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HISTORY IN THE MAKING: A New College of Arts and Sciences in Aggieland

Fall 2022 marks a new beginning for multiple academic units at Texas A&M University, but perhaps most of all for the new College of Arts and Sciences, which officially launches today (Sept. 1).

The new college, approved in December by President M. Katherine Banks as a major priority outlined in the Path Forward revisioning of Texas A&M, brings together three key colleges — Geosciences, Liberal Arts and Science — as well as University Studies and the biomedical sciences undergraduate degree program previously housed within the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

“The creation of the College of Arts and Sciences will set the path for the next stage in the history of this great university,” said Interim Dean of Arts and Sciences Dr. José Luis Bermúdez, Professor of Philosophy and the Samuel Rhea Gammon Professor of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M.

The new college has more than 17,500 current students and nearly 900 faculty members — including 75 professors now beginning their first semester at Texas A&M — across 18 academic departments. Arts and Sciences houses 48 of the 148 undergraduate majors offered at Texas A&M. In addition to teaching in excess of 40% of the total semester credit hours taught across the university, the college accounts for more than $140 million in annual research expenditures. Arts and Sciences also is home to more than a quarter of Texas A&M’s doctoral candidates who are mentored by a distinguished faculty that includes a Nobel Prize winner, multiple National Academy of Sciences members and many recipients of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies.

“The College of Arts and Sciences will be a crucible for extraordinary advances in research, scholarship, teaching and societal impact, thanks to the dedication and expertise of our faculty and staff,” Bermúdez said. “I am confident that the College of Arts and Sciences will transform the future of Texas A&M University as an institution and will attract the most outstanding students and scholars.” 

University administrators say the bold move better aligns Texas A&M with most of its peer institutions in the Association of American Universities, nearly two-thirds of which use a consolidated arts and sciences model. The larger college structure also creates a stronger advocacy for arts and sciences at a STEM-focused university, according to the MGT report that informed the Path Forward. As a result of the realignment, the College of Arts and Sciences is one of four primary focus areas along with the College of Engineering, College Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Texas A&M Health.

Bermúdez credits the seismic shift for establishing a “critical mass of excellence” capable of accelerating Texas A&M’s continuing ascent among the leading universities in the world.

“All great research universities demonstrate consistent excellence in the disciplines, programs and initiatives that have now been brought together in Arts and Sciences at Texas A&M University,” he said. “The creation of this new college unifies the academic heart of Texas A&M University, combining the faculty, departments and programs that lay the foundation for the success of each and every student while cementing their academic growth and future potential.”

To learn more about the College of Arts and Sciences and related degree programs, research and outreach, visit