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College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (called the College or CLAS) is KU’s largest academic unit with 53 departments and programs. The liberal arts and sciences include disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and natural and mathematical sciences. The humanities are the study of the constructions or creations of humans over time (literature, religion, philosophy, history, culture, language, etc.). The social sciences are the study of how and why humans behave as they do individually, in groups, or in society (psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc.). The natural sciences involve explanations and predictions of the natural world. Each department lends a unique perspective on the world. Look for the “Why study…” statements in each department’s page to begin to understand their unique contribution to your education.

Liberal education at the undergraduate level is typically broad rather than specialized. Its aim is to develop a citizenry that is broadly informed and capable of critical appraisal and to provide fundamental knowledge in many fields. The mission of the College, as reflected in KU’s bachelor’s degree requirements, is to provide such an education, both for CLAS students and those in the professional schools. The College takes full advantage of KU’s role as a research institution to ensure that the knowledge imparted to students is current and that they learn the skills of inquiry and critical evaluation.

Special Opportunities in the College

CLAS Dean’s Scholars Program

The Dean’s Scholars Program offers 15 to 20 scholarships a year to academically talented juniors and seniors in CLAS who are interested in pursuing graduate study in a discipline represented by the College. Dean’s Scholars are from groups traditionally underrepresented in graduate education. Eligible students include those who would contribute to the diversity of graduate education programs and of future faculty. See the University Policy on Diversity of the Student Body for eligibility criteria.

Students must complete a sequence of 4 seminars during their junior and senior years at KU to build specific skills for graduate studies. Seminar topics include strategies for selecting a graduate program, developing a personal application statement, soliciting letters of recommendation, and assembling a competitive graduate application. Emphasis is placed on developing professional and academic skills to improve the scholar’s competitiveness for the best graduate programs. Social activities, standardized test-taking workshops, academic and career counseling, and other services are offered. The program matches students with faculty mentors who involve them in research and guide them in graduate school preparation.

KU Language Across the Curriculum

KULAC is a pioneering program that seeks to equip students with real competency in foreign language through a curriculum of courses and discussion sections taught in foreign languages in fields like business, history, politics, and the environment. KULAC classes allow you to study subjects that meet your interests (and graduation requirements) while sharpening your foreign language skills, including the specialized vocabulary used in your career. Employers are looking for graduates who combine a disciplinary specialty with foreign language proficiency and a knowledge of other cultures. KULAC makes it possible for you to develop these skills without slowing progress toward your degree. KULAC courses are open to any student who has completed at least two years of college-level classes in the relevant language. Courses are taught in Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Russian. There are new offerings each semester. For more information, consult the Center for Global and International Studies.


UKanTeach prepares future secondary (6-12 grade) math and science teachers by encouraging students to learn to teach while pursuing a four-year bachelor’s degree. UKanTeach invites all KU students to take the first course, LA&S 290 (1 hour). Students teach lessons they design in local schools. First-year students through seniors may enroll. Through course work and classroom experiences, students quickly learn whether they are suited to teaching.

Students pursuing any related undergraduate degree at KU can add the UKanTeach requirements to their major and obtain their teaching license along with their degree.

The teaching licenses available in the UKanTeach program and some majors and interests commonly paired with each licensure area:

Licensure Area Commonly Paired Majors/Interests
Biology Any biology degree, biochemistry, any premedical profession, prepharmacy
Chemistry Any chemistry degree, biochemistry, chemical and petroleum engineering, any premedical profession, prepharmacy
Earth and space science
Any geology degree, B.S. in environmental studies
Mathematics Any mathematics degree, atmospheric science, chemical and petroleum engineering, electrical engineering and computer science
Physics Any physics degree, astronomy, engineering physics, aerospace engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering and computer science, mechanical engineeering

If you know that you want to teach secondary mathematics or science (or if you want to explore the idea), the UKanTeach program can help you do so while you continue to pursue your bachelor’s degree at KU.

UKanTeach advisers would be happy to meet with you to discuss the program in more detail and show you how UKanTeach can fit into your plan to graduate.

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.