The Best Online Liberal Arts Colleges

Liberal Arts has a broad application in the workforce, developing students' understanding of literature, math, science, philosophy, and history. In terms of career, students have gone on to anything from teaching to psychology. We have gathered the top online Liberal Arts degrees from schools across the nation and listed them below.

Purdue University – Purdue University offers an online BS in Liberal Studies. This program is designed for students who want to complete an individualized course of study. Courses include: Ethics, Statistics, Psychology, American Women, Principles of Nutrition, and Communication and Conflict. Students also take courses in Math, Social and Physical Science.
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Colorado State University – Colorado State University offers an online BS in Interdisciplinary Professional Studies. This program offers students the opportunity of engaging in courses across more than 24 disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Students, with a wide range of interests, will make connections across these fields, applying knowledge to real-world problems.
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A liberal arts degree is a broad-based interdisciplinary degree that encompasses many areas of study including literature, history, foreign languages, philosophy, and mathematics. With a liberal arts degree, students can pursue a number of careers and graduate programs. Its versatility and usefulness provides students a strong foundation for academic and career success. If you’re interested in a liberal arts degree, your options are essentially limitless.

Types of Liberal Arts Degrees

What’s unique about a liberal arts education is the option to explore many different aspects of the arts, sciences, and humanities. Liberal arts programs often require significant exposure to many different fields. As a result, critical thinking skills are developed, and students hone their ability to think across and between disciplines.

Liberal arts degrees cover a variety of subject matter. As such, the types of degrees available are wide-ranging and cover all levels of education:

Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts

If you’re a recent high school graduate or GED recipient, an associate’s degree in liberal arts is a focused, two-year experience that prepares you for entry-level employment. Some programs allow students to choose an area of concentration such as psychology or business while others emphasize a more comprehensive academic curriculum.

Depending on the school and program you choose, coursework may include:

  • History
  • Writing
  • Mathematics
  • Religion
  • Foreign Language
  • Women’s Studies
  • Communications

Career Options for Associate’s Degree Holders

Once you’ve completed your associate’s degree, you’re qualified for a number of jobs in a variety of fields. Career outcomes for students with an associate’s degree in liberal arts include:

  • Administrative Assistant
  • Marketing Assistant
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Entry-Level Management
  • Paralegal
  • Office Manager

An associate’s degree is also a stepping stone towards earning a bachelor’s degree. If you have the option of choosing an area of concentration, you can continue your studies by majoring in your desired field as an undergraduate.

Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts:

A bachelor’s degree in liberal arts is a three or four-year degree that focuses on a specific interest in the field. Liberal arts students may not have a specific career goal in mind. Instead, exploring a variety of subjects allows for a great diversity of learning. Students can select a major and career path after studying several disciplines.

Depending on the school and program you choose, liberal arts majors may include:

  • Biology
  • History
  • Philosophy, Political Science, or Psychology
  • English Literature
  • Foreign Languages
  • Religious Studies
  • Journalism and Communications

Career Options for Bachelor’s Degree Holders

After you’ve completed your bachelor’s degree, your career options are plentiful. A liberal arts education is not a niche field like computer-science or engineering. Therefore, your career options are quite broad. Career outcomes for students with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts may include:

  • Marketer
  • Editor
  • Business Consultant
  • Publisher
  • Historian
  • Psychologist
  • Sales Specialist

Master’s Degree in Liberal Arts

A master’s degree in liberal arts can take many forms. Some schools offer a multidisciplinary program that encompasses a broad liberal arts exposure. Other programs focus on one particular area within the liberal arts family. You can purse a Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) or a Masters of Liberal Studies (MLS). These degrees combine the humanities, natural sciences, and the social sciences into a single program.

Career Options for Master’s Degree Holders

With a master’s degree in liberal arts, career options are as varied and diverse and the field itself. The skills acquired in a liberal arts program are transferable in almost any occupation. Whether you’re seeking a career change, advancement at your current job, or a stepping stone towards a doctoral degree, you’ll be prepared to succeed in an increasingly competitive market.

