2021-2022 Undergraduate Academic Catalog

Academic Programs

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.

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 the 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.        

General Education at Lesley University

The general education program at Lesley University is designed to reflect what our faculty believe it means to be an educated person in today’s complex and rapidly changing world. Courses are arranged according to a set of ten relevant 21st century outcomes that reflect Lesley’s mission of promoting community, justice, and sustainability.  

To achieve each outcome, students choose from a menu of courses that address the specified outcome. Advisors will help students select courses based on their academic interests and personal and professional development goals.  The program also requires students to explore a breadth of inquiry traditions from the major liberal arts disciplines in order to understand the many ways of asking questions and constructing knowledge.   The program culminates with students selecting an interdisciplinary, project-based course (3 credits) in which students reflect on the outcomes and apply them to a big contemporary problem.   

The revised general education program is required for all students who enter Lesley in fall 2021 and beyond. It does not apply to any students who enrolled in Lesley prior to Fall 2021. 

General Education Outcomes


  1. Analysis: Critically analyze, interpret, and evaluate written, oral, and visual texts.   
  2. Communication: Construct written, oral, and visual texts through the iterative process of editing and revision, in order to communicate a message to an audience.   
  3. Collaboration: Develop teamwork and leadership skills to engage in diverse partnerships.    
  4. Quantitative Reasoning: Evaluate quantitative arguments and their visual representations in order to reason and solve problems.  


  1. Inquiry Methods: Question, research, and critically evaluate information, using methods from the three liberal arts disciplinary frameworks. 
  2. Ethical Reasoning, Social Action, Civic Engagement: Apply ethical frameworks to engage in social and civic action.   
  3. Examining Power & Inequity:  Critically explore societal, political, and cultural systems to challenge power, privilege, and oppression.   
  4. Local & Global Connections: Examine self and community within the globalized world through explorations of political, cultural, and linguistic diversity.   
  5. Create, Perform, Design: Create and critique original work to express, inquire or inspire.   
  6. Human Relationships to the Natural and Physical World: Examine the complex and interdependent relationship between humans, our societies, and the Earth. 

Introductory Course Placement

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, many first-year students engage in an introduction to field experiences; internships are available during the sophomore, junior and senior years. In LA+D, internships are generally 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 (OCS) seeks to educate students about the social and political issues affecting Cambridge and surrounding neighborhoods, the impact these issues have on people and communities, and how community-based organizations are working towards solutions. The OCS does this by connecting students with a wide range of opportunities to engage in the community and explore strategies to work toward social change. While engaging in the community, students learn alongside one another and reflect together on these experiences during on- and off-campus programming.

For more information, visit https://lesley.edu/students/organizations-activities/community-service.

Education Field Placement Office

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Education Field Placement Office operates within the Office of Coordinated Student Success to guide students as they individually plan and implement first year, sophomore, junior and senior pre-practicum and/or full practicum field experiences.  Students will complete a field application to share their specific classroom preferences and curriculum interests. The team will secure a variety of unique experiences and support is available and provided throughout their time at Lesley. A field liaison from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences also provides ongoing support. These experiences are integrated into the education coursework, and the course professors and the field placement team collaboratively support students as they develop their emerging teaching practice.  For further information, see Programs of Study for specific course and practicum requirements.For more information, please contact:

Cheryl Haberman, Ed.M.

Director, Field Placement Office

Undergraduate Education Division


Julie Patel, M.Ed.

Assistant Director, Field Placement Office

Undergraduate Education Division


Yvonne Zollman Mosca, M.Ed.

CLAS Field Liaison

Field Placement Office

Undergraduate Education Division


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 critical community engagement 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 more just and humane ways.

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 “critical community engagement.”  All of our students will have the opportunity to work with grassroots community organizations and working together to define goals and strategies. They will be taught reflexive practices not only to work effectively with other people but also to recognize their own privileges and vulnerabilities and analyze how these create power inequities that affect their interactions. 

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 take a set of linked Honors courses. Students in each section of these linked courses take both classes with the same students, helping them get to know the other entering Honors students quickly. CLAS Honors students take the course 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 community engagement component offers students critical hands-on experience with campaigns for different aspects of social justice (e.g., climate justice, voting justice, and housing justice). A number of course assignments and presentations require students to reflect critically on their community engagement experience and the course thematizes how differences in power and privileges affect the practice of working with diverse communities locally and globally. Students take Hon Seminar II (usually in the Spring of their second year) 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 complete 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 and their future advocacy efforts. 

For more information on the Honors Program, contact:

Dr. 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 Dr. Michael Illuzzi, the Pre-Law advisor, 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.

Contact Information:

Dr. Michael Illuzzi, Associate Professor of Political Science, (milluzzi@lesley.edu; 617.349.8257)

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.  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 first 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, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, (gferris@lesley.edu

Dr. David Morimoto, Chair of the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, (morimoto@lesley.edu; 617.349.8226)

General Education Program

General education at Lesley is organized according to outcomes designed to define what it means to be an educated person in the 21st century. These outcomes encompass faculty’s shared vision of what students will gain through their coursework. As students progress through the program, they develop skills and perspectives to shape a more just, humane, and sustainable world.  The general education program at Lesley is divided into 3 components.

The four Foundations outcomes are intended to strengthen students’ bedrock academic skills.  For many learners, these outcomes are associated with required first-year courses.   In their first-year seminar courses, students build Collaboration skills to investigate contemporary issues.  Through literature, writing, and math courses, students will improve their skills in Analysis, Communication, and Quantitative Reasoning.

In the Breadth & Perspectives component of the program, students will take courses aligned with the five Perspectives outcomes while also working to satisfy their Breadth of Inquiry requirement. In this way students will gain experience in the outcomes, while also experiencing the different ways of asking questions and gaining knowledge that are fundamental to each liberal arts discipline.  Every course within this part of the general education program also builds upon one or more Foundations outcomes to ensure students continue to develop these fundamental skills.

A student’s general education experience culminates with the completion of an Applications course.  These are transdisciplinary, project-based courses that will require students to apply knowledge and skills from the general education program to a social problem of critical importance.  In addition, students will be asked to reflect upon their experience in general education at Lesley and its applicability to their personal and career goals.