Majors in the College of LAS
With over 70 majors to choose from, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences has something for just about everyone.
The college divides its fields of study, or majors, into three categories:
- Sciences and Letters curriculum
- Specialized curricula
- Secondary teacher education
Each category has core graduation requirements set by the college as well as requirements unique to each field of study. See LAS’ degree requirements.
Typically, students declare the major in which they plan to graduate by the end of their fourth semester.
You may not act as your own advisor when completing the required major plan-of-study form. See the guidelines for declaring or changing a curriculum or major.
The Sciences and Letters curricula encompass the traditional majors in the liberal arts and sciences as well as individual plans of study, interdisciplinary majors, and international studies.
- The Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts and Sciences is awarded to students completing a major in actuarial science, astronomy, atmospheric sciences, chemistry, Earth, society and environmental sustainability, geology, integrative biology, mathematics, math and computer science, molecular and cellular biology, physics, psychology, statistics, and statistics and computer science.
- The Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences is awarded to students completing any of the other majors.
- Students in the Sciences and Letters curriculum must fulfill a core set of requirements established by the college as well as the requirements specific to their major. See the degree requirements.
Majors in the Sciences and Letters curriculum
- Actuarial science
An actuary is a combination of business executive, mathematician, financier, sociologist, and investment manager.
- African American studies
Provides students with a transdiciplinary perspective on the origin, role, and policy implications of race in the United States and world political economy, society, and culture, over time.
Combines scientific and humanistic interests in a modern social sciences framework. Students can concentrate in General Anthropology or Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology.
- Asian American studies
Explores Asian Americans across disciplines and cultures and provides both a broad and a deep approach to theory, research, and multidisciplinary study.
Based upon both a broad and an in-depth exploration into astronomy and allied disciplines.
- Astronomy + Data Science
Astronomy is being transformed by the advent of large astronomical data sets. This major incorporates a strong foundation in data science and astronomy, including research and discovery.
Provides astronomy majors with a pathway to fully explore modern astronomy.
- Atmospheric sciences
Prepares students for careers in meteorology, environmental science, climate, remote sensing, science education, atmospheric chemistry, computational science, and other related areas.
Also see majors in Integrative Biology and Molecular and Cellular Biology.
- Brain and Cognitive Science
Investigates the brain and behavior of intelligent biological systems (e.g. people) from the perspective that the brain is a kind of computer.
The study of the composition and properties of matter and the investigation of the laws that govern the combination of elements.
The study of the languages and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. Students can concentrate in Classical Languages or Classical Civilizations.
The use and impact of communication messages in human interaction.
- Comparative and world literature
Develops not only reading, writing, and language skills, but also the awareness of cultural differences and interrelations. Students can concentrate in Comparative Literature or World Literature.
- CS + Anthropology
Students will gain the knowledge necessary to use computer, social, and behavioral sciences within larger cultural questions of globalization, community, security, the ethics of privacy, social transformation, and social justice.
- CS + Astronomy
Students combine the study of computer science with training in astronomy to gain novel perspectives in interdisciplinary work, such as data visualization, data mining, data design and modeling, astrophysical and numerical simulations, and image processing.
- CS + Chemistry
Combines the study of computer science with training in chemistry to gain novel perspectives in interdisciplinary work that prepares students for a variety of careers. These specializations may include analysis of experimental imaging data to visualization of in vivo chemical reactions.
- CS + Economics
Produces students who can develop both skill sets by providing them with the opportunity to learn a variety of economic analytical skills, both theoretical and empirical, as well as computational skills.
- CS + Geography & Geographic Information Science
Students in computer science + geography and geographic information science learn about cutting-edge geospatial data and tools for analyzing environmental and social issues while developing advanced programming and computing skills.
- CS + Linguistics
This program brings together students and faculty interested in various aspects of the computer and language relationship – for example, studying the cognitive aspects of natural languages and endowing computers with understanding of spoken and written natural language.
- CS + Philosophy
Prepares students to tackle modern questions related to ethics, logic, and privacy, especially in fields of artificial intelligence and security in a digital age.
