Benefits of a liberal arts education and degree
Liberal arts is a common undergraduate field of study. According to the Education Data Initiative, 11.1% of college graduates earn degrees in liberal arts and sciences. But what exactly are liberal arts degrees, and why are students pursuing them?
Dr. Sanne Unger, associate professor at Lynn University’s College of Arts and Sciences, walks us through what a liberal arts degree entails, what the benefits are and what you can do with a liberal arts degree.
What is a liberal arts degree?
Liberal arts programs are typically broad-based and expose students to humanities, mathematics, science and social sciences. These programs usually include courses on topics such as contemporary social issues, entrepreneurship, international communications, literature, social psychology and more.
“A liberal arts degree provides a broad foundation of knowledge and skills essential in life and at work,” Unger says. “To be good people and citizens, we must make evidence-based choices, understand the people around us and see through the intricacies of world affairs.”
The Coalition for College Access agrees, saying liberal arts help students develop a strong sense of social responsibility along with practical skills that can be applied in real-world settings. Liberal arts degrees prepare students for a variety of career paths instead of focusing on one particular occupation.
“At work, a liberal arts degree provides the skills for solving problems in unique ways, applying critical thinking to different tasks and communicating solutions to stakeholders with various backgrounds,” Unger says.
What is a liberal arts degree good for?
The broad scope of the education means there are a variety of liberal arts degree jobs open to graduates. With its emphasis on critical thinking, adaptability and communication skills, a liberal arts degree can open doors to many different professions and continuing education opportunities.
“A liberal arts undergraduate degree may be an excellent choice for students who expect to continue to an advanced degree in law, social work, education or human resource management, to name a few,” Unger says. “Having studied topics such as political science, research methods and world religions, graduates are well prepared for working in settings with people from all backgrounds.”
The skills learned in the liberal arts program at Lynn University prepare students for careers in a variety of fields, including:
- Municipalities and nonprofit agencies
- Social services
Why do employers value a liberal arts education?
A liberal arts degree shows employers a broad range of soft skills that can be applied to nearly any job.
For example, students in Lynn University’s online degree in liberal arts will study:
- Analytical problem solving and critical thinking
- Ethical decision-making in a global context
- Leadership and management
- How to hone one’s oral and written communication skills
A 2021 survey by the American Association of Colleges and Universities found that employers agree that a liberal education provides the knowledge and skills employers view as important for career success. A vast majority of them say that it’s important to have the ability to think critically (95%), communicate clearly (93%) and solve complex problems (93%)—all skills that are part of the regimen demanded of liberal arts students.
Many employers also welcome this type of wide-ranging, broad-application style of learning, as it may be conducive to innovation, whereas a technical degree may be too narrow.
“The liberal arts degree teaches many skills needed in any job, like communication, critical thinking and problem-solving,” Unger says.
She says graduates will have a broad basis of information and skills, including the ability to quickly adapt to new work demands, develop a deeper understanding of the people they work with and place their employers’ goals in a larger social context.
“During the program, we encourage students to apply what they’re learning to their career goals,” Unger says. “A working student can do a research project about an issue they encounter at work, fine-tune presentation skills for their career or write a paper that fits in a job application portfolio.”
Is a liberal arts degree right for you?
According to Unger, there are two main groups of students who enroll in the online liberal arts bachelor’s degree program: students who are not yet sure about their career ambitions and those who are hoping to start or advance a career in fields such as law, social work or teaching.
“Lynn University students are diverse and have many reasons for choosing their majors,” she says. “The liberal arts degree gives options to students who are still exploring a solid basis for either employment after graduation or admission to an advanced degree program that will let them specialize further.”
Broaden your options with a liberal arts degree
In Lynn University’s online bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, students gain in-demand knowledge and skills that can be applied in a broad range of career paths. At Lynn, students can transfer select credits from unfinished undergraduate programs. Work experience may also be applied toward elective credits.
Reach out for more information about earning a liberal arts undergraduate degree at Lynn.
Notes and conditions - PLEASE READ
Credit for prior learning: See the university catalog for the undergraduate student transfer policy.
Employment and career advancement: Actual outcomes vary by geographic area, previous work experience and opportunities for employment. Lynn University does not guarantee employment placement or career advancement.