The liberal arts philosophy is a unique feature of the U.S. higher education system, providing an emphasis on studying across a broad range of courses in the humanities, social sciences, arts and natural sciences.
The breadth of learning offered by a Liberal Arts education provides an excellent next step into a career in today’s increasingly diverse job market, as well as a great foundation for post-graduate studies. Critical thinking, synthesis of ideas, analysis of opposing viewpoints, research and writing skills are amongst the strengths of liberal arts graduates–all of which are highly valuable, no matter what you decide to do after graduation!
Students enter into a four year Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree, beginning their studies by undertaking a selection of courses across the social and natural sciences, and finally declaring a major in their third year of study. The major consists of an area of specialization in which twenty-five to fifty percent of courses are taken from a defined discipline area such as history, literature, philosophy, biology or mathematics. If you’d like to major in physics but like studying philosophy and theology as well, a liberal arts education is the right choice for you!
Unlike the Canadian post-secondary education system, where most applicants to undergraduate university programs apply to qualify for entry into a declared major field of study, the U.S. liberal arts model allows students to explore a variety of courses from different disciplines, programs and faculties before declaring a major field of study. The Canadian equivalent would be a four year Bachelor of Arts (General) degree, offered by most Canadian universities, with the exception that Canadian universities are usually not based on the liberal arts college model, and instead offer focused programs of study, and larger student populations, class sizes and campuses
Some great benefits of the liberal arts model are as follows:
- Smaller class sizes with an emphasis on collaborative learning;
- Smaller campuses with more attention given to student life and civic engagement;
- Increased emphasis on interaction between faculty and students;
- Focused on challenging students through academic discourse and cultural diversity to engage in broad minded thinking and intellectual curiosity;
- A strong grounding in critical and analytical thinking, effective and persuasive communication, comparative analysis, reasoning, problem solving and ethical/moral engagement;
- Emphasis on research and analysis across multiple fields of study, providing a base to continue coursework in a more focused graduate level program;
- A versatile skill set giving students the means to develop careers across a range of vocations with demonstrated skills in critical thinking, leadership, problem solving and multi- tasking;
- Provides a generalist learning meant to equip students with the ability to adapt to the increasing demands of shifting global perspectives, trends, values and standards.