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Undergraduates Actually Want a Liberal Arts Education

Andrea L. Turpin

Undergraduate students actually want a liberal arts education—when presented with the arguments for it. How do I know?

First, some background: this year the College of Arts & Sciences at Baylor University approved a unified core curriculum for all of its students, from physics majors to English majors. Like all human products, this specific core has its strengths and weaknesses. But I love working for an institution that values the liberal arts enough to require a large proportion of its students to take courses across a fairly broad range of subjects. In fact, several of the courses in the core are straight-up required—all students must take exactly those courses. The rest of the core consists of the more common “distribution list” system whereby students select courses from among several options in each area. After fulfilling the core requirements, A&S students complete their degree with a combination of electives and additional requirements for their particul…

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