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The Value of a Liberal Arts Education

A liberal arts education teaches you how to think, how to make discerning judgments about every area of human knowledge—and how to learn about God and live out your faith.

Explore an idea you had never even considered

Discover a passion that could fuel a lifelong career

Invest in challenging dialogue and be willing to change your mind

Grow spiritually and intellectually by drawing connections between the classroom and your ever-growing identity in Jesus Christ

Pursue what is good and change the world

Average Class Size

of tenured and tenure-track faculty have earned doctorates or equivalent degrees

Student to Faculty Ratio


A liberal arts education not only benefits you but meets a need in society. Employers want to hire people who can think clearly, adapt in a rapidly changing environment, and easily transfer skills and information. As our American and world culture become more complex, we need liberal arts graduates because they can think critically, communicate effectively and solve problems creatively. At Westmont, we also encourage you to develop your character and faith and become a well-rounded person.

By taking classes in a wide range of disciplines, you learn to make connections among apparently unrelated information. The liberal arts teach you breadth, connection and integration. Your professors focus on teaching you and helping you acquire the knowledge and competencies you need to succeed in a wide variety of careers.

1 on 1

with world-class faculty

Watch students and professors work together in the lab and the practice room in three short videos revealing close relationships between teacher and student.

Associate Professor of Biology Eileen McQuade works one-on-one with Brooke in the biology lab.

Associate Professor and Head of Strings Han Soo Kim, D.M.A., gives Rebecca a cello lesson.

Chemistry Chair Michael Everest and Christopher operate the most dangerous class of laser.

The NerdScholar website quotes Silvio Vazquez, dean of admissions at Westmont, on the value of a liberal arts education:

"The liberal arts create a scholarly community where professors and students learn and study together, building lifelong relationships with people from backgrounds different than their own. Small classes promote lively, thoughtful discussions and allow teachers to know their students and work with them individually." Read Entire Article >>

Focusing your education too narrowly to prepare for a specific career can backfire because the job market changes rapidly, says Peter Cappelli in this Wall Street Journal story. He suggests, “Go to college to get a well-rounded education and worry about the job market after graduation.”

This opinion piece from the New York Times argues that a liberal arts education best prepares graduates for a rapidly changing world and job market. “I keep hearing the same thing from potential employers: ‘We love students with liberal-arts degrees.’”

Critics of the liberal arts are wrong, says this Time magazine article. “Students should be prepared not just for their first job but for their fourth and fifth jobs . . . The ones who will do best in this new environment will be those whose educations have prepared them to be flexible.”

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New York Times logo
Time Magazine logo

Technology enhances the learning experience

Technology plays a vital role at Westmont, from personal computing to classroom technology to social media. You’ll connect to the Internet easily anywhere on campus and benefit from our award-winning technology program.

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12 times faster than just three years ago

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290 wireless access points on campus provide nearly 100 percent coverage

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Access email, calendars and share documents from anywhere

free printing icon

500 free pages of printing per semester

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iOS apps offer shuttle tracker, dinner menus, live athletic events, publications and more

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Widescreen projectors, TVs, fast wireless and advanced audio for presentations

Majors and Programs


Art at Westmont, taught in the new Adams Center for the Visual Arts, provides courses in ceramics, sculpture, photography, design, printmaking, painting, drawing, and art history. Through our Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, which frequently hosts exhibits and lectures by visiting artists, students can experience gallery management and curatorial practice with an internship or employed position. Those interested in graphic design may choose the studio art major with a graphic design emphasis and will study in a facility devoted to computer graphics, photography and sculpture.

For study beyond campus, we offer programs in England, Italy, New York and San Francisco.

For more information, please visit the Art Department website.

*Art Scholarship Information*


Biology at Westmont includes cellular & molecular and environmental studies & natural history tracks. Our students gain extensive lab and fieldwork experience through five teaching laboratories and a variety of off-campus opportunities. With our campus ideally situated for marine or terrestrial biology, we offer frequent trips to local beaches, an Elephant Seal Rookery, and Anacapa/Santa Cruz Islands. Students will also visit the Los Padres National Forest and Yosemite National Park, with further opportunities through the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and Santa Barbara Zoo.

Those who wish to study off-campus can take part in the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies programs, which offers summer experiences in a variety of locations, or the semester-long Creation Care Stewardship programs, with sites in Belize and New Zealand. Biology additionally now has an affiliation with all Duke University field study programs.

