The study of liberal arts began in ancient Greece, when the Greeks combined lessons in communication and thinking skills to help students become good citizens. Since then, liberal arts curriculum has grown to include a wider range of subjects, from art and music to mathematics and chemistry. Liberal arts includes the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics. For international students who want to study abroad, the biggest value of a liberal arts education is its wide range of subjects to focus on for a degree program. International students who want a well-rounded education should consider earning a liberal arts degree.
There are three types of undergraduate degrees you can get as a liberal arts major: bachelor of arts (BA), bachelor of fine arts (BFA), or bachelor of science (BS). BA degrees cover humanities and social sciences liberal arts majors, BFA degrees include artistic fields like creative writing or acting, and BS degrees are awarded for technical fields like business, math, and the sciences.
What Does Liberal Arts Colleges Exposes Students to?
Liberal arts colleges expose students to many academic subjects by offering a mix of required and elective courses. While students at liberal arts colleges usually earn a degree in a specific subject area, like English or biology, the combination of courses helps them master transferable skills like problem solving, critical thinking, and communication. Most importantly, students learn to make connections between different subject areas and understand how diverse topics fit together.
Instead of focusing their degree programs on skills for a specific job, liberal arts colleges encourage students to explore new options and get involved in their communities. Through campus events, public spaces, and cross-disciplinary classes, liberal arts colleges encourage students on different tracks to interact with and learn from each other. Additionally, many have performing arts programs where students can act, dance, and sing for the campus community or the greater public, and these opportunities can be excellent training for your long-term goals.
The Benefits of Studying Liberal Arts
The goal of a liberal arts education is to help you become a well-rounded person, one with general knowledge on a variety of subjects. Each liberal arts college offers degrees in a wide range of majors. As you study, you will gain versatile skills in communication, problem solving, and critical thinking. Students with liberal arts majors learn how multiple academic disciplines interact and influence each other. This expertise can help them get jobs in a range of industries including science, education, politics, art, and business, just to name a few. The benefits of the degree includes:
- Flexibility to work in many different industries
- Wide range of adaptable skills that appeal to many types of employers
- Strong foundation for graduate study in a master’s degree or PhD program
The biggest benefit of a liberal arts degree is its versatility. Students who study liberal arts go on to become business leaders, teachers, artists, politicians, and contributing members of their diverse communities. With the skills you learn in your liberal arts program, you can design the future that is right for you.
Some popular liberal arts major include:
- Biology — uncover the inner workings of living creatures through studying science, math, and history.
- Creative writing — craft stories and learn to communicate through the written word. Classes in psychology, philosophy, history, and English can help improve your stories.
- Fine art — apply your vision and creativity while learning to create art. History, psychology, geometry, and communications classes also help art students improve their creative work.
- History — explore the events and situations that impact our world, from wars to political movements. Political science, sociology, psychology, and religious studies round out this major.
- Political science — study the systems of government and understand its institutions, practices, and relationships. You will explore aspects of psychology, economics, history, and sociology with a political science major.
- Psychology — learn how humans think and understand which factors influence our brains and behavior. Psychology students also learn about sociology, history, art, biology, and statistics.
- Sociology — understand how societies are structured and how groups of people interact. History, political science, art, and math all play a role in this major.
These are just a few liberal arts degrees you can choose. While each degree program focuses on a particular academic interest, they all require students to complete a wide-ranging curriculum before graduation.
Jobs Available for a Liberal Arts Degree Holder
A liberal arts degree prepares you for a wide range of jobs across many industries. Jobs for liberal arts majors could include becoming a journalist or a professor, getting involved in politics or curating a museum, helping businesses succeed or marketing products. Some students earn a general liberal arts or humanities degree, while others choose a more focused but still well-rounded liberal arts major. Here are a few possible jobs and the majors that can help prepare you for them:
- Business manager — economics, philosophy sociology
- Curator or librarian — art history, classics, history, languages
- Human resources professional — communications, psychology, sociology
- Lawyer — History, political science
- Marketing and public relations associate — communications, journalism, sociology
- Politician — Classics, communications
You can get real-world experience to boost your liberal arts major with an internship or campus job. With skills in critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and connection building, you are well-equipped for a wide range of internship opportunities. Consider applying at a publishing house, newspaper, law office, or marketing company. If you are unsure what you want to do when you graduate, internships are a great way to test out possible careers.
After you graduate, there are many possible jobs for liberal arts majors and employers often recognize the value of a liberal arts education. As a result, most graduates with a liberal arts degree end up with a full-time job. The average full-time employee with a liberal arts degree in the US for example earns $55,000 a year.