Most Samford students will spend the majority of their first two years taking courses in the College of Arts and Sciences. This liberal education provides the foundation for more advanced study in particular disciplines or majors. Many students will continue to major in one of the traditional liberal arts disciplines, including the humanities, the social sciences, or the natural sciences. With sixteen departments and over 30 different majors, Howard College, founded in 1841, is the historic heart of the university. Although liberal arts majors are not necessarily tied to a specific career path, they all provide an ability to think critically and express ideas cogently-skills that are valued in all professions.
In addition to career-related objectives, a liberal education engages students in the larger questions of life. Courses in the humanities acquaint students with the religious, social, linguistic, and aesthetic dimensions of world cultures. Courses in the social sciences provide a means for exploring the varieties of human experience and patterns of social behavior. Courses in mathematics and sciences provide insight into the natural world and quantitative methods. Moreover, such a course of study helps students develop a closely examined core of personal beliefs and a strong code of values that lead to an informed and constructive public life. For more than a century and a half, the Howard College of Arts and Sciences has embodied these high ideals within a Christian environment in which dedicated teachers and students can work closely together to seek each individual's highest fulfillment.
John Howard, for whom Howard College was named, was an eighteenth century English social reformer who frequently risked his own life to better the wretched condition of prisoners in that era. He was widely revered as a model of Christian compassion when Howard College was founded in 1841. When the college became a university in 1965, the Howard College of Arts and Sciences retained both the name and the legacy of this great humanitarian.