2020-2021 Undergraduate Academic Catalog

Academic Programs

Designing the Baccalaureate Program - College of Art and Design

Lesley University College of Art and Design (LA+D) offers several Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree options including double majors, as well as a BA in Art. and BS in Design for User Experience. Each of our majors aims for the high professional standard that its designation implies. First, we expect our students to receive a well-rounded, high quality education that prepares them for life-long learning and for the many creative art-making challenges they will face. Second, we expect them to become experts in their chosen area of professional practice: to achieve a level of professional mastery in some area of their major or in related interdisciplinary activities. Third, we expect students to foster a critical and historical perspective on their work and to develop writing and speaking skills that allow them to clearly communicate that perspective. Fourth, we expect them to learn about business and professional practices in their major area of interest through course work, internships, and other professional contacts and experiences. Finally, we expect students to synthesize their studio and general education experiences as the capstone to their studies. This is accomplished through the presentation of a portfolio or exhibition evaluated by outside professionals and faculty.       

All LA+D BFA majors incorporate 42 credits of liberal arts coursework, roughly 2/3 of their load in required studio-based programming, and field-based experiences through a required internship program, and professional development coursework appropriate to the specific program of study. University-wide General Education Standards are designed to expand students' knowledge and experiences, not only through classroom learning, but through external experiences and interdisciplinary opportunities as well. These standards were developed 10 years ago with participation of all University faculty members. Each undergraduate program at Lesley University, including the studio BFA programs, strives to meet those standards with specific competencies through a combination of student experiences. Our General Education and Liberal Arts components are offered and taught by Lesley University faculty.        

Designing the Baccalaureate Program - College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Every student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences completes a major that combines theory and practice by incorporating study in the liberal arts with field-based experience appropriate to the program of study. Education students seeking initial licensure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are required to have a liberal arts major in addition to their education major. The solid grounding in the content disciplines that students will teach better prepares them with the knowledge and predispositions to be effective teachers. Education students complete the Education Field Placement, in place of the Experiential Learning component of their liberal arts major. Non-education majors may also choose to double-major in two liberal arts disciplines, again by completing the requirements of each major. Liberal arts double-majors complete the Experiential Learning component for the major that has the greater number of credits. One of the internships should reflect the competencies of the second major. Students considering two majors should contact the respective divisions to determine the feasibility of their specific combination.

All majors incorporate liberal arts coursework and field-based experience appropriate to the program of study. The curriculum in all majors is designed to provide each student with in-depth professional and liberal arts preparation in one's chosen field of interest. Students may also combine majors and minors to develop skills and knowledge in multiple areas. Self-designed majors provide opportunities for self-directed individuals to fashion a unique program of study that best satisfies their interests and goals.

General Education at Lesley University


General education, including a foundation in the liberal arts, is the cornerstone of a university education. Its purpose is to develop in students the knowledge, skills, and character necessary to live thoughtful, ethical, and successful lives, both professionally and personally, and to foster a love of lifelong learning.

General education is a requirement at Lesley University and it is delivered with options for flexibility and choice. Lesley University considers past learning and experience when helping students shape their general education curriculum choices to best meet their individual needs. Courses to meet the liberal arts requirements of general education are available throughout the offerings of Lesley University.

General Education Learning Goals

Fundamental Base of Knowledge

Students will develop a fundamental base of knowledge necessary for all future academic study and professional preparation.

Critical Reasoning

Students will develop the ability to solve unfamiliar problems and generate new meaning.

Social Responsibility

Students will develop an understanding of the individual's role in the larger community and the natural world, and an awareness of the importance of involvement in the same.

Multiple Perspectives

Students will develop an awareness of multiple viewpoints by exploring the relationship among values, attitudes, cultures, and behaviors.

Lifelong Learning

Students will acquire the interest and ability to further their learning. General Education at Lesley goes beyond offering breadth and depth in the liberal arts. Learning goals are infused into study in the major, in co-curricular settings, in the community, and through self-reflection.

Flexibility and Choice

Students may demonstrate they have met introductory-level course requirements and have a "sufficient base of knowledge" in Humanities, Science and Math, or Social Sciences through such vehicles as AP credit or previous college courses. Students are also eligible to place out of English Composition (CWRIT 1101) through an AP score of 4 or higher. All students are required to complete Writing and Literary Arts (CLITR 1100). Students with a mathematics SAT score below 510 must satisfy a quantitative reasoning requirement prior to their math requirement. Students with AP credits for studio art or pre-college art classes may qualify for studio elective credit.

All other students will be advised into the appropriate introductory-level courses to prepare them for advanced breadth and depth of study in the liberal arts disciplines. Visual art students will be enrolled in mandatory foundation courses the first year of study.

Academic and Artistic Freedom Policy for Students:

Lesley University supports an atmosphere of academic and artistic freedom in all artistic and scholastic endeavors, and believes that the suppression of free speech or artistic expression is unacceptable where educational inquiry is encouraged. Within such an educational framework, no idea or expression can be forbidden unless it is in violation of federal, state, or local laws. Individual statements and philosophies expressed by students in their work, whether displayed on campus or in the community, should be taken as the statements and philosophies of individuals, not as University sanctioned ideas. In the same spirit, the University encourages an attitude of respect toward all student work, and will take disciplinary action against theft or violation of student artwork or projects.

