A lot of people seem to think that Cornell is a liberal arts school, but is that really the case?
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Cornell’s History as a Liberal Arts School
Cornell was founded in 1865 as a land-grant university with the mission of providing an education in the practical arts and sciences to all who could benefit from it, regardless of background or income. This commitment to accessibility and practicality has defined Cornell ever since.
While Cornell has always been strong in the sciences and engineering, it has also been dedicated to the liberal arts. In fact, when Cornell first opened its doors, it was one of only a handful of schools in the country to offer a truly comprehensive education that included both the sciences and the humanities.
Today, Cornell continues to be one of the leading liberal arts universities in the country. It is home to seven undergraduate colleges and schools, each of which offers a unique and rigorous curriculum. And while most students at Cornell pursue degrees in the sciences or engineering, nearly 40% of undergraduates choose to study in the humanities, social sciences, or other areas outside of STEM.
So yes, despite its reputation as a top-tier science and engineering school, Cornell is very much a liberal arts university at heart.
The Different Types of Liberal Arts Schools
There are many different types of liberal arts schools, each with their own unique focus and approach. Some liberal arts schools are more traditional, offering a wide range of courses in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Others have a more interdisciplinary approach, incorporating elements of the hard sciences, business, and engineering into their curriculum. And still others have a more focused approach, specializing in a particular area such as the arts or social sciences.
Cornell University is a good example of a traditional liberal arts school. It offers a wide range of courses in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Students at Cornell can also choose to pursue a more interdisciplinary approach by enrolling in one of the university’s many interdisciplinary programs.
What Makes a Liberal Arts School?
Most people assume that a liberal arts education is only available at small, private colleges. But what exactly is a liberal arts education? And can you get one at a large public university like Cornell?
The answer to both questions is yes! A liberal arts education is not defined by the size or type of institution, but by the type of curriculum that is offered. A liberal arts curriculum typically includes courses in a variety of subjects, such as English, history, mathematics, science, and foreign language. The goal of a liberal arts education is to provide students with a well-rounded understanding of the world and how it works.
Cornell offers a traditional liberal arts curriculum through its College of Arts and Sciences. But students in other colleges can also get a well-rounded education. For example, Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers a broad range of courses in topics such as biology, ecology, and food science. And the College of Engineering provides students with an understanding of how to apply math and science to real-world problems.
So if you’re interested in getting a liberal arts education, don’t worry about whether Cornell is the right school for you. With its diverse array of academic programs, Cornell can provide you with everything you need to get a well-rounded education.
Cornell’s Curriculum and Programs
Cornell is a large, public university with a diverse range of programs and colleges. While it is best known for its engineering and business programs, Cornell also has strong programs in the humanities and sciences. In addition, Cornell has a number of unique programs, including an excellent college of veterinary medicine and a highly respected hotel school. So while Cornell is not technically a liberal arts school, it does offer a wide range of educational opportunities.
Cornell’s Faculty and Student Body
Cornell University is best known for its engineering and science programs, but it is also a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts foundation. Cornell’s faculty and student body are among the most diverse in the country, and the university is committed to promoting an inclusive and welcoming environment for all.
Cornell offers over 80 majors across its seven undergraduate colleges, including traditional liberal arts disciplines such as English, History, and Philosophy. The university also has highly regarded programs in fields such as Journalism, Hotel Administration, and Architecture. In addition to its academic strength, Cornell is also home to a vibrant community of artists, musicians, and athletes.
The Importance of the Liberal Arts
A common misconception is that Cornell is not a liberal arts school because of the prominence of its college of engineering. In fact, about two-thirds of Cornell students are in the College of Arts and Sciences, which offers over fifty majors in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. As president Elizabeth Garrett said in her first convocation address, “We are, and always have been, first and foremost, a liberal arts institution.”
The liberal arts have been at the core of education since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The term “liberal arts” originally referred to the skills that were necessary for a free person to participate fully in society: reading, writing, and arithmetic; literature, history, and philosophy; science and religion. These skills are just as important today as they were two thousand years ago. A liberal arts education helps students develop critical thinking and communications skills, cultural competence and global awareness—skills that are essential for success in any field.
Cornell’s commitment to the liberal arts is reflected in our ongoing efforts to build a world-class faculty in the humanities and social sciences. In the past five years we have hired over 200 new faculty members in these fields, including five Nobel laureates. We have also created new interdisciplinary institutes devoted to the study of topics such as human rights, global health, climate change, inequality, and cognition.
