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Online Masters Degree in Liberal Arts: Program Overviews

Get info about online programs in Liberal Arts. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career and continuing education options.

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Essential Information

Master's degree programs in liberal arts are available fully online or in hybrid formats that include on-campus courses.. Liberal arts coursework supports a wide range of disciplines, from literature to politics to economics, so these degree programs may help prepare graduates to perform in a variety of fields. A master's degree may not be required for all of these careers, and some positions may have additional licensure requirements.

Master's Degrees in Liberal Arts or Liberal Studies

Students wanting a well-rounded and diverse academic experience that encompasses many subjects might opt to enroll in an online master's degree program in liberal arts or liberal studies. The interdisciplinary programs consist of courses in numerous subjects, such as literature, art, sociology, politics and economics, just to name a few. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree, although a specific field isn't required or preferred. Rather than adhering to a specialized or narrow course curriculum, students design the curriculum with their advisors to meet their academic and professional needs.

Information and Requirements

Most liberal arts or liberal studies programs require 30-36 credit hours, which students can complete in 2-4 years. Enrollees need a computer with Internet access, preferably high-speed Internet. While some schools offer hybrid programs, where courses are available both online and on-campus, some master's programs can be completed entirely online. Many online classes combine texts with audio and video presentations, and these materials are often provided via a course management system like Blackboard.

List of Common Liberal Arts Courses

The exact number of courses varies depending on the school, but students are required to take a certain number in the arts, the behavioral sciences and the applied sciences. Since the degree is tailor-made, courses differ from student to student, but some common courses include the following:

World Studies

Students study and analyze contemporary world events occurring after World War II. This class encourages students to look at global events from multiple and conflicting points of view and to develop social consciousness.

Religious Studies

The course surveys some of the world's most popular religions, such as Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Hinduism, Taoism and Buddhism. Students explore the relationship between religion and Earth and study different religious sacraments, rituals and theologies.

Global Economics

This course covers the advent, theory and practice of free trade. Students look at its positive and negative impacts on a global scale with an emphasis on which countries have been the most and least affected.


Career Information

The diverse background of liberal arts graduates helps such individuals succeed in differing jobs in various fields, so career prospects are promising. New graduates are poised to take on a variety of viable careers, such as public relations specialist, secondary school teacher, office manager, literary agent, political lobbyist, scriptwriter or journalist.

As of May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a median annual salary of $56,770 for public relations specialists, $57,200 for secondary school teachers, and $36,360 for reporters and correspondents. Payscale.com reported median annual salaries of $44,126 for office managers, $64,500 for lobbyists, and $43,000 for scriptwriters as of October 2016. A salary figure for literary agents was not immediately available.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates with a master's degree in liberal arts or liberal studies may go on to obtain a Doctor of Liberal Studies or a Doctor of Philosophy, which are considered equivalents, in a subject of their choice, such as economics or English. Few doctoral programs are available online. Many students with a master's degree continue on to medical or law school.

Depending on their educational and career goals, students in online master's degree programs can choose from a wide range advanced social science and humanities courses. In online programs, students can expect to watch or listen to lectures, read relevant texts and submit assignments, all within a virtual classroom environment.

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