Graduate-degree holders can pursue a number of different professions. Consider the following occupations as potential careers:

  • Economist
  • Sociologist
  • Professor
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Executive-level Manager

What Skills Will I Learn in a Liberal Arts Program?

Most liberal arts programs focus on the development of your analytic and critical-thinking skills. This means that you’ll strengthen your ability to write, think, reason, and analyze. Additionally, your competency in making decisions will advance as you learn to think and communicate more deeply. You’ll also gain many of the following skills and competencies:

  • Broad knowledge of multiple subjects areas including art, history, music, philosophy, and science.
  • Strong written and oral communications skills.
  • Advanced research skills and the ability to communicate results in written and oral form.
  • An appreciation for diverse points of view.
  • The ability to work successfully with teams as well as independently.

These skills are invaluable in the workforce. In fact, liberal arts coursework can serve as a resume builder if you decide to major in a specific field. Some schools offer programs that allow you concentrate in one area of interest. By taking a few classes in one subject, you’ll learn whether you like the subject and want to take additional courses.

If you’re pursuing your bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, you have the option of minoring in another subject. This allows you to explore two areas that interest you personally or professionally. For example, you can major in liberal arts and minor in education, if becoming a teacher is a career interest. Liberal arts majors who are knowledgeable about multiple subjects have an advantage in the job market. Employers look for candidates with a well-rounded education and a broad skill set.

Is a Liberal Arts Degree Right For Me?

If you’re not sure if a liberal arts degree is right for you, it’s important to consider your future goals and interests. If you’re interested in many subjects, a liberal arts program might be a good fit given the diverse range of courses these programs offer. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if your objectives align with the liberal arts mission:

  1. Are you interested in the social and natural sciences?
  2. Do you enjoy debating and discussing ideas with others?
  3. Are you considering advanced study such as a masters or doctoral degree?
  4. Would you consider yourself a lifelong learner with a passion for education?
  5. Do you enjoy reading a variety of texts and genres?

Online Liberal Arts Programs

If you think you’re a strong candidate for a liberal arts degree, it’s time to find the right school that meets your needs and budget. Many schools now offer online liberal arts degrees that allow you to take classes from any location with an Internet connection.

By enrolling in an accredited online school, you can take all the necessary courses to graduate with an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and even a doctoral degree in liberal arts. Consider which credentials you wish to earn and make a list of schools that match your criteria. Narrowing your focus can be hard so it’s important to reflect on your interests and skills. Perhaps English was your favorite subject in high school. Therefore, researching schools that offer writing and literature classes would be a good place to start.

The online learning format will likely incorporate webinars, group discussions, and other forms of interactive communications that allows you to collaborate with your peers and teachers. You can listen to lectures from your home computer and submit assignments via an online platform such as Blackboard or Angel.

Before you enroll in a program, make sure to check the school’s accreditation status. You can find this information online by visiting the school’s website or the U.S. Department of Education’s accreditation search engine. The Department of Education allows you to search by agency or institution. If a school is not accredited, you cannot receive financial aid. Accreditation ensures that a school or degree program meets certain standards. There standards help safeguard the quality of academic programming as well as protect you from a bad investment. School is expensive so you want to make sure your money is going towards a worthwhile degree.

Next Steps

If you confident in your decision to pursue a liberal arts degree, you’ve chosen wisely. Statistics from the Federal Government show that people who major in liberal arts often do well in the job market. With a broad skill set and knowledge base, you’re qualified for a number of different careers.

To set yourself apart from other job seekers, consider an internship in a field or profession of interest. You’ll gain valuable experience and the opportunity to network with other professionals. Attend job fairs at your school and talk with your professors about summer jobs and apprenticeships. Remember, a liberal arts degree prepares studentsw for success in a multitude of careers, making them marketable to future employers.

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