Pundits have argued that the liberal arts are useless, one of the best degrees for teaching you how to think, and one of the only ways to get a college education that is truly educational. It’s possible that one or more of these assessments is correct. However, we can say with certainty that many people have found liberal arts degrees to be an excellent way to advance their careers, improve their critical thinking, and satisfy their natural curiosity.
The liberal arts (plural) cover a wide range of topics, as you are probably aware. To some extent, then, the answer to the question of what one can do with a liberal arts degree depends on the specific liberal arts one chooses to study.
What is a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Liberal Arts (MA)?
The liberal arts have a rich history that spans millennia. According to some, the liberal arts are the oldest degree type in existence. What we now refer to as the liberal arts were first taught to “free” citizens in the 5th and 6th century Greek and Roman empires as the subjects and skills necessary to participate in civic life.
As time went on, the liberal arts were subdivided into two distinct categories. Trivium was one such band. The Trivium includes topics such as:
- Additionally, there is Rhetoric.
The Quadrivium was the second group of liberal arts topics that originally comprised the liberal arts. The following subjects are covered in the Quadrivium:
- A study of musical notation and theory
- Astronomy is also a part of this
Liberal arts of today are unquestionably built on many ancient liberal arts topics. Even so, a more general definition of the liberal arts has emerged as topics unrelated to professional, vocational or technical studies. The liberal arts
The following are currently included in the liberal arts curriculum:
- The creative process (including fine arts, music, literary arts, and performing arts)
- The study of religion
- Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (including geography, law, linguistics, political science, psychology, sociology, and more)
- Sciences of Nature (including biology, chemistry, physics, and more)
Do you want to study liberal arts? Check out our list of the 15 Best Colleges for the Liberal Arts in the United States.
What kinds of abilities are fostered in a liberal arts education?
The liberal arts degree curriculum does not directly address professional, vocational or technical education topics, as we discussed in the previous section. However, this does not negate the value of a liberal arts education in preparing you for a career, trade, or technical field. Aside from promoting general knowledge, the liberal arts education is known for fostering the following abilities:
- The ability to learn new things on a regular basis.
- Ability to express thoughts and ideas in a clear and concise manner
- Knowledge of how to deconstruct difficult concepts
- Logical thinking skills
- The ability to perform mathematical calculations
- A person’s problem-solving ability
Because of their adaptability and ability to pick up new skills quickly, many employers actively seek out liberal arts majors. On-the-job training accounts for a significant portion of job knowledge acquisition, and many liberal arts majors are particularly well-suited to excel in this area. Liberal arts educations, on the other hand, tend to provide graduates with skills that can be used in any job for the rest of their lives.
To demonstrate the importance of the liberal arts, all majors include them as part of their curriculum. Almost all general education requirements, which are typically required of all undergraduates, are in the liberal arts. By meeting general education requirements, colleges and universities aim to produce more well-rounded students who are also able to communicate effectively.
Some commentators are correct in saying that a college education is incomplete without a foundation in the liberal arts.
Please tell us if you’d like to pursue a liberal arts degree. Check out our list of the 15 Best Colleges for the Liberal Arts in the United States.
Is it Possible to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in the Humanities Online?
It’s common knowledge that students in a liberal arts program spend long hours in the library, engage in passionate discussions with their professors, and attend seminar sessions with a small group of their peers.
However, there is no denying the value of receiving one-on-one attention, having access to learning materials, and being a part of a scholarly community in person.
Colleges known as liberal arts colleges have traditionally been the primary providers of bachelor’s degrees in the liberal arts. These colleges and universities don’t typically offer online degrees, but they often have a “college-like” atmosphere. Even in the best of times, this kind of education can be difficult to find in today’s fast-paced society. Because of this, many colleges and universities have modernized their liberal arts degree programs and now offer them on the Internet as well.
For some students, online learning isn’t the best option for their educational needs. However, it can be an excellent way to earn a degree while still managing the demands of a full-time job and family life. The following are some of the most frequently cited advantages of online degrees:
- If you want to get a degree, you don’t have to relocate.
- There are a lot of online degrees that are designed for working people
- Students can “attend” class by logging on at any time of day or night to an asynchronous degree.
- In many cases, traditional educational and support services can now be found on the internet.
