Liberal Arts Distribution Definitions
The definition of Liberal Arts is discussed in APC documentation. Below is an excerpt from APC Guidelines that address the broad definition:
Definitions of the liberal arts are somewhat fluid. When their applicability is in doubt, we should also consult our own purpose in classifying, which is to assure that studies providing cultural breadth, systematic theoretic rigor, and a broad field for the play of intellect are prominent in all degree programs. The following information from the New York State Education department may assist proposers in determining if a course meets the definition of liberal arts:
The liberal arts and sciences comprise the disciplines of the humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, and social sciences.
A. Examples of course types that are generally considered within the liberal arts and sciences: (for the complete list, see the APC Guidelines)
1. Humanities: English, fine arts, foreign languages, music, philosophy, religion, theater
2. Natural sciences and mathematics, including computer science
3. Social sciences: anthropology, cultural studies, economics, government, history, political science, psychology, sociology, speech and rhetoric
B. Examples of course types that are generally not considered within the liberal arts and sciences: (for the complete list, see the APC Guidelines)
agriculture, business, computer applications, health and physical education, education and teaching methods, music performance, specialized professional courses, television and radio production.
When courses in list B are proposed for LA designation, the burden of evidence is on the proposer to show that in breadth of cultural or psychological material, rigor and depth of theoretic structure, or play of broad intellectual and aesthetic themes, the course should receive an LA designation.
Liberal Arts Designations
(approved by H&S Curriculum Committee Apr. 2010)
Fine Arts (FA)
To meet the fine and performing arts distribution requirement, a course will focus its time and content primarily on instruction in the methods and materials necessary for the creation and/or appreciation of works of art, including theatrical, musical, visual, built forms, etc. "Appreciation" includes an understanding of aesthetic conventions and theoretical, social, historical, political, and/or economic contexts. Students should develop the skills to understand and express in verbal and written forms what they see, hear, or experience in a work of art.
To meet the humanities distribution requirement, a course will: focus its time and content primarily on history, philosophy, religion, visual imagery, language, or letters; emphasize the reflection and interpretation of the human experience; and explore the meanings of human existence in oral and written form.
Natural Science and Mathematics (NS)
To meet the natural science and mathematics distribution requirement, a course will focus its time and content primarily on scientific theories which explain experimentally verifiable physical or biological phenomena and the methodological processes of the sciences as epitomized by the scientific method, or on the mathematical and/or formal logic processes evidenced in mathematics and computer science.
Social Science (SS)
To meet the social and behavioral science distribution requirement, a course will focus its time and content primarily on theories that explain verifiable phenomena of human behavior, and/or on systematic, empirical analysis of human individual or group behavior using the methodological processes of the social sciences as epitomized by the scientific method.