To my mind the only real liberal arts degrees are ones awarded by actual liberal arts universities or colleges. I studied music theory and 19th century intellectual history for my BA but I was also required to take courses in literature, foreign languages, social sciences, mathematics, and hard sciences in order to graduate. All told out of I think 32 courses over 4 years. I think about 12 had to come from specific learning areas outside your own major(s) and meet certain criteria. My partner who has a hard science degree (molecular biology and bio-chemistry) similarly had to take courses in humanities, arts, social sciences, etc. That is to my mind what a liberal arts degree actually is. We both graduated with BA's. And in addition to our majors we graduated with the ability to converse intelligently on a variety of topics, and more importantly to critically analyze, to write proficiently, and to question. That is the actual point of a liberal arts degree whether you choose to study science or humanities.
Monday, May 25, 2009
a useful comment on Lane Wallace's defense of the humanities: