Why study the liberal arts and sciences?

What is a liberal arts and sciences education, anyway?

The liberal arts and sciences have been the foundation of college education for centuries, and are more important and useful today than ever before.

Rather than a narrow program with a single focus, a liberal arts and sciences education includes lots of possible subjects and areas of study. You can explore and study the arts, humanities, "hard" sciences, social sciences, languages, environmental sciences, health professions, writing, computers, and math. You'll be exposed to the ideas and cultures of people from across Iowa and around the world, from ancient times to today. And you can combine your interests and talents into an education unique to you.

Across the subject areas, a liberal arts and sciences education teaches what today's employers say they value most:

  • Communicating your ideas
  • Finding and analyzing information and data
  • Adapting to new technology and professional trends
  • Working with others to solve problems

A liberal arts and sciences education does more than teach you the skills you need for a successful career—it provides you with the experiences and understanding you need for a fulfilling life.

What makes the University of Iowa the right choice for my liberal arts and sciences education?

The University of Iowa offers something special: A rich liberal arts experience at the heart of a major research university.

  • The benefits of a research university. The University of Iowa is one of the top public Research I universities in the country. Our professors aren't just teaching about their fields—they're the ones making the latest discoveries. You will have the chance to work closely with your professors on research and original works of art, and present the results in professional settings.
  • A friendly, small-school environment. As the smallest university in the Big Ten, the UI offers a comfortable environment for learning and living. We have a student-to-teacher ratio of 16:1 and more than 75% of our classes have 30 students or fewer. The surrounding Iowa City community is easy to get around in and always filled with interesting people and fun things to do. Together, the UI and Iowa City are a one-of-a-kind environment, perfect for making your academic home.
  • The freedom to personalize your education. Because the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers so many different areas of study, you can easily explore new subjects and discover your talents and interests. We have 69 majors, 70 minors, and 21 certificate programs for you to choose from—and it's easy to combine them in a way that is unique to you. You can study in another country, join the Honors Program, conduct important research with professors, get real-world experience in professional internships, and learn through serving communities. Our advisors and professors are ready to help you create the college experience that will allow you to reach your personal goals.

What can I do with my liberal arts and sciences degree?

A liberal arts and sciences degree is more important than ever in today's job marketplace. Employers can train you on the specifics of a job—but they can't teach you the ability to communicate ideas, obtain and analyze information and data, work in teams, and solve problems.

Those are the essential career skills and qualities that a liberal arts and sciences education will bring you—and what today's employers are looking for. National surveys and reports tell us this, and so do the many employers from across the Midwest and the US who come to our Career Fairs on campus. In fact, about 90% of employers who come to our fairs are eager to talk with students with liberal arts and sciences majors. Liberal arts and sciences degrees are also a great stepping stone to graduate school.

Add in the career-building internships and other "beyond the classroom" experiences that you can take part in as a UI student, and it's easy to understand why 94% of our 2018 through 2020 graduates report that they found work or were accepted into graduate school within seven months of graduation. Our alumni are working in all kinds of careers across Iowa, throughout the nation, and around the world.

Whether you want to go on the job market after graduation or to graduate school, the University of Iowa's Pomerantz Career Center is here to help you find internships, talk to employers, practice your interviewing skills, develop your resumé, and learn about graduate school options.

Prepare for a successful career and a fulfilling life in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences!