Who Says Liberal Arts and STEM Can’t Coexist?
As more families consider the ROI of a college education, the value of a liberal arts education in today’s world has been a hot topic. With many STEM degrees and programs topping lists of “highest paying majors” and “best college ROI,” many have waged a war on the liberal arts, pegging them as useless degrees that don’t warrant the cost. However, while a STEM degree can open doors to lucrative careers, many employers are finding that, without a liberal arts background, many STEM graduates lack the necessary communication, management, and collaboration skills that are necessary in the workforce.
It is possible to marry the skills of liberal arts and STEM in a way that best prepares students to, not only master highly-technical skills, but also be valuable employees and problem solvers. These colleges have done a great job of creating programs that don’t just focus on one or the other, but, instead, utilize the best parts of both a STEM and liberal arts education to create a comprehensive educational experience.
Here’s a list of colleges that marry liberal arts and STEM education:
Davidson College in North Carolina offers either a 4/2 or a 3/2 dual engineering program culminating at either Washington University in St. Louis or Columbia University. Davidson students who complete the prerequisites and achieve the required GPA are guaranteed admission.
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia has recently started a Bachelor of Science/Master of Teaching program that can be completed in five years. Graduates are licensed to teach physics, chemistry, or mathematics.
Bowdoin College in Maine partners with the University of Maine at Orono, the School of Engineering and Applied Science of Columbia University, the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, and the California Institute of Technology. These schools provide numerous degree paths, including 2/1/1/1, 3/2, and 4/2.
Bucknell, a small liberal arts school with an enrollment of 3,600 students, offers 4-year bachelor’s degrees in eight engineering fields. Students also have the option to earn a bachelor of science degree from any of the engineering programs in addition to a bachelor of arts degree from the College of Arts & Sciences. Bucknell also has a five-year B.S and M.S. in engineering program.
Harvey Mudd College
Harvey Mudd is unique in that it is a liberal arts college known for its focus and strength in STEM fields. This is reflected in the Core Curriculum, which the school describes as an “academic boot camp in the STEM disciplines.” Although arts and sciences majors are not offered, students must take a total of eleven courses in humanities, social sciences, and the arts.
At Lafayette, students have access to the full range of academic disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. There is a dual-degree program in which students can earn a B.A. in international studies and a B.S. in chemical, civil, electrical and computer, or mechanical engineering.
Swarthmore College offers a degree in engineering in which students have the ability to create an elective program of advanced work. There are also a variety of courses available to non-majors and minors including, “Engineering Methodology,” “Art and Engineering of Structures,” and “Mechanics.”
Are you a woman interested in studying engineering within a liberal arts context? Smith may be the right place for you. Students in the Picker Engineering program create their own individualized plan of study and frequently work in cross-disciplinary teams.
Wesleyan’s B.A/M.A. program can be completed with an additional two semesters of M.A. work. It is a research-intensive program that includes work, teaching, and seminars for students interested in the natural sciences, mathematics, or psychology.
Union College in New York offers a variety of engineering disciplines and degree options. Students can choose two majors and earn one degree (recent examples include Mechanical Engineering/German and Electrical Engineering/Economics). There is also a five-year, two-degree program which allows students to earn an engineering and bachelor of science or bachelor of arts degree or two engineering degrees.