Admissions and Student Blog

Lib Arts Blog

What is a Liberal Arts Education?

“Liberal Arts” is a category that several schools, Gonzaga included, use to define their institutions. It’s a phrase college representatives and high school counselors frequently use, but what exactly does “Liberal Arts” mean, and why is it valuable?

The Association of American Colleges and Universities defines Liberal Arts education as “an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change.” That’s a good start, but you might be thinking “Okay, that still sounds too lofty, what does that really mean and how will this benefit me in a tangible capacity?”

A Liberal Arts education at Gonzaga entails a holistic experience that graduates students who are intentional people, who are superbly trained in their field, who are exceptional leaders, and are dedicated to using their talents to serve others. Having a Liberal Arts education permits for flexibility. Our world is in constant motion; everything is a snapchat or a click away and the next second it has completely changed. A Liberal Arts education teaches you how to be a critical thinker and exposes you to a variety of academic disciplines with the goal that you will be malleable and thrive in our constantly changing world.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Liberal Arts educations are often pitted against one another, a proverbial educational battle that in reality is not a battle at all. At Gonzaga, STEM is inherently a part of a Liberal Arts education and vice versa. Our Engineering students take Philosophy classes, and our Philosophy students take Chemistry. Learning is not subject-specific. A Liberal Arts education simply means that you are challenged to be a well-rounded individual, and we hope that you explore these possibilities at Gonzaga.