What is Liberal Arts And Why You Should Get a Degree in It in 2023

The liberal arts are becoming increasingly important in the diversified job market and employers choose to hire liberal arts specialists because they can handle complex situations and solve problems easily.

What are liberal arts?

Liberal arts is a discipline based on rational thinking and encompasses the areas of humanities, social and natural sciences, and mathematics. Liberal arts emphasizes the development of critical thinking and analytical skills, the ability to solve complex problems and an understanding of ethics and morals, and the desire to continue learning.

The liberal arts are often misunderstood as a “social” discipline that lacks supporting numbers or data. While the definition of the liberal arts includes the humanities and social sciences, it also includes the natural sciences and mathematics.

The key element in defining the liberal arts is the intent to combine practical, concrete information such as data and statistics with theoretical knowledge such as ethics and philosophy. This type of learning results in well-educated students with strong critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as the ability to adapt and perform well in different areas of study.

History of liberal arts

In the classical age, the liberal arts were considered indispensable education for a free and active citizen in civil life, which would have meant the opportunity to participate in public debates, self-defense, and service in courts and juries, and at that time included the free arts education.

Liberal arts started with only three subjects: grammar, rhetoric, and logic, which are collectively known as trivium and were expanded to include four more subjects in the Middle Ages: arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy, called quadrivium – so that there are seven liberal arts subjects in the medieval curriculum where free arts existed.

Significantly more difficult than the trivium, the quadrivium was used to prepare its students for the more serious study of philosophy and theology. Modern liberal arts curricula, however, retain the central objectives of traditional liberal arts to develop well-educated individuals with general knowledge in a wide range of subjects and with mastery of a variety of transferable skills.

What Good is Liberal Arts?

With more education, almost all liberal arts degrees can lead to careers in education that will enable graduates with the right qualifications to share their passion with others.

These titles are also well suited for further study and research, giving back and connecting with people, leading to careers in politics, public service, and other helping professions. These are some of the more traditional avenues for liberal arts students, but graduates can be found in almost all industries and professions.

Critical thinking, quick adaptation, and problem-solving are in demand in the STEM and business areas, where liberal arts graduates find their niche in areas such as marketing, sales, strategy, or relationship-oriented work such as customer relations and management. of Accounts.

Their skills in reading, researching, and digesting complex information can help them quickly familiarize themselves with technical subjects, even if they do not have formal technical training.

Liberal arts graduates often know how to connect with others and can excel at adding the “human touch” to every field they enter. They view the workplace and the world from a unique perspective, leveraging the humanistic qualities and dynamics that are sometimes overlooked due to a unique and limited approach to problem-solving.

What do liberal arts entail in general? 

The liberal arts programs within higher education are still designed to provide general education and share the same basic objectives as traditional liberal arts curricula; Develop well-trained individuals who have general knowledge of a wide variety of subject areas and a large number of what are now known as “transferable” skills.

However, they allow students to study a much broader range of subjects than would originally have been the case. There are differences in the individual subjects of the liberal arts courses at different institutions, however, the spectrum of the liberal arts subjects usually includes the following areas:

  1. Humanities: Humanities generally comprise art, history, philosophy, foreign languages, music, and classical languages.
  2. Social sciences: The social sciences include history, psychology, law, sociology, political science, anthropology, economics, geography, business informatics.
  3. Natural Sciences: Natural sciences include astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics, archeology, zoology, geology, and earth sciences.
  4. Formal Sciences: Mathematics, logic, and statistics are defined as formal sciences.

Liberal arts are often interdisciplinary and many offer students the opportunity to design their degree program.

Difference Between the Humanities and Liberal Arts

It is easy to confuse because liberal arts and the humanities are often used interchangeably, but there are differences between them, liberal arts are broader and include the humanities as well as other sub-disciplines such as the social sciences, natural sciences, etc, and math.

This enables Liberal Arts students to develop the above soft skills (critical thinking, problem-solving) that can be applied in any job. The humanities focus on the study of the human condition and include subjects such as Literature, Theology, Artistic Journalism, Communication.

What are the main disciplines in the liberal arts? 

The list of liberal arts disciplines is long, but here are some of the most popular related subjects: History, Psychology, Statistics, Anthropology, Biology. Although these courses are more focused than a general liberal arts degree, they use an interdisciplinary methodology. For example, history students can also take courses in anthropology, cultural studies, and other related fields.

What can I do with my degree in liberal arts? 

