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Liberal arts college

Old Main on the campus of Augsburg College, a liberal arts college with Scandinavian influence in Minneapolis
Olin Library and the Andrus Center on the campus of Wesleyan University, an American liberal arts college
Saint Anselm College, a traditional New England liberal arts college

A liberal arts college is a college with an emphasis on undergraduate study in the liberal arts and sciences, with some offering numerable graduate programs that lead to a master's degree or doctoral degree in subjects such as business administration, nursing, medicine, and law.

Students in the liberal arts generally major in a particular discipline while receiving exposure to a wide range of academic subjects, including sciences as well as the traditional humanities subjects taught as liberal arts.

A "liberal arts" institution aims to impart a broad general knowledge and develop general intellectual capacities, in contrast to a professional, vocational, or technical curriculum.[1] Although what is known today as the liberal arts college began in Europe,[2] the term is commonly associated with the United States. Prominent examples in the United States include the so-called Little Three, Colby-Bates-Bowdoin, and Little Ivy colleges in New England, the surviving, predominantly female Seven Sisters colleges along the northeastern seaboard, Norwegian-influenced Lutheran liberal arts college St. Olaf College as well as Augsburg College in Minnesota, and the Claremont Colleges in Southern California, but similar institutions are found all over the country. Most are private institutions, but a handful of public liberal arts schools exist, for instance the University of Mary Washington.

Occidental College Johnson Student Center and Freeman College Union

Liberal arts colleges are found in all parts of the world. Examples of such colleges are Mount Allison University, Bishop's University, and St. Thomas University in Canada; John Cabot University and The American University of Rome in Rome, Italy; European College of Liberal Arts in Germany; Lingnan University in Hong Kong; University College Maastricht in the Netherlands, Foundation for Liberal and Management Education in Pune, India, Shalem College in Jerusalem, Israel, Campion College in Sydney, Australia; Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, etc. However, especially in Europe, many topics covered in the general education conveyed at American liberal arts colleges are also addressed in specialized secondary schools.

The "liberal arts college experience" in the United States is characterized by three main aspects that demarcate it from undergraduate experiences in other countries:

  1. smaller size than universities, which usually means more individual attention is given to each student;
  2. residential, which means students live and learn away from home, often for the first time, and learn to live well with others. Additionally, the residential experience of living on campus brings a wide variety of cultural, political, and intellectual events to students who might not otherwise seek them out in a non-residential setting (though not every college has such strict residency requirements); and
  3. a typically two-year exploration of the liberal arts or general knowledge before declaring a major.
Wheaton College, a Christian liberal arts college in Illinois

Some claim that liberal-arts education is a waste of time and money, because degrees like English and art history don't prepare students for careers. Others contend that the liberal arts improve creativity and critical thinking, help students focus on the long term, and broaden people's horizons in an increasingly complex world.[3]

Lists of schools

See also


  1. ^ "Liberal Arts: Encyclopædia Britannica Concise".  
  2. ^ Harriman, Philip (1935). "Antecedents of the Liberal Arts College". The Journal of Higher Education. 
  3. ^ Segran, Elizabeth (28 Aug 2014). "Why Top Tech CEOs Want Employees With Liberal Arts Degrees". Fast Company. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 

Further reading

  • Harriman, Philip. "Antecedents of the Liberal Arts College." The Journal of Higher Education. Vol. 6, No. 2 (1935): 63–71.
  • Morris, Edward. The Lindenwood Model: An Antidote for What Ails Undergraduate Education. University Press (2007)
  • Pfnister, Allen O. "The Role of the Liberal Arts College." The Journal of Higher Education. Vol. 55, No. 2 (March/April 1984): 145–170.
  • Reeves, Floyd W. "The Liberal-Arts College." The Journal of Higher Education. Vol. 1, No. 7 (1930): 373–380.
  • Seidel, George. "Saving the Small College." The Journal of Higher Education. Vol. 39, No. 6 (1968): 339–342.

External links

  • Philosophy of Liberal Education
  • The Annapolis Group/College
  • Liberal Arts at the Community College
  • A Descriptive Analysis of the Community College Liberal Arts Curriculum
  • The Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts
  • Academic Commons
  • CatholiCity: Catholic Encyclopedia
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