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What Are the Liberal Arts?

What does it mean to study the liberal arts? It's learning the skills to analyze, innovate, and lead — and using that knowledge to make the world better. You'll think through complex questions, like what motivates people to vote or join a protest. How do societies function? What are the political, environmental, societal, and economic implications of a business decision? Think of the liberal arts as the study of everything…that prepares you to do anything.

Now you know what you can study (pretty much anything and everything), so let’s break down why you should pursue the liberal arts and sciences.

You can explore.
There’s a ton of flexibility in our curriculum, and LSA students are encouraged to explore broadly. After all, how are you supposed to know what you want to focus on if you don’t even know what’s out there? While you're exploring, you'll have plenty of support from your academic advisor, and you can also take advantage of career coaching, mentoring, internships, and more from the LSA Opportunity Hub.

You avoid major anxiety.
About a third of all students pursuing a bachelor’s degree change their major, according to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics. At LSA you can take your time deciding on your major, and if you decide to switch you will have plenty of other options and opportunities.

You can get outside the classroom.
At LSA you don’t just learn about the liberal arts — you experience them. That could mean working with professors on research, collecting and analyzing water samples at the U-M Biological Station, studying virtually anywhere in the world, or starting a business with social impact.

You make connections.
Studying broadly across disciplines means you’ll find unexpected links between your courses, allowing you to see topics ranging from black holes to butterflies in a whole new light.

You gain skills employers want now.
Your future boss (and maybe that’s you, entrepreneurs!) is going to be impressed with the way you analyze data, communicate effectively, work collaboratively, and solve problems like you’ve been doing it for years. Because spoiler, you will be doing all of those things as an LSA student.

You gain skills employers will want tomorrow.
It’s not enough that we prepare you for the world as it is today. Time and technology tend to throw a wrench in things, disrupting industries and individuals. Those with a flexible mindset and adjustable skill set will thrive through life’s inevitable changes and challenges.