A degree in liberal arts is more important than ever in today’s job market. Employers can train you on the specifics of a job, but they cannot teach you the skills to communicate ideas, obtain and analyze information and data, work in teams, and solve problems.

These are the essential professional skills and qualities that education in liberal arts brings with you – and what employers are looking for today. Degrees in liberal arts are also a great stepping stone for graduate school.

Liberal Arts and Career Success

Employers value freelance workers because of their social skills. In a survey launched by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, employers listed the soft skills they seek in their employees, including oral communication, critical thinking, ethical judgment, and effective work. in teams, written communication, and applying skills and knowledge in the real world.

Liberal arts graduates may not start their careers with high incomes, but a liberal arts degree pays off over the decades. It has been found that the average return on investment in a liberal arts education 40 years after enrollment is nearly $ 1 million, which is 25% higher than the average for all colleges.

The Best Liberal Arts Colleges 

According to data from Forbes, Wall Street Journal / Times Higher Education, and US News and World Report, the following schools are consistently among the best art schools in the United States:

  1. Williams College (Berkshires, Massachusetts)
  2. Amherst College (Amherst, Massachusetts)
  3. Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, Pennsylvania)
  4. Claremont College (Claremont, California)
  5. Bowdoin College (Brunswick, Maine)
  6. Wellesley College (Wellesley, Massachusetts)
  7. Bates College (Lewiston, Maine
  8. Davidson College (Davidson, North Carolina)
  9. Smith College (Northampton, Massachusetts)

Careers For Liberal Arts Graduates

Rather than making career choices early on in their studies, liberal arts students are more likely to focus on learning as much as possible about the world around them, which opens up opportunities in many areas of life.

The following courses of study require additional training (such as a master’s or doctorate). Some typical careers with a liberal arts degree are:

  1. Teaching – interdisciplinary knowledge and skills acquired from a liberal arts education give you an extra dimension in exploring, researching, and/or teaching a chosen subject arts: photography, commercial art, painting.
  2. Interior Design, Graphics, and Visual Education: Acquisition of an additional qualification as a teacher in which you can use your broad knowledge to help a wider range of students or to teach a broader range of topics.
  3. Interpreters: Many humanities students learn at least one foreign language that can help them become a qualified translator, transcriber, or interpreter, become a foreign language teacher or journalist or work in the tourism and travel industries.
  4. Marketing – Whether you choose advertising, promotions, PR, journalism, newsrooms, or copywriting, the humanities subjects it covers will help you understand people better, while your communication skills will help you get better at public policy, politics, business, and work for NGOs and charities.
  5. Other professions: Biology (health care, laboratory assistant, research assistant), business (entrepreneur, store manager, salesperson), event planning, environment (nature conservation, public order), finance (banker, accountant, financial analyst), law enforcement, research analysis (Combination of statistics and psychology) and social services (such as counseling or therapy).

The Future of Liberal Arts in the Workforce 

The labor market is changing rapidly and the most in-demand skill of the future might be the liberal arts. Automation and artificial intelligence are influencing more and more industries. The skills developed in core subjects such as obtaining a liberal arts degree are becoming more important than ever. AI needs capable people who make the most of it and get the most out of it.

Today’s highly digitized and AI-enabled environments require an increased need for employees with interpersonal skills, agile minds, and the ability to work alongside machine learning. AI is used with remarkable effects in almost every industry. For example, healthcare and insurance companies can collect data to determine customer tariffs through the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors that track people’s driving and living habits.

AI can collect and process more complete and accurate data than a human could hope for, but instead of replacing nurses and office administrators, this automated feature allows them to focus on what they do best: educate patients and provide unique support and communication.

Why Should You Get A degree in liberal arts?

A liberal arts education prepares graduates for careers in education, nonprofit, government, and professional service. Liberal arts graduates often also work in public relations, marketing, and advertising, in areas that require strong skills. Employers want the “human” skills that are acquired through a liberal arts education, such as communication, leadership, and problem-solving.

The survey found that 82% of liberal arts majors had jobs valued at $ 55,000. A degree in liberal arts can also prepare professionals for technical professions on key qualifications. More than 90% of employers rate an applicant’s critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills as more important than their specific course of study. “When people ask, ‘What are you going to do with this liberal arts degree?’ The answer is, ‘Whatever I want,’ ”said Lynn Pasquerella, president of Mount Holyoke College


If you still don’t believe us, here are some of the most successful humanities graduates:

  • Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO
  • Richard Plepler, HBO CEO
  • Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO
  • Jack Ma, Alibaba
  • President Oprah Winfrey, Media Executive


  • Akwaowo Akpan

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