Symbiosis International University Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

About Liberal Arts

The purpose of an education is to equip you with the skills needed to live your life to the optimum, within the surroundings that you find yourself in. To be able to do this, one needs to have a certain vitality about oneself in addition to being multi-dimensional. A liberal arts education, in it's open flow of subjects and courses through the arts, sciences and business, offers a willing individual precisely these two qualities. What distinguishes a liberal arts program from other 'traditional' courses is that every student would have to study subjects from across the academic spectrum. One could major in Biology and pick Philosophy as a minor. Alternatively, one could major in Mathematics or Business Studies while simultaneously working on a History minor. Exposure to these diverse fields in a conducive learning environment is what has made liberal arts the chosen field of study of opinion leaders such as Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Bill Gates.

Liberal arts is gaining currency as a preferred format of study the world over, especially in societies and countries that have come to realise that merely being placed in a job is not the sole aim of a well rounded education. Sure, job opportunities are important and necessary, but they aren't the be all and end all. A liberal arts degree program offers students everything that a traditional BA or BSc does, and more. The liberal arts approach is attractive precisely because it equips one with all the technical and academic knowledge to excel in one's chosen field of study, while simultaneously enriching one's knowledge base with other skills and knowledge sets that no doubt supplement a core domain.

Diversity is not looked at as an 'add-on' in the liberal arts environment. Rather, it is a necessity.
   In a vibrant and dynamic world, the need is for vibrant and dynamic individuals. A narrow education does not quite cut it. Even in a professional work environment, it is the professional's performance on the job that makes all the difference. This performance is no doubt enhanced by an education that broadens the scope of the professional's thought processes and analytical capabilities. A liberal arts education enhances these qualities.

Liberal arts educators strive to break out of the damaging sense in which education has come to be unnecessarily streamlined. If knowledge is the edge, then in order to possess that edge, an individual or student cannot subscribe to arbitrary and arcane boundaries fossilized in a given system of education.

Contrary to popular belief, liberal arts is not only about the fine arts or the performing arts. In fact, the use of the word 'art' these days is often narrow. For the ancient Greeks, mathematics, grammar and music were all arts. Art is something made, something fashioned by man. By this understanding, all sciences are 'art' as well, since these scientific knowledge systems are an achievement of man. So a Biology course in a liberal arts program will have a core Biology syllabus comparable to a B.Sc program. The only difference is the approach taken in teaching the course. The approach is one of relevance, interconnectedness and vitality.