College of Arts and Sciences

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Photo credit: Gao Menglin

Oberlin is a place of intense energy and creativity built on a foundation of academic, artistic, and musical excellence. With its longstanding commitments to access, diversity, and inclusion, it is the perfect laboratory in which to study and design the world you want.

Facts at a Glance

11:1
student/faculty ratio
440
acres
47+
majors
175+
student organizations
Professor of Theater Caroline Jackson Smith leads a seminar about acting in Warner Center where many student productions take place. Photo credit: Jennifer Manna

First Year Seminar Program

The First Year Seminar Program is a special opportunity for newly enrolled students to begin their Oberlin studies in a small setting. The topics and academic approaches of seminars vary, but each is designed to encourage critical thinking, develop discussion and writing skills, and foster lively exchanges between students and faculty. Class size is limited to 14.

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book shelves
Stacks of books are located throughout the main library, which includes materials on the sciences, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, computer science, and general interest works. Photo credit: Jessica Stewart

Academics

We offer a robust interdisciplinary educational program with more than 50 academic majors and 42 minors and concentrations.

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Double Degree Program

We created the Double Degree Program. Offered jointly between the College of Arts and Sciences and the Conservatory of Music, it combines the best of both: rigorous preprofessional music training with a broad liberal arts education. You’ll earn two undergraduate degrees—a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Music—in five years or fewer.

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Neuroscience major Michelle Johnson earned a 10-week summer research internship through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Exceptional Research Opportunities Program. She is in the lab of Gunnar Kwakye, assistant professor of neuroscience. Photo credit: Tanya-Rosen Jones ’97

Research

We believe the best liberal arts education has a strong science component and that the best science education happens in a liberal arts setting. Working alongside faculty members on important research is a hallmark of science education at Oberlin. Our professors maintain active research interests and involve and mentor undergraduate students in their work.  With excellent research facilities and equipment at your fingertips, your efforts might lead to coauthoring an article for a scholarly journal, or to discovering a pulsar.

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Six Oberlin College students ventured to New York City during winter term, cameras at the ready, to interview and photograph Asian Americans and Asians living in the United States. The group developed a photography exhibition, "Finding Asia in America." Photo credit: Jeong Hyun Hwang

Winter Term

Winter term allows students to continue the process of personal and academic discovery outside of the classroom. You can create your own project or join a team of students on an existing one. Maybe you’ll study bats in Costa Rica, meet investment bankers on Wall Street, record your band’s new album, or learn Russian or Greek. You’re required to complete three winter-term projects for graduation, but in typical Oberlin fashion, most students do something great during all four years.

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Bags packed, will travel. Photo credit: Amber Benford

Study Away

Ever travel or study abroad? Interested students, regardless of major, can experience different cultures, languages, and perspectives through our study away programs or through more than 85 affiliated programs. Spend a semester or a year away from campus. Study away programs cover a wide range of geographic areas of the world, curricular and academic interests, and program types. Not all study away sites are overseas. Our Office of Study Away can help you select a program and complete the requirements for travel and study.

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College of Arts and Sciences Faculty

Oberlin professors are scholars and teachers. They devote their careers to making important contributions to their disciplines, and they are completely committed to teaching undergraduates. Our small class sizes offer opportunities for student/professor mentoring relationships that will last beyond your Oberlin years.

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“We don’t think of our students as technicians. They are immersed in the literature and engaged in the scholarly conversation that’s happening in the world beyond Oberlin. They participate in that scholarly conversation by being coauthors on papers and presenting posters at conferences. ”

Rebecca Whelan, Chair and Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
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An Oberlin College graduate celebrates her achievement. Photo credit: Jennifer Manna

Life After Oberlin

My parents made me entrepreneurial because they were entrepreneurs, but Oberlin empowered me to find my own sense of entrepreneurship. The beauty of it is that Oberlin gives you the freedom to find your place, which is absolute genius. —Michael Sorrell 

Think one person can change the world? So do they:

  • Jad Abumrad ’95 and Robert Krulwich ’69, cohosts of National Public Radio’s Radiolab
  • Sonia Shah ’90, investigative journalist and author
  • Michael Sorrell ’88, lawyer and president, Paul Quinn College in Dallas
  • Christina Briboneria ’05, private CFO, certified financial planner

Explore Life After Oberlin