Go to Content
Columbia College Chicago
Letter from the Dean
LAS banner final.jpg

Letter from the Dean


Thank you for your interest in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Columbia College Chicago.

Noted American scholar William Cronon once said that a liberal education "nurtures human freedom in the service of human community" and that "liberally educated people have been liberated by their education to explore and fulfill the promise of their own highest talents."

This is true of the education in the liberal arts and sciences for all undergraduate students seeking degrees at Columbia College Chicago.

The School of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) at Columbia College houses the LAS Core Curriculum—a requirement for all students throughout the college enrolled in undergraduate degree programs. Our LAS Core challenges students to think in critical, independent, wide-ranging, and diverse ways, while providing them with the myriad contexts and know-how that will prepare them to be engaged and productive citizens.

But the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences is still more than a place where students gain knowledge in a wide variety of areas—literature, history, humanities, languages, mathematics, and the sciences. We offer number of degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level, including undergraduate degrees in Poetry, Art and Materials Conservation (our newest undergraduate program, which includes a year of study for students at Lorenzo de' Medici Italian International Institute in Italy), Cultural Studies, American Sign Language, Early Childhood Education, Creative Nonfiction, and graduate degrees in Education, Poetry, and Creative Nonfiction.

We also offer minors and concentrations—including Environmental Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, and others—that enrich one's intellectual portfolio and potentially lead to careers in communications, teaching, the arts, and a host of other fields. Many students have also become successful applicants to graduate and professional schools after they have completed degrees at Columbia. 

The School of Liberal Arts and Sciences is also home to the college’s Honors Program. Launched in the Spring of 2010, the Honors Program widens the academic scope at Columbia and provides students with advanced learning opportunities in their LAS Core courses. Students who successfully complete the Honors Program qualify for "Graduation with Honors,” and this is cited at Commencement and entered on students' transcripts.

In addition to all of these wonderful and challenging academic opportunities, we offer the Undergraduate Research Mentorship Initiative (URMI). The URMI provides a student at Columbia and an LAS faculty member with the opportunity to work together on that faculty member’s research or scholarship. Students earn up to three credit hours for their work. Since the initiative began in 2008, more than twenty URMIs have been completed, with positive feedback from both students and faculty.

As Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, I know that an education in the liberal arts and sciences helps provide one with the intellectual and creative capacity to succeed in whichever field one chooses to pursue, be it education, dance, photography, journalism, painting, film, or any of the many degrees offered at Columbia College Chicago.

The Core Curriculum in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences—as well as our degrees, minors, programs, and initiatives—prepares students not only to be practitioners within specific fields of interest, but also allows them to bring along rich, substantial contexts that make them intellectually nimble and able to respond to a complex, dynamic, and ever-changing environment.

Deborah H. Holdstein, PhD
Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences