Why get a degree in liberal arts?

Students in visiting lecturer Dave Selle's 2012 Wintermester cinematography class listen to comments before shooting a scene in the UAF Fine Arts complex. | UAF Photo by Todd Paris

The liberal arts undertake some of the most dynamic, engaging and comprehensive issues facing the world today. We are the human dimension.



Our rigorous curriculum bridges the arts, languages, humanities and social sciences, to encourage student-led inquiry while offering unique opportunities for scholarship and exhibition. Our goal is for students to become resilient and adaptive, and to graduate as creative thinkers and doers who have the intellectual courage to seek truth and pose new solutions. We are proud of our CLA graduates, who become our most inspiring entrepreneurs, artist, doctors, executives, analysts, educators, attorneys, scholars, and change makers.



UAF ceramic students unload their projects from an outdoor kiln fired with recycled vegetable oil. | UAF Photo by Todd Paris

"Every liberal arts degree is about finding an interesting way to tell human stories. The liberal arts celebrate the diversity of these stories and also the shared humanity they convey. We understand ourselves by understanding our languages, literatures, arts, histories, and theories of human behavior. When it works, a liberal arts degree is a celebration of what it means to be human."Eric Heyne
A liberal arts education sharpens critical thinking and comprehension skills necessary to navigate life and the workforce, unleashes creative passions, provides opportunities to hone and practice knowledge and talents, and provides a conduit to experience a more fulfilling life. Brandon Boylan
A liberal arts education provides a well-rounded eduction that prepares one to be a critical thinker. Those who have a liberal arts education are flexible thinkers and good communicators. A liberal arts education provides a basis for being a more effective professional, regardless of your chosen career.Lisa Kljaich
Among the many, many benefits that come with pursuing a degree in the liberal arts, one of the most important is the way in which the liberal arts work to "complexify" our thinking. All too often, the way we approach a topic or a question seeks a simple, easy answer that smooths over the rough and challenging way the world usually is. In the liberal arts, we strive to make clear that such answers miss out on all of the interesting bits, usually to the extent that those easy answers are, if not straightforwardly wrong, at the very least unhelpful. (A common refrain in my classes is: "It's more complicated than that.") The liberal arts, then, give students the tools required in order to think through political, societal, scientific, and ethical issues in a way that does justice to all of the complexity of our multifaceted world.Seth Jones

The unique construction of our college, our small town size and departmental proximity allows for limitless collaboration between the 17 disciplines offered within CLA.  With over 40 undergraduate degree programs, your college experience can be as unique as you are.


UAF student Sarah Olson for College Tour shoot Wednesday, September 7, 2022. | UAF Photo by Eric Engman