn which you may want to explore.

Degree Requirements

  • Completion of an Associate of Arts or Science Degree from one of the partner community colleges. Non-partner community college students and other associate’s degree are reviewed on an individual basis for eligibility.
  • A minimum of 60 semester credit hours from a four year college or university.
  • A minimum of 45 semester credit hours of upper division courses.
  • A minimum of 30 semester credit hours from Washburn University.
  • A minimum of 124 total semester credit hours to complete degree.
  • Completion of all General Education, University Requirements and Prerequisite coursework.

General Education Requirements (42 credit hours)

  • 15 hours in Arts and Humanities* with at least 3 hours selected from Art, Music, or Theatre, and recommend 3 hours of CN 101 Principles & Practices of Human Communication.
  • 12 hours in Natural Sciences and Mathematics*, including courses in at least two disciplines other than Mathematics.
  • 15 hours in Social Sciences* including the following recommended course, 3 hours in Introduction to Psychology.
  • In any of the three General Education distribution areas, no more than 6 hours in any one discipline may be counted toward the General Education requirement.

University Requirements (11 credit hours)

  • Freshman Composition* (equivalent to EN 101 at Washburn)
  • College Algebra* (equivalent to MA 116 at Washburn or completion of MA 110 Exploring Mathematics)
  • Advanced Composition (must be completed with Washburn).

*Denotes those courses that will most likely be transfer credits from another institution. To ensure compatibility with Washburn’s program, contact the BIS advisor.

Specific Degree Requirements

Courses are three credits unless indicated

1)   Communication Courses (12 hours)

CN 300- Organizational Communication
CN 301 - Advanced Organizational Communication
CN 330 - Conflict & Negotiation
CN 350 - Persuasion

2)   Psychology Courses (12 hours)

Any 300 level and above courses offered in the Psychology discipline

3)   Emphasis Courses (12 hours) – choose only one emphasis

Liberal Arts Emphasis
Any 300 level and above courses from the College of Arts & Sciences plus,
MS 310 – American Experience at War
MS 340 – America’s First Battles

Administrative Communication Emphasis
PO 310 – Community Development
PO 391 – Public Personnel Administration
PO 393 – Public Budgeting
PO 401 – Program Evaluation – or – SO 314 Organizations
BU 342 – Organization & Management
BU 345 – Human Resources Management
BU 360 – Marketing
BU 381 – Finance

4)   Capstone Courses (3 credit hours)

IS 389 – Capstone Project Development (1 credit hour)
IS 390 – Capstone Project (2 credit hours)

Washburn courses will be offered in a four semester sequence that will allow students to complete the degree in two years of full time enrollment. Students may enter any semester to begin their four semester sequence.

any semester to begin their four semester sequence.

The general requirements for an Associate of Arts in Natural Science and Mathematics are listed in the catalog. For a field of concentration in mathematics, the twelve required hours are satisfied by Mathematics courses numbered 151 or above (excluding MA 206 and MA 228).

Degree Requirements

  • Completion of an Associate of Arts or Science Degree from one of the partner community colleges. Non-partner community college students and other associate’s degree are reviewed on an individual basis for eligibility.
  • A minimum of 60 semester credit hours from a four year college or university.
  • A minimum of 45 semester credit hours of upper division courses.
  • A minimum of 30 semester credit hours from Washburn University.
  • A minimum of 124 total semester credit hours to complete degree.
  • Completion of all General Education, University Requirements and Prerequisite coursework.

General Education Requirements (42 credit hours)

  • 15 hours in Arts and Humanities* with at least 3 hours selected from Art, Music, or Theatre, and recommend 3 hours of CN 101 Principles & Practices of Human Communication.
  • 12 hours in Natural Sciences and Mathematics*, including courses in at least two disciplines other than Mathematics.
  • 15 hours in Social Sciences* including the following recommended course, 3 hours in Introduction to Psychology.
  • In any of the three General Education distribution areas, no more than 6 hours in any one discipline may be counted toward the General Education requirement.

University Requirements (11 credit hours)

  • Freshman Composition* (equivalent to EN 101 at Washburn)
  • College Algebra* (equivalent to MA 116 at Washburn or completion of MA 110 Exploring Mathematics)
  • Advanced Composition (must be completed with Washburn).

*Denotes those courses that will most likely be transfer credits from another institution. To ensure compatibility with Washburn’s program, contact the BIS advisor.

Specific Degree Requirements

Courses are three credits unless indicated

1)   Communication Courses (12 hours)

CN 300- Organizational Communication
CN 301 - Advanced Organizational Communication
CN 330 - Conflict & Negotiation
CN 350 - Persuasion

2)   Psychology Courses (12 hours)

Any 300 level and above courses offered in the Psychology discipline

3)   Emphasis Courses (12 hours) – choose only one emphasis

Liberal Arts Emphasis
Any 300 level and above courses from the College of Arts & Sciences plus,
MS 310 – American Experience at War
MS 340 – America’s First Battles

Administrative Communication Emphasis
PO 310 – Community Development
PO 391 – Public Personnel Administration
PO 393 – Public Budgeting
PO 401 – Program Evaluation – or – SO 314 Organizations
BU 342 – Organization & Management
BU 345 – Human Resources Management
BU 360 – Marketing
BU 381 – Finance

4)   Capstone Courses (3 credit hours)

IS 389 – Capstone Project Development (1 credit hour)
IS 390 – Capstone Project (2 credit hours)

Washburn courses will be offered in a four semester sequence that will allow students to complete the degree in two years of full time enrollment. Students may enter any semester to begin their four semester sequence.

Why Choose the Master of Liberal Studies Degree?


An educated person needs more than a single expertise or perception…That is why the interdisciplinary focus of the MLS degree attracts students of all ages and stages of their lives. Those already established in their career paths, retirees, recent graduates, and others, can gain a broader perspective about current issues, topics of interest, and the connections between academic areas. Often, as MLS students progress through the MLS program, they discover new areas of interest. So whether you want to pursue a graduate degree to enhance your career prospects, or to fulfill personal goals, or simply because you love to think, read, and commit to intellectual enquiry, this liberal studies degree could be a good fit for you.


MLS Faculty Advisory Committee
Dr. Bruce Mactavish, MLS Director                                             
Dr. Gloria Dye, Education and Kinesiology 
Dr. Jason Emry, Natural Science and Mathematics 
Dr. Takrima Sadikot, Natural Science & Mathematics
Dr. Kara Kendall-Morwick, Humanities  
Dr. Paul Prece, Creative and Performing Arts
Dr. Tom Prasch, Social Science

Click here for the admissions application

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GET IN TOUCH WITH College of Arts & Sciences

College of Arts & Sciences
Morgan Hall, Room 209
1700 SW College Ave.
Topeka, KS 66621

Phone & Email
Phone: 785.670.1636
Fax: 785.670.1297
cas@washburn.edu

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Deans and Staff Information

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Washburn University prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, veteran status, or marital or parental status. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Dr. Pamela Foster, Equal Opportunity Director/Title IX Coordinator, Washburn University, 1700 SW College Ave, Topeka, Kansas 66621, 785.670.1509, eodirector@washburn.edu.

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