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The goal of the Liberal Arts curriculum at the Maine College of Art is to provide art students with basic skills in critical thinking, writing and reading and to promote intellectual curiosity. The courses help students understand the cultural, historical, scientific, literary, and philosophical context out of which much creative endeavor arises. Rather than absolute answers, we help students ask ever more difficult questions that will inform their lives as artists. When students leave Maine College of Art, it is our goal that they will be ready to direct their own learning and focus their creative and intellectual gifts in an informed manner.

The Liberal Arts department provides art students with a two-pronged approach that complements their studio education: basic skills in reading, writing, critical thinking, mathematics, and the scientific method along with knowledge in a variety of disciplines, cultures, and chronologies that students can use within their creative practice and as well- rounded, well-informed citizens in the twenty-first century.

Students develop their reading and writing skills, and cultivate a personal, original and dynamic voice in writing and speaking. Students gain the ability to discuss the values, beliefs, and cultural productions of societies other than their own. Students have the ability to present ideas clearly, to develop a cogent argument, and to speak with confidence. They use scientific and mathematical methods and principles in a meaningful context, and develop observational skills in the laboratory and through field experiences. Students gain the ability to discuss social and ethical issues related to technological developments in science and develop teamwork skills.

Students gain knowledge of basic principles of Western civilization, with an emphasis on classical antiquity, Christianity, and modern British and American literature. Students gain knowledge of historical and philosophical methodology, including the types of questions historians and philosophers ask and the sources they use. Students have a basic familiarity with worldwide cultural traditions and knowledge in the basic chronology of world and western cultures. Students gain knowledge of the metaphysical and physical dimensions of mathematics, and of scientific theories and methodology. Students explore different theories attempting to answer universal questions (Where do we come from? What are we? What is our place in the world? Where are we going?) in terms of history, philosophy, and science.

Students competently produce several forms of writing, including a thesis, research paper, book report, critical analysis of literature, argument, and personal essay. Students learn library (book and database) research skills. Students increase their reading comprehension and analytical skills, and use correct academic style (MLA, APA or Chicago) in citing sources and bibliographies. Students use laboratory and field study equipment and apply mathematical concepts and scientific theories to practical and creative laboratory and field projects.