The College of Liberal Arts traces its history to 1915 when the Department of Liberal Arts was inaugurated. It was officially accredited in 1917 as a major department in Yonhi University (later changed to Yonsei) and the Department of Liberal Arts became the Division of Liberal Arts, which included five departments: Korean Language and Literature, English Language and Literature, History, Philosophy, and Politics and Diplomacy. In 1950 the Division of Liberal Arts became the College of Liberal Arts, and two more departments were added: the Department of Education and the Department of Law. In 1954 the Department of Politics and Diplomacy and the Department of Law were transferred to the newly inaugurated College of Political Science and Law. Five new departments were then added to the College of Liberal Arts: Library and Information (1956), German Language and Literature (1971), French Language and Literature (1971), Sociology (1971), and Chinese Language and Literature (1973). In 1981 the Department of Education was promoted to the College of Education, and the newly formed Department of Psychology (1981) took its place in the College. In 1990, the Department of Russian Language and Literature (1989) became the newest addition to the College of Liberal Arts. When the General Area system was established in 1996, the College of Liberal Arts began placing its freshmen into the Division of Liberal Arts. The next year, three departments in the fields of European languages formed a separate Division of European Languages and Literature, with the remaining eight departments forming the new Division of Liberal Arts. In 2004 the Department of Sociology was transferred to the College of Social Science. In addition to the majors offered by the departments, interdisciplinary majors that anticipate new trends in the academe are available in the College.
Beginning in 2007, the College of Liberal Arts (Department of Korean Language and Literature, Department of History, Department of Philosophy, Department of Library and Information) and the College of Foreign Language of Liberal Arts (Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Department of Germany Language and Literature, Department of French Language and Literature, Department Russian Language and Literature) will be divided and separately recruit students.