Liberal Arts and Sciences Requirement

New York State guidelines mandate a minimum number of credits in the liberal arts and sciences for each specific undergraduate degree. Furthermore, the guidelines indicate that these credits should not be directed toward specific occupational or professional objectives. 

  • Students earning an associate of arts degree must complete a minimum of 45 credits in the liberal arts and sciences. 
  • Students earning a bachelor of arts degree must complete a minimum of 90 credits in the liberal arts and sciences.
  • Students earning a bachelor of science degree must complete a minimum of 60 credits in the liberal arts and sciences

What comprises the liberal arts and sciences?

The liberal arts and sciences comprise the disciplines of the humanities, natural sciences, mathematics, and social sciences. Our degree audit program (GriffAudit) verifies this requirement based on the New York State guidelines. The guidelines indicate that the following areas should be included in the liberal arts and sciences:


  • English—composition, creative writing, history of language, journalism, linguistics, literature, literature in translation, playwriting
  • Fine arts—art appreciation, history or theory
  • Foreign languages—composition, conversation, grammar, history of the language, literature of the language, reading, translation studies
  • Music—music appreciation, history or theory
  • Philosophy—comparative philosophy, history of philosophy, logic, schools of philosophy
  • Religion—comparative religion, history of religion
  • Theater—dramatic interpretation, dramatic literature, dramaturgy, history of drama, playwriting

Natural sciences and mathematics

  • Natural sciences—anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, earth science, geology, physics, zoology

  • Mathematics—calculus, mathematical theory, statistics

  • Computer Science—broad survey/theory courses

Social sciences

  • Cultural studies, economics, geography, government, history, political science, psychology, sociology

  • Criminal justice—introductory and broad survey courses

  • Communications—interpersonal communication, mass communication, public speaking, speech and rhetoric

Examples of course types that are not considered within the liberal arts and sciences include:

  • Agriculture
  • Business—administration, finance, human resources, management, marketing, production
  • Computer applications (e.g., word processing, database, spreadsheet), programming (e.g., specific languages)
  • Health and physical education
  • Home economics
  • Education and teaching methods
  • Library science
  • Music—studio, performance, practice courses—voice, instrument, direction, conducting
  • Office technologies and practice
  • Performing and related arts—acting, costume design, dance, direction, lighting, production, scene construction, sound production
  • Specialized professional courses in such fields as accounting, architecture, dental hygiene, dentistry, engineering, law, medicine, nursing, nutrition, pharmacy, podiatry, veterinary medicine
  • Studio art—drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture
  • Technology/technician fields—construction, data processing, electrical, electronics, graphic arts, mechanical, medical, refrigeration repair
  • Television and radio production
  • Theology—pastoral counseling, ministry