What Is Liberal Studies?

Liberal studies, also known as liberal arts, comprises a broad exploration of social sciences, natural sciences, humanities, and the arts. If you are interested in a wide-ranging education in humanities, communication, and thinking, read on to find out about the educational and career possibilities in liberal studies. Schools offering Liberal Arts degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Field Defined

Liberal studies is the interdisciplinary examination of subjects related to the humanities, arts, and sciences. As a student of liberal studies, you'll pursue knowledge in these different areas, often learning to synthesize what you learn into a coherent whole that serves your life goals. You'll also learn to communicate effectively, understand and respect a variety of cultures, and become more self-aware. A broad liberal studies background can open up a variety of careers that suit your interests.


Undergraduate degree programs in liberal studies and liberal arts involve core and elective coursework in a variety of subjects, including history, cultural studies, art, philosophy, religion, literature, and the natural sciences. In general, the goal of a liberal studies program is a strong, basic foundation of knowledge and skills that will support an array of careers and interests. Some programs allow you to develop your own path of coursework based on your interests, while others offer concentrations in areas such as early education or performing arts. Master's and Ph.D. degree programs in liberal studies are also available for advanced and focused study.

Skills Developed

In a liberal studies curriculum, you sharpen your reading and writing skills by completing research papers. You also practice verbalizing your ideas through classroom discussions and learn to develop multiple perspectives. Other skills developed include:

  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Effective communication
  • Reasoning and problem solving

Career Opportunities

A liberal studies education doesn't prepare you for only one specific career; instead, the skills you learn in a liberal studies program can be beneficial in multiple professions. Solid writing and communication skills are paramount to most positions and the critical-thinking skills you learn can be applied to any field that requires analytical thought, such as business or education. Other possible career areas include the following:

  • Sales
  • Graphic design
  • Visual and performing art
  • Education administration
  • Public relations
  • Human resources
  • Social work

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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