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College of Letters and Science

Integrated Liberal Studies (ILS)

Certificate Program
Bradley Learning Community

228 North Charter Street, Madison, WI 53715; 608-262-2190; www.wisc.edu/ils

Affiliated Faculty:  Avramenko (Political Science), Aylward (Classics), Bradley (ILS), Brower (Social Work), Davis (Music), Geary (Geoscience), Hotchkiss (Botany), Hsia (History of Science), Kleinman (Rural Sociology), McClure (Classics), Middlecamp (Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies), Nadler (Philosophy), Nelson (Educational Policy Studies), Nyhart (History of Science),  Peters (Div of Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement [DDEEA], Rosenmeyer (Classics), Schweber (Political Science), Sell (ILS), Shank (History of Science), Tikoff (Geoscience), Vanden Heuvel (Theatre and Drama), Werner (Afro-American Studies), Zumbrunnen (Political Science)

Integrated Liberal Studies (ILS) is an interdisciplinary program offering courses devoted to Western history, philosophy, politics, art, literature, and culture. As an alternative to scattered electives, ILS offers a set of related courses specially tailored to meet the breadth requirements of the College of Letters & Science. ILS draws exemplary, dynamic faculty from departments across campus to create courses that challenge students with a rigorous program of interdisciplinary study emphasizing critical thinking and judgment rather than passive absorption of information. Although these courses may be taken as single electives, the purpose of the program is to counter the fragmentation of undergraduate education by providing a common ground of learning.

Because ILS courses are interdisciplinary, students are encouraged to make connections between the various subject areas. They study the relations between literature and the arts; science, technology, and philosophy; and political, economic, and social thought. The content of the curriculum has been developed in the belief that historical perspective is required for a full understanding of contemporary issues. Courses numbered 201-208 progress from historical to contemporary topics, in each of the three breadth areas. Together, these courses provide a comprehensive introduction to the achievements of Western culture. Those numbered 251-372 cover interdisciplinary special topics in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, from "Art and Political Activism" to "Vietnam: Music, Media, and Mayhem." ILS also includes a course (200) in Critical Thinking and Expression to sharpen communication and research skills necessary for college work. This course satisfies the university's Communications B requirement. ILS 400, a senior capstone seminar addressing an interdisciplinary topic, is required in order to complete the ILS certificate.

Certificate Program

The ILS certificate program is open to all undergraduates. Students must complete 18 credits of ILS courses in order to earn a certificate. Six of these credits must be in courses numbered 230 and above, including ILS 400, the required senior capstone seminar. The certificate attests to the student's accomplishment in completing a program of interdisciplinary study, in addition to a major. ILS is coherent and integrative, but not rigid; students can choose, in a flexible way, which courses they want to take, how many they want to take, and when to take them. The program encourages student-faculty contact, hosting events, speakers, and film screenings throughout the year.

Bradley Learning Community

The ILS program is affiliated with the Bradley Learning Community, a residence hall. ILS faculty participate in activities and offer courses taught in the residence hall.