Liberal Arts

What does it mean to be a liberal arts university?

At AU, it means that we believe students need to graduate with a thorough knowledge of their chosen field and a broad understanding of the world around them.

female student sitting on picnic table studying

Getting Started

First-year students get started with their liberal arts requirements beginning with their first semester. During the fall semester, every first-year student takes LART 1050 First-Year Seminar. The hallmark of this first course is the establishment of a mentoring relationship with a faculty member and with an upper-level student. These mentors become resources for the students during their first year and beyond.

Engaging and Broadening

The liberal arts curriculum includes a core of classes focused on written communication, speaking and listening, quantitative reasoning, Biblical literacy, and personal wellness.

Additional courses are chosen from six categories that reflect different – but complementary – ways of knowing the world:

  • Christian Ways of Knowing
  • Scientific Ways of Knowing
  • Civic Ways of Knowing
  • Aesthetic Ways of Knowing
  • Social and Behavioral Ways of Knowing
  • Global/Intercultural Ways of Knowing

Moving from Ideas to Experience

Every undergraduate student is required, sometime throughout his or her time at AU, to complete an internship, practicum, capstone, clinical, or other experience that represents a hands-on way of experiencing the world. The student will work with his or her academic advisor to identify and complete this experience. Often, this need is fulfilled by a requirement in the student’s major.

Liberal Arts Requirements

The liberal arts program includes five content areas consisting of one or more components defined in terms of specific goals and objectives.

Courses applicable to the content areas are approved for one academic year, beginning with the fall semester.

Liberal Arts Curriculum Infographic

I’ve had many conversations with Matt Olsen, head of National Counter-Terrorism Center, who has described the field of cybersecurity as needing well-rounded individuals with integrity and communications skills, like those in our liberal arts curriculum. I told him, ‘Well, you’re describing the AU student majoring in cybersecurity,’ and he said, ‘That’s who I’m looking for.’

President John Pistole

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