In the College of Arts and Letters, students can ask meaningful questions and pursue their passions in a range of fields from anthropology to theology. Because the requirements are flexible, students can take classes across disciplines to find a major they love or synthesize ideas to create knowledge. In this video, students from a range of majors discuss why the possibilities in Arts and Letters are endless.
“If you are considering doing an internship for the summer, I would say absolutely go for it,” said Chaya Cassell, a Program of Liberal Studies and Chinese major in the College of Arts and Letters. Cassell interned at the Sagamore Institute, a public policy think tank based in downtown Indianapolis. Her main project was researching and writing a brief on the West African experience and transitional justice in Liberia. Notre Dame’s Meruelo Family Center for Career Development awarded Cassell a grant to support her during the internship, which “really made the summer a lot easier for me and encouraged me in pursuing all the things I want to do this summer with the internship,” she said.
What is the music major like at Notre Dame? “Music is not only something that is appealing to the ear. There is a very theoretical and systematic aspect,” said music major Kelvin Wu. Music majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as collaboration, musicianship, communication, and critical thinking.
Chloe Gibbs is an assistant professor of economics and faculty affiliate of Notre Dame's Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities. Her research interests include applied microeconomics, the economics of education, and labor economics. In this video, she discusses why a move to widespread full-day kindergartenten has actually widened achievement gaps among children, and why it's important to study why programs don't work the way they're intended, in order to inform policymakers and school leaders about what they should be doing.
Rory McVeigh is the Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor in Sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Social Movements at Notre Dame. His research interests include inequality, social movements, political sociology, and race and ethnicity. In this video, he discusses his research on the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s and the rise of Donald Trump nearly 100 years later, and why he studies the ways community shapes people's understanding of inequality.
What is the Program of Liberal Studies major like at Notre Dame? "We read the original texts that have shaped the way that the world has thought for the last 2,000 years," said PLS major Zach Huber. PLS majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as interpersonal communication, critical reading, thoughtful articulation of arguments, and problem-solving.
“By reading the Bible along with some of its earliest interpreters in antiquity, it's actually strange, unsettling, unsystematic. It's full of surprises,” said Nathan Eubank, associate professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame. Eubank’s research centers on the Synoptic Gospels and the writings of Paul, particularly in light of ancient Biblical interpretation. He is currently writing a book on merit in early Christianity — the ability to gain salvation through good actions.
What is the design major like at Notre Dame? “If you're creative minded and like solving problems, I would say this is the perfect major for you,” said industrial design major Alexis Dorsey. Design majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as critical and analytical thinking, research, ideation and implementation, and visual literacy.
Congratulations to the Class of 2019! This video, screened at the Arts and Letters Diploma Ceremony, features several seniors reflecting on their time at Notre Dame and in the College of Arts and Letters.
“If you can be a strong organist and lead hymns from the keyboard, you can do it all as a church musician,” said Michael Emmerich, ’12 M.S.M. Emmerich is the associate music director for the Archdiocese of Omaha with a particular focus and mission for rural music ministry. He travels the archdiocese to bolster musical and liturgical literacy among the parishes in rural communities.
What is the Japanese major like at Notre Dame? “It's a different way of thinking. Once you have a foothold, you really start developing a sense of mastery,” said student Joshua Kuiper. Japanese majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as cross-cultural engagement, communication, translation/interpretation, and textual analysis.
Gerald McKenny is Walter Professor of Theology. His research interests include moral theology, Christian ethics, and biomedical technologies. In this video, he discusses his interests in how human beings respond to vulnerabilities and limitations, issues he studies as an ethicist and theologian, and why it's important for humanities scholars to be involved in questions of biotechnology.
What is the sociology major like at Notre Dame? “Sociology has really allowed me to not only ask good focused questions about social problems but then when I get an answer, to be able to dissect that answer in a way that allows some kind of positive response,” said sociology major Pete Freeman. Sociology majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as data collection/analysis, scientific method, critical thinking, and collaboration.
What is the political science major like at Notre Dame? “A lot of people think that political science is just Democrat versus Republican but that couldn't be further from the truth,” said political science major Sean McFeely. “It's lot about understanding why things are the way they are.” Political science majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as evidence-based arguments, critical thinking, data analysis, and information synthesis.
What is the philosophy major like at Notre Dame? “I really feel like we're engaging seriously with philosophy. It actually can become very personal, reflecting on human nature and what is an ethical life, and what is justice,” said philosophy major Natasha Reifenberg. Philosophy majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as critical thinking, data analysis, evidence-based arguments, and information synthesis.
