The College of Liberal Studies is the newest college at Seoul National University (SNU). It was established in 2009, with the aim of cultivating dedicated and competent leaders of the global community. It has grown to have a population of over 600 students enrolled in 45 departmental major programs and 33 student-designed majors.
One way the College of Liberal Studies hopes to achieve its aim of cultivating dedicated and competent leaders of the global community is through giving students the freedom to choose from a range of pre-existing majors, as well as student-designed majors. Most students at SNU’s College of Liberal Studies have opted for existing majors, with the largest proportion of students choosing to major in social sciences and natural sciences, followed by business administration, humanities and engineering. Many students often choose to double-major or minor in very different fields, crossing disciplinary boundaries. On the other hand, students can also design their own majors if their academic interests are not represented by existing majors. Examples of student-designed majors include Cognitive Biopsychology, International Political Economy and Sport Science.
The College of Liberal Studies also prides itself on its core curriculum, which includes four Selected Topics Seminars. These courses deal with both the arts and sciences, and the first two are compulsory. Selected Topics Seminar 1 is team-taught by professors from different disciplines. It aims to develop interdisciplinary thinking, and covers topics like the study of Time from perspectives of Astrophysics, English Literature, and Anthropology. On the other hand, for Selected Topics Seminar 2, students choose from a wide variety of topics, and there is shift towards teaching by a single professor. There is more focus on depth in Selected Topics Seminar 2, and students have the opportunity to explore original texts, looking at topics like “Understanding of Genius Artists” and “War and Peace”.
Interesting aspects of the core curriculum at the College of Liberal Studies include the Community Service-based/Global Experiential Learning and Individual Course Design 1, a prerequisite course for all freshmen, would be. Individual Course Design 1 is described as investigating the history of university, division of academic disciplines and convergence efforts, and allowing students to learn what it means to choose a major, and how they could discover or design their own major.