College of Arts & Sciences
James W. C. White, Interim Dean
Boulder, CO 80309-0552
The College of Arts & Sciences is the liberal arts college at CU Boulder. Its mission is to provide an outstanding liberal arts education for its undergraduates, cutting-edge graduate education and world-class research, scholarship and creative work. In addition to gaining the knowledge and skills of their areas of study, students learn how new information is acquired and can participate in original research and creative work with individual faculty members.
The college offers a wide variety of fields of study, with nearly 50 undergraduate majors. The environment and advantages of a small liberal arts college are created through "academic neighborhoods" in which students can meet and interact with other students and faculty in small group settings. In addition, more than 60 percent of undergraduate classes are small, with 25 or fewer students.
As the liberal arts college of CU Boulder, the College of Arts and Sciences has several goals in the education of its students:
- Educate citizens who can think for themselves, understand the rapidly changing world and make wise choices within a democratic system.
- Impart a love of learning so that students can continue to grow throughout life.
- Teach ways of thinking about and approaching new problems. For some students, this will enable them to further advance knowledge and scholarship in the academy. For all students, this is important for enriching their lives.
- Prepare students to help enrich the lives of others. Arts and sciences graduates become lifelong resources for their families, neighbors, friends and co-workers.
- Provide students with a well-rounded education. Arts and sciences students acquire a broad knowledge and an integrated understanding of art and music, great literary works, philosophy, history and politics, the social world, science and technology. They learn how to critically evaluate and think about morals, ethics and values. The General Education requirements give students a broad, liberal-arts education that develops the whole person, not just the specialist.
- Educate students for careers and a productive life. Arts and sciences students gain the most current knowledge and skills in their major fields of study. In addition, they learn how to acquire new skills to contend with-and lead-the changes that will occur in the decades to come. Education for a productive life also requires that students learn how to analyze situations, solve problems and speak and write effectively.
The college is also dedicated to outstanding graduate education. Advanced degrees are offered by nearly every academic department in the college, and the PhD is offered in approximately 30 different disciplines. In addition, an increasing number of departments offer combined bachelor's/master's degrees that can be earned in five years. Graduate training focuses on teaching and research careers as well as on professional careers in the public and private sector.
The strength of the College of Arts and Sciences comes from its outstanding faculty. In addition to being dedicated teachers, they are active scholars in disciplines throughout the arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, biological sciences and physical and mathematical sciences. They are the recipients of numerous national awards and honors for their research, scholarship and creative work. Faculty and staff of the College of Arts and Sciences join together to create an intellectual community of students and scholars to discover, critically examine, integrate, preserve and transmit knowledge, wisdom and values.
Arts and Sciences Honors Program
The Arts and Sciences Honors Program provides a community for highly motivated and academically prepared undergraduate students and offers opportunities for intellectual engagement through honors courses, academic-inspired events, and honors thesis research and creative work.
The Honors Program is a program of excellence in which the best teaching faculty are committed to serving the most highly motivated students. The Honors Program offers the opportunity to work closely with faculty, to engage with other honors students and to write an honors thesis. Honors offers over 50 courses per year in a wide variety of areas. Honors courses are limited to a maximum enrollment of 17 students.
Incoming first-year students and transfer students are invited to participate in the Honors Program based on multiple criteria that are set by the Office of Admissions. Currently enrolled students are eligible based on their academic achievement at CU Boulder and are expected to have a 3.3 GPA or better.
Latin honors in the College of Arts and Sciences are conferred by the Honors Program. Students who wish to graduate cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude must write and defend an honors thesis and maintain a certain GPA. Most students pursue Latin honors in their major (based on departmental requirements), but students may also pursue General Honors via the Honors Program, providing students the opportunity to write an interdisciplinary thesis.
The Honors Residential Academic Program (Honors RAP) is the optional residential component of the program. Honors RAP is open to a limited number of qualified incoming and continuing students. Students engage in small classes and co-curricular activities, forming an academic community in their residence hall. (See the Communities tab for more information about the Honors RAP.)
Instructor; PhD, Purdue University
Instructor; PhD, University of Colorado Boulder
Instructor; PhD, University of Colorado Boulder
Hickcox, Abby Lynn
Senior Instructor, Associate Faculty Director; PhD, University of Colorado Boulder
Jacobs, Janet L.
Director; PhD, University of Colorado Boulder
Instructor; PhD, Emory University
Miramontes Arts and Sciences Program
The Miramontes Arts and Science Program (MASP) is a community of diverse scholars dedicated to academic achievement. MASP accepts highly motivated students with strong academic records who are also members of traditionally underrepresented groups and/or are first-generation college students. MASP supports students through mentoring, instruction, skills workshops, enrichment opportunities, community activities and participation scholarships.
