Welcome Undergraduate Students
Greetings and welcome to the College of Liberal Arts!
Our programs provide core Liberal Education offerings for all UMD students, but for nearly 2100 students each year, the College of Liberal Arts represents their academic home. Why do these students choose CLA for their intellectual and career development?
In the College of Liberal Arts, you will find dynamic courses of study taught by highly accomplished faculty, who are active, renowned creators of knowledge. CLA offers an education that emphasizes shared inquiry, effective and creative communication, strategic analysis, and global awareness. Moreover, CLA students benefit from outstanding mentoring in their programs of study as well as from exciting opportunities for undergraduate research projects, internships, study abroad, and department scholarships. You will enter a culture of innovation when you begin a CLA degree program.
A liberal arts education, in sum, will prepare you to negotiate and understand the complexities and commonalities of our humanity, our communities, our histories, and our geographies. The intellectual journey that you embark on in CLA will prove valuable for a lifetime.
A careful look at the course catalog reveals a plethora of choices for CLA majors and minors. CLA offers in-depth study in diverse social science and humanities disciplines offered by eleven departments. Because interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged in liberal arts programs, CLA offers a number of programs that represent an engaging confluence of academic disciplines, including majors in Cultural Entrepreneurship, Chinese Area Studies, Environment and Sustainability Studies, Latin American Area Studies, and International Studies. Newly established minors like African and African American Studies, Cognitive Science, and Russian Area Studies are vital additions to our interdisciplinary offerings. CLA provides students with a wide-ranging educational experience as well as many clearly defined career paths, as CLA alumni can attest.
Many CLA graduates return to the college to pursue graduate work. Master’s level programs in Advocacy and Political Leadership, Liberal Studies, and English await those undergraduates who wish to pursue deeper studies at the graduate level.
To add to its diverse academic program, CLA offers a vast array of extracurricular activities, including writing for the Lake Voice, participating in one of a dozen student clubs, attending an event organized by a college center like the Center for Ethics and Public Policy, the Geospatial Analysis Center, or the Alworth Institute for International Studies. Undergraduate students with an interest in working with a professor on research can also choose to complete an honors project, an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Project (UROP), or a Sustainable Development Research Opportunity Program (SDROP) project. These activities are not only interesting and challenging, but also help you develop leadership skills, gain relevant experience for careers, add to resumes for graduate school, and build networks for mentoring.
Many CLA students enhance their education through transformative study abroad experiences. I encourage you to investigate the options for study abroad. UMD offers a number of shorter and longer choices for study abroad that help students increase language skills and cultural understanding. The friends, experiences, and wonderful challenges you will gains from leaving one world behind to enter a new one are invaluable.
In sum, CLA nurtures the whole person. I wish you success as you begin your journey in Bulldog Country with CLA. Along the way, remember that staff and faculty are here to assist you.
Dr. Susan Maher