Experiential Learning

From Lesley University's founding, when Edith Lesley and her colleagues brought their life experiences to develop the Lesley School for training Kindergarten teachers, Lesley has embraced the core intentions of integrating theory with practice and learning from doing.

What is unique about this “experiential learning” today is that it is integrated into the student’s overall program of study. All students complete their General Education requirements, the academic requirements of their major, and the experiential learning component of their major. In this way, all Lesley undergraduates are realizing Edith Lesley’s vision of integrating theory and practice.

There are several modalities of experiential learning available to students (the specific requirements for each major can be found in the Majors section of the catalog):


An internship is a structured, supervised, credit-bearing work experience designed to enrich and complement the students’ academic program. By interning, students are able to examine their field of study in depth and develop clear career goals. Internships provide students with a greater level of professionalism, opportunities to develop networking and self-promotion skills, to learn new techniques, and gain industry knowledge. Most important, students gain practical skills that can be applied directly to future professional goals.

Students from all majors are required to complete internships. In CLAS, most first-year students engage in an introduction to field experiences; internships are available during the sophomore, junior and senior years. In LA+D, internships can be completed during the end of sophomore year or throughout junior year. Internship sponsors benefit from the internship arrangement by having the on-site technical skills and expertise provided by the student interns. Students receive supervision from both site supervisor and faculty representative, thereby allowing students opportunities to gain a greater understanding of a current field of interest from both academic and professional perspectives.

Study Abroad

Study abroad cultivates understanding of the social, cultural, economic, political, and technological forces that shape today's global society, while also building self-knowledge and appreciation for multiple perspectives. While abroad, students engage in meaningful cultural exchanges and language-learning. They build confidence and analytical skills. The experience also enhances creativity, as well as career potential.

For more information,visit https://lesley.edu/life-at-lesley/global-education/study-abroad. Or contact the Study Abroad Office at studyabroad@lesley.edu.


LA+D Domestic Exchange and Residencies

Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) New York Studio Residency Program: Qualified students who are interested in participating in the AICAD New York Studio Residency Program (NYSRP) may contact the Advising Office for assistance in submitting an application. The program is located in DUMBO Brooklyn, New York. Participating students receive individual studio spaces at the NYSRP, weekly critique sessions, and a diverse seminar/visiting artist program that includes a comprehensive introduction to the New York art world. The School of Visual Arts provides off-site administrative services for the NYSRP including digital printing facilities, access to the SVA library and student identification cards. Students earn sixteen credits and a letter grade towards their undergraduate or graduate degree.

Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) Mobility Program: Schools in the AICAD consortium offer students an exchange opportunity, which allows them to attend another member school for one semester. Interested students should contact the Academic Advising Office for assistance with the application process

Community Service

The Office of Community Service is committed to providing Lesley University students and staff with meaningful service opportunities. Through these opportunities, we strive to connect participants with the Cambridge and Boston community.

For more information, visit http://www.lesley.edu/community-service/.

Education Field Placement Office

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Education program’s Field Placement Office works with students to individually plan and implement first year, sophomore, and or junior one-day-a-week field experiences, and their senior student teaching practicum, (if students are interested in Early Childhood Education, their program will include a junior student teaching experience and a seminar). The Director of Field Placement works with students as they articulate their specific classroom preferences and curriculum interests, and is available to support students throughout their undergraduate field experiences. During initial field experiences, Field Liaisons from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences provide on-site support. During the senior student teaching experience, Education Program Supervisors supervise the classroom teaching practice, and students will enroll in a weekly reflective seminar.

Initial field experiences are integrated into the Education coursework, and course professors and the Field Placement Office work collaboratively to support students as they develop their emerging teaching practice. This is an essential way that the Education program integrates  theoretical knowledge with actual application. First year, sophomore, and junior field experiences prepare students for their senior student teaching experience.

For more information, please contact:

Cheryl Haberman

Director, Education Division Field Placement Office


Honors Programs

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Honors Program

Lesley University has a tradition of applied social justice and the CLAS Honors Program with its focus on public work seeks to build on this tradition. Many Honors Programs claim to train students to take the reins of power to guide the future. At Lesley, we seek to train students to break the reins of power that oppress so many communities and to rebuild them in a way that every person can find a place where they belong. 

Students with a record of academic promise and leadership in high school apply to join the Honors Program when they apply to enter the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Others are invited to join afterward, on the basis of their academic record. The goals of the Lesley University Honors Program can be separated into four pillars: forming a close-knit intellectual community, fostering scholarly independence, developing close interaction with faculty, and integrating this intellectual work with “public work.” “Public work is sustained, largely self-directed, collaborative effort, paid or unpaid, carried out by a diverse mix of people who create things of common value determined by deliberation: work by publics, for public purposes, in public” (Boyte 2013).