For most members of MASP, support begins the summer before freshman year with the Program for Excellence in Academics and Community (PEAC), a summer residential program that helps first year students transition to the university. PEAC is an intensive and challenging academic program where students take a rigorous set of non-credit classes, learn valuable skills for academic success, are introduced to resources and opportunities on campus and in the College of Arts & Sciences, and participate in advanced enrichment and community-building activities. Continuing students interested in MASP can also apply through our MASP affiliate program.
Students receiving a participation scholarship in MASP commit to participating in a range of programming that include one-credit hour seminars on unique and advanced topics in Arts & Sciences, research colloquia where they meet and network with faculty members, skills workshops and community conversations. Students are encouraged to participate in undergraduate research and/or other scholarly activities such as internships and study abroad programs. MASP students are also required to be involved with our community space and to participate in community activities to help develop a strong sense of group cohesiveness and spirit. And more!
For more information, call the MASP office at 303-492-8229.
Arts and Sciences Residential Academic Programs (RAPS)
Creative Minds RAP
The Creative Minds RAP at Libby Hall is a vibrant living and learning community that unites classes exploring a variety of arts disciplines with diverse courses fulfilling A&S Gen Ed and Major Requirements, dedicated to our core mission of creativity, curriculum and community as well as our motto: "Where creative minds come alive."
Creativity, touted by the World Economic Forum as the number one job skill for the future, is essential for developing strategies to navigate our ever-changing world. Encouraging our students to be inventive, adaptable and courageous enables them to face inevitable challenges and find new pathways to success in any field or endeavor. Our mission is to cultivate creative minds who become innovative leaders and active and engaged citizens.
Our curriculum includes courses in dance, drawing, painting, writing, storytelling, cinema studies, digital art, pop culture and music, as well as a range of popular A&S Gen Ed classes such as anthropology, economics, math, nutrition and philosophy. All of our classes satisfy A&S Gen Ed or major requirements and are taught by dynamic faculty specializing in the first-year experience.
The Creative Minds RAP at Libby builds community through small classes, engaged faculty, and a range of inclusive, co-curricular activities such as Sushi Night, our famous Art Melt Ice Cream Social, and monthly diversity celebrations such as Lunar New Year, African drumming, and Drag Queen Bingo, as well as visits to museums, theater performances, and movie nights. Each semester culminates in a Celebration of the Arts showcasing student work.
Environment and Natural Sciences RAP
The Environment and Natural Sciences RAP in Baker Hall is ideal for students who see the importance of scientific awareness in their daily lives and career paths. Courses and activities in our RAP focus on the Environment and Natural Sciences. Our RAP inspires students to connect with nature and see the intrinsic value of the natural world. Intellectual development in environmental issues, health sciences, wildlife biology, sustainability and stewardship are emphasized. Our RAP generates a sense of belonging among its students through the intertwined efforts of the RAP director, coordinator, student coordinators and faculty.
Our programming encourages active lifestyles, promotes professional development and inspires intellectual curiosity about the environment. Students often state how much they value our co-curricular offerings, which include weekly coffee hours, monthly environmental film series, outdoor activities like hiking, camping and yoga, guest speakers, and holiday special events. Trusting and long-term relationships between RAP faculty, administration and students are established because of extensive, daily interactions both in and out of the classroom.
Global Studies RAP
The Global Studies RAP in Arnett Hall draws on insights from disciplines across the humanities and social sciences to give students the theoretical and methodological skills and the knowledge base necessary to understand this complex and rapidly changing world. As CU educates the leaders of the future, G-RAP must prepare them to deal with the great issues facing the world—health, peace, prosperity, environmental sustainability—from a basis of cultural and historical understanding as well as a basis of scientific analysis.
G-RAP promotes engaged learning in order to grasp the main currents of global studies, the cultural challenges and opportunities, and the ethical values that are at stake. Students and faculty in G-RAP are engaged in a variety of ways. Through lively class discussions, numerous co-curricular and extra-curricular events, and projects nurtured in this residential setting, G-RAP students take great pleasure in studying countries and peoples, cultural norms and values, documents and texts. Students develop understanding and compassion for the people in different countries and in diverse communities. The global flux in cultural goods, human capital and natural resources have given the traditional problems of poverty, hunger and war greater complexity and urgency. Students at G-RAP learn to compose their thoughts more clearly, communicate them more effectively and reflect on them more cooperatively so that they can be of use in the world. G-RAP students and faculty recognize the wisdom of past generations and their legacies.
