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What is a Liberal Arts College?

In the United States, students enrolled at a liberal arts college are required to take a variety of classes in topics that are not the student's major interest. These courses outside of a student's major are considered "general education" requirements. In other words, students whose major might be music or art must take science or math courses. Those who are science or engineering students will also study history, literature, music or art.

Liberal arts colleges and professors believe this sort of academic work will give our graduates more professional and pesonal flexibility and the ability to adjust to changing conditions either in the workplace or in their lives. Taking general eduation courses helps students to realize they have chosen the major that is best for them, or to find out that they may like to explore other academic fields.

Because Augustana requires general education courses, do not be surprised when your first-year student states that they are not allowed to study the courses in their proposed major field. International students often enter the United States to study courses only in their major.

At Augustana, your student may be able to take an introductory course in their proposed major, but their advisors will help them spend the first year or year and a half on completing their general education requirements. Students will not be able to officially declare a major until the end of their first year. They may also wait until their sophomore year to declare a major.