Engaged Liberal Arts
Engaged Liberal Arts (ELA) takes many forms at Oberlin.
ELA takes what you’re learning in your courses and puts it into practice through internships, research, study away experiences, winter term, career exploration, and beyond.
Faculty, professional staff, and peer mentors help facilitate opportunities and make connections across your curricular and cocurricular journey through the following offices and programs:
Students have opportunities to work closely and directly with their professors to ask questions, design projects, and participate in cutting-edge exploration across the humanities, arts, and social sciences, as well as the natural sciences, computer science, and math.
Community-Based Learning (CBL)
Faculty, staff, and students collaborate with community partners locally, nationally, and globally, to address real-world community needs and goals and integrate these, through research or class projects, into the academic goals of a course. Oberlin offers more than 40 CBL courses across departments in the college and conservatory each academic year.
Studying away is an essential element of a liberal arts education. It will provide you with the experiences, knowledge, and skills necessary to successfully engage the challenges and solutions of the globally interconnected world that awaits you after Oberlin. Every year, over 250 Obies study away during the summer, semester, or full year, engaging in academically rigorous and culturally immersive experiences that inspire them intellectually and musically, empower them personally, and drive them professionally. Oberlin offers 125 semester or year-long programs in over 40 countries on six continents. Regardless of your major, including conservatory and double-degree students, we have a study away program that’s right for you.
Pursue your interests outside of Oberlin’s regular semester course offerings through a four-week immersive experience in January. Winter-term projects can be independent or group projects, and can take place on campus or anywhere around the world. Through individual and group advising sessions, the winter term office can help you design rigorous, intellectually rich projects based on your own creative ideas, personal interests, and career ambitions. Or, you can join one of the nearly 50 faculty-led group projects offered each year. Winter term concludes in the annual Winter Term Festival of Ideas, where students join together on campus to share and celebrate their winter-term projects.
Put your liberal arts skills into action. Internships provide you with the opportunity to learn about a career that interests you through direct experience in that field. Oberlin will help you find and fund internships for the summer or during the academic year.
Oberlin’s Fellowships and Awards office works with Oberlin College students and alumni interested in applying for nationally competitive programs in a broad range of fields, from physical science to music performance. Among Fulbright, Watson, Rhodes, Goldwater, Davis Projects for Peace, and many other options, there is a program to fit your goals. A perennial top-producer of Fulbright awards nationally, Oberlin has more than 220 alumni of the Fulbright Student Program.
The Allen Memorial Art Museum (AMAM)
Oberlin’s renowned art museum receives thousands of visits by students in classes each academic year—often more than the number of OC students, as students visit with faculty in more than one course. The museum’s collection is deeply integrated into the teaching curriculum with most disciplines and departments having meaningful, pedagogical interactions.
Peer Advising Leaders (PALs)
The PAL program aims to create a sense of community among first-year students and help them make the most of their first-year educational experience. PALs are older students who volunteer to help first-year students navigate Oberlin's academic and developmental advising systems to their full potential. The motto of the program is: “Every first-year student has a PAL!”
First-Year Seminars introduce you to the magic of liberal arts learning. Seminars will not only hone your skills in critical and creative thinking, discussion, and writing, but also acquaint you with resources available to support your learning at Oberlin.
Sophomore Opportunities and Academic Resources (SOAR) is a program that helps sophomores as they begin making decisions about their academic and postgraduate futures.
Oberlin’s own Junior Practicum is a program about seeking purpose in uncertain times. Drawing upon the expertise and experience of professionals in a range of fields, the program offers meaningful educational experiences for students that take place off campus.
Career Communities are a way to connect with other students, alumni, parents, and faculty who share an interest or expertise in a particular employment sector. Participants gain skills and experience relevant to their career interests along with course credit and a summer internship.
Oberlin Center for Convergence (StudiOC)
StudiOC brings together the college and conservatory to address the complex, seemingly intractable challenges of our era. StudiOC theme-based learning communities are multidisciplinary, which allows students to make connections across disciplines and develop meaningful interactions with their peers and with faculty.