Liberal Arts

Liberal Arts

If you are interested in pursuing a degree or finding a job in liberal arts, everything you need is here. Find the best schools, career information, history of the discipline, influential people in the field, great books, and more.

Featured Programs

What is a Liberal Arts Degree?

The liberal arts degree is a well-rounded course of study that incorporates the humanities, sciences, and electives into a broad-based educational experience. Liberal arts majors have the opportunity to pursue a wide range of subjects in areas like literature, art, history, life sciences, and more.

Back to Top

The Most Influential Liberal Arts Schools Over the Last 20 Years

We rank universities and colleges from around the world based on the scholarly work of their faculty and alumni. These colleges and universities are making the biggest impact in the liberal arts field today.

  1. Swarthmore College
  2. Amherst College
  3. Sarah Lawrence College
  4. Reed College
  5. Barnard College
  6. Wesleyan University
  7. Vassar College
  8. Hampshire College
  9. Wellesley College
  10. Williams College
Back to Top

Liberal Arts Degrees

What Will I Study With a Liberal Arts Major?

As a liberal arts major, you’ll study a wide array of general subjects in areas like English, philosophy, history, music, languages, the arts, and more. You may also have a chance to choose a concentration in an area of interest such as political science, anthropology, creative writing, and much, much more.

What Can I Do With a Degree in Liberal Arts?

A liberal arts degree is a highly versatile point of entry into a wide range of fields. The liberal arts degree can prepare graduates for careers in fields like marketing, business, public relations, human resources, and much more.

How Can I Get a Degree in Liberal Arts

Start your search with a look at the top schools providing a liberal arts-based education. Check out The 50 Best Liberals Arts Colleges & Universities of 2021

And if you’re interested in a faith-based liberal arts education, check out The 50 Best Christian Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities of 2021

Back to Top

What’s the difference between a Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a Bachelor of Fine Arts?

A Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences (BLAS) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) are both comprehensive undergraduate degrees with strong emphases on the liberal arts. One of the biggest differences, however, is that the BFA focuses mainly on visual, fine, or performing arts.

Back to Top

What courses will I take?

  • In a BLAS program, the majority of courses will be in humanities, social sciences, mathematics, language, and sciences, giving a broad, well-rounded education. Students will be able to select from a range of electives as they narrow in on a major.
  • In a BFA program, students will also take general education classes, but the majority of the program instruction will consist of art classes, including art history, ceramics, drawing, foundation studio, and color theory.
Back to Top

How long does it take to earn a BLAS or BFA?

Each program will require you to earn roughly 120 credits and will take about four years to complete, though some accelerated programs are available. The BFA timeline may also depend on the amount of time spent in the studio.

Back to Top

What can I do with a BLAS degree or a BFA degree?

BFA graduates often continue in their craft, working as art teachers, writers, multimedia artists, and actors. Graduates holding a BLAS degree typically have career-ready skills in a wide range of fields, including those in communication, problem-solving, and technology, making them candidates for positions in business, academia, government, and more.

Back to Top

The Best Online Liberal Arts Degrees

Liberal arts is the most popular major at the undergraduate level. This is largely because of its versatility. This is an excellent pathway for those with an interest in a wide range of topics and a desire to explore multiple options before deciding on a career path. The following degree programs offer a chance to pursue this well-rounded education through online courses.

Back to Top

Controversial Topics in Liberal Arts

Because liberal arts is such a broad and varied discipline, your education is likely to touch on so many different areas of interest. This is a great way to develop a diffuse knowledge of various issues of public importance today. The controversial topics linked below are just a small sampling of the subjects you might encounter as a liberal arts major.

  1. Civil Rights
  2. Censorship
  3. Capital Punishment
  4. Abortion
For an ever-growing list of controversial topics-most of which are in some way relevant to the liberal arts-check out The Most Controversial Topics Today
Back to Top

Study Guides for Liberal Arts

Once again, because liberal arts is interdisciplinary in nature, you will likely study a multitude of important subject areas such as philosophy, psychology, and rhetoric. In that spirit, we’ve included some of our favorite study guides in the liberal arts for your convenience.

  1. 25 Forms of Government-A Study Starter
  2. 20 Wars That Shaped the Modern World-A Study Starter
  3. 25 Most Influential Psychologists of All Time-A Study Starter
  4. 25 Most Influential Philosophers of All Time-A Study Starter
  5. 30 Common Logical Fallacies-A Study Starter
Back to Top

Who Are the Current Top Liberal Arts Influencers?

The following are the top influencers in the world today according to our machine-powered Influence Rankings, which are drawn from a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia/data, Crossref, and an ever-growing body of data. Because liberal arts touches on a diversity of subject areas, these rankings are not based on any specific discipline, but on overarching influence.

  • Paul Krugman is one of the most highly respected economists in the world as well as a professor emeritus of the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University, a distinguished professor of the Graduate Center Economics Ph.D program and scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study Center, both at City University of New York.
  • Mark Zuckerberg is an American media magnate and internet entrepreneur, known for co-founding Facebook, Inc., as well as serving as its chairman, chief executive officer, and controlling shareholder.
  • Warren Buffett is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist, as well as the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Widely considered one of the most successful investors in the world, with a net work over $104.4 billion.
  • Noam Chomsky Chomsky is among the most important linguists and political thinkers today, as well as an MIT Institute Professor Emeritus, and the University of Arizona as Laureate Professor.
  • Steve Jobs was the chairman, chief executive officer , and co-founder of Apple Inc.; the chairman and majority shareholder of Pixar; a member of The Walt Disney Company’s board of directors following its acquisition of Pixar; and the founder, chairman, and CEO of NeXT.

Interviews with Top Thinkers in the Liberal Arts

Sara Harberson discusses ways that students can convey their true selves to college admissions officers in our interview, Developing Your College SoundBite.

Paul Tough discusses first-generation students, test scores, and the changing landscape of college admissions in our interview, Evaluating the Equity of Higher Education.

Martha Allman discusses the future of college admissions and offers ways that students can convey soft skills to admissions officers in our interview, The Future for College Admissions.

Get tips on everything from the best paying jobs in each field to the top jobs of the future with a look at our Guide to Starting a Career.

Or jump to our student resource library for tips on everything from studying to starting on your career path.

Ask A Question

Are you a student who has questions about this topic? Submit your question below to have one of our expert team members answer it for you! (Questions will be posted with their answers directly to this article, and we'll notify you when yours is answered!)