The field of liberal science is synonymous with liberal arts, liberal studies and the humanities. This program is offered at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral level. Program objectives are wide-ranging and frequently are created by the student in cooperation with their advisor(s). Bachelor's degrees might focus on women's studies, literature, theology, or history. Bachelor's programs may culminate in a capstone project, while research-intensive projects are the focus of both master's and doctoral programs. Some master's and doctoral programs are offered in part-time formats for working professionals. Graduate programs typically narrow the field of study and focus in-depth on one aspect of a subject.
Master's degree students must have and undergraduate degree, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and possibly an interview and resume. Doctoral programs require a letter of purpose outlining intended program objectives, a resume, and an interview.
Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Science
There are no two bachelor's degree programs in liberal science that are the same, which highlights the different approaches to broad-based education in the liberal sciences. Some degree programs require the completion of a core set of courses, exposing students to many different areas, such as history, psychology, English, women's studies and art history. The purpose of the core is to develop an interest in a particular area of study.
Once students find areas of concentration, they may develop appropriate curricula. Typically, a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Science program concludes with the submission of a senior capstone project. Some bachelor's degree programs may allow students to major in more than one area of study, as interdisciplinary approaches are common and frequently necessary in liberal science programs.
Classes for a liberal sciences degree program can vary widely and change according to a student's concentration area. Some core courses may include:
- Art history
- History of music
- Adult aging
- Social control and crime
Master of Liberal Arts and Science
A Master of Liberal Arts and Science degree program is designed for students who wish to receive an interdisciplinary education while sharpening their critical-thinking and reasoning abilities. Students of such a program learn to focus this critical approach upon the wider world by taking courses from many different academic departments. Much like a bachelor's degree program in liberal science, the master's degree program is flexible, and students are encouraged to develop a curriculum that suits their interests and career objectives. A research project is usually required to complete the requirements of the degree program. Many master's programs in liberal science are part-time to accommodate working professionals.
Class selection depends entirely on a student's interest within a particular area of the liberal sciences. However, some core courses may be required before students can begin their specialized program of study. Some classes may include:
- American architecture in the 20th century
- 19th century American literature
- Politics and food
- Modern art
- Science fiction films
Doctor of Liberal Studies
Research and defense of a dissertation is the heart of a Doctor of Liberal Studies degree program, and all other components work to forward this goal. Before students can begin their research projects, a core course curriculum is required. This provides students with a wide variety of research possibilities and introduces students from different academic backgrounds to the diversity of the liberal sciences. A liberal studies doctoral program is specifically designed for working professionals and, as a result, can be completed in three or four years of part-time study.
There are no formal education requirements for applicants seeking admission into a doctoral degree program in liberal sciences. However, many applicants are established professionals in their fields and hold advanced degrees leading up to the Ph.D.
The curriculum in a doctoral program in liberal sciences combines core courses with classes that focus on a student's area of interest. Some courses include:
- American art
- Historical perspectives on America
- Ethics and art
- Commerce and culture
- The plays of Arthur Miller
- World politics
Popular Career Options
Training in the liberal sciences does not prepare graduates from bachelor's degree programs for careers in specific fields. Instead, graduates must learn how to effectively market their skills and interests to prospective employers in the fields they wish to enter. Some potential careers include:
- Technical writer
- Art historian/curator
- Sales specialist
- Non-profit manger
Many graduates of a master's degree program in the liberal sciences use their exposure to the humanities to inform decisions and directions made in their professional careers as lawyers, businessmen, scientists and non-profit managers. A master's degree in the liberal sciences does not prepare grads for a specific career path; rather, it serves to inform, build upon and critique existing fields of study and inquiry. Some career options include:
- Community college instructor
- Film director
- Business consultant
Typically, students in a doctoral program already have established careers in many different industries. As a consequence, career outcomes can be quite varied. Examples include:
- University professor
- Policy analyst
- Educational programs director
- Non-profit organization director
- Information technology consultant
A liberal science degree program is offered for undergraduate and graduate students. Bachelor's programs focus on a concentration, while master's and doctoral students use research to learn in-depth concepts to build upon knowledge they already learned.