The meaning and goal of the word “liberal” in liberal arts education is freedom; the freedom to think one’s own thoughts and develop one’s own point of view. This involves the ability to analyze personal opinions and assumptions, as well as those of others. It means becoming more aware of one’s roots in the past, while also being open to new ways of thinking. With liberal arts education, the emphasis is not on the ‘spoon feeding learning technique’ or mere memorization of facts, but on critical thinking and a creative approach to problem solving. The knowledge and techniques learned today are often outdated tomorrow. The skills acquired at AUC will enable students to evaluate and develop new ideas, to find the information they need in this rapidly changing world, and to see connections and understand the broader picture behind events. The University’s goal is to teach students how to learn so that they would be prepared to tackle the challenges ahead.
How to Get the Liberal Arts Education:
The heart of a liberal arts education is to be found in traditional liberal arts courses, such as literature, philosophy, mathematics and science. At AUC, every student is assured of a basic liberal arts education through the general education requirements built into the Core Curriculum. Through these courses students should expect to participate in discussions and actively question their instructors, rather than sit passively listening to lectures. It also means that, as much as possible, all classes should emphasize reading, writing and critical-thinking skills.
The Core Curriculum Program:
AUC is dedicated to the ideals of American liberal arts and professional education. The University provides students with a wide range of majors from which to choose. Within those majors, AUC allows students to take numerous courses that suit their personal interests and needs. In addition to having this freedom, students also follow a course of study, which promotes their learning of subjects, such as classical literature, Arab history, and philosophical and scientific thinking. This part of the educational system at AUC is known as the Core Curriculum. The Core Curriculum is designed to ensure that every AUC graduate is broadly educated and well-trained in specific fields. In addition, one of the primary purposes of the Core Curriculum is to supplement the secondary-school training of incoming freshmen by providing them with the linguistic, analytical and study skills necessary for serious, productive university-level work. The Core Curriculum is designed to acquaint students with humanities, social sciences and the natural sciences; it also exposes them to some of the most influential books and ideas that helped shape human history.
Every major at AUC has a number of credits that students must fulfill in any area he/she wishes. Electives exist so that students explore freely the variety of courses offered by several departments at the university. Sometimes these credits can be collectively used by students to form smaller specialization, in addition to the bigger major that they chose. This is known as a “minor." At AUC, students may select one or two areas of minor specializations while earning their degree. If students take the courses assigned for a minor, they will go much deeper into that subject, than they would by just taking one or two introductory classes. At the same time, they would not go as deeply into it as someone who is majoring in it. In many cases, the minor has played an important role for students trying to get jobs after they earn their degrees, whether by adding an area of expertise or showing the breadth of their interests and abilities. Having a minor can help students, make them more noticeable to an employer and add to their overall experience at AUC.