The College of Arts and Sciences

The education offered by the College of Arts and Sciences is based on a tradition established when Indiana University was founded in 1820 as a liberal arts institution. What are now departments in the College served then as the core of the university from which all the other schools and units developed.

Today the College continues its central role in the mission of Indiana University. The College not only offers more than 70 baccalaureate majors leading to the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Science, and the Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees; it also provides much of the general education for undergraduate students in the Schools of Continuing Studies; Education; Health, Physical Education, and Recreation; Informatics and Computing; Journalism; Public and Environmental Affairs; Social Work; the Kelley School of Business; and the Jacobs School of Music.

At the heart of the College’s tradition is excellence in teaching based on excellence in research. College faculty, who are at the forefront of their disciplines, teach at all levels of the curriculum, from freshman through senior and graduate courses. Although the content of courses has changed as society has changed and knowledge has developed, the College faculty has always sought to provide students with specialized knowledge in a major field of study that is enriched by a broad liberal arts education. For nearly 190 years, the mission of the faculty has been to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to help them develop an understanding of themselves and the world around them through a combination of specialized and general study.

The present degree requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences relate these principles to the modern world. Fundamental skills courses in writing, mathematics, and foreign language provide opportunities for students to develop communication and computational skills for use in their own society as well as for use in understanding other societies. The Topics curriculum and distribution requirements are designed for students to acquire broad familiarity with the general areas of human knowledge by taking courses in the arts and humanities, social and historical studies, and natural and mathematical sciences. The culture studies requirement enables students to enrich their understanding of their neighbors in a shrinking world. These courses serve as the foundation upon which students can develop a major program of study. Because of the richness and diversity of its more than 70 majors, the College offers students a variety of advising services to help them take full advantage of their opportunities at Indiana University. Academic assistant deans in the College can answer specific questions or talk with students about their goals. Academic advisors in each department in the College are eager to help students understand the special requirements and options of the department, and are also happy to discuss general degree requirements and the best options for their completion. Finally, counselors in Arts and Sciences Career Services in the Career Development Center help students understand how to combine their liberal arts education and their career goals in satisfying employment.