3 Ways to Incorporate the Arts Into Your College Experience

Courses in the arts can enrich and revitalize your college experience. Even if you are an engineering, psychology, or business major, taking a class in the arts or design disciplines can be enjoyable, stress-relieving, and enlightening. Many majors are cross-disciplinary, and you may be able to tie what you learn in your arts courses back to your major. So, how does a student in an unrelated major incorporate arts into his or her college experience? Read on to learn three ways to incorporate the arts into your college experience:

1. Fulfill general studies requirements with arts courses

Nearly all majors require students to complete general education or general studies courses. This ensures that students have a well-rounded experience and are exposed to a multitude of ideas. So the next time you meet with your advisor, find out what general studies you have remaining and which might be fulfilled through an art course. Many history and theory courses in art, dance, theatre, film, music, and design offer historical or humanities credits, and might be more enjoyable than some of your other course options to fulfill the same requirements. Also, these courses might provide a bit of a break from your typical finance or electrical engineering courses, while also providing inspiration and even a new intellectual challenge.

2. Incorporate arts practice courses into your schedule

Maybe you are a nursing major, but always loved drawing or ceramics. Or, maybe you are studying sustainability but miss filmmaking. Check your college catalog or speak with your academic advisor about arts practice courses that are open to non-majors. Many colleges and universities set aside seats in their introductory arts practice courses for non-majors to explore disciplines. Most majors allow a few electives. Taking a course in arts practice will help fulfill elective credits while nurturing your creative pursuits. If you don’t have room for an elective or if you’ve already used your electives, consider taking on an extra course in the summer to fit in an art course. If you take a few courses and really love it, see an advisor in the creative discipline of your interest to find out about adding a minor. Minors might include theatre, film, dance, music, digital media, design, or art.

3. Enhance your major with a relevant arts course

Majors and their corresponding careers are typically not independent of every other major or career. Instead, they are trans-, multi- or cross-disciplinary. You can use courses in the arts to enhance your major, and eventually acquire skills and knowledge for your career. For example, a computer science major may love programming, but he or she may also wish to learn elements of graphic and web design. Although computer science will have classes in programming and graphics, it may not delve as deeply into the artistic principles that make certain designs visually appealing. Similarly, a psychology major may not think the arts applies to his or her major, but there are several courses in music and art therapy that can help psychology majors understand the different methods of counseling to help people with emotional or behavioral disorders. As an additional example, a marketing major will learn all about targeting consumer markets and influencing consumer behavior, but he or she will rarely learn the creative and design side of marketing through his or her business program. Marketing students can benefit from taking a media design course to gain skills in graphic design, film editing, sound editing, and basic web programming. These skills will make them much more marketable when applying for jobs post-graduation.

“The arts” is such a broad area that interests students of all backgrounds. Your college experience can be varied and include the arts despite your major. If you are interested in incorporating the arts into your college degree, don’t hesitate to do so. Speak with an advisor and ask for help identifying how you can best fit these courses into your program of study.