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The Value of a Liberal Education

Students studying in the Claire T. Carney Library

Liberal education is based on the idea that people are naturally curious about themselves and their world; that there is something deeply satisfying about learning.

At UMass Dartmouth, your education will include studies in your major and your college—and in University Studies, which focuses on the integration of knowledge and how you will carry your knowledge into the world.

Your major & your college

You will choose a major from UMass Dartmouth’s many options, and you will learn a lot about that field. But, having a major is more important than what that major is. Learning to master a subject—any subject—is far more important than acquiring specific skills for a job.

If you are like most recent graduates, you will change jobs many times in your life. Today, graduates on average change jobs 10 times in the 20 years after college. Your career may very well have nothing to do with your major.

The real value of the major is that it involves deep learning, which advances your intellectual capacity and prepares you for a lifetime of learning.

Since your major is situated within one of UMass Dartmouth’s five colleges, you will also learn what it means to be an educated person in that particular branch of knowledge: your college studies.

Your university studies

Liberal education involves more than the in-depth study of a major. It also:

  • exposes you to a range of knowledge in many fields within the sciences, arts, and humanities
  • develops your intellectual skills: your ability to write well, speak effectively and think critically

This part of the curriculum—the basis for UMass Dartmouth’s University Studies program—is critical to the academic experience of liberal education. You’ll learn about ancient puzzles and contemporary debates. You’ll discover an appreciation for the many ways people try to understand and improve our world.

All these pieces of a liberal education will make you a valued employee, professional, entrepreneur, public official, artist, rock star—or whatever else you will do to earn a living. In fact, when business leaders are asked what colleges and universities should emphasize more in their curricula, the most common answers are those things that liberal education provides: the ability to write and speak well, reason analytically, and think critically.

University Studies curriculum

The value of your education

The value of your university education is much more than career development. Its most important value is personal.

College will dramatically change how you see yourself and your world. You will be a different person when you graduate. Your perspective will be higher, and your experience of life will be richer.

Rationale for University Studies

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