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About the College of Liberal Arts

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, 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 is creating 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 have been involved in shaping the recommendations that will create the College’s Roadmap and guide our future.

About Our Faculty

Fall 2015

Tenured and tenure-track faculty 517
Faculty of color (tenured and tenure track) 19.7%
Female faculty (tenured and tenure track) 42.7%

Graduate Students at a Glance

October 2016

Graduate student enrollment 1,624
Number of graduate degrees awarded in 2015-16 396
Students of color 14.2%
Minnesota residents 23.9%
Wisconsin residents 6.7%
International students 28.5%

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. 

  US News & World Report * ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking *
Program Rank Rank
Developmental Psychology 1  
Industrial & Organizational Psychology 2  
Ceramics 3  
Clinical Psychology 4  
Rhetoric 4  
Macroeconomics 6  
Women's History 7  
African History 8  
Psychology 8 13
Audiology 13  
Economics 16 19
Speech Language Pathology, MA 16  
Sociology 17 23
Journalism   18
Communications Theory 20
Statistics 20 18
Political Science 24 21
History 32  
Geography   38
English 42  
ShanghaiRankings ranked UMN social sciences at number 14 globally.    

* These ranking services do not rank all disciplines.

Undergraduate Students at a Glance

October 2016

Undergraduate student enrollment 13,698
Number of undergraduate degrees awarded in 2015-16 3,228
Students of color 22.7%
Minnesota residents 66.2%
Wisconsin residents 10.8%
International students 10.8%

About the Class of 2020

30,369 students applied for 2,450 undergraduate seats in CLA's class of 2020. Of those students who enrolled:

  • 77.6% graduated in the top 25% of their high school class
  • 31.7% ranked in the top 10% of their high school class
  • 22.9% are students of color
  • 58.6% are women
  • 65.8% are Minnesota residents
  • 12.2% are Wisconsin residents
  • 6.8% are international students
  • 27.3 is the average ACT score; 45% scored 28 or higher

Undergraduate Graduation Rates

For students who entered the College of Liberal Arts as freshmen.
4-year graduation rate: 59.3% (Class of 2015)
5-year graduation rate: 71.8% (Class of 2014)
6-year graduation rate: 73.4% (Class of 2013)

Undergraduate Retention

Fall 2015 freshmen who returned to CLA for their sophomore year in fall 2016 91.5%
Students in the class of 2020 who took a full course load and are on track to graduate in 4 years 99.5%
CLA students who take more than 12 credits per semester (up from 72.3% in 1996) 92.6%

Gifts to CLA for FY 2016-17

Donors Dollars
4,196 $19,501,938