For more information, please visit the Biology Department website.


The Chemistry Department at Westmont College focuses on giving our students a broad, deep, and hands-on education. Our students use all of our state of the art instrumentation including an atomic absorption spectrometer, FTIR and UV-VIS spectrometers, HPLC, a mass spectrometer, and a 400 MHz high performance digital nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) system. Our faculty members are professionally active, and students have the opportunity to work individually with faculty members on independent research. The research often leads to student co-authored publications in chemistry journals. Many of our graduates have gone on to the top graduate schools and medical schools in the country.

For more information, please visit the Chemistry Department website.

Communication Studies

The Communication Studies major helps students understand how messages work in relationships and in the larger culture. Students study how influence occurs, how leadership emerges in groups, the importance of understanding context, and the effects of the media. Though students have opportunities to improve their speaking, the focus of the major is more on learning to be a shrewd and appreciative critic of communication events. By developing a biblically informed communication lens, graduates are prepared to enter careers ranging from marketing and public relations to counseling and law.

For more information, please visit the Communication Studies Department website.

Computer Science

A major in computer science prepares you for the best jobs, based on studies that consider salary, work environment, and opportunity. There are many more jobs in computer science than graduates, both now and in the foreseeable future. Computer science involves solving problems to meet human needs. It requires teamwork, creativity and logical thinking.

The Computer Science program at Westmont features close faculty-student interactions and mentoring, small class sizes, opportunities for research, and state of the art facilities. Students and faculty enjoy a strong sense of community encouraged by regular department dinners and movie nights.

For more information, please visit the Computer Science Department website.

Economics and Business

Westmont's Economics and Business Department offers a strong practicum-internship program with companies such as Merrill Lynch, UBS, Prudential Realty, Smith Barney and Mercer Advisors. Students interested in international business can participate in our Westmont in China program (visiting firms such as Shanghai GM and Lenovo), spend a semester in either London (King’s College) or Paris (American University), or be accepted into the International Business Institute (IBI). Students who participate in IBI will be involved in an 11-week program that takes them to visit multinational corporate headquarters (such as Daimler-Benz and Nestle) and hear from management officials in various sites in England, France, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, India, and China.

For more information, please visit the Economics and Business Department website.


The Education Department offers state-approved credential programs for both elementary and secondary teachers. Prospective elementary teachers typically complete the Liberal Studies major administered by the department. Prospective secondary teachers major in the field they wish to teach. Careful personal advising, individually-selected mentors in the schools, and field supervision by experienced full-time faculty all contribute to a thoroughly professional, highly practical preparation for teaching. With careful planning, early deciders can complete the bachelors degree and the credential program in four years. Candidates may complete Student Teaching requirements in Santa Barbara or through our partner school in Costa Rica.

For more information, please visit the Education/Liberal Studies Department website.

Engineering Physics

The rapid growth of scientific knowledge and its applications has generated a large demand for men and women well trained in physics and engineering. Physicists seek a fundamental understanding of the physical universe. Engineers apply scientific knowledge to design and develop structures, machines, and products. Students may pursue the engineering physics major with an emphasis in either area. The physics emphasis stresses fundamental science and mathematics essential for graduate study or professional work in physics. The engineering emphasis, while not a formal engineering program, provides a strong conceptual base for an engineering career.

For more information, please visit the Physics and Engineering Department website.


The English Department offers a literature-based major with concentrations in literature or writing, with extended graduate and teacher prep tracks. At 36 units, the general major doubles easily with many other majors. A third of the major may be fulfilled on the Department's beloved England Semester (off-campus semester long program). The literature concentration focuses primarily on British, American and world Anglophone literature; the writing concentration combines literary study with options in journalism, creative writing, film analysis, screenwriting, student publications and advanced composition. Students may fulfill major requirements with internships, tutorials, seminars, and major honors projects. A lively Literary Society is entirely student-led.

For more information, please visit the English Department website.

European Studies

The European Studies major is designed to allow students to combine an interest in modern languages with an interdisciplinary exploration of culture and history. Using demonstrated competence in French, German or Spanish as a foundation, students will undertake coursework in the humanities and social sciences in order to develop an understanding of and appreciation for the complexities of a given European (culture/nation/region) and its place on the world stage. The major is supervised by faculty drawn from the departments of Art History, French, Economics and Business, German, Spanish, History, and Political Science.