- There are fewer fees for many online programs than there are for on-site programs.
The following are some of the drawbacks of online education:
- There may be a greater need for self-discipline among students who pursue online degrees.
- Fewer options for extracurricular activities and other forms of assistance on campus
- Fewer opportunities to “get to know” professors and classmates
- Online instruction is new to many students.
Liberal arts degree programs are increasingly being offered online, but many graduates will attest that their most formative educational experiences were in-person programs. The decision is ultimately up to you, based on what you feel comfortable including in your life and what you hope to accomplish in the long run as a result.
Check out our 2019 online degree rankings guide page for a more in-depth look at the benefits and drawbacks of online education, as well as available degrees.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts?
It’s possible to get a liberal arts degree and land a job in just about any field of work (particularly with additional degrees). Those who major in liberal arts frequently pursue careers in law, medicine, nursing, and education.
Individual liberal arts degrees can provide the most precise answer. Following is a breakdown of the different types of degrees available in the following clusters of academic disciplines:
- The Study of the Arts and Letters
- The Creative Professions.
- The scientific method
- The Humanities
What Career Paths Are Open to Me If I Earn a Humanities Degree?
Humanities degrees are the first to come to mind when you think of a liberal arts education. In the humanities, you’ll find topics like these:
- Literature in the English language
- Languages from a Different Era
Although some humanities associate’s degree programs exist, a bachelor’s degree has traditionally been the entry point for humanities degrees in higher education institutions. One or more of the following is likely to happen to a humanities graduate, depending on the student and the subject they choose to study.
- Graduates of humanities programs are well-versed in critical thinking and oral and written communication.
- Graduates of the humanities are well-equipped to pursue non-science or technology-related careers.
- Graduates of the humanities are well-equipped to pursue advanced studies in their field of study.
Businesses, non-profits, and government agencies in search of grant writers, content producers, account executives, and marketing professionals may find that those with a humanities degree have a distinct advantage.
There are many leadership opportunities for people with a strong background in humanities as they progress through the ranks in their careers, such as management positions.
Despite the fact that humanities degrees don’t lead to “one single role” like some professional degrees — and thus require some legwork in finding what industry you should enter — in the long run they often pay off with skills that no other degrees can teach.
After completing a bachelor’s degree in the humanities, students can pursue a master’s degree in a related field. Even though humanities majors can return to graduate school to pursue any degree, a humanities-only program prepares students best for careers in education or law. Students in the humanities, on the other hand, are among the best-scoring applicants to business schools for graduate admissions exams.
Returning to school for a humanities course is the final option. Direct entry is common to many doctoral programs in the humanities, including philosophy, English, foreign languages, and history. The doctor of philosophy is the highest academic honor in each of these fields (Ph.D.).
Ph.D.s, in contrast to other kinds of doctorates, are doctorates in research. In other words, completing a dissertation as part of your degree program is an important part of your training. Ph.D. candidates who succeed should also be capable of teaching at the university level.
Doctoral students in the humanities can work in a variety of fields, including marketing and writing, but their primary goal is to pursue a career in academia or research.
Do I Have a Future in the Arts?
According to some artists, their path was not chosen for them, but rather was compelled by their art. The “uselessness” of degrees in the arts is another common complaint. Degrees in the arts can lead to a plethora of rewarding careers, as our research at DegreeQuery has shown over the course of our many years in the field.
Before we go any further, we need to clarify what kind of art we’re talking about. These are some of the most common art-related courses offered at the undergraduate level:
- Percussion and Dance
- Performing Arts
- Fine Crafts and Crafts
- The Arts of Literature
All of these arts have a few lucky individuals whose work turns out to be their career. Particularly at the most esteemed conservatories and MFA programs in creative writing, this is the case.
Students of the arts can also pursue a career in arts education, which is a much more common route. To get your teaching license, it’s common to combine an arts background with an education degree, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree in education.
However, public K-12 schools are the most common place where arts educators work. Local museums, private art instruction, theaters, non-profits, and other places may also be possible career options for this person.
Do I Have Any Career Options If I Get a Degree in the Natural Science Field?
For both immediate employment and future graduate school admissions, the natural sciences may be the most versatile of the humanities degrees. degrees in natural sciences are the most common.
