A paramount function of education is the preparation of individuals to relate themselves comfortably to their fellow men.  As long as people existed in a world where they were born, where they lived, and  died in one little hamlet, never venturing more than ten miles from home, this preparation was unnecessary.   But today, in an era of great mobility and interchange, of increasing contact with people of different colors, beliefs, and backgrounds, it is imperative to so educate our children.

—Whitney M. Young, Jr.

The Whitney Young School of Honors and Liberal Studies—which houses Kentucky State University’s Honors program, the Integrative Studies program, and the Institute for Liberal Studies and offers degrees in liberal studies—reflects the University’s commitment to excellence in liberal studies education.  The School is named after the late Whitney M. Young, Jr., executive director of the National Urban League from 1961 to 1971, distinguished leader of the American civil rights movement, and a graduate of Kentucky State University. The Whitney Young School of Honors and Liberal Studies aims, through its special curriculum, to develop in its students the qualities of critical intelligence, maturity, and leadership exemplified by Mr. Young.  It currently has administrative links in the College of Arts and Sciences.


An  endowed  chair  is  one of  the most  prestigious academic appointments a university can make.   The creation of such a position indicates the maturity of an institution  and  demonstrates  its  commitment  to scholarly activities and academic excellence. Kentucky State University established the Endowed Chair in the Humanities as a major component in the University’s liberal studies emphasis.  Through its placement in the Division of Literature, Languages, and Philosophy, the Endowed Chair helps bring a central focus to Kentucky State University’s  mission to  be the Commonwealth’s unique, small, liberal studies institution.   The functions of the Endowed Chair at the University are to develop and to implement innovative and comprehensive programs of liberal studies.


The  Honors  Program  is  an  integrated  liberal  arts program that emphasizes student discussion of excellent books.  The freshman and sophomore courses permit students to complete their University liberal studies requirements through the Honors Program.  The junior and senior courses allow students to major or minor in Liberal Studies.

The curriculum in the Whitney Young School of Honors and Liberal Studies is unique; there is no other quite like it in any public university in the nation.  The Director  of  the  National  Endowment  for  the Humanities designated the Whitney Young School of Honors and Liberal Studies as one of the five most innovative and promising liberal studies programs in the nation.  It is one of twenty-three honors programs in the United States listed as an honors college by the National Collegiate Honors Council and has the second largest number of faculty among these honors colleges.  The Whitney Young School of Honors and Liberal Studies is committed   to   offering   a   stimulating,   high   quality, rigorous undergraduate education in liberal studies, preparing students for professional study in law, medicine, the ministry, or graduate school.  Graduates of this program have gone on into education, business, computer science, law, and many other fields.   Beyond questions of education for a career, the Whitney Young School of Honors and Liberal Studies program develops skills of thinking and imagining that will help students deal with the fundamental questions of human existence, regardless of their career goals.

Thus, in the common course of studies required of all students, the emphasis is on the careful reading and discussion of many of the most important books in literature,  history,  philosophy,  theology,  mathematics, and sciences.  Classes are small.  Students learn to read critically, to speak precisely, to write effectively, and to listen attentively by being required to use some or all of these skills daily.  The curriculum is designed not only to help students know, but to help them develop the skills they will need as they take their places in the adult world and  in  the  worlds  of  the  various  professions.    The honors faculty, housed in the Whitney Young School, are  hired  and  evaluated  specifically  for  their demonstrated ability to teach in a great books curriculum that crosses traditional academic boundaries.

While the Whitney Young School of Honors and Liberal Studies is related to other ?great books? programs throughout the country in its basic orientation, the curriculum at Kentucky State University is not a pale copy of ideas developed at private universities.   The courses and curriculum in the School have been developed   and   adapted   to   take   advantage   of   the particular conditions at Kentucky State University, and this  development  is  an  ongoing  process.    Class  size ranges from 10 to 15 in honors courses.

Whitney  Young  School  of  Honors  and  Liberal Studies students take part in all activities of the University, such as social and academic clubs, student government, choir, band, and intramural/intercollegiate athletics.    Students  have  an  opportunity to put the leadership skills that they learn in classes to practical use by serving on the Whitney Young Student Council.  The Council was originally created by student initiative and organizes service and social events and acts as a forum for student suggestions and concerns. The Honors Program offers an entire liberal studies core for freshmen and sophomores.   Students who complete  the  honors  core may opt for an honors associate of arts in liberal studies degree.  The Honors Program also offers an honors bachelor of liberal studies degree and liberal studies minor.


