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What Does Liberal Arts Mean?

Many students attend college so that they can pursue particular career paths such as teaching, engineering or accounting. Liberal arts students, however, are not necessarily training for specific professions; rather, they are pursuing more generalized knowledge. Liberal arts studies might prepare you for variable career choices and provide you with the diverse set of skills that employers look for. Learn more about liberal arts here.

Liberal Arts Defined

The liberal arts are a set of academic disciplines that include the sciences and the humanities. When you study a liberal arts curriculum, you don't have to have one specific career goal, although you might. Instead, you'll assemble a broad foundation of knowledge that can be used in a wide spectrum of careers. You'll learn to think critically, examine the world around you, communicate effectively and adjust to changing situations. If you would like to enter a professional field such as law or medicine, many liberal arts programs could prepare you to continue your studies in a graduate program.

Important Facts About Liberal Arts

Common CoursesEnglish, literature, foreign language, natural sciences, social sciences, ethics
Key SkillsCommunication, critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, reading comprehension, openness, empathy, analytical skills
Online AvailabilityFully online program options
Possible CareersEditor, journalist, minister, lobbyist, politician, museum manager, policy analyst
Median Salary (2020) $67,120 (for writers and authors)*
Job Outlook (2019-2029) -2% (for writers and authors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Majors

You can choose from an array of liberal arts majors. Most of these are offered in the liberal arts departments of colleges that belong to universities and at smaller colleges that are designated as liberal arts institutions. Some typical examples of liberal arts majors include English, foreign languages, environmental science, biology, earth science, political science, religious studies and psychology. Bachelors degree liberal arts programs allow you the freedom to create your own course of study, although most schools have the final say as to the courses in your curriculum.

Possible Careers

Graduates who have liberal arts degrees may be able to fit into many places because the study in the liberal arts builds general, high-level thinking skills as opposed to technical, niche skills. As a liberal arts degree-holder, you might find yourself writing for a newspaper, training newly-hired employees for a large corporation, studying an exotic type of bacteria, conducting tours in foreign lands or creating archives for a museum.

Choosing a Career

There could be a large number of options available to you as a recipient of the liberal arts degree. To make choosing a career easier, you may wish to experiment with different fields while you're still in college. This will help you find what you're good at and what you enjoy. You could also consult with the liberal arts advisor at your school as you prepare to follow a particular career path.