- Creative writing
Permits students to work in creative or professional writing.
- Earth, society, and environmental sustainability
Understanding and solving scientific, social, and environmental challenges by studying the Earth as a system—how physical processes, public policy, and social forces interact.
- East Asian languages and cultures
Gain knowledge of the civilizations of East Asia, competence in an East Asian language, and a solid familiarity with East Asian cultures through multiple disciplines.
- Econometrics and quantitative economics
Provides students with a quantitative curriculum, consisting of economics (specifically in econometrics), statistics, mathematics, and computer science. Students will be trained in advanced data analysis skills to answer economic questions, uncovering relationships, while taking all information into account.
Studies the problems caused by scarcity and how individuals, institutions, and societies may deal with these problems.
Instructs in literature, literary theory and criticism, the English language, expository and creative writing, writing studies, film, cultural studies, and more.
Explore literary history and interpretation, contemporary critical theory, Francophone literature, the study of civilization, historical and applied linguistics, and more. Students can concentrate in French Studies or French Commercial Studies.
- Gender and women’s studies
Examine ways in which sex and gender have structured human societies and explore women’s and men’s cultural identities and social roles in relation to race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, and globalization.
- Geography and geographic information science
Geographers ask where things are located on the surface of the earth, why they are located there, how places differ, and how people interact with the environment.
Scientific study of the Earth with application to anthropology, civil engineering, information science, law, regional planning, and societal issues such as geologic hazards, natural resources, and pollution.
- Germanic studies
A traditional study of German providing students with a balanced knowledge of its language, literature, and civilization. Students can concentrate in German studies, German business and commercial studies, or Scandinavian studies.
- Global studies
A flexible major that complements existing majors while imparting skills for analyzing and solving world problems.
The study of the human experience in different cultures and time periods.
- History of Art
Interpret art as a record of social and personal experience, assess complex arguments critically, and understand a diverse range of artistic traditions.
- Individual plans of study
Customized majors that fulfill educational needs not served by existing fields of study. Read more about individual plans of study.
- Integrative biology
Provides solid preparation in genetics and evolution, structure and function, ecology and behavior, and comparative physiology and molecular biology. Students can concentrate in Integrative Biology or Integrative Biology Honors.
Promotes the language, literature, linguistics, and culture.
- Jewish studies (LAS interdisciplinary major)
Provides knowledge of the Hebrew language, the opportunity to begin a study of Yiddish, and a broad appreciation of Jewish religion, culture, and history. Learn more about interdisciplinary studies
- Latin American studies
Incorporates an integrated exploration of a major world area.
- Latina/Latino studies
An interdisciplinary field of study drawing upon the humanities and social sciences, exploring the experiences and lives of Latina/os in the context of the United States.
Prepares students for various careers in which the scientific study of language is of significance.
- Linguistics & Teaching English as a Second Language
Provides a foundation for teaching English as a second or foreign language.
Provides fundamental background for mathematics.
- Mathematics and computer science
Provides students with the mathematical background to be able to solve complex problems, while incorporating computer science techniques that are immediately useful in a variety of fields.
- Medieval studies (LAS interdisciplinary major)
Introduces students to medieval cultures across the world. Learn more about interdisciplinary studies
- Molecular and cellular biology
Offers a solid preparation in molecular biology, molecular genetics, microbiology, cellular biology, biochemistry, physiology, and structural biology. Students can concentrate in molecular and cellular biology or molecular and cellular biology honors.
Understand brain function at multiple levels, from behavior and information processing to systems and integrative physiology.
The oldest, broadest, and most fundamental form of inquiry, philosophy improves one's ability to think clearly, and to construct, analyze, and criticize arguments of any kind.
- Political science
Encourages students to acquire a broad understanding of political science and to pursue selected subfields of the discipline in depth.
Promotes the language, literature, linguistics, and culture.
The scientific study of human and animal behavior is designed to better understand behavior and help solve problems faced by individuals and communities.