Students who take the honors core pursue a sequence of freshman and sophomore courses in the School to fulfill in an alternative and briefer way the University’s liberal studies requirements.   The honors core is open to qualified students of all majors.  Depending on their major, honors students will fulfill all or most of their liberal studies requirements in the honors core.

Honors Core for Most Majors

Students  in  majors  other  than  natural  science, engineering,  mathematics,  and  nursing  by  virtue  of taking the entire honors core (48 semester credit hours) fulfill all liberal studies requirements.

Honors Core for Science and Mathematics Majors

Engineering  and  Natural  Science  majors,  with  the exception  of  Biology  or  Biology  Education  majors, complete only the seminars  and language classes;  the Math/  Science component of  the  core is fulfilled by courses from the Division of Mathematics and Sciences. Biology and Biology Education majors also fulfill their math   and   science   core   requirements   through   the Division  of  Mathematics and Sciences and must successfully  complete  HON  222.  Pure Mathematics majors  and  Computer  Science  majors  (Mathematics Option) may substitute HON 122 and 221 with courses in  the  Division  of  Mathematics  and  Sciences. Curriculum ladders for students completing the honors core are not listed in this Bulletin, but are available from advisors in the Whitney Young School of Honors and Liberal Studies.

Honors Nursing Core

The  “WYS   Honors  Nursing  Core”   is  designed for committed nursing students who would fulfill their general education requirement through an honors track. It offers challenging courses, excellent instructors, and small  classes  all  in  a  package  of  integrated interdisciplinary courses that requires fewer credit hours than the regular general education core.  For the nursing students pursuing both an Associates in Applied Science in Nursing degree and the RN-BSN degree, that student can fulfill RN-BSN general studies requirements and general studies requirements of ENG 101/102 by virtue of taking liberal studies seminars (HON 101, 102, 201) and language courses (HON 141, 142, 143, 144, 211, 212,  213,  and  214).    For  nursing  students  pursuing simply the RN-BSN degree, the curriculum consists of liberal studies seminars (HON 101, 102, 201) and language courses (HON 141, 142, and either 211/213 or 212/214).

Teacher Education Program

Students seeking teacher certification who successfully complete the 48-semester-credit-hour honors core through the Whitney Young School of Honors and Liberal Studies also fulfill the University’s Liberal Studies Requirement for all Teacher Education Certification programs.  It should be noted that in addition to the 48- semester-credit-hour honors core, students seeking teacher certification must also enroll in HED 221 (Personal Health and Lifetime Fitness) to complete all requirements as outlined and approved by the Kentucky Department of Education.   All other courses for certification will be taken through the School of Education of the College of Professional Studies, as outlined in the major program.  The 48-semester-credit- hour honors core fulfills the University’s Liberal Studies Requirements for all the Teacher Education Certification programs.     Whitney  Young  School of  Honors  and Liberal Studies students participating in the Teacher Education Program have advisors in both the School of Honors and the School of Education to ensure that they take appropriate electives and develop an integrated and cohesive program of study.


The Freshman Year

Liberal Studies Seminars I and II, HON 101 and 102, 4 semester credit hours each semester, make up the central course in the first year of studies.  During a portion of the fall semester, students focus on the history of the ancient world from the dawn of civilization in Egypt and Mesopotamia to the classical periods of Greece and China.     During  a  portion  of  the  spring  semester, students focus on the history of ancient Rome, India, and the medieval period of the Christian and Islamic worlds.  The remainder of each semester is devoted to classroom discussion of excellent books from each period, as well as of European and African art.  The instructor   keeps   the   discussion   focused,   but   the emphasis is always on student participation.

The   Freshman   Language   classes   have   two components:

1)   HON 131 and 132 or HON 141 and 142— 3  semester  credit  hours  each  semester—offer instruction in the elements of the grammar of Greek or Latin with particular application to translation; and

2)   HON  143  and  144—1  semester  credit  hour each    semester—are    the    English    writing component, emphasizing composition and rhetoric.

The  Mathematics-Science  classes,  HON  121  and 122—4 semester credit hours each semester—begin with the first great work in mathematics, Euclid’s Elements, and continues with the study of other major works in the history of mathematics, astronomy, physics, and the philosophy of science.

