Top Ranked Liberal Arts and Studies Degree Program - Bakersfield, CA

Students interested in studying liberal arts in Bakersfield, CA, have only a few schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs, tuition and ranking info to find the right one for you.

School and Ranking Information

Only four schools within 50 miles of Bakersfield offer programs in liberal arts and studies. Three of the schools are 2-year colleges, and one is a 4-year public school. Based on available rankings and the number of degrees awarded in liberal arts and studies, the following schools are the top schools in the area for liberal arts and studies:

  • Winner: California State University - Bakersfield (CSUB) is a 4-year public school. Out of the three top schools, only CSUB is ranked regionally by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers bachelor's degrees related to liberal arts and studies.
  • Runner Up #1: Bakersfield College is a 2-year public college. It mainly offers associate degrees related to liberal arts and studies. It also has the lowest tuition of the three.
  • Runner Up #2: Taft College is also a 2-year public school, about 30 miles from Bakersfield. The school awards associate degrees for liberal arts and studies. The school's low tuition coupled with a robust financial aid program can make it an attractive option.

School Comparison Chart

Category California State University - Bakersfield Bakersfield College Taft College
Rankings 89th in Regional Universities, West*, 38th in Top Public Schools (Regional Universities, West)* N/A N/A
Location Bakersfield, CA Bakersfield, CA Taft, CA (27.9 miles from Bakersfield)
School Type 4-year, public 2-year, public 2-year, public
Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2012-2013) $6,709 (in-state) $18,367 (out-of-state)** $1,324 (in-state) $7,484 (out-of-state)** $1,380 (in-state) $6,750 (out-of-state)**
Liberal Arts Degree Levels Offered Bachelor's degrees** Associate's degrees** Associate's degrees**
Liberal Arts Degrees Awarded (all levels) in 2011-2012 214** 157** 54**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) 39% (4% transfer-out rate) for 2006 entering class** 20% (11% transfer-out rate) for 2009 entering class** 21% (11% transfer-out rate) for 2009 entering class**
Noteworthy 15,000 alumni live and work in the Kern County area*** It is one of the nation's oldest community colleges**** N/A

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report 2013 data, **NCES College Navigator, ***California State University - Bakersfield, ****Bakersfield College.

Winner: California State University - Bakersfield

  • Liberal arts and sciences was the second most popular major in 2011, according to U.S. News & World Report
  • Scholarships and internships are available for those who qualify
  • 84% of full-time freshmen received financial aid in 2011-2012, according to NCES

CSUB offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies through its School of Social Sciences and Education. The degree program has five tracks, four of which can meet some pre-teaching requirements. Students may select tracks that help prepare them to become general elementary school teachers, special education teachers, multiple-subject-matter teachers or specific subject-matter teachers. These tracks may have additional teaching program requirements and result in teaching credentials. A general liberal arts track is also available, in which students can complete coursework in linguistics, foreign languages, mathematics, science, social science, visual arts and health. Pre-education students also complete general liberal arts coursework.

Runner-Up #1: Bakersfield College

  • The college has over 300 scholarships available each year for those who qualify
  • BC had a 73% retention rate for full-time freshmen in 2011-2012, according to NCES

Bakersfield College offers an Associate in Arts degree in liberal arts with two options. Students may complete an Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum, or IGETC, (which prepares students for transfer to either California State University or the University of California) or a California State University-specific general education curriculum. Both options require an additional 18 units of lower-division courses in areas like language, performing arts, humanities, science and technology, plus any additional electives that are needed to meet the 60-unit minimum. Lower-division course examples include American literature, Earth science, critical thinking, art appreciation, psychology and Microsoft Office.

Runner-Up #2: Taft College

  • Sophomores with a 3.0 GPA may participate in Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for 2-year colleges
  • 79% of full-time freshmen received some type of financial aid in 2011-2012, according to NCES

Taft College offers a liberal arts degree program with numerous areas of emphasis. Students may choose to focus on arts and humanities, social and behavioral science, communication, business and technology, allied health, health and physical education, math and science, natural and life science or natural and physical science. Students must complete competency requirements in math, reading and writing as well as 18 units of general education courses and 18 units in the area of emphasis. A total of 60 units must be completed in order to earn an Associate in Arts degree.

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