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Liberal Arts Major: Program Options and Curriculum Information

Liberal arts programs are available at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels. They are solid general education programs that can provide a basis for almost any future career choice or graduate-level degree.

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Essential Information

Associate's programs in liberal arts are purposefully general, usually designed for students who plan to transfer to a bachelor's program. These programs last two years and tend to focus on general education courses, though students may take courses in their chosen area of interest as well, such as social sciences, humanities, sciences, and the arts.

Four-year bachelor's programs in liberal arts are flexible, and students customize the curricula to suit their needs. Many of these programs allow multiple concentrations, like political science and art, and some coursework may be available both on campus and online. A few liberal arts bachelor's programs are offered specifically to students who already hold an associate's degree. A high school diploma or equivalent is required for admission to these programs.


Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts

Like all associate's degree programs, a liberal arts program requires students to take general education coursework in English, history and math. However, students pursuing a liberal arts degree also take additional courses in sociology, anthropology or political science, as opposed to technical courses designed to teach a trade. Often, a community college offering a liberal arts associate's degree has transfer agreements with local four-year colleges and universities that allow graduates to enter the baccalaureate program of their choice as juniors.

Since students are often preparing to continue their education, coursework is well rounded. Depending on the students' area of interest, he or she may take courses in one or more of the following subjects:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Algebra
  • Composition
  • English literature
  • History

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  • General Studies
  • Humanities
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences

Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts

A liberal arts bachelor's degree program offers flexible course requirements for students who want a broad course of study or don't want to major in just one subject. Some bachelor's programs require students to take half their courses in general requirements and the other half in the subject of their choice. Others require that students either select coursework from two areas of focus, such as art and history, or combine a prescribed number of courses in communications, political science or the humanities with their electives.

These degree requirements allow students to cater their course selection according to their interests or career plans. For example, students preparing for a future in a non-profit organization can combine English courses with topics in sociology and economics, while students preparing for law school can take law and political science courses.


Salary Info

There are a variety of careers liberal arts graduates may pursue, and salaries vary widely. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that social workers made a median annual salary of $58,560 in 2015, while writers made a median annual salary of $60,250 in the same year.

Continuing Education Information

Degree requirements for a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts also prepare students for admission into the graduate program of their choice. Many graduates pursue advanced degrees such as the Juris Doctor in law school or the Master of Social Work in sociology. A Master of Liberal Arts is also available to those who want to customize their studies at the graduate level.

Whether students choose a two-year or four-year program of study, a liberal arts degree affords a great deal of flexibility. These programs can prepare students for virtually any career path, as they can be tailored to a student's needs, interests, and desires.

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