- In addition, there are degrees in related fields.
After earning one of the degrees listed above, students have a choice of four career paths.
- Gaining employment in their chosen field of study directly after graduation
- pursuing a career as a teacher in their chosen field of study from kindergarten through high school
- Grad school in their chosen field of study
- Earning a master’s degree in a different field
Most of the above scientific disciplines require at least a master’s degree to get a job with a title similar to your degree. Undergraduates with degrees in biology who work in labs or research under the guidance of a more experienced biologist are exceptions to this rule, as are those with bachelor’s degrees in geology who work in fields related to geology.
Many natural scientists and many members of the STEM fields are in short supply. Many states offer students who have completed a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field the opportunity to pursue alternative licensing tracks. Students in the natural sciences who have earned a bachelor’s degree may also choose to pursue a master’s degree in education or a dual bachelor’s degree in education in order to become licensed.
The third thing you can do with a degree in the natural sciences is apply for graduate school in your field of interest. Each of the natural sciences has both master’s and doctoral programs. As a scientist of the type you studied to be, a master’s degree typically takes less time and can lead to employment as one. It is customary for those who have earned a doctoral degree in their field to use the title of “physicist,” “biologist,” or “chemist.”
Ph.D.s are the most sought-after academic credentials in the natural sciences. The Ph.D. degree is always a research doctorate, unlike other doctoral degrees. This necessitates students to conduct original research for their dissertation. Thus, upon completion of their degree, Ph.D. candidates should be able to teach at the university level.
You can go straight into either a master’s or a doctoral program after finishing your undergraduate degree. It is common practice in Ph.D. programs for students who do not have a master’s degree to receive one during their studies.
Students in the natural sciences still have the option of pursuing a graduate degree in a different field. A strong foundation for many professional degrees can be found in the natural sciences. Engineering degrees can be followed by a degree in physics, geology, or chemistry. Getting into nursing or medical school doesn’t require much more than a chemistry or biology degree. However, graduate study in technical fields may be possible for those with a strong background in quantitative sciences.
Graduates of the natural sciences may, of course, decide to take a different path after completing their studies. On both the law and business school admissions examinations, natural science majors have some of the highest average scores.
There are a plethora of career options open to students with a bachelor’s degree in the natural sciences.
Check out our guide to science degrees and our page dedicated to biology degrees for more information on what you can do with a degree in natural science.
What Can I Do With a Social Science Degree?
Graduate degrees in the social sciences, like those in the natural sciences, often lead to careers in the same fields. Students of the social sciences can find work at a lower level in their discipline, pursue unrelated fields, or pursue teaching careers related to the social sciences at the bachelor’s level.
At the undergraduate level, the most common social sciences include the following:
- Research in the field of social sciences
Graduating with a degree in psychology, the most common social science major, opens the door to a wide range of careers in therapy, counseling, and as a psychologist. Check out our psychology degree guide to learn more about what you can do with a psychology degree.
Anthropology, sociology, and the social sciences all aim to understand human relationships on a systemic level. With a master’s or doctorate, you can enter the field of social work, counseling, or human resources management, as well as a number of related occupations.
Graduate study in geography can lead to important positions in academia, despite the degree’s narrow focus. History, biology, physics, and geology are just some of the fields that geography influences.
What am I qualified to do with a mathematics degree?
Students are often surprised to learn that mathematics is one of the liberal arts. Due to the “pure” nature of the discipline pursued by students with a mathematics degree, no specific career path is prescribed or prepared for them.
As a result, mathematics majors may be the most in-demand of all majors. All quantitative fields have mathematics as their foundation. Health care, finance, natural sciences, management, and technology are all rooted in applied mathematics.
A career as an actuary, statistician, or data scientist can be pursued with only a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. Insurance and finance companies employ actuaries to assess the likelihood of a given event occurring. Numerous scientific and business roles can be filled by statisticians. Data science is currently one of the most in-demand professions.
There are a number of applied fields in graduate level mathematics programs. Because “pure” or theoretical mathematics is not career or vocation-centered, it is unique among liberal arts disciplines that include mathematics. However, many graduate-level mathematics fields are.
We have a comprehensive guide to the various types of degrees and courses available to those with a degree in mathematics; be sure to take a look at it for more information.