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The Experiential Liberal Arts

A Distinctive Approach to Undergraduate Education

Applying and transforming knowledge and skills across contexts.

The experiential liberal arts is an educational model and an organizational philosophy that frames and integrates all three parts of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities mission: research, education, and outreach. It combines Northeastern University’s signature focus on experiential learning with the rigorous study of society, culture, politics, and ethics in a way that is mutually reinforcing. We think of it as liberal arts plus.

The key concept of the experiential liberal arts is integration. We seek to integrate:

A Dynamic Learning Model

The experiential liberal arts allows our faculty, students, and community partners to move beyond the traditional theory/apply model often associated with experiential learning by encouraging both the application and the transformation of knowledge and skills across a range of contexts.

Faculty and students take what we learn in our campus learning spaces, apply and transform it in a variety of community learning spaces—from government agencies to nonprofit organizations to a wide range of industries—and then bring that knowledge and those skills back to our campus learning spaces. The dynamic learning that happens in, between, and across these contexts is critical, we believe, to understanding and acting effectively and ethically in our rapidly changing social and cultural environment.

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