The College of Liberal Arts is comprised of eighteen academic departments in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. These units offer a wide range of majors, minors, and independent programs.
Africana Studies is an interdisciplinary and global discipline focused on the scholarship of the histories, political and cultural movements, institutions, economies, and identities of Africans and the African diaspora. Africa's own overlapping cultures along with the disbursement of African people -- whether forced or voluntary -- have given rise to the discourse of what "black" and "African" identities and experiences actually mean. This has impelled the discipline of Black Studies to rethink the geographical boundaries and conceptual template surrounding the production of knowledge about Africa and its diasporic communities.
Anthropologists study humanity in many different dimensions, across time and space. The field is divided into four main areas of inquiry: modern human societies (Socio-cultural Anthropology), past human societies (Archaeology), human communication (Linguistic Anthropology), and human and primate biology (Biological Anthropology). At Southern Illinois University, we strive to offer students an integrated, "four-field" approach to the study of humans, at the undergraduate and graduate levels, along with opportunities to work with active researchers in all areas.
A degree in Communication Studies can prepare you for a career in business, the arts, social services, government, education, or industry. Your ability to communicate effectively is essential to your potential career success. In our department you can develop the flexible, practical skills you will need after graduation. You learn from nationally-recognized faculty in small classes. In our department you're a name, not a number.
The study of literature and written communication disciplines the intellect and teaches us to comprehend the world. Employers want people who respect and understand the diversity of human experience, who can communicate directly and clearly, and who can take on responsibility, initiate change, and solve problems independently. The discipline of English seeks to define what it is to be human by scrutinizing both real and imagined experience; by teaching us how to think creatively and critically, using our interpretive and analytical abilities; and by teaching us valuable lessons about the human experience -- that things may not be as they appear, that language can be both powerful and playful, that even as we differ, humans share many important values. Students who choose to study literature, language, rhetoric, and composition in the SIUC Department of English have access to excellent resources: a talented, friendly faculty, small class size, well-equipped facilities, and extensive library collections. Graduates of the department have gone on to work in teaching, publishing, and law. Others hold responsible positions in business, industry, government and more.
The Department of History is strongly committed to creating an environment that is supportive of students from diverse backgrounds while upholding the most rigorous academic standards. Our courses cover the globe, and students are given ample opportunity to work closely with award-winning teachers and scholars. However much we may want to, we cannot escape the relevance of history to our lives. The past lives, and we study history to connect our past with our future and to give meaning to our present.
The Department of Languages, Cultures, and International Trade prepares students to live in today's global community. We teach modern & classical languages and prepare our students to understand their cultural contexts. Our faculty conduct research in literature, linguistics, pedagogy, philosophy, and foreign cultures. We serve the university, our professional communities, local schools, and the general public by providing support and leadership to help citizens thrive in an increasingly globalized world.
Linguistics is the study of language. Linguists study the sounds of language, how words are built, how sentences are constructed, and what words and sentences mean. We also study how language is learned and processed in our minds and brains, how it is used in social-cultural contexts, and how it changes over time.
The Department of Philosophy at SIUC is a pluralistic one with undergraduate courses in a variety of traditions. The faculty have diverse specializations: history of philosophy, logic, ethics, metaphysics, political and legal philosophy, the philosophy of science, philosophy of technology, and philosophy of religion. Our Philosophy department also houses several world-famous project divisions, including the Phenomenology Research Center, The Center for Dewey Studies, and the Library of Living Philosophers.
Political Science is the study of issues and decisions in local, national, and global arenas that influence and govern the way we live. Political science majors qualify for many different careers in private and public sector organizations. Some of the more common careers pursued by graduates in political science include: law, business, teaching, journalism, interest groups, and public and international affairs. Political science training also provides valuable preparation for participating in community organizations, electoral politics, movements on behalf of specific policies, or even seeking elected or appointed positions in government.
Sociology is the scientific study of social change and social life -- by seeking to explain how human groups, institutions, and social movements shape our lives. Sociology develops students' insights into theoretical and practical aspects of life. Students at SIUC study such topics as criminology, delinquency, deviance, identity, international development, marriage and the family, race/ethnic relations, religion, sex and gender roles, sexuality, social problems, social movements, social thought, social change, sports/leisure, and victimology.
CoLA undergraduates can choose to build their own bachelor of arts (B.A.) or bachelor of sciences (B.S.) degrees using the University Studies Program. This degree tool offers a passage to receiving a real, tangible, liberal arts degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale without a formal, declared major. The University Studies program is the way to build a custom bachelor's degree based on the needs and interests of a particular student. It is a broadly based degree that not only allows, but requires, diversification.
Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, an interdisciplinary and global field of inquiry, explores gender and sexuality in societies past and present. While the field continue to focus on women’s experiences, achievements, and positions in society, and ways in which women's lives are shaped by race, class, and culture, these topics are naturally related to broader themes of gender and sexuality, masculinity as well as femininity and feminism, Queer Theory as well as Feminist Theory.