What are The liberal arts?  What do we mean by “Liberal education”?


WOU is a public liberal arts university, a place that infuses the benefits of liberal education into the learning of every student. Whatever area of specialty you choose, building your education on a strong liberal arts foundation will help you develop a range of attributes that employers seek and communities need.  You can expect to develop your skills in areas such as:

  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Inquiry and analysis
  • Clear and fluent written and oral communication
  • Effective teamwork
  • Ethical consideration and judgment

Encompassing both the sciences and the humanities, “liberal arts” does not refer to a political position, nor is it shorthand for “subjects that won’t help you get a real job.”  Historically, the term derives from the Latin artes liberales, referring to the “works befitting a free people” (Random House Dictionary 2017) – knowledge of the arts, humanities, natural and social sciences, as well as how to apply this knowledge to real-world scenarios.

All WOU’s programs will help you develop skills that enhance your employability and prepare you to make a productive livelihood.  Our focus on liberal education will also help you learn how to build a productive and meaningful life, working and living meaningfully as an engaged and responsible citizen in our diverse, rapidly changing community and world.


Wondering how and why a liberal arts education continues to be relevant and meaningful in our post-industrial, high-tech age? Read the interesting and informative articles below.