What is a Liberal Arts Education?

The liberal arts curriculum of NYU’s College of Arts and Science seeks to educate students in the range of human experience and achievement and to provide them with the skills and breadth of perspective needed to become leaders in their professional lives and active participants in the communities in which they live.

To this end, the curriculum is designed to give students a rigorous general education in the arts and sciences as well as the benefit of doing specialized research in a single area chosen for its intellectual appeal. These complementary ideals find their expression in the College Core Curriculum, which forms the foundation of the College’s liberal arts curriculum, and in a student's choice of a major course of study. The Core provides a foundation for both future undergraduate work and postgraduate pursuits by fostering intellectual curiosity, critical and analytic thinking, receptiveness to artistic expression, understanding of cultural differences, and the ability to communicate orally and in writing with clarity and forcefulness. In the major, students will gain the experience of thoroughly investigating a single area of academic inquiry that is of particular interest to them. They will learn how scholars work to collect, organize, and interpret information to create new knowledge. They will acquire the skills and background to confront the limits of current understanding in their major field and be able to engage in research to explore those boundaries.

By focusing on the acquisition of skills and the cultivation of enduring habits of mind, students' undergraduate education in the College seeks to prepare them for a future in which they will need continually to learn, grow, and adapt to a rapidly changing world. The pleasure of study undertaken for its own sake should not be underestimated; however, the practical goal of the liberal arts education they will pursue at NYU is to equip them for success in their subsequent lives and professions.