The Liberal Arts Curriculum
During the Middle Ages, the liberal arts curriculum prepared individuals for
careers in the church, business, law and education. A liberal arts education also came to be
synonymous with the idea of the well-round, well-educated person. Programatically,it came to be
the standard for a university education for hundreds of years to come.
The term liberal, derived from the Latin liberalis, has its roots in the word meaning
"free." A liberal education thus infers that the arts of the mind are different from the
manual or mechanical arts. Furthermore, the underlying
implication is that the discipline
enrichment provided by a liberal arts education
from the chaos of
The course of study with its different disciplines that came to be adopted by medieval universities
was derived from the Aristotelian models of Ancient Greece.
This body of knowledge had been divided into separate categories known as disciplines, thus establishing a
model of categorization and organization that still forms the basis of academic disciplines today.
In the medieval period, the liberal arts consisted of seven disciplines that were divided into the
three verbal arts known as the trivium, and the four other subjects that were known
collectively as the quadrivium.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford
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