Liberal arts

Liberal arts

The term liberal arts refers to a particular type of educational curriculum broadly defined as a classical education.


Definitionanchors|Seven liberal arts|The seven liberal arts

The term 'liberal arts' is a college or curriculum aimed at imparting general knowledge and developing intellectual capacities, in contrast to a professional, vocational, or technical curriculum. In classical antiquity, the term designated the education proper to a freeman (Latin: "liber", "free") as opposed to a slave. Martianus Capella (5th century AD) defines the seven Liberal Arts as grammar, dialectic, rhetoric and geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, music. In the medieval Western university, the seven liberal arts were:
* the "Trivium"

  1. grammar
  2. rhetoric
  3. logic

* the "Quadrivium"
  1. geometry
  2. arithmetic
  3. music
  4. astronomy

In modern colleges and universities, the liberal arts include the study of art, literature, languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, and science. [cite web | first = | last = | title = Liberal Arts: Encyclopedia Britannica Concise| publisher = Encyclopedia Britannica | date = | url=]

Expansion to include visual arts

During the Renaissance a considerable propaganda campaign was mounted to support the promotion to the number of liberal arts of architecture, painting and sculpture, though not necessarily for their inclusion in the educational curriculum in the same way. Previously they had been classified among the mechanical or manual arts. Among those writing to support their inclusion were Leon Battista Alberti, Leonardo da Vinci, Giorgio Vasari and many others. At least in Italy, and among Renaissance humanists, the battle was largely won by about 1500, [Blunt, Anthony, "Artistic Theory in Italy, 1450-1660",p. 49, 1940 (refs to 1985 edn), OUP, ISBN0198810504] though in remoter regions like Spain and England the process took up to another century.

Liberal arts colleges


Liberal arts colleges are institutions which place a particular emphasis upon undergraduate study in the liberal arts. Generally, a full-time, four-year course of study at a liberal arts college leads students to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. Liberal arts colleges have traditionally emphasized interactive instructionFact|date=May 2008 (although research is still a component of these institutions) and are usually residential.Fact|date=May 2008 They typically have a smaller enrollment, class size, and higher teacher-to-student ratios than universities. These colleges also encourage a high level of teacher-student interaction at the center of which are classes taught by full-time faculty rather than graduate student teaching assistants (who teach some classes at Research I and other universities).Fact|date=June 2008 Although the genesis for what is known today as the liberal arts college began in Europe, [cite web | first =Philip | last =Harriman | title = Antecedents of the Liberal Arts College| publisher = "The Journal of Higher Education," Vol. 6, No. 2 (1935), pp. 63-71 | date =1935 | url=] the term is commonly associated with liberal arts colleges in the United States. Liberal arts colleges are found in countries all over the world as wellFact|date=August 2008.

Following completion of their undergraduate studies at liberal arts colleges, students may continue on to graduate study in other institutions, such as professional schools (for instance, in business, law, medicine, or theology) or graduate schools.


Further reading

* Blaich, Charles, Anne Bost, Ed Chan, and Richard Lynch. "Defining Liberal Arts Education". Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts, 2004.
* Blanshard, Brand. "The Uses of a Liberal Education: And Other Talks to Students". (Open Court, 1973. ISBN 0-8126-9429-5)
* Friedlander, Jack. "Measuring the Benefits of Liberal Arts Education in Washington's Community Colleges". Los Angeles: Center for the Study of Community Colleges, 1982a. (ED 217 918)
* Joseph, Sister Miriam. "The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric". Paul Dry Books Inc, 2002.
* Pfnister, Allen O. " [ The Role of the Liberal Arts College] ." "The Journal of Higher Education." Vol. 55, No. 2 (March/April 1984): 145-170.
* Reeves, Floyd W. " [ The Liberal-Arts College] ." "The Journal of Higher Education." Vol. 1, No. 7 (1930): 373-380.
* Seidel, George. " [ Saving the Small College] ." "The Journal of Higher Education." Vol. 39, No. 6 (1968): 339-342.
* Winterer, Caroline."The Culture of Classicism: Ancient Greece and Rome in American Intellectual Life, 1780-1910." Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.
* Wriston, Henry M. "The Nature of a Liberal College". Lawrence University Press, 1937.
* T. Kaori Kitao, William R. Kenan, Jr."The Usefulness Of Uselessness" [] Keynote Address, The 1999 Institute for the Academic Advancement of Youth's Odyssey at Swarthmore College, 27 March 1999

ee also

*Bachelor of Liberal Studies
*Bachelor of Liberal Arts
*Bachelor of General Studies
*Bachelor of Arts

External links

* [ Philosophy of Liberal Education]
* [ Liberal Arts at the Community College]
* [ A Descriptive Analysis of the Community College Liberal Arts Curriculum]
* [ The Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts]
* [ Academic Commons]
* [,seven.html CatholiCity: Catholic Encyclopedia]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • liberal arts — pl.n. [transl. of L artes liberales, lit., arts befitting a freeman: so named in contrast to artes serviles, lower (lit., servile) arts, and because open to study only by freemen (L liberi); in later use understood as “arts becoming a gentleman”] …   English World dictionary

  • liberal arts — late 14c., translating L. artes liberales; the seven attainments directed to intellectual enlargement, not immediate practical purpose, and thus deemed worthy of a free man (LIBERAL (Cf. liberal) in this sense is opposed to servile or mechanical) …   Etymology dictionary

  • liberal arts — n [plural] especially AmE the areas of learning which develop someone s ability to think and increase their general knowledge, rather than developing technical skills …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • liberal arts — noun plural school or college subjects that give students a general education and teach them to think, rather than those subjects that develop practical skills …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • liberal arts — (seven liberal arts)    The seven liberal arts were the basis of a general secular education throughout medieval western Europe. Based on a system dating back to classical times, the liberal arts were made up of the trivium essentially what… …   Encyclopedia of medieval literature

  • Liberal Arts — Septem artes liberales aus Hortus Deliciarum der Herrad von Landsberg (um 1180) Die Sieben freien Künste (lat. septem artes liberales, seltener auch studia liberalia) sind ein in der Antike entstandener Kanon von sieben Studienfächern, d …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • liberal arts — noun studies intended to provide general knowledge and intellectual skills (rather than occupational or professional skills) (Freq. 1) the college of arts and sciences • Syn: ↑humanistic discipline, ↑humanities, ↑arts • Hypernyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • liberal arts — 1. the academic course of instruction at a college intended to provide general knowledge and comprising the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, as opposed to professional or technical subjects. 2. (during the Middle Ages)… …   Universalium

  • liberal arts — N PLURAL At a university or college, liberal arts courses are on subjects such as history or literature rather than science, law, medicine, or business. [AM] There has been a decline in enrollment in liberal arts courses in favor of highly… …   English dictionary

  • liberal arts — noun Liberal arts is used before these nouns: ↑college …   Collocations dictionary

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