Programs of Study
“Major” is short for “major field” or “major area of study.” It is the term used to describe the area of human activity in which a student plans to specialize. USAO is dedicated to liberal education, and in this usage "liberal" means "broad" and has no political connotation. USAO students attain this broad education through a blend of required IDS courses, courses in a major, and elective courses. After this experience, each student will emerge with a strong interdisciplinary background which allows an understanding of how one’s field relates to others. Making these connections is a great concept, one reflecting USAO's dedication to the total development of the individual student.
The educational program at USAO also derives from the belief that no student should be deprived of the opportunity that only a liberal education makes possible. Therefore, the programs leading to the bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, or bachelor of fine arts degree have been designed to provide depth and breadth in knowledge. USAO's interdisciplinary program combines traditional lines of thought into more meaningful patterns and relationships, teaching students how to synthesize diverse information and make creative, pragmatic decisions.
Each student entering the university chooses the discipline in which he or she wishes to major; but all students, regardless of major, will take part in a common core of courses called Interdisciplinary Studies, or IDS. It is a core which has evolved after much study of the nation’s finest colleges and of the present and future trends in higher education in this nation. With IDS at its heart, the total USAO program is truly an exciting and stimulating experience.