Liberal Arts Track
What are the Liberal Arts?
Historically, the goals of a liberal arts education were to foster intellectual development, personal growth, and civic engagement. Medieval Western universities trained students in the Trivium—grammar, rhetoric, and logic—and it is from these branches of study that the liberal arts curriculum was developed. English departments in American colleges were a nineteenth-century development and now comprise an important part of a liberal arts education. The unique features of 21st-century life demand the kind of intellectual flexibility and broad-based knowledge that a liberal arts education can provide.
The Liberal Arts Track
The English Department’s Liberal Arts track offers students a combination of survey courses, genre studies, investigations of major literary figures, and linguistics courses. Students in the Liberal Arts track will:
- read and interpret a wide variety of literary “texts” within their historical and cultural contexts
- compose informed and persuasive written arguments
- develop their oral communication skills through spirited class discussions
- explore the development of various literary genres, including novels, short stories, poetry, pamphlets, films, drama
- investigate concepts of “authorship” and the literary canon;
- trace the creation of “major” authors such as Shakespeare, Milton, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and many others
What is the function of the Liberal Arts in the 21st century?
The Liberal Arts track prepares students for a wide range of professional and academic pursuits. While a few UMD English graduates each year go on to teach English at various levels or attend graduate school in English, the great majority find employment opportunities in other fields. Recent graduates of UMD's English program have been accepted in various courses of graduate study including, law, medicine, business, theology, and interdisciplinary studies. Other graduates have accepted positions in fields such as business, writing, publishing, and government service..