There is a running joke among college freshmen in every generation about getting a Liberal Studies degree. This is the undergraduate program you take if you: A) don’t like science or math or both; B) are not really sure what you want; C) plan to shift to another program within the next two years; or D) all of the above. Liberal Studies, in fact, has been tagged as a course that has “a little of everything.”
But what most people fail to understand is that Liberal Studies is a degree which provides the student the foundation of a multidisciplinary preparation for the arts, social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences to enable them to have careers in business, education, government, and media, among other fields of specialization. The Liberal Studies program trains the student in more than one skill.
Excellent writing and eloquent oral expression, critical thinking, ethics, thoughtful analysis, and problem solving are the core competencies that come with a Liberal Studies degree. A wide array of courses are taken by the Liberal Studies student including mathematics, physical education, human development, history, literature, visual arts, social sciences, linguistics, and performing arts.
The American Academy for Liberal Education explained that the core curriculum of a Liberal Studies degree may include interdisciplinary programs in the sciences and the arts, theatrical and musical performance and appreciation, creative writing programs, and the history and the heritage of non-Western and Western civilizations. Programs for further studies – a master’s degree and a doctorate – are recommended.
Jobs Available to Liberal Studies Graduates
The skills learned in a Liberal Studies education will prove beneficial in numerous professions. Because writing, verbal, critical thinking, objective analysis, and ethics are all taught and developed in core courses of Liberal Studies, it isn’t surprising to find many Liberal Studies graduates as writers for newspapers and magazines, television, and film.
Other professions suitable for a Liberal Studies degree holder are public relations, journalism, marketing, advertising, and broadcast communication. In fact, most careers that have anything to do with writing or speaking well almost always point to a Liberal Studies education.
Schools from Where You Can Obtain a Liberal Studies Degree
There is no shortage of schools in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world offering Liberal Studies programs. Ivy League institutions like Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania both have good Liberal Studies programs as do Oberlin College (Ohio), Wesleyan University (Connecticut), Dickinson College (Pennsylvania), DePauw University (Indiana), Bowdoin College (Maine), Washington and Lee University (Virginia), Occidental College (California), and Middlebury College (Vermont).
Except for the mention of the two Ivy League schools, these educational institutions are smaller in ratio for teacher-student interaction, class size, and enrollment but the teachers are all full time faculty instead of graduate students who act as teaching assistants. Some of them are historically African-American colleges and others offer experimental and innovative curricula, especially Oberlin College.
Additionally, online liberal studies degree programs can now be obtained as well. According to U.S. News, which regularly releases school rankings, the schools with the best online programs for liberal studies include Pennsylvania State University, Daytona State College, the University of Illinois-Chicago, Pace University, and Oregon State University.