What Are the Best Schools for Liberal Studies?

Read about three well-regarded schools with liberal studies programs, and check their national rankings. Explore the liberal studies degree programs that each school offers. Get info on choosing a school for liberal studies. Schools offering Liberal Arts degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Some Characteristics of Top Schools for Liberal Studies?

When seeking a liberal studies program, you may prefer a school with high overall rankings, strong research programs in an area of interest or distinguished faculty. Programs may be offered part-time to adult learners; some have online study options. You may be paired with a mentor to guide your non-traditional program. Top liberal studies schools may be members of the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs (AGLSP).

What Are Three Top Liberal Studies Schools?

Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Georgetown tied for the 21st ranking among best national universities for 2016, according to U.S. News & World Report. The School of Continuing Studies' The Writing Center and its 1-day writing boot camp provide academic support to students who want to enhance their writing skills. Students may receive credit for Army/American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (AARTS) or Sailor/Marine American Council on Education Registry System (SMART) military training. Veterans may be eligible for the Department of Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon benefit.

Part-time bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in liberal studies may meet the needs of nontraditional students. The bachelor's degree program offers 15 concentration options, including urban analysis and community development, American studies and organizational leadership. Graduate students are encouraged to partner with faculty to publish research in the AGLSP's Confluence: The Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies. These degrees are available:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies
  • Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
  • Doctor of Liberal Studies

Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

Harvard was ranked second among U.S. News & World Report's best national universities for 2016. The Harvard University Extension School offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in liberal arts. Students have access to 70 Harvard libraries and the collections of 14 museums. Bachelor's degree candidates can concentrate in social sciences, humanities or sciences with the option to also propose one of 20 focused fields of study. The graduate programs offer part-time study options as well as blended on-campus and online classes. The Harvard Summer School program offers study abroad options and internship opportunities at the U.S. Naval War College in Rhode Island. These degrees are offered:

  • Bachelor of Liberal Arts
  • Master of Liberal Arts
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Liberal Arts

University of Pennsylvania (Penn) in Philadelphia

In U.S. News & World Report' s 2016 national universities rankings, this Ivy League school was ranked ninth. Penn hosts the College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) within its School of Arts and Sciences. LPS provides full- and part-time degree options as well as some online courses. Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates may choose from more than 50 disciplines within LPS.

Penn's 12 academic schools offer over 40 research programs and interdisciplinary institutes in areas like human resources, health economics, public health and medicine. The master's degree programs in liberal arts provide individualized program options that can be pursued independently or may supplement a professional degree. The Master of Liberal Arts program requires a capstone project, and the more advanced Master of Philosophy requires a thesis. These options are available:

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Master of Liberal Arts
  • Master of Philosophy in Liberal Arts

More Top Liberal Studies Schools

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
Williams College4-year, PrivateWilliamston, MA
Amherst College4-year, PrivateAmherst, MA
Swarthmore College4-year, PrivateSwarthmore, PA
Bowdoin College4-year, PrivateBrunswick, ME
Middleburry College4-year, PrivateMiddleburry, VT
Pomona College4-year, PrivateClaremont, CA
Wellesley College4-year, PrivateWellesley, MA
Carlton College4-year, PrivateNorthfield, MN
Claremont McKenna College4-year, PrivateClaremont, CA
Davidson College4-year, PrivateDavidson NC

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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