The colleges at Cornell were created to give students a well-rounded education in all disciplines—not just engineering or agriculture or business. If you want to be an engineer or a doctor or a lawyer, great! A Cornell education will give you the foundation you need to succeed in any field. But if you don’t know what you want to do with your life—if you want to keep your options open—a Cornell education is still the best choice. Because at Cornell, you can study anything you want—and get a world-class education in the process
The Benefits of a Liberal Arts Education
It is a common misconception that Cornell is solely a science and engineering school. While it is true that Cornell is known for its strengths in these areas, the university actually has a very strong liberal arts program. In fact, about half of Cornell’s undergraduate students are enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences, which offers over 60 majors in fields such as history, English, psychology, and sociology.
So what are the benefits of a liberal arts education? A liberal arts education helps students to develop skills that are essential for success in any field, such as critical thinking, effective communication, and creative problem-solving. Additionally, a liberal arts education exposes students to a variety of perspectives and worldviews, which can help them to become more open-minded and tolerant of others. Finally, a liberal arts education provides students with a well-rounded experience that can help them to develop into well-rounded individuals.
Whether you are interested in science or engineering, or you just want to explore different fields of study, Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences is a great place to start your journey.
The Future of Liberal Arts Schools
The term “liberal arts education” can be traced back to the Latin phrase artes liberales, which was used to describe the seven essential subjects of a Renaissance education: grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. In medieval Europe, these subjects were taught in Latin in order to prepare students for a life in the Church. But as the world changed and new technologies emerged, the focus of a liberal arts education shifted from religious studies to more “practical” subjects like math, science, and languages.
Today, liberal arts colleges are struggling to keep up with the changing needs of students and employers. Many employers say they want employees who are “well-rounded” and have a “broad understanding of the world.” But what does that mean? And how can liberal arts colleges provide students with the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century?
Some experts say that liberal arts colleges need to do a better job of explaining the value of a liberal arts education. Others say that liberal arts colleges need to change their curriculum to focus more on practical skills. And some argue that liberal arts colleges need to do both.
What do you think?
The Importance of Cornell as a Liberal Arts School
Cornell is often ranked as one of the top schools in the country for its liberal arts programs. The school has a long history of producing leaders in the arts and sciences, and its reputation as a top research institution attracts students from all over the world.
However, some people question whether Cornell really is a liberal arts school. After all, the school is home to some of the world’s top scientific and technological research programs. And while the arts are certainly well represented at Cornell, so are other disciplines such as business, engineering, and agriculture.
So what makes Cornell a truly great liberal arts school? There are several factors that contribute to the school’s success in this area. First, Cornell has a strong commitment to teaching and research in the liberal arts. The school offers more than 80 different majors in the liberal arts, and its faculty are dedicated to helping students succeed in these fields.
Second, Cornell provides its students with an incredibly diverse range of academic opportunities. In addition to traditional majors like English or History, students can also choose to study subjects like Africana Studies or Hotel Administration. This variety ensures that every student can find a discipline that interests them and that they can get the most out of their education.
Finally, Cornell’s location also plays a role in its success as a liberal arts school. The school is situated in Ithaca, New York, which is home to a vibrant community of artists, writers, and musicians. This environment allows students to really immerse themselves in the liberal arts and to explore all that the field has to offer.
So if you’re looking for a top-notch education in the liberal arts, Cornell should definitely be on your list of schools to consider.
Cornell’s Legacy as a Liberal Arts School
Cornell is a large, publicly-funded university with a Proud Legacy as a Liberal Arts School. We offer over 4,000 courses across more than 100 fields of study, giving our students unparalleled opportunities to explore their interests and prepare for their future careers. Our faculty are leaders in their fields, and our students have gone on to make significant contributions in all walks of life.
With such a large and diverse university, it can be easy to forget that Cornell began as a small liberal arts school. In fact, our founding mission was “to found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.” This commitment to providing broad access to education has been at the heart of Cornell ever since.
Today, we are proud to continue our legacy as a top-ranked liberal arts school. We are committed to providing our students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in whatever field they choose. Whether you want to pursue a career in the arts, sciences, or any other field, Cornell is the place for you.