Australian University Life

Nat Case hedberg at
Tue Mar 7 18:20:44 EST 2000

Liberal Arts colleges grew out of "gentleman's education," i.e. in order to
be a "man of the world," one ought to know a reasonable amount about a lot
of things. The class and gender distinctions have largely (but not entirely)
disappeared, but the principle is still one a lot of us grew up with. In a
liberal arts program (which most Universities offer as one of the options
within their bachelor's programs) you major in a subject, but also must take
coursework in a variety of subjects. 

At Carleton [Blackstock] when I was there, the distribution requirements
3 terms of math or science, 
2 terms of social sciences, 
3 terms of humanities, 
4 terms of physical education, 
foreign language equivalent to four terms of study, 
a writing requirement, 
and last but not least a swimming proficiency requirement

On one hand, liberal arts degrees can give you a wonderfully yeasty set of
intellectual tools either to pursue graduate work or to work in the world at
large. On the other hand, they lack specific skills training, leaving myself
and many of my classmates adrift for a few years as we "found ourselves."
Lots of smart people clerking at department stores or running copy center
machines... But that's a part of the whole thing, and all in all I'm really
happy that was what I ended up doing. [from across the room, Ingrid
(Carleton '90) seconds that].

Nat Case

>From: PREISIG Kylie <kp027 at>
>To: "'dwj at'" <dwj at>
>Subject: Australian University Life
>Date: Tue, Mar 7, 2000, 5:07 PM

>What is a liberal arts degree anyway?  I was confused by what was going on
>in _Tam Lin_ where they had to do compulsory units in Physics and do some
>sort of sport when they were doing an arts degree.  And if it was a Liberal
>Arts College, why was there someone there studying medicine and not an art?
To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list