What Is a Liberal Studies Degree?

February 25, 2020
Liberal Studies

Would you like to design your own program of study? How does law, education, scientific research, or journalism appeal to you? Would you like to sharpen your writing and critical thinking skills while making connections across multiple disciplines? If so, you may be interested in a liberal studies degree.

Let’s take a look at the liberal studies degree and how it can open up a wide and fascinating world of career possibilities. 

1. What You Will Study

Liberal Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that is personalized based on your interests and career aspirations. The core courses will give you a strong foundation in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences that will help you draw connections and develop a comprehensive worldview.

In addition to a solid, multidisciplinary foundation, you’ll choose a minor or concentration where you’ll explore your chosen topic in depth. You may find yourself studying subjects such as philosophy, literature, and history. Or you could delve deeper into religion or natural sciences. Your tastes and ideas about the future will govern the concentration you choose. There are almost no limits to how you can craft your curriculum to match your specific goals and interests. 

2. What You Will Learn

A liberal studies degree emphasizes soft skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration, strong written and oral communication, creative problem solving and emotional intelligence. Given the rapid technological advancements, more and more hard skills are being automated (think accounting, engineering and the like), driving up the demand for employees with those hard to quantify, but essential soft skills. 

Rather than focusing on a single domain, your education will span a spectrum of information and ideas that give you the flexibility you need to excel in a variety of careers. As you study, you will develop the ability to apply an awareness of art, technology, and history to contemporary issues. And you will learn to communicate your views on these subjects in an understandable and persuasive way. 

More than ever before, companies have recognized the value of ‘soft-skills’ and share that these are top qualifications that they are looking for. A 2017 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that the ‘ability to work in a team,’ was the most sought after attribute of new college graduates. Teamwork followed closely by the soft-skills. Critical thinking, persuasive writing, communications, and teamwork have become top requirements in today’s job market. Burning Glass recently reported that they found human skills/soft-skills were requested for 60% of job openings in cities (size based on 600,00 or more residents), compared to 47% of job openings nationally. 

3. What You Can Do

A college education is an investment, and today’s students want to know that they will get a high return on their investment.

Those with finely-honed writing and communication skills may be interested in pursuing a career in journalism or editing. Or you could transfer your skills to copywriting or creative writing. The possibilities are endless.

Those whose concentration is politics or social issues may choose to pursue politics, policy analysis, or nonprofit opportunities. 

A liberal studies undergraduate degree can prepare you for a graduate degree in law or criminal justice. With exploration to concentrate on medical science, business, or psychology.

The broad knowledge provided by liberal studies can make you a great K-12 teacher or administrator. You may also choose to work in higher education as an admissions counselor or communications professional.

Liberal studies degrees are also appropriate for careers in marketing, healthcare, and hospitality management.

4. What You Can Make

Your salary after you graduate will depend mainly upon your concentration and what you do in terms of graduate work.

Lawyers, for example, earn a median salary of $120,910. Politicians can make excellent salaries even at a local level. County executives, for example, make an average of almost $80,000 each year

The average teacher’s salary depends upon the area of the country you settle in. New York school teachers average over $80,000 each year. In North Carolina, you’ll be making about $54,000 annually. However, you’ll need to consider the relative cost of living to make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

School administrators are in charge of enforcing budgets, maintaining academic records, and evaluating teacher performance. If you concentrate on business after earning your liberal arts degree, this could be an excellent option for you. School principals can earn over $100,000 per year.

Those working in marketing are responsible for research and planning ad campaigns. They may also work on creative elements or negotiating contracts.

If you pursue a career in marketing after earning your degree, you may be able to work your way into a position where you make well into the six figures.

Journalists educate the public about events and issues and how they affect their lives. They may interview subjects, search public records, and even visit important scenes. Reporters may write for a newspaper, magazine, or television show.

Those in the top 10% of journalism workers are making more than $160,000 each year. If you have the drive, perseverance, and commitment to succeed, a liberal studies degree can take you far. 

5. The Benefits Of Liberal Arts 

Many students who love to learn may choose to earn a degree in liberal studies because they want to gain a broad view of subject areas before deciding on a future direction. They grow as learners and communicators before deciding exactly how they want to contribute to the world professionally.

Communication skills learned as a liberal studies major are greatly valued in the workplace. They can benefit you in almost any field.

Likewise, learning to carefully analyze problems using all the available facts will give you the ability to think critically and without bias.

You will also gain excellent interpersonal skills, such as learning to communicate your findings in a team setting or challenging conventional thinking. You will learn how to come up with creative solutions and share them with colleagues effectively.

If you love to think and have a passion for lifelong learning, a liberal studies degree will enable you to gain a feel for what is exciting about a number of different subjects. 

A liberal studies degree does not limit you to humanities only. If you choose to study mathematics, technology, physical therapy, or nursing after you graduate, you will have a solid knowledge base that enables you to branch out in any direction.

Welcome To College

A liberal studies degree is attractive given the many options to create a personalized program of study that is both personally rewarding and professionally relevant. You’ll leave the program with not only those super important soft skills, but also a well-rounded education that prepares you for a broad range of exciting career options. Liberal Arts programs allow you to explore a variety of disciplines, collaborate across disciplines, and gain valuable and sought-after soft-skills.  

For more information on a liberal arts degree and a variety of undergraduate majors, look at William Peace University. This is a nationally acclaimed private, liberal arts institution located in downtown Raleigh, NC. Plan a visit or contact us today!