Designed for students seeking a broad liberal arts education with a focus on religious studies.
- Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies
Involves the study of a complex world area in a manner that draws together the approaches of different disciplines, while building knowledge in a single discipline.
- Slavic studies
The study of the language, literature, and culture of Russia. Students can concentrate in Czech Studies; Polish Studies; Russian Language, Literature, and Culture; South Slavic Studies; or Ukrainian Studies.
Studies the organization and construction of social relations, including stratification, social movements, institutional change, and intergroup relations.
Promotes the language, literature, linguistics, and culture.
The science of modeling, summarizing, and analyzing data uses mathematics and computing tools to make predictions and decisions in the face of uncertainty.
- Statistics and computer science
For students who desire a strong foundation in computer science coupled with significant advanced coursework in statistics.
The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences offers several specialized curricula that prepare students for professional study or graduate school. Each curriculum consists of a more rigidly structured course of study than majors in the Sciences and Letters curriculum. Each specialized major is designed to meet the demands of an outside accrediting agency.
- The Bachelor of Science is awarded to students completing any of the specialized curricula.
- Students in specialized curricula must fulfill a core set of requirements established by the college as well as the requirements specific to their major. See the degree requirements.
Majors in specialized curricula
The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences has programs that will prepare our students to become skilled, knowledgeable, and committed teachers.
Students may obtain teacher certification through the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences on one of two ways:
Academic advisors will provide more detailed information about specific course requirements for each of the programs. Students should be in regular communication with their teacher education advisor.
State Teacher Certification Board or by the legislature may change certification requirements at any time. In such cases, students may be compelled to satisfy the new requirements to qualify for the university's recommendation for certification. Also see the Council on Teacher Education for information more detailed information about teacher education programs.
Please be aware that educator licensure requirements vary by state. The licensure programs at UIUC are designed to meet Illinois requirements for licensure and are approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. If you intend to practice and get licensed in any other state, there could be additional course or clinical or testing and assessment requirements unique to that state. We strongly suggest you research the licensure requirements of the state you are intending to practice in. Your UIUC program coordinator may also be able to assist you with this research in your specific licensure area. Please feel free to contact the Council on Teacher Education if you have additional questions.
All candidates for certification are required to pass a proficiency test in their content and, for foreign language teachers, an additional oral test in their content major language.
Students may pursue programs preparatory to the teaching of the following languages:
Students in the Foreign Language Teacher Education program complete the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in the Teaching of French, German, Latin, or Spanish. Education courses, other courses required for teacher certification, and student teaching are integrated within each curriculum. Apply through FTLE's website.
Arts and sciences
Students may earn a bachelor of science or arts degree in the following areas:
These students complete a teaching option offered through an LAS major and the Teacher Education Minor in Secondary School Teaching. Upon completion of the option and the Teacher Education Minor in Secondary School Teaching, students will earn a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree in liberal arts and sciences as well as teaching certification.
Additional requirements for the Arts and sciences option
Students following any of the teaching options in the Sciences and Letters curriculum must complete the course requirements for that curriculum as well as the college's core requirements. When they select their major, they may also select a “pre-teaching professional attribute,” which reflects their intent to complete the requirements for teacher certification as part of their undergraduate program.
Transfer into the teaching option within a major can be made only by students who have received approval to complete the Teacher Education Minor in Secondary School Teaching. Approval for the Teacher Education Minor in Secondary School Teaching is gained by successful application.
Each major stipulates prerequisite courses that must be completed before admission to the teaching option. Interested students should see academic advisors in the major for information on prerequisite courses.
Many students will be able to complete all the prerequisite courses for transfer into the teaching option of their major by the spring of their sophomore year; those students may be able to complete the requirements for the bachelor's degree in LAS, the Teacher Education Minor in Secondary School Teaching, and all other requirements for teacher certification in four years.
Students who establish eligibility to transfer into the teaching option of their major in the spring of their junior year will need a total of five years to satisfy the requirements for teacher certification because of the timing of the minor course sequence.