College of Arts and Sciences

The Silliman University College of Arts and Sciences is one of the constituent colleges of Silliman University, a private research university found in Dumaguete City, Province of Negros Oriental, Philippines. Granted Level III accreditation status by recognized accrediting agencies in the Philippine educational system, the College provides undergraduate and graduate instruction in various areas of learning such as in the fields of Anthropology,Creative Writing, English Language, Filipino, History, Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics among others.

The College traces its origins to the year 1909 when the then Silliman Institute offered its first classical two-year A.B. course. In 1921, the College obtained recognition for its offering of a four-year A.B. degree. At about the same time, a science course was also offered, a B.S. degree major in Chemistry.

During its early years of existence and up to the Second World War, the College operated under two independent colleges: the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Sciences, then administered by Silliman's Department of Instruction. Over the years, these two colleges operated independently of each other. The departments that existed under the set-up were: Bible (1902); Biology (1909); Chemistry (1909); Mathematics (1920); English (1923); and Spanish (1936). In 1947, the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Sciences merged to become the College of Arts and Sciences.


The History of the College of Arts and Sciences could be traced back to the establishment of the College of Liberal Arts. Although a classical two-year AB course was already offered as early as 1909 and a four-year AB course in 1921, the College was formally organized only in 1936. When Silliman Institute applied for university status a year before, a major requirement, aside from a graduate program and at least three professional colleges, was a College of Liberal Arts. Towards this end, the College was eventually established the following year.

The College of Liberal Arts offered the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science programs plus the two-year preparatory law and preparatory medicine courses for which the Associate in Arts was granted as well as the first two years of engineering (civil, chemical, and mining). Sometime later, the specialized courses in applied chemistry were separated to form a College of Science under Mr. Louis C. Winternheimer as Dean offering the B.S. Major in Chemistry degree. Courses in physics and mathematics were later offered in the College of Science. In 1946, however, to solve the problem of administrative reorganization, the University Council under Dr. Robert Lisle Steimer reintegrated the two Colleges as the College of Arts and Sciences with Professor Robert B. Silliman serving as Dean.

The initial thrust of the College was to provide a strong foundation in General Education to serve all of the college students believing that the heart of the University should be a liberal arts college concerned with the student as a person and a future citizen as well as a prospective member of a profession. Realizing, however, that the need in the rural areas was not primarily education at the college level but the application at the farm level of agricultural knowledge, a curriculum in Agriculture was organized within the College of Arts and Sciences in 1951. 

Because of the emphasis of General Education and Rural Life along with the need for economy of operation, the college was later reorganized making it the central unit of the University. As constituted in 1959, it was composed of six Divisions: (1) Business Administration, (2) Education, (3) Humanities, (4) Language and Literature, (5) Natural Sciences, and (6) Social Sciences with the School of Music considered as an administrative part of the Division of Humanities.

In 1964, the College of Education was restored to its former collegiate status as a result of its rapidly increasing enrolment brought about by the new demand for public school teachers created by the burgeoning post-war school age population. Eventually, the School of Music became a separate academic unit in 1966. In 1970, the Division of Business Administration was also restored to its former status as the College of Business Administration. Later in 1976, the agriculture department was elevated to the status of a School of Agriculture.

Since its founding, the College of Arts and Sciences occupied a central position in the University. This was not only because of its size but also because its liberal arts curriculum served as an integrating and unifying element fundamental to the educational development of students of whatever field of specialization. Just as the University grew from an institute of humble beginnings, the college has also expanded through the years. Course offerings in the College of Arts and Sciences are varied to suit the needs and demands of the student, the nation, and the international community.

At present, the College of Arts and Sciences is composed of the following departments: Anthropology and Sociology, Biology, Chemistry, English and Literature, History and Political Science, Filipino and Foreign Languages, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, and the Social Work department. The present Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences is Dr. Margaret U. Alvarez. Recently appointed Associate Dean is Dr. Edna Gladys Calingacion.




Carson, Arthur L. Silliman University, 1901-1959: Gateway of Opportunity and Service. Taiwan, The Republic of China: United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, 1965. 

Tiempo, Edilberto K., Crispin C. Maslog, and T. Valentino Sitoy Jr. Silliman University: 1901-1976. Dumaguete City: Silliman University Press, 1977.