PhD in Liberal Studies Program Information

Liberal studies is a term used to describe a set of academic disciplines that overlap with each other. A Ph.D. in Liberal Studies degree program may include various subjects, such as history, literature, philosophy, art history and religion.

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Essential Information

Interdisciplinary study and research is a key facet of a Ph.D. in Liberal Studies degree program. The first year of enrollment is dedicated to courses that emphasize the importance of liberal studies to certain professions, as well as to the individual and his or her community. Coursework may include diverse topics like theology, Roman culture and postmodernism. Graduates might go on to become managerial professionals, academicians or entrepreneurs, among many other options.

A common prerequisite for a Ph.D. in Liberal Studies program is a bachelor's degree, yet some may require a master's degree. Once you start a program you can usually specialize in philosophy, theology, history, art, literature or social science. You will need to complete a dissertation in your chosen field for graduation.

PhD in Liberal Studies

Much like a master's degree program in liberal studies, such programs require students to create their own programs of study after proposing research topics. Unlike many other academic disciplines that are self-contained, a liberal studies doctoral program may lead a student down unexpected paths. For example, a program participant who is studying the films of Russian director Andre Tarkovsky may see the need to take classes on Christianity because of Tarkovsky's use of Christian themes and iconography in his films.

Classes can vary according to a student's area of interest in liberal studies. Students are encouraged to take classes in different disciplines, as long as the classes support their research goals. Possible coursework may include the following:

  • Orientalism
  • Existentialism
  • Contemporary society and its ethical problems
  • Roman culture and slavery
  • Postmodernism
  • Islam and the concept of the state

Employment Prospects and Salary Info

Career options for graduates of a liberal studies doctoral degree program are varied. Some choose to enter into academia, but other career opportunities exist. Some possible career outcomes include the following:

  • University professor
  • Novelist
  • Publisher
  • Non-profit manager
  • Entrepreneur

The number of working college professors was expected to increase 13% from 2014-2024, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Earnings for professors varied by subject taught. For example, college teachers of education made a median salary of $61,560 per year as of 2015, while business professors earned median salaries of $75,370.

Students interested in the interdisciplinary approach to obtaining knowledge and addressing problems should consider pursuing a Ph.D. degree in liberal studies. Ph.D. degree programs in liberal studies will prepare students to become university professors and writers and teach people about interdisciplinary studies.

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