For more information, please visit the College Catalog.


The French major combines the experience of living and studying in a foreign country with that of the residential liberal arts college. French majors may choose either fall or spring semester, usually in their junior year, to take a full course of study (14-16 units) at an approved university in a region where French is the native language. Course offerings vary from year to year and from university to university, but always include language, literature, and civilization and culture classes. Close student-faculty relationships, small class sizes, excellent language materials, and flexibility in the curriculum all contribute to meet students' needs in studying French.

For more information, please visit the Modern Languages Department website.


Westmont's History Department provides breadth of content in the spirit of the liberal arts, as well as the depth in research training necessary to be a competent historian. Courses emphasize critical reading, discussion, and thoughtful analysis of differing interpretations. To provide additional research experience, history majors complete courses in historical method and bibliography and research, which require them to work in a major research library. Students who wish to spend a semester abroad might consider the international studies track. Faculty encourage majors to develop skills of the trade, including the traditional tools of foreign language and geography, and the increasingly important expertise in statistics.

For more information, please visit the History Department website.

Interdisciplinary Study

Westmont College offers 27 departmental and interdepartmental majors. In addition to these officially approved majors, a student who has a particular interest or goal may wish to construct an alternative major and submit it for approval.

For more information on how to achieve an Alternative Major and the guidelines for approval, please visit the College Catalogue.


Kinesiology is the study of human movement and is appropriate for any student who desires to work or study further in the allied health professions. Our graduates have gone on to become physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, physician assistants, public health officials, podiatrists, personal trainers, nutritionists, exercise physiologists, athletic trainers and medical doctors. Our coursework includes human physiology, human anatomy, human nutrition, biomechanics, motor behavior, sport psychology and special populations. Electives include clinical nutrition, sport nutrition, public health and gerontology among others. Many of our students elect to do internships in their area of interest. Research opportunities are also available as well as study abroad programs that emphasize healthcare, especially to the disadvantaged.

For more information, please visit the Kinesiology Department website.

Liberal Studies

The Education Department offers state-approved credential programs for both elementary and secondary teachers. Prospective elementary teachers typically complete the Liberal Studies major administered by the department. Prospective secondary teachers major in the field they wish to teach. Careful personal advising, individually-selected mentors in the schools, and field supervision by experienced full-time faculty all contribute to a thoroughly professional, highly practical preparation for teaching. With careful planning, early deciders can complete the bachelor’s degree and the credential program in four years. Candidates may complete student teaching requirements in Santa Barbara or through our partner school in Costa Rica.

For more information, please visit the Education/Liberal Studies Department website.


Mathematics is a language capable of clear and precise expression. Students in the major will increase their knowledge of mathematics, become more proficient communicators of mathematical ideas, enhance their creative capacities, and ponder the connections between faith and mathematics. They have opportunities to participate in summer research projects at Westmont and at other institutions, to help run a high school mathematics contest, and to tutor in local schools. Graduates are well prepared for a wide variety of careers. They have entered the fields of finance, accounting, teaching (high school and college), cryptanalysis, nursing, and biomedical research. Graduates have gone on to medical and law schools and to graduate school in mathematics, statistics, economics, and public health.

For more information, please visit the Mathematics Department website.


The primary objective of the Music Department is to develop skilled musicians with Christian insight into their art and craft at an advanced level. Students majoring in music may complete a liberal arts music program or may elect to complete a concentration in music performance or music composition. The music major at Westmont is distinctive in the great amount of personal attention given to students and the emphasis on drawing out and developing creativity. The major consists of three main areas of investigation: theory/composition, history, and performance. The newly renovated Music Building features eight office studios, 12 practice rooms (all equipped with Steinway pianos), a recording studio, and a composition lab.

For more information, please visit the Music Department website.

*Music Scholarship Information*


At Westmont, the Philosophy major is designed to foster the ability to think critically and analytically, communicate clearly and logically, interact with the philosophical tradition, and explore the relationship between philosophy and the Christian faith. Given the variety of student objectives, the major provides five concentrations: graduate school, pre-law, pre-M.B.A., pre-seminary, and social issues and the human condition. In addition, the Westmont chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, a national honor society in philosophy, invites speakers to talk on a variety of topics. It also provides an active forum for student discussion. Graduates have a foundation for graduate work in philosophy and valuable preparation for professional training in such fields as law, management, and ministry.

For more information, please visit the Philosophy Department website.


