Frequently Asked Questions about COLA


The UNH student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1 but in COLA it is closer to 14:1. Core classes for first-year students such as first-year writing and foreign languages are intentionally small to ensure one-on-one interaction and attention. As you progress through your major, you’ll find yourself in smaller, specialized classes for the major, such as seminars. It is likely that the largest classes you’ll have will be your general education courses, called the Discovery Program at UNH, which may have up to 300 students in them. However, a more typical larger class size in COLA is 30-60 people. Many COLA courses are capped at 30 students.

Yes! In fact, you’ll be required to as you move through the general education program at UNH, called the Discovery Program. As a student in COLA, you will have access to courses across the entire university.

Yes. Major requirements in many liberal arts disciplines are comprised of 40-44 credits. The Discovery Program and degree requirements account for another 40-44 credits (depending on how you fulfill the requirements). All bachelor’s degree students must complete a minimum of 128 credits in order to graduate, so that leaves another 40-44 credits of elective coursework — credits that you can use to add another major or one or more minors. Since you can double-count two courses between majors, between minors, and between majors and minors, it is easier to fit in these additional programs than you might think. Also keep in mind that you can combine majors and minors from different colleges at UNH.

Cognates are three-course sequences that develop career-oriented skills. Whether you are undeclared and exploring program options or have already decided on a course of study, cognates help build your resume and develop in-demand skill sets for the professional world. Check out the cognates offered in COLA.

COLA offers a large number of programs designed to draw on fields of study and methodologies of more than one liberal arts discipline. For example, our Middle Eastern studies minor examines the Middle East through coursework in history, anthropology, political science and other disciplines. The advantage is that you will learn about a subject from many different points of view, allowing for a richer understanding of that subject. See all of our interdisciplinary programs, from Africana and African American studies to religious studies to queer studies and many programs in between.

The vast majority of your instructors will be professors, not graduate students.

Of COLA’s 18 departments and programs, five have Ph.D. programs, so there will be graduate students in those programs who teach undergraduates. All are trained and mentored before they enter the classroom. Even though UNH is a research-intensive university, our professors are highly committed teachers who are dedicated to teaching undergraduates at all stages, so you may have a senior professor teaching you in a first-year course.

As an undeclared student, you are not alone nor on your own. Nearly 30% of incoming students are undeclared and another 30% change their major at least once. Our faculty and professional advisors will work with you to find a major that’s right for you. You’ll take COLA 401, a course designed specifically to help you explore your options and craft a plan. As part of the course, you’ll meet regularly with an advisor. Undeclared is the perfect place to start your academic journey while making progress towards your degree. Visit our Undeclared page

Whether you have a declared major or are undeclared, our faculty are always happy to meet with you to discuss your path.

All undeclared students are advised by the professional advisors at the University Advising Center (UAC) until they declare a major, which must be done by the end of the sophomore year. The UAC advisors are experts on the requirements for all majors across the university and will work with you to find the right major for you. 

Students with declared majors are advised within their major departments, although who advises them varies. Some departments employ professional advisors who handle much of the advising during early years before you are assigned to a faculty advisor as you progress in your program. Other departments assign a faculty advisor at the outset.

Yes. A pre-law advisor is available to help you with planning for, applying to, paying for and thriving in law school and beyond. We sponsor informational sessions, individual advising appointments, and panel discussions with law school students and law school graduates practicing law or using their J.D. in their chosen career. Learn more at the pre-law website. We also have special programs in English and history that allow you to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree at UNH in 6 years rather than 7.

Yes. The Pre-Health Advising Office provides support throughout the process of preparing for health professions school, from advising about courses you should take to helping navigate the application process.

The foreign language proficiency requirement applies to all UNH students who pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree, regardless of which college they are enrolled in. To satisfy the requirement, students must complete two semesters at the elementary level of a language or one semester of a language course beyond the elementary level. Students who have taken two or more years of a language in high school are not eligible to receive credit for elementary coursework in that language at UNH, and they are not eligible to use that language to satisfy the language requirement. SAT2 and AP tests can be used to satisfy the requirement if you achieve a high enough score. The University Advising Center website has full details.

The Discovery Program is a core set of courses and experiences that is the basis for a broad liberal education, regardless of your major or college at UNH. Foundational skills are built in writing, quantitative reasoning and in a small “inquiry” course where you’ll practice critical thinking and effective communication. In addition, eight courses are required that span the disciplines of the university, from science and technology to arts and culture to history and humanities. Rounding out the program is a senior year capstone experience in which you’ll reflect on your education and synthesize the knowledge and skills you’ve gained. See the Discovery Program website for full details. In addition to Discovery Program requirements, all bachelor's degree candidates are required to complete four writing-intensive courses.


Most scholarships for incoming students, including the Dean's Scholarship, are administered by the Financial Aid Office. However, there are scholarships related to particular programs of study for which departments choose scholarship recipients. See the full list for COLA here.


Research and creative work in the liberal arts span every discipline. You’ll undertake research in courses, certainly, but there are also many opportunities for independent research with faculty mentors and to join with other students on faculty research projects. The University holds one of the largest undergraduate research conferences in the nation, where students present the results of their research. Students can apply for funding to support their research through UNH’s Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research. To learn more about the different kinds of research in Liberal Arts, enroll in Cool COLA Research (COLA 402), a course for first-year students that explores the range.

