Juilliard actively promotes a liberal arts education that provides the humanistic, ethical, social, critical, and aesthetic background essential to personal development and professional excellence. Studies in literature, philosophy, history, social sciences, arts, and languages, foster in students a deeper understanding of themselves and the complex world in which they live.
All students in the B.F.A. and B.M. degree programs are required to complete a minimum of 24 credits in the Liberal Arts. Qualified students begin a three-semester core-curriculum program in their first year by taking “Ethics, Conscience and the Good Life” and “Society, Politics and Culture.” In the following year students enroll in “Art and Aesthetics.” Students who place into "Writing Seminar" enroll in that course their first year and in "Ethics" their sophomore year, completing the three-semester sequence as above. This core curriculum in the humanities introduces students to a cross-cultural range of texts, traditions, and issues and emphasizes critical thinking and writing throughout.
Students pursue electives in such fields as art history, creative writing, literature, African-American studies, American and European history, gender, philosophy, and the environment. Juilliard also offers courses in four modern foreign languages: French, German, Italian, and Russian. Most students take electives in the third and fourth years but may take them earlier. All Liberal Arts courses are conducted in small seminars to foster participation and a spirit of inquiry. Eligible students may also cross-register for certain courses at Columbia and Barnard Colleges.
Through their work in the Liberal Arts, students refine skills in reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking, learning to communicate with greater clarity and effectiveness. This program equips them to become active, well-informed citizens; develops their awareness of the social and humanistic dimensions of professional work; and lays the basis for a fulfilling cultural and intellectual life.