What are the Liberal Arts?

Chemistry professor Diana Aga and PhD student Deena Butryn in Aga's Natural Sciences Complex Lab. Aga was recently awarded the 2017 Jacob F. Schoellkopf Medal.

When you take the time to study an object closely, from every angle, something extraordinary happens. Your eyes sharpen. Hidden details come into focus. A different perspective begins to take shape. Answers emerge, and with them, new questions.

At the College of Arts and Sciences, a liberal arts education demands that students take an ever-closer look at their world. Through this unique lens, scholarship re-centers around skill-sets, personal goals and problem-solving. Our students prepare to meet every challenge with courage, flexibility, perseverance, compassion. In a diverse yet inclusive environment, they have the freedom to take risks, work collaboratively across disciplines and contribute to a world they now see up-close.

Large College Opportunities, Small College Feel

With 27 departments, 16 academic programs, and 23 centers and institutes, the College offers more academic options than any other unit on campus. Students have the resources of a major research institution – such as cutting-edge facilities and faculty at the forefront of their fields – combined with the support of a small university setting where individual student needs are recognized and respected.

The connections forged during a student's tenure at UB often remain with them for a lifetime. In our rich community of scholars, researchers, creators and leaders, we encourage students to seek out or build the network of relationships that will inspire, energize and sustain them, both during their years in the College and for decades afterward.  

In the casting room for a bronze pour, Center for the Arts

Experience Learning, Experience Life

Community engagement is vital to the College's mission, and we challenge our students to make a difference through research, study-abroad, internships and service programs. These hands-on Experiential Learning activities amplify our students’ education and further their professional development while training them to become engaged and proactive citizens.

Whether they travel to distant lands or conduct research in our Buffalo backyard, our students serve as representatives of UB's commitment to bold participation, radical empathy and purposeful ambition. Once they graduate, these experiences reinforce their identity as contributing members of a global society. 

Music students teaching refugee children to play violin with Buffalo String Works

Changing the World, One Problem at a Time

The following are but a few examples of how College faculty and students solve problems, improve the local economy and enrich the lives of residents of Western New York and beyond.

The Civic Engagement and Public Policy strategic strength advances applied research to address social and policy challenges and persistent inequalities related to race, class, and gender. Results of this collaborative research are shared among scholars, community leaders, and policymakers to develop integrated solutions to pressing social needs and concerns. Faculty in this initiative have been awarded fellowships in support of community-based research in collaboration with local partners.

The Center for Geohazard Studies and the School of Engineering are working together to realize another strategic strength. Our Extreme Events: Mitigation and Response initiative has brought together faculty from multiple disciplines to help improve emergency preparedness through research on earthquakes, volcanoes, and other natural disasters.

The Human Capital Institute is a new initiative that brings together scholars from Economics and the Graduate School of Education to study the impact of education on economic development through job creation, worker education, and enhancement of cultural infrastructure.

The Humanities Institute and the Technē Institute for Arts & Emerging Technology have established themselves as important entities supporting the arts and humanities in Western New York, promoting research and intellectual exchange across many disciplines. Building on Buffalo’s rich legacy of artistic and cultural innovation, these institutes centralize community organizations and faculty to promote innovative scholarship and teaching.

Author and creative writing professor, Nnedi Okorafor, speaking as part of the Department of English Signature Series.