Online Liberal Arts Schools

Read about the enormous range of fields you could study within the category of liberal arts. Explore your options for studying liberal arts online, whether through a degree program or a standalone course. Find out how online programs work, and get examples of some fields of study that are commonly available via distance learning. Get info on choosing a career after you complete your liberal arts education. Schools offering Liberal Arts degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Online liberal arts programs are widely available at virtually every level of study. Think about what interests you most and decide on how you want to approach your desired learning path. Degrees are available in areas of study that include philosophy, science, society, international affairs, culture, writing, and much more.

What Are Some Options With Liberal Arts Schools?

The field of liberal arts takes in a lot of territory, and some schools have different interpretations of what subjects can be considered liberal arts disciplines. The liberal arts and sciences typically include the humanities and social science disciplines like art, literature, music, psychology, sociology and anthropology. Other disciplines, like history, religion, philosophy, languages and linguistics, economics and political science are also usually included under the liberal arts umbrella. There can multiple variations on these subjects in liberal arts programs, like a general studies or American studies major that includes coursework from a variety of disciplines.

If you find yourself a bit confused about what you want to do in life, a liberal arts education might help you make up your mind. There are a couple of options for taking liberal arts classes online. Not only are there all-online liberal arts colleges, there's no small amount of brick-and-mortar liberal arts colleges that offer complete degree programs, as well as stand-alone courses, online.

What Are Some Typical Online Programs?

There are online liberal arts undergraduate certificates available in such subjects as adult development, labor studies and organizational communication. Liberal arts associate's degree programs available online can include such subjects as business administration; accounting; criminal justice; letters, arts and sciences; family studies and general studies. Very often, course credits from certificate and associate's degree programs can be applied toward a bachelor's degree.

Liberal arts bachelor's degrees can be earned online in such areas as psychology, law and society, business administration, computer information technology, organizational leadership or the hospitality industry. Some examples of online master's program concentrations include management, marketing, finance, military history, training and development, education, teacher leadership and emergency management. Online graduate certificates are available in such areas as E-learning, instructional design, online teaching and engineering management.

Which Schools Offer Online Undergraduate Certificates in Liberal Arts?

Plenty of options exist for online undergraduate certificates in liberal arts. Choose an area of study which suits your interests.

  • The University of Iowa offers an online Certificate in Writing program
  • Hudson Valley Community College offers online certificate programs in areas like coaching and special education assisting
  • Pennsylvania State University has online undergrad certificates available in areas such as labor studies and organizational communication

Which Schools Offer Online Associate's Degrees in Liberal Arts?

Online associate's degrees in liberal arts are available in a myriad of areas of study. Some options include humanities, business, and criminal justice.

  • Southern New Hampshire University offers an online Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree program in liberal arts
  • Hudson Valley Community College offers online A.A. in Liberal Arts and Science: Humanities and Social Science programwith various concentration tracks, like communications, English, and history
  • Excelsior College offers an online A.A. degree program in liberal arts

Which Schools Offer Online Bachelor's Degrees in Liberal Arts?

Choose from a 120-credit hour degree program as a B.A. or B.S., or you could consider various concentrations through a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree. Four-year online degrees in liberal arts are common and easy to come by.

  • Colorado State University offers an online Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts with minor options in anthropology, economics, and political science
  • The University of Massachusetts - Lowell offers an online Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree program with concentrations in areas like art history, English, legal studies, and psychology
  • Oregon State University offers online B.A. and B.S. degree programs in liberal arts with course offerings in subjects like new media communications; sociology; and women, gender and sexuality studies

Which Schools Offer Online Master's Degrees in Liberal Arts?

Online master's degrees in liberal arts include specific programs tailored to the encompassing study of subjects like religion, politics, history and philosophy. Students at this level could also take classes in American democracy, Islamic relations, and international affairs, among other topics.

  • The University of North Carolina at Greensboro offers an online Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree program
  • Johns Hopkins University offers an online Master of Liberal Arts degree program
  • Georgetown University offers an online Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree program

Which Schools Offer Online Graduate Certificates in Liberal Arts?

Students who want to study liberal arts through an online graduate certificate program can do so at some of the most prestigious schools in the country. Areas of study include broad topics, such as literature and global studies, or could include very specific coursework in subjects like sustainable tourism and applied business data analytics.

  • Harvard University offers online graduate certificates in areas like arts, literature and media; business and management; and global studies
  • Johns Hopkins University offers an online Certificate Program for Advanced Graduate Study in the Liberal Arts
  • Arizona State University offers online graduate certificates in areas like English as a Second Language, social entrepreneurship and community development, and sustainable tourism

How Are Programs or Courses Delivered?

Depending on your choice of course or program, you may be required to have subject- or course-specific software. Most online programs utilize a course management system, such as Blackboard. This allows you to keep in contact with instructors and students by way of message boards or discussion rooms. Often, lectures, assignments and examinations are posted online via Blackboard. Some programs or courses may be delivered on discs that you'll play on your computer at your convenience. This is a type of distance learning or correspondence course. Communication with instructors is minimal and usually carried out online.

Courses can be presented synchronously or asynchronously. Synchronously means that classes meet online at predetermined times. Asynchronously means that lectures are posted and you can access them at your convenience.

Hybrid programs, although rare in liberal arts subjects, contain online components as well as in-person requirements. In-person requirements can include clinical sessions, orientation meetings, faculty consultations or seminars.

Is There Career Help Available?

Most liberal arts students find themselves exposed to a wide range of topics. The traditional goal of a liberal arts education is not to prepare students for a specific trade or job, but to provide a well-rounded education that helps students develop skills in analysis, communication and critical thinking, according to the College Board. This may come in handy in some cases. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that surveys taken by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) have shown that employers are most concerned about a candidate's communication and critical thinking skills than about a particular college major (www.bls.gov).

The College Board points out that liberal arts majors can enter a wide variety of careers, from teaching and writing to marketing or practicing law (www.collegeboard.com). If you are having trouble deciding on a career path, your school might have a career center where counselors give advice about possible career directions. They teach you about interview techniques, job-planning and resume writing. All-online schools may provide some online resources for jobseekers, and traditional colleges typically have an on-campus career advising office or center.

Additionally, you can take advantage of online resources, like the NACE website. It has what it refers to as a 'knowledge center' that offers online advice in career services, internships and co-op opportunities (www.naceweb.org).

Liberal arts programs encompass a multitude of subjects that range from areas like business, social sciences, and criminal justice, to sustainability, literature, and psychology. Prospective students seeking an online degree in this area can choose from a number of degree and certificate programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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