The Applied Liberal Arts (ALA) curriculum provides students with opportunities for big-picture learning, professional development, and community engagement that complement the specialization they get from departments.
Serving well over 1,000 students each semester, ALA provides a home for both experimental and established courses that give students the opportunity to discover intellectual and professional applications of a liberal arts education, reflect on big issues and questions that transcend specific academic disciplines, and better understand how experiences with the liberal arts have connected with their overall academic and personal development. Since these learning opportunities draw on many aspects of a liberal-arts education while going beyond the specifics of individual departments, different ALA courses differ considerably in approach and focus.
All of the following topics have provided a basis for ALA courses:
- Courses that are highly multidisciplinary, bridging the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities in original, innovative, and insightful ways
- Courses that challenge students to contemplate the purposes and outcomes of a liberal-arts education and/or a University of Michigan education
- Courses that help students develop knowledge, professional skills, and analytical thinking in areas such as public speaking, leadership, dialogue and intercultural exploration, health and wellness, social innovation, personal finance, or entrepreneurship
- Courses that sharpen students’ educational and professional development through internship preparation, STEM-acclimation initiatives, academic research, digital research, or data visualization
With its particular dedication to curricular innovation, flexibility, and breadth, ALA provides opportunities to hone academic and professional skill sets and think more deeply about the world in ways that are both rigorous and practical. ALA curriculum structures unique opportunities for intellectual exploration, expansive learning, personal growth, and reflective ownership of one’s education.