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Liberal Arts and Science Requirement

Courses are classified as liberal arts and sciences or as non-liberal arts and sciences.  These designations appear on each course in the course catalog.

For undergraduate degrees, the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) requires that a portion of the credit hours in the degree program must be in the liberal arts and sciences. These requirements are:

  • Associate in Arts (AA): 45 credit minimum (3/4 of the coursework)

  • Associate in Science (AS): 30 credit minimum (1/2 of the coursework)

  • Associate in Applied Science (AAS): 20 credit minimum (1/3 of the coursework)

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA): 90 credit minimum (3/4 of the coursework)

  • Bachelor of Science (BS): 60 credit minimum (1/2 of the coursework)

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA): 30 credit minimum (1/4 of the coursework)

The liberal arts and sciences comprise the disciplines of the humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, and social sciences. 

Examples of course types that are generally considered within the liberal arts and sciences:

  • Humanities:

  • English—composition, creative writing, history of language, journalism, linguistics, literature, literature in translation, playwriting

  • Fine arts—art appreciation, history or theory

  • Foreign languages—composition, conversation, grammar, history of the language, literature of the language, reading, translation studies

  • Music—music appreciation, history or theory

  • Philosophy—comparative philosophy, history of philosophy, logic, schools of philosophy

  • Religion—comparative religion, history of religion

  • Theater—dramatic interpretation, dramatic literature, dramaturgy, history of drama, playwriting

  • Natural sciences and mathematics:

  • Natural sciences—anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, earth science, geology, physics, zoology

  • Mathematics—calculus, mathematical theory, statistics

  • Computer Science—broad survey/theory courses

  • Social sciences:

  • Anthropology, cultural studies, economics, geography, government, history, political science, psychology, sociology

  • Criminal justice—introductory and broad survey courses

  • Communications—interpersonal communication, mass communication, public speaking, speech and rhetoric

Examples of course types that are generally not considered within the liberal arts and sciences:

  • Agriculture

  • Business—administration, finance, human resources, management, marketing, production

  • Computer applications (e.g., word processing, database, spreadsheet), programming (e.g., specific languages)

  • Health and physical education

  • Home economics 

  • Education and teaching methods 

  • Library science 

  • Music—studio, performance, practice courses—voice, instrument, direction, conducting

  • Office technologies and practice 

  • Performing and related arts—acting, costume design, dance, direction, lighting, production, scene construction, sound production 

  • Specialized professional courses in such fields as accounting, architecture, dental hygiene, dentistry, engineering, law, medicine, nursing, nutrition, pharmacy, podiatry, veterinary medicine

  • Studio art—drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture

  • Technology/technician fields—construction, data processing, electrical, electronics, graphic arts, mechanical, medical, refrigeration repair

  • Television and radio production

  • Theology—pastoral counseling, ministry

For more information, please refer to the NYSED Department Expectations: Curriculum.