COLA is deeply invested in providing high-quality study abroad experiences for our students – we think study abroad is crucial for developing culturally sensitive and informed global citizens. We offer over a dozen faculty-led programs that are easy to enroll in — you earn UNH credits and keep your UNH financial aid package. Additionally, UNH offers hundreds of other study abroad options that have been vetted for you. COLA awards scholarships for study abroad to help defray the costs, but keep in mind that, given currency exchange rates and cost of living, it is sometimes less expensive to study abroad than it is to stay on campus.

Sixty-three percent of last year’s graduating class in COLA completed at least one internship while at UNH. We’d like that figure to be 100%. Our faculty and staff are committed to helping students find a meaningful internship.

Additionally, our Career and Professional Success Office cultivates internships for UNH students and keeps a current database of opportunities. Some majors within COLA require the completion of an internship, such as the English/journalism major, and faculty in those programs work closely with students on placements. Every major in COLA has a mechanism to support credited internships. We are always hard at work with regional business, technology and non-profit sectors and with our COLA alumni network to develop new internships for our students.

There are a lot of them. Here are some examples:

  • A faculty-mentored Mock Trial team that competes regionally in staged criminal trials where students portray lawyers and witnesses and practice their legal skills
  • A faculty-mentored Model United Nations team that travels to NYC annually, joining students from around the world
  • Faculty-led trips to Boston and New York City to visit historical sites, museums and other locations relevant to coursework
  • Archeological digs on the UNH campus, on Great Bay in Durham and as far away as Belize and Turkey
  • The Civil Discourse Lab — trained students organize large community events around difficult topics to hone communication and citizenship skills
  • Arts on the road — organized trips for music and theatre students to perform in both professional venues and schools around the state. But it doesn’t stop in New Hampshire; our arts students have performed as far away as China and Switzerland.
  • Faculty projects — students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty on research projects. Just one example is classics professor Scott Smith’s digital humanities project, "Putting Greek Myth on the Map," for which students help build a digital platform that visualizes the relationship between mythical figures and real places on the ground.

Dozens of student organizations are affiliated with academic departments in COLA, such as the Geography Club for geography students and the Socratic Society for philosophy students. Here’s the full list of COLA-related student organizations. In addition, there are many student organizations in which COLA students participate. The Memorial Union has the full list of these organizations at Wildcat Link.

First-year COLA students are invited to take part in a COLA Residential Learning Community (RLC) in Alexander Hall. This RLC will provide individualized academic and career support that includes programming and resources to help you build community during the transition to UNH and COLA. The COLA RLC is a great way to feel connected and find friends within your classes and residence hall. Undeclared students will have access to special programming to help you on your path toward choosing a major.


COLA occupies seven buildings that connect all the main areas of campus. Hamilton Smith Hall, which underwent a major renovation just a few years ago, is at the heart of the campus on Main Street, housing the English, justice studies, philosophy, and women's and gender studies programs. Murkland Hall, located right next to the library, houses languages, classics and humanities programs, as well as the College’s Dean’s Office. On the backside of the campus, the Paul Creative Arts Center holds everything arts — fine arts, art history, music, theatre and dance. Down the street from Paul Arts are Horton Hall and McConnell Halls, located across from each other, where many of our social science programs are housed: communication, history, international affairs, neuroscience and behavior, political science, psychology and sociology. Our anthropology and geography programs live in Huddleston Hall on one end of Main Street, while education programs live in Morrill Hall on the other end.

The College houses six digital labs for hands-on learning. These include a digital photography lab, a digital design lab, a journalism lab, a digital writing lab, a technical writing lab and a communication media lab. These labs provide access to discipline-specific equipment from DSLR cameras to digital voice recorders, projectors to lighting kits. Equipment loan is limited to students based on major, to ensure adequate access for all students within each majors. However, the labs have open hours during which they are accessible to all COLA students, regardless of major. There are over 45 open lab hours across all COLA labs per week. These lab hours provide access to desktop workstations loaded with creative software tools, including the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. 

The College’s buildings contain technology-enhanced classrooms as well as several Technology Enabled Active Learning rooms, which are high-tech rooms designed to accommodate a host of small group and active learning exercises. Our academic buildings have integrated student lounges and small-group meeting areas that help students build community within their departments and provide convenient places to study.

As the central location for the arts on campus, the College houses several performance spaces as well as rehearsal and studio spaces in the Paul Creative Arts Center (PCAC). A dance studio is located in New Hampshire Hall and studios for wood and furniture design, and ceramics are located in the Service Building. PCAC also houses the Museum of Art, which presents eight to ten changing exhibitions yearly covering a range of periods, styles and media.

Career and Professional Success

In a survey of 2021 graduates, 95% were either employed or pursuing further education within 6 months of graduation. COLA alumni, 47,000+ strong around the world, are highly successful in every area of the economy, including finance, technology, media, education and consulting sectors, and in an array of national and international organizations, including in diplomacy and security. Employers frequently echo what we at UNH know well — that a broad and deep liberal arts education prepares students exceptionally well for work and life.

COLA has staff dedicated to helping you, from day one, develop your plan for career and professional success. Located in McConnell hall, COLA’s career office offers one-on-one coaching and career resources, including unique career development courses.