Liberal arts college

college with an emphasis on undergraduate study in the liberal arts and sciences

A liberal arts college is a college with an emphasis on undergraduate study in the liberal arts and sciences.[1][2] These colleges try to teach broad general knowledge, different from colleges that focus on job skills.[3] Students in a liberal arts college often major in one subject but take classes in many subjects, including both humanities and sciences. The idea of liberal arts began in Europe,[4] but liberal arts colleges are mostly found in the United States.

Saint Anselm College, a liberal arts college in New Hampshire.

In 2019, the top ten liberal arts colleges in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report, were Amherst College, Bowdoin College, Carleton College, Claremont McKenna College, Davidson College, Middlebury College, Pomona College, Swarthmore College, Wellesley College, and Williams College.

Many liberal arts colleges teach only undergraduate students, but some also offer graduate programs that lead to a master's degree or doctoral degree. The term "liberal arts college" most often describes an independent college, but it may also sometimes describe a college within a larger university. Most liberal arts colleges outside the United States are like this.


  1. "National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". US News & World Report. Archived from the original on 2016-08-21. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
  2. Clemmer 1997, p. 73.
  3. "Liberal Arts: Encyclopædia Britannica Concise". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 2008-02-15.
  4. Harriman 1935.