Liberal Arts Overview

Historically, the “liberal arts” are those studies designed to develop a well-rounded individual. They are often called the “humanities” courses. Some of the common liberal arts degree programs include behavioral sciences, child development, English literature, history, philosophy, political science, religion, sociology and writing.

Liberal Arts Degrees

A liberal arts degree is typically a bachelor or master degree program. Students should expect to spend at least 3-4 years earning a degree. Depending on the degree specialization, different general courses may be required.

Careers for Liberal Arts Majors

Unlike some other educational paths, such as nursing or engineering, the career destination for liberal arts graduates may not be as obvious. There is no such thing as a “liberal artist” job. But don’t worry, there may be more career options for liberal arts graduates than you realize. Liberal arts degree programs give you universal thinking skills that can be applied in many different work environments. Many management, sales, design, teaching and even social work jobs require the skillset of a liberal arts graduate!

Is Liberal Arts Right for Me?

Most liberal arts degrees challenge the way you think about yourself and the world around you. It often involves a lot of critical thinking and social engagement. Before considering a liberal arts degree, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I interested in diversity and varying opinions?
  • Do I enjoy struggling with moral reasoning and ethics?
  • Is the well being of myself and others important to me?
  • Am I prepared to engage in constant critical thinking and reevaluation of my beliefs?

Liberal Arts Salary

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the average starting salary for a liberal arts graduate was $40,700 per year in 2012. Some starting salary levels for typical liberal arts graduates are as follows:

Occupation Education Average Salary
History Bachelor Degree $41,900
Liberal Arts and Sciences (General Studies) Bachelor Degree $43,100
Visual and Performing Arts Bachelor Degree $33,800
English Language and Literature Bachelor Degree $40,200