At the Cleveland Institute of Art, we cultivate the intellectual development of our students as they move through each of their degree programs. In order to create, you need not only art and design skills, but also the ideas behind them. So woven throughout each semester at CIA are courses in the humanities and social sciences—art history, English, philosophy, anthropology, psychology. At CIA you will graduate with a breadth of knowledge that is the hallmark of the baccalaureate degree.
A singular feature of the Institute’s Liberal Arts curriculum is our approach to studying a subject by connecting it to other disciplines in our program. For example, in your freshman year at CIA, you may read about ancient and medieval philosophy and culture in English class while also taking Ancient and Medieval History of Art. This carefully calibrated educational experience creates a comprehensive perspective on a subject that will give you a broad sense of the trajectory of world history itself. Our Liberal Arts curriculum is designed to develop your understanding of world cultures—both past and present—and to discover the importance of these ideas to the growth of your artistic life. Coursework centers on the ideas of culture as a generator of creative ideas and of students as makers within their cultures.
Reading and composition are crucial to the development of your own artistic ideas. By completing rigorous assignments in analytical essays and research papers, you will become a stronger writer, able to convey your point of view in tandem with understanding diverse perspectives. For those who excel in these areas, you also may choose to add concentrated Liberal Arts coursework to your studies. Complete a Visual Culture Emphasis to enjoy extensive training in art history, theory, and criticism. Or opt for a Creative Writing Concentration if you want a career advantage in fields like illustration or film (or if you just love to write).
Liberal Arts Mission Statement
The Liberal Arts Department supports the educational, creative, and professional mission of the Cleveland Institute of Art. Liberal Arts studies in the humanities and sciences dynamically engage the entire constellation of art and design practices at the Institute. Our curriculum prepares developing artists and designers for creative careers based on an informed investment in historical and cultural ideas, including the scientific, the literary, and the social. Our students graduate with the understanding of diverse cultures, prepared to adapt to the changing global business and social contexts to which they will contribute. Through its emphasis on rigorous research and writing, the Liberal Arts Department cultivates the critical skills essential to innovative and socially responsible studio practices.
Finding the stories beneath the surface
David Hart opens doors to art history more
Gary D. Sampson
Professor of Art + Design History/Chair of Liberal Arts
Gary Sampson teaches art and design history and theory at the Institute. He is also adjunct in art history and...more
While at CIA, you'll learn from the masters through our rigorous, world-class curriculum and connect with working professionals to begin your career.