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What is the meaning of liberal arts?

I understand what visual arts and all that kind of stuff is but most universities near me are classified as liberal arts institutions. If the meaning is anything like visual arts then why is there business and science and other majors that would have nothing to do with that? #college #university #higher-education #liberal-arts


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Gary’s Answer

Hi, interesting question I had never really thought about this even though my degree is in Liberal Arts/Studies.
This is from Wikipedia, hope is helps:


The liberal arts (Latin: artes liberales) are those subjects or skills that in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free person (Latin: liberalis, "worthy of a free person")[1] to know in order to take an active part in civic life, something that (for Ancient Greece) included participating in public debate, defending oneself in court, serving on juries, and most importantly, military service. Grammar, logic, and rhetoric were the core liberal arts, while arithmetic, geometry, the theory of music, and astronomy also played a (somewhat lesser) part in education.[2]
In modern times, liberal arts education is a term that can be interpreted in different ways. It can refer to academic subjects such as literature, philosophy, mathematics, and social and physical sciences,[3] or it can also refer to overall studies in a liberal arts degree program. For example, Harvard University offers a Bachelor of Arts degree, which covers the social and physical sciences as well as the humanities. For both interpretations, the term generally refers to matters not relating to the professional, vocational, or technical curriculum.


Thanks for the explanation Gary!! This helped clear up a lot for me! Nada D.

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Michelle’s Answer

Hi Nada,


A degree in liberal arts usually includes the study of literature, philosophy, math and social science. It's purpose is to develop the intellectual capacity of the student. It does not have a vocational or technical track. It is basically a general degree of study and with it you can enter into many different career fields.


Best of luck.


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Lashay’s Answer

Good question. As a university type: liberal arts exposes you to a variety of topics including english composition (writing), English literature (reading comprehension), history, public speaking (communication), a social science ( psychology or sociology), science ( biology or chemistry or geology), art, and math. Sometimes a physical education or healty living class is in there too. The idea is that if you attend that type of college you will be well rounded and aware of many topics. In addition to all of the classes listed ( usually taken during first and second years of college ) you will be required to study one topic of your choosing in more depth during your last two years of college (Junior and Senior years).

As a major: liberal arts would have the same requirements for the first two years of college ( listed previously) but your Junior and senior years will allow you to choose a combination of courses, at a higher level, from the topics taken during first and second year

For instance, as a freshman or sopore you are only allowed to take psych 1000 or 2000 or history 1000 or 2000 levels but as a junior and senior you would be permitted to take psychology 3000 and 4000 and history 3000 and 4000 levels. A liberal art major will give you some freedom to create major unique to a specific set of interests.

Hope this helps and good luck with choosing!


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