The CLAS Honors Program seeks to create a strong intellectual community from the start. Most students come into the program in their first year and so we place all of them into a set of linked Honors courses. Students in each section take both classes with the same students, helping them get to know the other entering Honors students quickly. CLAS Honors students take the First Year Seminar (FYS), “Doing Good or Looking Good? The Ethics and Politics of Community Engagement.” This seminar gives honors students practice applying the ethics, theories, and principles of social justice to community engagement. The 20-hour-community engagement component offers students critical hands-on experience with several Boston-based non-profit organizations. A number of course assignments and presentations require students to reflect on their community engagement experience critically and the course thematizes how differences in power and privileges affect the practice of working with diverse communities locally and globally. The content of the FYS is connected to the content of students’ linked Writing Composition course, encouraging students to apply knowledge across disciplines. Students take an Honors sophomore seminar to continue to further build the relationships among students in the Honors program and further explore some area of social justice. Students also get together for social events every semester, including attending plays, visiting museums, attending dinners, and attending talks with faculty.

The Lesley Honors program also facilitates Honors students’ ability to develop into independent scholars through close interaction with faculty. Students have the option of turning any of their regular coursework into an Honors Contract by proposing to complete an Honors Project. Planning and completing this project builds relationships between the faculty and the Honors students, and requires these students to do additional independent research.  Students pursue their passions in close consultation with experts in those fields.

Students leave senior year having built lasting friendships among Honors students and the wider Lesley community. Having completed the requirements of five Honors courses, they leave having developed the skills and practice of independent scholars that can plan and execute well-designed research projects that often engage with the community outside the walls of Lesley’s campuses. They leave having developed close relationships with faculty who have guided their intellectual pursuits and mentored them in how to use those skills and talents in their future careers. 

For more information on the Honors Program, contact:

Michael Illuzzi

Associate Professor of Political Science 

Director, Honors Program

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

University Hall 2-095



Lesley Art+Design Honors Program

Students who demonstrate academic excellence and artistic talent by high ranking portfolio scores and who wish to engage in a rigorous cross-curricular studio/seminar-based coursework and dialogue as well as extracurricular experiences, are invited to participate in LA+D’s Honors Program from the first year experience through the capstone in the fourth year.

Students who participate in this program can expect added rigor in project-based courses, integrated and interdisciplinary practice with group project dynamics, collaborative experiences both inside and outside the classroom. Focused critiques and special events serve to support the development of students’ skills as they prepare for lives as creators and active participants in visual culture.

Students will be expected to take a minimum of three of the four honors courses (one per academic year scheduled each fall). Students who are not invited in their foundation year may petition their department Chair to participate. For more information, please contact First Year Experience Coordinator, Leah Craig, lcraig@lesley.edu. Students can also petition to take Honors-based courses through CLAS by contacting Michael Illuzzi (info above.)

Pre-Law at Lesley University

Law schools do not require a specific undergraduate major for admission. Rather, they strongly suggest that students major in a liberal arts discipline such as political science, sociology, literature, history, or philosophy. They further recommend that students select coursework in their undergraduate studies that emphasize writing, critical thinking, research, and related analytical skills. Students who wish to apply to law school should take a broad range of challenging courses in their area of interest. They should share their interest with their advisor early in their Lesley experience and meet with the Pre-Law advisor, Professor Michael Illuzzi (milluzzi@lesley.edu; 617.349.8257), by the beginning of their junior year. Students should share their intention to go into a career in law with the Internship Coordinators who can help students identify appropriate internship learning opportunities.

Pre-Med at Lesley University

The Natural Science and Mathematics (NSM) division at Lesley has developed a strong and rigorous program to support students who are interested in attending medical, veterinary or dental school or who want to pursue other health professions such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician's assistant, pharmacy, optometry, or psychiatry.  [we could add this, with links: In addition to our BS in Biology which is great 'pre-health' preparation for any of these professions, we have a Heath Science major for those students who do not want to be a biology major but who still plan to go on to medical or other health professional school after graduation. Preparing for any health-related school requires careful planning beginning in the freshman year and completion of all required courses, and our dedicated Pre-Health adviser and mentor, Dr. Grace Ferris, will help guide and coach you through the progress.

Contact information:

Dr. Grace Ferris (gferris@lesley.edu

Division Chair David Morimoto (morimoto@lesley.edu; 617.349.8226)

Core Curriculum

Preface: The distribution of general education courses gives students broad exposure to the liberal arts and allows students to select from offerings available across the University. Included in the Foundations in Liberal Arts Course Requirements is the First Year Seminar (FYS). The goal of this analytical seminar is to enhance the level of problem solving skills of students based upon multiple theoretical frameworks, intensive interdisciplinary reading and writing assignments, explorations of primary texts, documents, artifacts, etc. Here students and animated faculty guide inquiry regarding the evolution of ideas and meaning in scientific, historical, political, economic and psycho-social and cultural contexts. Some of the courses that meet the general education distribution requirements may also meet the requirements in a major the student selects. This allows for integration as well as breadth and depth of knowledge as the student progresses through the college experience.