Physicists seek a fundamental understanding of the physical universe. The skills and knowledge gained in studying physics can be applied not just in research but in several applied disciplines as well. The major includes courses in mathematics (the language of science) chemistry (for scientific breadth) and physics. In addition to theory courses, both laboratory classes and hands-on research provide the practical training that is relevant to both graduate school or professional work in science and engineering and related fields. For students desiring greater breadth (or a double major) there is also the B.A. degree track that allows greater flexibility. Recent acquisitions of state-of-the-art instrumentation enrich students' experience in the laboratory. Current research includes opportunities in astronomy, experimental nuclear physics, and thin film superconductivity.

For more information, please visit the Physics Department website.

Political Science

The Political Science major helps students understand the organization and functions of political systems, institutions, and processes in the United States and the global community. Political science majors are encouraged to perceive their role as Christians in a complex world of domestic and international politics. The department offers a balanced curriculum, research experiences, service learning (local and abroad internships), field study, and close student-faculty interaction. Graduates have pursued careers in law, teaching, management consulting, journalism, local government administration, health policy administration, congressional staff, foreign intelligence, diplomacy, international development, national politics, and the non-profit sector.

For more information, please visit the Political Science Department website.


The Psychology Department provides students with a thorough grounding in the scientific discipline of psychology, while integrating issues of faith and learning. It is equipped with the following state-of-the-art labs: a computer lab for work in sensation and perception and cognitive psychology, a motion-tracking apparatus for research in motor control, a computerized operant conditioning lab and radial arm maze for work in animal learning, a physiological psychology lab, a vivarium for learning and research in physiological psychology and neuroscience, and a neuropsychology lab. It also boasts a clinical lab and social/developmental lab, both of which are equipped for observational studies.

For more information, please visit the Psychology Department website.

Religious Studies

The Religious Studies Department offers coursework, conversations, and experiences for gaining competence in the Christian tradition in lively conversation with other traditions. Students develop biblical and theological literacy, cultivate skills in interpretation, grow in theological judgment, and learn to celebrate the rich heritage of the Church in all its cultural contexts. In addition, students are encouraged to pursue off-campus programs in a range of settings including the Middle East, Asia and San Francisco. Practicum credit is available for local church ministries and internships.

For more information, please visit the Religious Studies Department website.

Social Science

The social science major applies the methodology of science to our behavior as individuals and in groups. The social sciences share the search for general characteristics or patterns of human behavior rather than a concern for particular persons or institutions. Each of the four social sciences—history, political science, sociology, and economics—brings its own set of questions and offers a different arena of human activity for observation and experiment. Social science majors will learn how human beings function in community, how they organize to accomplish common goals, how they manage the production and exchange of goods and services, and how they can live together and promote the work of the Kingdom of God.

For more information, please visit the College Catalog.

Sociology and Anthropology

The main objective of the Sociology and Anthropology major at Westmont is to help students develop a sociological and anthropological perspective within the context of a Christian worldview. Students will gain insight into the nature of society and culture through a disciplined examination of the social components of human activity. Graduates have an excellent background for a career in any of the "human services" including social work, counseling, vocational rehabilitation, probation, corrections, law enforcement, youth services, and human resources.

For more information, please visit the Sociology and Anthropology Department website.


The Spanish major at Westmont develops advanced proficiency in Spanish and provides students with intercultural sophistication to function comfortably and effectively in a Spanish-speaking environment. Students achieve these goals through classroom instruction and residence in a culture where Spanish is the native language (Spain or Latin America). One popular abroad program that highlights this major is Westmont in Mexico (WIM), located in Querétaro, Mexico. As our society becomes more bilingual, all graduates entering careers in education, ministry, business, and public services would benefit from fluency in Spanish.

For more information, please visit the Modern Language Department website.

Theatre Arts

The Theatre Arts Department offers a major and minor in theatre, and produces an ambitious season of productions including classics, original works, contemporary plays, dance performances, and musicals. Students study a comprehensive curriculum, including courses in acting, directing, dramatic literature, choreography, theatre history, and design. To take full advantage of the program, students are encouraged to spend a semester off-campus on programs in England, Ireland, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. The annual Westmont Fringe Festival provides a platform for the development of the generative, artistic voice, featuring original theatre, dance, film, and performance art created by students.

For more information, please visit the Theatre Arts Department website.

*Theatre Arts Scholarship Information*