Who are the Undergraduate Students of CLA?

A group of students listening to a lecture.

Did you know?

CLA creates more job-ready graduates than any other educational institution in Minnesota.

CLA undergraduate students never stop discovering. 

They investigate the causes and solutions to some of our most pressing issues, like closing the opportunity gapbuilding vibrant communities, addressing climate change, and protecting human rights. They gain core competencies to prepare them for whatever comes next—personally, professionally, and publicly. And in turn, they become the future-oriented leaders our community needs.

We are Minnesota's opportunity college

  • 12,631 undergraduate students
  • 60+ undergraduate majors, 70 minors
  • 69% of our students are from MN
  • More than 26% of our students are first-gen
  • 41% are students of color or American Indian

Some fast facts:

students in the class of 2027 applied for 2,654 undergraduate seats.
of fall 2022 freshmen returned to CLA for their sophomore year in fall 2023.
of students in the class of 2027 took a full course load in fall 2023 and are on track to graduate in four years.

Problem-solvers, world citizens, and changemakers 

This spirit of discovery opens the door to some truly transformative and distinct opportunities at the College of Liberal Arts.

Through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), service-learning, publicly engaged teaching and research activities, and other experiences, undergraduates are mentored by instructors and advanced students who can model the process of discovery and innovation inside and outside the classroom. Students earn funding, conduct research, and set their own timeline to complete their projects.

Additionally, the Dean's First-Year Research & Creative Scholars Program (DFRACS) provides exceptional CLA first-year students, freshmen and transfers with the high impact opportunity to engage in a professor's research or creative project.

DFRACS highlighted in The Minnesota Daily 

From left to right, Yolanda Hester, a public historian, speaks to Margarita Montalvo, a renowned Cuban sculptor, with second-year student Liliane Sojos-Ortiz listening on the right.

Associate Professor Cindy Garcia invited her Dean's First-Year Research & Creative Scholars Program mentee to join her on an eight-day residency in Cuba during the 2022-23 school year. During this residency, they conducted research on doll makers specializing in black dolls as part of a broader multimedia collective project titled "Contours."

UMN program offers first-year students guided research opportunity

To facilitate both student and faculty participation in undergraduate research opportunities, 15 CLA academic departments now require a research component in their senior capstone course: 

  • psychology
  • global studies
  • English
  • Spanish studies
  • economics
  • art history
  • linguistics
  • developmental psychology
  • communication studies
  • Jewish studies
  • religious studies
  • human physiology
  • sociology
  • anthropology
  • art

Undergraduate research with real-world application

CLA students are also global scholars.

One in four participate in a study abroad program annually—exploring and recognizing their place in the world. 

Though my learning abroad program wasn’t specific to either of my majors, I got to take some incredibly cool English classes at the University of Glasgow last fall. One was on modernism & gender and another explored the fantastic & the real in Scottish literature. I loved hearing the perspectives of peers with lived experiences that are drastically different from mine. It was also interesting to see how much variation there is between the English degree in America and the English degree in the U.K.

— Sarah Horner (BA ‘24, strategic communication; English)

Did you know?

CLA has collaborated with GREATER MSP to make the Twin Cities a national hotspot for college internships and early talent development.

And CLA students are leaders and changemakers in their communities.

Thanks to our ideal location in the heart of the Twin Cities' business and non-profit communities, internship opportunities are limitless. Nowhere beats the Twin Cities for liberal arts students to put classwork to work, grow their networks, and build their futures, whether interning at the Capitol, a Fortune 500 company, health-related organizations, the thriving arts scene, or within the vast network of nonprofits.

I took a fall internship offer and decided to join the [internship] class in hopes to prepare and be equipped with relevant skills for my internship. I'm glad I did so because the class has taught me work skills and etiquette that helped me remain composed and ready for the internship. It also taught me the roles and expectations as an employee and what I should do when faced with a challenging situation. I'm also grateful to receive the CLA internship scholarship that made my internship experience a lot more enriching and smooth sailing.Yasmeen Iman Junaidi Jaafar, (BA '24, economics)

Get involved with our students by hosting a Pre-Internship Project

We offer pre-internship projects as a stepping stone to future internships and career opportunities. As a participating organization in a pre-internship project, you will be supporting students’ career development, building your brand in CLA, getting a preview of students’ work for your internship opportunities, and you’ll get fresh ideas to enhance a program or initiative; or strengthen your capacity to serve your community.

Learn more about CLA's Pre-Internship Projects

A mural outside of the historic COFO headquarters depicting important figures in Jackson’s civil rights history (Photo by Alec Zadra)

Sometimes, the community is the classroom

This spring, CLA students traveled together across the South and investigated and interrogated truths from the Civil Rights Movement as they listened to stories from past and present-day civil rights leaders. Check out their journey recap: MLK 3000 Immersion Experience.


Did you know?

All CLA sophomores take CLA 3002, Career Kickstarter: Finding Internships and Other Career-Related Experiences, a course built as part of CLA’s robust Career Readiness Initiative, designed to help students articulate the Core Competencies they develop through their liberal arts education. 

Empathetic leaders who lean into curiosity

The liberal arts have always been a foundation to live a good and satisfying life. And now, the economy and society are shifting in the direction where the skills and knowledge developed in CLA are even more in demand. 

A liberal arts education gives CLA students the training they need to develop an entrepreneurial mindset; to ask probing questions; to wonder why and what if; and to become empathetic and inventive and future-oriented leaders.


Graduates who are prepared for purpose-filled lives

You are ready to lead with empathy and compassion because you have explored the depths of human experience through literature, history, and the arts. And you are ready to make a difference because you understand the power of ideas to shape societies and transform lives.

Interim Dean Ann Waltner to the Class of 2024

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