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Living in Liberal Arts

One part of DePaul I was originally conflicted about was the liberal arts aspect of our curriculum. We have our major classes, which are interesting classes we really care about, but then we also have “learning domains” and “liberal studies program” classes, which are what the university tells us we have to take. 

The learning domains are broken into six different categories - Arts & Literature, Philosophical Inquiry, Scientific Inquiry, Religious Dimensions, Understanding the Past, and Social, Cultural, & Behavioral Inquiry.  Depending on what major you declare, you’ll have a certain amount of classes in each of these domains. If you’re in the Honors program or another specialized program, these run differently, but, for the most part, you get to choose from at least thirty different classes in each of these categories. So you are forced to take, let’s say, a history class that fulfills a Understanding the Past credit, however you can choose what historical context you like. I have taken an interesting Greco-Roman history class that I enjoyed so much!

The liberal studies program is the same for every student throughout the university, per specific exceptions. It includes the first year classes - two rhetoric classes, two math classes, a Chicago Quarter class, and a focal point. Then there are a class you have to take each of the successive years - a multicultural seminar sophomore year, an experiential learning junior year, and a capstone senior year. 

At first, I didn’t really know how I felt about this. I have friends at other colleges who are allowed to take whatever classes they wanted. But now I really appreciate having taken all these other classes that are outside my major. Some of these classes were even better than my major classes. Looking back at all the learning domains I’ve taken, I am happy I could have taken a break from my literature and education classes to learn about topics that I am also interested in, but not enough to study it for a degree. Having learning domains and a liberal arts program allowed me to have a wide variety of knowledge, and still focus on the classes that I care about.