Liberal Arts and Humanities Undergraduate Programs

Liberal Arts and Humanities Undergraduate programs, offered as associate and bachelor degrees, give students a broad based education in literature, philosophy, math, ...

humanities, social and physical studies. While a liberal arts undergraduate degree may not prepare you for one career in particular, students are enriched with an interdisciplinary curriculum or have the independence to design their own concentrations of study. In fact, the Ancient Greek civilization considered a liberal arts education to be the ultimate indication of a well-educated person.

Liberal Arts and Humanities Undergraduate Degree: Basics

Liberal Arts and Humanities Undergraduate Programs include 2-year associate degrees and 4-year bachelor degrees. Prospective applicants typically need at least a High School Diploma or GED, although it is advisable to check with your community college or university to familiarize yourself with their protocol. A Liberal Arts and humanities degree generally introduces students to a spectrum of academic topics within the social, natural and formal sciences, but you can expect differences between schools. A Liberal arts education may strengthen the soft skills (communication, language, critical thinking, synthesis, leadership, interpersonal dynamics)

FUN FACT:

The skills employers say they want most in a candidate, such as communication and critical thinking, are precisely those for which liberal arts students are known… Employers also look for a strong work ethic, teamwork, initiative, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving and analytical abilities. These are the very kinds of abilities honed by coursework in the humanities and social sciences[i]

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What is a Liberal Arts Major?

Historically, the four scientific liberal arts were music, arithmetic, geometry and astronomy and the three humanities were grammar, rhetoric and logic with the addition later on of history, poetry, Greek, moral philosophy, classical languages and literature. Those who studied arts and humanities were the elites, part of the political administration, the clergy, or within the legal and medical fields[ii]. In other words, very well-respected for their pursuit of a well-rounded education. To some extent, liberal arts majors are ‘rooted’ in this tradition. Furthermore, if you are called a ‘liberal arts major’ it could mean either that you are taking a wide variety of arts and humanities courses (E.g. Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies) OR that you are dedicated to the study of one of the liberal arts disciplines (E.g. Bachelor of Arts in History).

What are Liberal Studies?

Liberal arts are sometimes referred to as liberal studies when a spectrum of topics are explored in one curriculum. If you are interested in learning about different subjects rather than majoring in one of the liberal arts, a modern liberal studies or liberal arts degree program typically includes a range of subjects that often includes:

Humanities which often include art, literature, linguistics, philosophy, religion, ethics, foreign languages, music, theatre, speech, classical languages such as Latin or Greek

Social Sciences which often include history, psychology, law, sociology, politics, gender studies, anthropology, economics, geography, business informatics.

Natural Sciences which often includes astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics, botany, archaeology, zoology, geology, earth sciences.

Formal Sciences which often includes mathematics, logic, statistics.

Types of Liberal Arts Undergraduate Programs

As you might expect, Liberal Arts and Humanities Undergraduate programs cover a lot of territory! Some students are going to gravitate to a general liberal arts degree while others may want somewhat more structure in terms of shaping a future career. Choose from categories using our subject selection to help fine tune your search for the ‘right’ degree:

Communication and Public Relations Undergraduate Programs explore strategies for building relationships between an organization and the public, and for managing the flow of information between them.

Liberal Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Programs often explore ‘general studies’, ‘liberal studies’ or ‘multidisciplinary studies.

Types of Liberal Arts Undergraduate Degrees

Liberal Arts and Humanities Undergraduate Degrees are offered as Associates Degrees, Bachelor Degrees, and certificates. Associate Degrees are typically 2-year programs that are offered through technical colleges, institutes and some colleges and universities with 4-year Bachelor programs.

Associate Degrees in Liberal Arts and Humanities

The main degrees awarded are the Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Sciences (A.S.) and Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in liberal arts. The A.A. and A.S. are academic degrees that are intended as transfer credit degrees to either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree program. The A.A.S. is considered more of an occupational degree which could provide more of a vocational training, however it is not as common for liberal arts majors.

Bachelor Degrees in Liberal Arts and Humanities

The main degrees awarded are the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and the Bachelor of Fine Arts. Bachelor of Fine Arts are considered professional degrees, while the B.A. and B.S. are considered academic degrees.

Campus or Online?

Campus programs offer you the opportunity to meet others, and especially in liberal arts programs where discussion and critical analysis are valued, give you the chance to do so, while learning from your professors and perhaps learning to engage within the group dynamics. On the other hand, some programs lend themselves to online learning in that there may be a lot of writing, research and reading to do which can all be done at a distance. Whatever you decide, to pinpoint the right liberal arts degree, choose either ‘online’ or ‘campus’ to refine results.

Accreditation

Accreditation is the quality control of education. Many schools and programs are accredited regionally. The United States Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognizes six regional agencies, and is easy to verify when you initiate your search.

Continued Education

Students can either continue a Liberal Arts general education or choose a specific concentration within the liberal arts and humanities well into graduate school. Graduate Degrees that fall under the category of liberal arts and humanities include economics, literature, writing, and other programs of interest at both the masters and doctorate degree levels.

Take the Next Step

Ready to look for a Liberal Arts and Humanities Undergraduate Degree that aligns with your interests or your location preferences? Start browsing our extensive directory of sponsored programs such as A.A. Liberal Arts, Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies or Bachelor of Arts in Applied Studies (Applied Communications) amongst others. Make sure to request information from prospective schools; each has unique features and this could help you make the wisest choice.


sources: [i] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2007/winter/art01.pdf |[ii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_arts_education | en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_skills |

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