Health Professions RAP
The Health Professions RAP (HPRAP) resides in Kittredge West Hall and serves approximately 300 first year students. HPRAP is the logical choice for students who have declared or are interested in the life sciences majors and careers in the health professions. The HPRAP offers classes that satisfy requirements for the Integrative Physiology (IPHY), Molecular Biology (MCDB) and Neuroscience (NRSC) majors or are recommended prerequisites for admission into medical or health professional schools. Courses are taught in classrooms within the residence hall, with an average of only 20 students per class. HPRAP offers two different introductory biology course sequences, two sequences for chemistry, as well as a variety of courses on bioethics, global public health, writing and the social sciences. We also offer second year coursework in human anatomy, physiology, and biostatistics. Students can select up to two HPRAP courses per semester and then fill the rest of their schedule with courses taught by the rest of the campus. A representative schedule of course offerings can be found on the program's website. In addition to course offerings, the HPRAP offers a variety of programs to help students explore their major and career opportunities.
HPRAP hosts an evening lecture series featuring practicing clinicians and medical researchers. We offer an exclusive shadowing program at two comprehensive care clinics, workshops on study skills and test-taking, no-cost tutoring by advanced students, and we offer a variety of community-building activities throughout the year, including fieldtrips, dinners and weekly coffee hours. Faculty and advising offices are on-site and provide students drop-in advising and assistance. While the Health Professions RAP invites any College of Arts and Sciences student regardless of major who is interested in exploring healthcare careers to join us, our curriculum is best suited for IPHY, MCDB, and NRSC majors. We are a good but not perfect fit for students majoring in biochemistry or chemistry, and students who are primarily interested in social or environmental sciences or engineering are encouraged to explore other residential programs that are better tailored to their interests. The Health Professions RAP will help like-minded students make life-long friends and will maximize student success in exploration of the life sciences and healthcare career opportunities. Students apply to participate in the HPRAP by selecting Kittredge West Hall as their first choice for housing once accepted and confirmed for admission in the fall. For more information about the program fee and course offerings visit the HPRAP website or contact us at email@example.com or 303-492-4537.
Honors RAP, located in Smith Hall, is a challenging, supportive, and inclusive co-educational living-learning community open to honors-qualified students. By becoming part of the Honors RAP community, students surround themselves with other bright, highly motivated students, enjoy small seminar-style classes and have the opportunity to work closely with Honors faculty. Through its classes and its extra-curricular activities, Honors RAP integrates the diverse disciplines of the College of Arts and Sciences with the opportunities and challenges of real-world experiences. In short, we aspire to offer the best educational experience possible to qualified CU undergraduates.
Incoming first-year honors-qualified students receive a Welcome Letter from the A&S Honors Program inviting them to participate in Honors. Being in the Arts & Sciences Honors Program qualifies students to join the A&S Honors RAP; a separate Honors RAP qualification is not required. Honors-qualified students are not guaranteed a space in the Honors RAP. Housing applications and assignments are a product of the Housing Office. Applications are processed per the process described on Housing's website, according to the date of the completed Housing application.
A limited number of scholarships are available for students who demonstrate financial need and/or who contribute to a diverse and inclusive community in the Honors RAP. Students who wish to be considered for a RAP fee scholarship must contact the Honors RAP by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about program requirements and to access the application, visit the Honors RAP website
Social Change RAP
The Philosophy, Arts and Culture (PAC RAP) in Stearns West welcomes students in all majors, and caters to those looking to explore the economic, cultural, historical and institutional foundations of society and social justice.
We offer a wide variety of small, seminar-style courses that fulfill every area of the College of Arts and Sciences general education requirements and are especially useful for students considering careers in law, psychology, public administration or public service, as well as students looking for a broad-based foundation to support whatever they decide to do. Students take at least one course per semester in the RAP, selecting from a list that includes sociology, history, mathematics, women and gender studies, philosophy, world religions, music, and theater.
In addition to our academic offerings, PAC RAP is a friendly, active, and supportive community that provides a sense of belonging on a campus that can sometimes feel overwhelming. Popular community events include movie and discussion nights, theater and musical performances, nature hikes, game nights, and monthly dinners, all of which include faculty or community members working to create social change. Conversations range from political to philosophical to just having fun making new friends.
Stories and Societies RAP
Located in the beautiful and centrally-located Sewall Hall, the Stories and Societies RAP is for first-year students in the College of Arts and Sciences with an interest in how their own narratives connect to the past, to current societies, and to the future. Award-winning faculty offer small seminar-style courses and a variety of co-curricular activities that emphasize the connections between modern culture and its historical roots. Our RAP is open to students in all majors in the college and offers courses from departments across all three divisions of the college, including anthropology, biology, economics, history, philosophy, sociology, and writing. All courses offered in our RAP fill A&S Gen Ed and/or major requirements. With our focus on student academic success and wellness, the Stories and Societies RAP helps students transition to CU.