Hamline News

Set for Success

The Hamline Plan helps students gain skills needed for any profession

By Marla Holt


Contrary to popular opinion—that of the media and worried parents alike—liberal arts degrees in disciplines not tied to a specific job or career path provide a smooth transition from academia to a successful career.

Students at liberal arts institutions acquire the skills needed in every profession: critical thinking, effective communication, data analyzation and interpretation, and the ability to examine ideas and solutions from multiple perspectives.

At Hamline, they also have opportunities to apply these skills in professional settings.

Hamline sets students up for success in both their careers and as socially engaged citizens, said Professor Mike Reynolds, associate dean of graduate programs in Hamline’s College of Liberal Arts.

“We provide students with the breadth and depth of knowledge, skills, and practical experience they’ll need to be professionally and civically ready for the rest of their lives,” he said.

All Hamline students complete an applied experience such as a faculty-advised internship, undergraduate research project, apprentice teaching, or independent study project.

Students follow the Hamline Plan, which doesn’t list specific courses that students must take but rather identifies those that meet the criteria of developing core skills such as intensive writing or quantitative reasoning, which can be taught in any number of subjects, not just English or mathematics. This allows students to choose their own path through the liberal arts.

The plan emphasizes methods of inquiry across disciplines and engages students in every area of the liberal arts: fine arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Students earn a major but must also earn credit for courses that foster writing, speaking, reasoning, and collaboration skills, as well as courses that focus on diversity, global citizenship, independent critical inquiry, and information literacy.

“Most schools give students the menu and dictate, ‘These are the food items you must eat in order to be fully nourished,’” Reynolds said. “We lay out the ingredients, talk to students about how to cook, and ask them to prepare their own meal as it fits with their motivations and concerns.”

That freedom puts students in the driver’s seat in developing practical experiences and skills that fit their interests while also matching what employers are looking for: self-motivated job candidates adept at oral and written communication, critical thinking, ethical judgment, and working effectively in teams and independently.

Read next:

Liberal arts in action
Making connections
Hamline plan at a glance