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College Overview

The University of Michigan as we know it started with LSA. In 1841, the University held its first classes in Ann Arbor with a handful of students, featuring a curriculum rooted in literature, science, and the arts—a revolutionary approach that viewed the world through many lenses instead of just one.

Today, with more than 100 degree programs in over 75 academic departments and programs, LSA is the largest of U-M’s 19 schools and colleges and is still at the heart of the University.

The College is built upon the idea that a powerful, pragmatic, broad education can transform hearts and minds, can solve problems in an ever-changing world, and can yield ideas and innovation across every discipline.

Here, thinking doesn’t have to be elegant—it can be messy, it can shake up the status quo, and it can set minds in motion. Evolution, after all, is rarely neat.

Our programs are among the best in the U.S.

45 LSA programs are among the top 10, and two programs are the best in their fields. As the primary undergraduate college, LSA is the reason U.S. News & World Report ranks U-M as one of the top universities for undergraduate teaching.

LSA consistently has a first-year retention rate of more than 95 percent. Nearly that same number of our seniors—96 percent—go on to enter the workforce or attend graduate school. And we have one of the largest alumni networks in the world, with more than 200,000 living LSA graduates.

Our students get their hands dirty.

Practical learning and leadership opportunities are at the core of the LSA experience.

  • LSA’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program has been ranked the best program of its kind in the U.S.
  • LSA offers nearly 100 study abroad programs spanning six continents. (We’d do all seven, but Antarctica is really, really cold.)
  • U-M was ranked 11th on the Newsweek list of the top 100 global universities, and 2nd on Money's list of best colleges for your money.
  • The College supports off-campus learning through internship programs, the U-M Biological Station in northern Michigan, the New England Literature Program, and more.
  • First- and second-year students can enroll in LSA’s highly regarded Honors Program; juniors and seniors in any major can write an honors thesis.

Our professors walk the talk.

Our faculty aren’t locked in an inaccessible ivory tower. They’re solving real-world problems, and bringing their expertise and methods of inquiry straight into the classroom. One hundred percent of our tenure-track faculty teach undergraduates. This is why U-M is consistently ranked as a top teaching university.

  • LSA is home to numerous MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship recipients including Khaled Mattawa (English Language and Literature) in 2014, Susan Murphy (Statistics) in 2013, and Tiya Miles (Afroamerican and African Studies) and Melanie Sanford (Chemistry) in 2011.
  • In 1999, the Nobel Prize was awarded to Professor Emeritus Martinus Veltman (Physics).
  • There have been more than 29 Guggenheim Fellows in LSA since 2007, including five in 2016: Victor Caston (philosophy), Charles R. Doering (applied mathematics), Mark Newman (applied mathematics), Derek R. Peterson (African studies), and Valerie Traub (intellectual and cultural history).

Our results speak for themselves.

The pragmatic and flexible approach of an LSA degree has extraordinary impact. This interactive chart shows graduates from each major finding employment in nearly every career field.

Data was collected by our College Connections team through more than 4,000 interviews of LSA alumni who graduated as far back as 1942. The visualization to the left represents a segment of graduates from 1990–2013.

Our revolutionary approach continues.

LSA has offered generations of students broad and deep programs of study and, in the process, has provided a foundation for successful lives and meaningful careers. Today, this transformative approach to education continues to attract growing numbers of students who recognize the value of a liberal arts education in a rapidly changing world.

For more facts about the College, check out LSA At-a-Glance.