What’s the benefit of a specialized university?
For a young person drawn toward a particular field of study, such as engineering, or music, or business, a specialized university offers more advantages than you might think.
Once dismissed as vocational, top professional schools nowadays operate on the premise that the best career preparation includes a deep embrace of the liberal arts.
Take for instance the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is known worldwide for training brilliant graduates in physical sciences and engineering. It offers students in-depth knowledge, key resources, faculty, grants, and industry connections.
But that is not all.
“Specialized schools are recognizing how important it is to have a foundation in the humanities, arts, and social sciences,” says Sam Magee, manager of Student Arts Programs at MIT.
“At a school that is specialized like MIT, you can graduate with a much higher degree of skill in your area while also getting an impressive liberal arts education that complements your field of study,” he says.
“The marketplace demands specialized skills along with the ability to effectively communicate that knowledge,” adds Magee. “We are preparing millennials to operate at the peak of their abilities.”
At Berklee College of Music, students prepare for music careers by majoring in jazz or performance or songwriting, among other specialties, but their education does not end there. To graduate from one of the best music colleges in the world, you must take one-third of your required courses in the liberal arts.
Simone Pilon, chair of Berklee’s Liberal Arts Department, says the goal is to shape and inspire what students are doing in their major.
“They use their study of art history or literature to inform their songwriting or the study of math to navigate the music business,” she says. “We are preparing them for that larger part of their life.”
At Bentley University, students gain necessary business expertise, concrete skills, and real-word experience, including internships. Also part of the deal? Flexibility of mind.
Bentley Dean of Arts and Sciences Daniel Everett says the university emphasizes the fusion of business study and arts and sciences, which results in flexible thinkers.
“The study of liberal arts only strengthens when it is combined with business education,” says Everett. “We know people change careers at various times over the course of their lives and a well-rounded education provides them with more options.”
Meg Murphy is a freelance writer.