Electives—3–6    semester    credit     hours    each semester—can  be  used  for  courses  in  such  fields  as Business, Computer Science, or English, or to begin a professional sequence of courses for areas such as engineering, medicine, dentistry, or law.

The Sophomore Year

Liberal  Studies  Seminars  III  and  IV,  HON  201  and are  a continuation of the freshman seminars.  A portion of the fall semester is devoted to the study of history from the Renaissance to the American Revolution. A portion of the spring semester is devoted to the study of modern history beginning with the French Revolution.   The remainder of each semester is devoted to classroom discussion of excellent books from each period.  Again, the emphasis is always on student participation.

The Sophomore Language classes, HON 211 and 212—4 semester credit hours each semester—deal with the   history   of   English   literature   and   the   English language.  The work of the first semester focuses on narrative literature from medieval English epics to modern African-American novels.  The second semester focuses  on  lyric  poetry  from  England,  America,  and other parts of the English-speaking world.  The course content is some of the finest literature in the English language.  Attention is also paid to the quality of student writing in HON 213 and 214—2 semester-credit hours each.

The  Mathematics/Science  classes,  HON  221  and 222—4  semester  credit  hours  each  semester—are  a continuation   of   the   freshman Mathematics/Science sequence. The fall semester focuses on the development of physics from Newton to quantum theory and Einstein’s theory  of  relativity.   The  spring semester focuses on readings pertaining to the biological theory of evolution.  Special attention is given to the writings of Darwin and to the discoveries of the genetic code in DNA.

Electives—3–6    semester    credit     hours    each semester—may be used for in a variety of fields.   LST courses offered as electives are:   LST 241 and 242—3 semester  credit  hours  each;  LST  251  and  252—3 semester credit hours each; LST 351—3 semester credit hours; LST 352—3 semester credit hours; or any LST preceptorial (LST 331, 332, 431, or 432)—3 semester credit hours each.


Students who complete the honors core can opt for an Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies (honors option). Students who major in Liberal Studies, who earn at least 120 semester credit hours, who successfully complete 30 semester credit hours in required LST courses or approved liberal studies electives (with a grade of “C” or better) in their junior and senior years, who pass the Senior Comprehensive Examination, and who meet all other University requirements will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies (Honors option). Alternatively, students can pursue a minor in liberal studies.


KSU graduates applying to professional schools have the advantage of coming from an institution that emphasizes the liberal studies foundation in addition to specialized training.  It is very important for students contemplating graduate  school  to  continue  their  pursuit  of  liberal studies into the junior and senior years with the goal of achieving a liberal studies major or minor, even in conjunction with a specialized major.   Among the selection criteria mentioned by the UK medical school is the following (1997– 1998 University of Kentucky Bulletin):

“Often   the  physician’s ability to  communicate effectively will determine the degree of success in the diagnosis and management of a patient’s health. .Thus, consideration is given to the communication skills demonstrated by each applicant.  Communication is a two-way process and involves the ability to listen perceptively, as well as to speak and write clearly.”

Regarding “Pre-legal  Study,”  the UK Law School has written that legal  education legal education requires that students come having developed three fundamental capacities:

  • a thorough preparation in the use of language
  • a comprehensive, exploratory  undergraduate experience and
  • the completion of a degree program in which the  student will  learn to  think clearly,  form sound study habits, and have the opportunity to master the methodology and knowledge of a particular field under the guidance of experienced instructors.

These  are  precisely  the  skills  developed  by  a  liberal studies major or minor.

Many Whitney Young School of Honors and Liberal Studies students plan careers in a pre-professional program.    Each of these students  benefits  from  an advisor in the Honors School and in the pre-professional program.   Many pre-medical students remain in the college to complete a major in liberal studies.  Students majoring in Business, Biology, and Education can complete  a  minor  in Liberal  studies  in  four  years. Liberal Studies curricula for pre-law students are listed in the following pages.  Engineering students, who finish their final two years at another university, are often able to complete both an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Studies and a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics from Kentucky State University, and the engineering degree from the cooperating university.


In addition to the honors core, the Whitney Young School of Honors and Liberal Studies serves the University’s liberal studies mission by offering major and minors, by housing the Integrative Studies program for the general core, and by the support activities of the Institute for Liberal Studies.


Courses taken in study-abroad programs may be used to satisfy  course  requirements  at  the  discretion  of  the School faculty.