Our Mission

The College of Liberal Arts brings critical methods and crucial insights of the arts, humanities and social sciences to the enduring and contemporary issues facing our world. The college prepares students for challenging careers and empowers them to live lives of achievement, courage, contribution and meaning. Our work contributes to building a more just, secure and promising future. CLA is the fulcrum of this prominent, international research university.

Degrees, Faculty, and Students

The College of Liberal Arts offers major programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees, with options, in 17 areas. In addition, College of Liberal Arts majors may concurrently earn a second degree in International Studies. CLA offers master's degrees in Public Policy, Applied Ethics, Creative Writing, Applied Anthropology, English, Hispanic Studies and History of Science, Ph.D.s in Applied Anthropology and History of Science.

There are over 290 faculty members in thirteen departments and in related interdisciplinary degree and certificate programs in the College.


The College of Liberal Arts has 4478 undergraduate students.


Find out more about Oregon State University, Corvallis and Oregon.

Our History

The liberal arts have a long history at Oregon State University that goes all the way back to the university’s roots, when Corvallis College, established in 1865, began offering a four-year, collegiate liberal arts curriculum. Under the provisions of the Morrill Act of 1862, Corvallis College was designated as Oregon’s land-grant institution in 1868. The act set aside for the state 90,000 acres of land to build an agricultural college. The Morrill Act also mandated a college curriculum primarily in agriculture, engineering and military science. Because of that specific focus, Corvallis College was informally referred to as Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) throughout the 1890’s and early 1900’s. That name became official in 1907, but was changed to Oregon State Agricultural College in 1927 and Oregon State College (OSC) in 1937.

Through the early 20th century, the liberal arts were de-emphasized and grouped into the Division of Service Departments. After World War II, College President A.L. Strand pushed to re-emphasize the liberal arts, and in 1959 majors in humanities and the social sciences were offered for the first time. In 1961 OSC changed the word “college” in its name to “university” and established a School of Humanities and Social Sciences, developing additional degree programs through the 1960’s. In 1973, the school became the College of Liberal Arts. It included the humanities, social sciences and the fine and performing arts. Today, the College of Liberal Arts remains the cornerstone of the university. It has the second largest student enrollment of any college, includes many renowned faculty and has a dedicated and philanthropic alumni base.

CLA provides OSU students with an excellent educational experience that prepares them to embark on a lifetime of learning and to adapt to a rapidly changing world. The liberal arts are personally enriching and eminently practical, and when our students leave OSU, they have the critical thinking and communication skills to succeed in their careers and their lives.