What is the American studies major like at Notre Dame? “American studies is analyzing the structures of power within American society through critical lenses like race, class, gender, and religion,” said American studies major Jacob McKenna. American studies majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as oral and written communication, teamwork, analytical reasoning, and ethical judgment.
College of Arts and Letters graduates find success in the business world in a variety of roles and industries. Major companies are seeking college graduates proficient in communication, analysis, empathy, and creative thinking — skills that all Arts and Letters develop through a broad liberal arts education. “There’s lots of different opportunities for liberal arts majors,” said Lindsey Jacob, university recruiting lead for Booz Allen Hamilton, a professional services firm. “Management consulting, process improvement, strategic communications, public policy work. You really are able to chart your own career.”
“A lot of people ask me, ‘Philosophy — do you even use that in business?’ And I actually do all the time, especially in the world of Silicon Valley,” said Dan Peate ’00. Peate is the founder of the technology companies DRIAV and Hixme, and is the managing director of Peate Ventures LLC, a venture capital fund. He credits his success in business to the skills he gained in asking foundational questions as a philosophy major. He seeks new employees who can demonstrate flexible thinking and thinks all students should broaden their abilities to work creatively.
“African-American cultural experience is one that can't be bound by national boundaries,” said Mark A. Sanders, a professor of English and Africana studies at the University of Notre Dame. Sanders researches early 20th-century American and African American literature and culture. He has worked extensively on the Harlem Renaissance, writing one book and co-editing another on the poet Sterling Brown. He is now working to bring together scholars to translate work by African-descended writers from across the Americas.
Kate Marshall is associate professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. Her research interests include media theory, narrative, and the philosophy of science. "I spend a lot of time working on problems in contemporary fiction and how they relate not only to the long history of the novel and other forms of literary representation but also the way that they relate to other ways of thinking in the contemporary world," she says."
Joseph Parent, an associate professor of political science and associate director of the Notre Dame International Security Center, recently studied how states respond to shifts in power, questioning the conventional wisdom that great powers become more aggressive when they are falling. “In fact, decline is one of the biggest causes of peace,” he said. “It turns out that states were very aware of their declining power and they knew that if they started something, it would end badly for them.”
Christiane Baumeister is Robert and Irene Bozzone Associate Professor of Economics at Notre Dame. Her research interests include empirical macroeconomics, energy economics, applied time series econometrics, and monetary economics.
Nathan Rose is assistant professor of psychology and the William P. and Hazel B. White Collegiate Chair at the University of Notre Dame. His research focuses on the neuro-cognitive mechanisms of memory and how these mechanisms break down with age.
Ernest Morrell's research examines how children can move beyond basic reading and writing abilities by analyzing and producing media in ways that allow them to engage meaningfully with the world. “The practices around literacy in your own neighborhood and community are just as powerful as the literacy practices in school, and hopefully we begin to bridge that gap,” he said.
“The need for skilled, ethical, talented, compassionate journalists is greater now than ever before,” said Richard Jones, the Annenberg Director of the Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy at Notre Dame. "It really is a natural fit to teach journalism in the context of a liberal arts education, and in the context of a Notre Dame education," he said. "There's so much overlay between the principles journalists try to adhere to and the principles that our students are taught here."
Gholz’s work focuses on issues at the intersection of national security and economic policy. A former Pentagon senior adviser and co-author of two books, Gholz is a proponent of a grand strategy of restraint for the United States.
Associate Professor of English Michelle Karnes studies late Medieval literature, philosophy, and religion. In this video, she discuses why she's fascinated by the presence of marvels in both natural philosophy and literature.
Congratulations to the Class of 2018! This video, screened at the Arts and Letters Diploma Ceremony, features several seniors reflecting on their time at Notre Dame and in the College of Arts and Letters. In it, the new graduates discuss how a liberal arts education helped them develop skills, shaped their minds, and opened up a world of possibilities for their futures.
Jon T. Coleman is professor of history at the University of Notre Dame. His research focuses on the overlap of social, cultural, and environmental history in early America and the American West. In this video, he discusses his research on how human beings continually get lost in the North American interior and how that experience has changed radically over time.
Anne García-Romero is associate professor of film, television, and theatre and a faculty fellow in the Institute for Latino Studies. She is a professional playwright as well as a scholar focusing on Latina playwriting.