About the College of Liberal Arts

Pink tree blooms on Northrop Mall

The College of Liberal Arts is committed to intellectual freedom, the pursuit of new knowledge, and the belief that the liberal arts are the foundation of academic learning.

CLA prepares students to be independent and original thinkers, to be innovators in their chosen fields, to create meaning in their lives and in their life’s work, and to become productive citizens and leaders in their communities and the world.

Established in 1868, the College of Liberal Arts supports the University of Minnesota's land-grant mission as home to disciplines in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. With 31 departments on the Minneapolis campus, it is the largest college in the University of Minnesota system.

About Our Future

Our vision is to transform the College of Liberal Arts into a destination college.

Achieving that vision requires an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and friends. To make that happen, CLA has put in place a Roadmap that focuses on four core goals.

  1. Readiness
    CLA alumni will be the most desirable graduates available.
  2. Research
    CLA will have a relentless focus on research and creative excellence.
  3. Diversity
    The CLA community will mirror the community at large.
  4. Engagement
    CLA will deepen a culture of engagement for our alumni, community, and state.

Nearly 100 faculty, staff, and students were involved in shaping the recommendations that created the College’s Roadmap and guide our future.

About Our Faculty

Fall 2021 - Explore Faculty Work

Tenured and tenure-track faculty 484
Faculty of color (tenured and tenure track) 30%
Female faculty (tenured and tenure track) 46%

Graduate Students at a Glance

Graduate student enrollment in 2021 1,408
Number of graduate degrees awarded in 2020-21 391
Graduate students of color in 2021 16% 
International graduate students in 2021 31%

Graduate Program Rankings

A number of our graduate programs were ranked among the top of their peers both in the United States and the world. Highly-ranked programs depend on field-shaping faculty. See a list of awards and honors our faculty have won. 

  US News & World Report * (2021) ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking * (2020)
Program Rank Rank
Industrial & Organizational Psychology 2  
Clinical Psychology 5  
Macroeconomics 5  
Psychology 8 19
International Economics 11  
Audiology 10  
Economics 16 25
Sociology of Population 11  
Social Stratification 18  
Speech-Language Pathology, MA 20  
Sociology 24 26
Communications   29
Statistics 24 22
Political Science 25 50
American Politics 27  
History 26  
Geography   36
English 32  
Fine Arts, Collectively 64  

* These ranking services do not rank all disciplines.

Undergraduate Students at a Glance

Undergraduate student enrollment in Fall 2021 12,911
Number of undergraduate degrees awarded in 2020-21 3,458
Students of color in Fall 2021 32%
Minnesota residents in Fall 2021 71%
Wisconsin residents in Fall 2021 13%
International students in Fall 2021 4%

About the Class of 2025

21,678 students applied for 2,781 undergraduate seats in CLA's class of 2025. Of those students who enrolled:

  • 66% graduated in the top 25% of their high school class
  • 35% are students of color
  • 66% are women
  • 28 is the average ACT score (57% score 28 or higher)
  • 25% are first-generation college students

Undergraduate Graduation Rates

For students who entered the College of Liberal Arts as freshmen.
4-year graduation rate: 69% 
5-year graduation rate: 79% 
6-year graduation rate: 81% 

Undergraduate Retention

Fall 2020 freshmen who returned to CLA for their sophomore year in fall 2021 89%
Students in the class of 2025 who took a full course load and are on track to graduate in 4 years 99%

Gifts to CLA for FY 2020-2021

Donors Dollars
3,772 $18,843,698