What Are the Top Schools with Liberal Arts Degree Programs?

Review the typical characteristics of a school with a strong liberal arts program. Read about three top-ranked liberal arts colleges, and explore the wide variety of degree programs you could pursue at each school. Schools offering Liberal Arts degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Makes a Top Liberal Arts school?

The liberal arts are a varied discipline with many different facets. You may want to look for schools that are nationally ranked for their liberal arts programs. Schools that focus specifically on these programs, or that proclaim themselves as 'liberal arts colleges' in their brochures are also a strong bet. These schools should have several varying programs from which you can choose. They should also have knowledgeable professors who are willing to work with you directly. Schools with small student-to-faculty ratio and opportunities for research could also help you in your studies.

Three Top Liberal Arts Schools

Williams College in Williamstown, MA

Williams College is a private school that focuses on the liberal arts and enrolls an average of 2,000 students each year. It was ranked number one on U.S. News & World Report's list of 'National Liberal Arts Colleges' in 2019 (www.usnews.com). It was also named a 'Best Northeastern College' by the Princeton Review (www.princetonreview.com). The school is home to the Williams College Museum of the Arts, which is available to you as a resource when you become a student. All of the college's departments fall into the liberal arts category. It offers 36 majors, each of which awards you with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) upon graduation. Some examples of possible degrees include:

  • B.A. in Art History
  • B.A. in Biology
  • B.A. in Classics
  • B.A. in English
  • B.A. in German
  • B.A. in Physics
  • B.A. in Philosophy
  • B.A. in Psychology
  • B.A. in Religion
  • B.A. in Theatre

Amherst College in Amherst, MA

Amherst College is a private liberal arts school that enrolls an average of 1,800 students each year. It ranked second on U.S. News & World Report's list of best 'National Liberal Arts Colleges' as of 2019, and was also ranked number three on the list of 'Best Value' schools. Amherst offers you the chance to earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in 38 fields of study in the liberal arts. It boasts a small classroom size, with just an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Examples of programs you could pursue include:

  • B.A. in American Studies
  • B.A. in Biology
  • B.A. in Black Studies
  • B.A. in Economics
  • B.A. in Environmental Studies
  • B.A. in French
  • B.A. in Music
  • B.A. in Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies

Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA

Swarthmore College was ranked number three on U.S. News & World Report's listing of best 'National Liberal Arts Colleges' as of 2019. The private, liberal arts school enrolls about 1,500 students per year. The Princeton Review ranked the college number 19 for 'Top 50 - Best Value Colleges' in 2019. The private, liberal arts school offers a number of services, including a women's center, non-remedial tutoring, and placement services. It focuses on letting you, as the student, get hands-on experience in your chosen field, as well as personal interaction with your professors. The school offers more than 600 courses in liberal arts subjects, and allows you to pursue any of the following degrees:

  • B.A. in Ancient History
  • B.A. in Arabic
  • B.A. in Educational Studies
  • B.A. in Engineering
  • B.A. in Comparative Literature
  • B.A. in Dance
  • B.A. in Cognitive Science
  • B.A. in Asian Studies
  • B.A. in Art
  • B.A. in Interpretation Theory

More Top Liberal Arts Schools

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocationEstimated Undergrad In-State Tuition (2018-2019)*
Bowdoin College4 year, PrivateBrunswick, ME$54,000
Middlebury College4 year, PrivateMiddleburry, VT$54,500
Pomona College4 year, PrivateClaremont, CA$53,000
Wellesley College4 year, Private, Women'sWellesley, MA$54,000
Carleton College4 year, PrivateNorthfield, MN$55,000
Claremont McKennna College4 year, PrivateClaremont, CA$54,000
Davidson College4 year, PrivateDavidson, NC$51,500
Haverford College4 year, PrivateHaverford, PA$55,000
Vassar College4 year, PrivatePoughkeepsie, NY$57,000
Hamilton College4 year, PrivateClinton, NY$55,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

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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