Online Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts: Program Info

Dec 04, 2019

Essential Information

Associate's degree programs in liberal arts are available online from a number of schools. These programs are available entirely online without any on-campus visits and take about two years to complete. There are no major prerequisites for these programs, and online requirements specifically vary from school to school. Courses found in the programs include psychology, social sciences and business principles. These programs prepare the graduate for a wide variety of entry-level careers or for advancement to a bachelor's degree program.

Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts

These online programs focus on arts-related coursework, the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and business skills such as writing, speaking, communication, math and organizational behavior. Just like traditional programs, students choose from a broad range of required and elective courses. Some schools also allow students to pursue professional certificates in conjunction with the degree program.

Program Information and Requirements

Online programs follow the same criteria of traditional associate's degree programs of approximately 60 credit hours and 1-2 years to complete, depending on previous coursework or prior credits. Minimum core course and general education credits are required. Students can work with schools to choose courses that fulfill requirements to continue in a bachelor's degree program.

An associate's degree in liberal arts or liberal studies can be earned entirely online if students have access to a personal computer and high speed Internet along with self-discipline and a strong desire to learn. Professors teach courses using a virtual classroom environment and specific requirements for tapping into the materials and lectures will vary from school to school.

Typical Courses

Courses in liberal arts concentrate on social and behavioral sciences, writing and speaking skills, arts, natural sciences and humanities. Programs also include electives in business, math, history or other areas of personal interest. The core, general education and elective credit requirements could include courses such as these:


This course focuses on fundamental writing skills of rhetoric and composition, prose, research, structure and idea development. Students also learn expository writing, argumentation techniques, persuasion, report presentation and how to use these skills to write effectively.

Social Psychology

Theory, research and application of social perception, interpersonal attraction, group behavior, social influence, attitudes, cooperation, competition and attribution are examined from a psychological perspective. Practical application of these skills in everyday situations is also studied.

The Art of Film and Cinema

Students explore the development of cinema using examples from the past and present. Evaluation principles and appreciation of film are also the concentration of the class.

Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), careers in the liberal arts and humanities include those in economics, political science and government, history, literature, foreign languages, sociology, and psychology. The terminal degrees typical for each of these careers vary from a bachelor's degree to a doctoral degree. Sociologists, for example, typically have a master's degree or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). The BLS projected that there would be a 9% growth for sociologists from 2018-2028. As of May 2018, the BLS reported a median annual salary of $82,050 for sociologists.

Continuing Education Information

This particular associate's degree is extremely versatile. Many of the credits earned in an associate's degree in liberal arts will transfer in to a bachelor's level degree completion program, particularly if a student makes those plans early on and chooses courses with the help of an advisor. It can feed into a wide variety of majors at the baccalaureate level, where 'liberal arts' is typically an umbrella term for a numerous departments and degrees.

Online associate degree programs in liberal arts are widely available and are a good option for students already pursuing a professional certificate or who plan to transfer into a bachelor's degree program at a later date.

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