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Study Liberal Arts in the US

Study Liberal Arts

Liberal Arts is a large field that encompasses a wide variety of majors, including literature, psychology, political science, philosophy, and more. If you are an international student who thinks that studying liberal arts in the United States might be for you, read on to learn more about this varied and rewarding field.

What Are Liberal Arts?

A bachelor’s degree in liberal arts means that the courses you take will be in general areas of study such as philosophy, mathematics, literature, art history, or languages, rather than in applied or specialized fields. A liberal arts degree is not meant to prepare you for a specific job, but instead prepare you for general employment opportunities by providing you with broad skills, including the ability to:

  • think for yourself
  • communicate effectively
  • capacity for lifelong learning
  • Studying Liberal Arts

An education in liberal arts is broad and diverse, rather than narrow and specialized. You will be allowed to choose courses from a variety of disciplines, giving you a broad and useful education. In your first year, you will likely take a number of introductory courses, which will give you a wide knowledge of a variety of subjects, as well as help you choose specific areas for further study. You will be encouraged to take courses in some of the major categories within the liberal arts:

  • Humanities - English Literature, Modern Languages, History, and Philosophy
  • Social Sciences - Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Political Science, and Sociology
  • Creative Arts - Fine Art, Theatre, Speech, and Creative Writing
  • Sciences – Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics

You will also be encouraged to develop a degree of specialization in a Major discipline or in a group of thematically-linked courses.

Why Study Liberal Arts?

There are many reasons to study liberal arts, and they ultimately boil down to your own personal circumstances. Studying liberal arts will provide you with the necessary skill set to succeed in the working world. These “employability skills” include reading, writing, speaking effectively, knowledge of language, critical thinking, problem solving, basic numeracy, information literacy, and the ability to continue to learn for life.

Another reason for studying liberal arts is to prepare for graduate school. Many students assume that medical schools only accept students who’ve majored in sciences, or law schools are only looking for political science majors, but in reality, these schools are looking for students who have a broad base of knowledge. Liberal arts can equip you with that base.

Potential Majors

The list of possible majors in the liberal arts is a long one. This list includes, but is not limited to:


A degree in liberal arts will prepare you for literally hundreds of careers. Really, you are limited only by your imagination, your interests, and your willingness to devote time and energy to your work. Some fields that hire liberal arts majors include:

  • Advertising – Employers prefer applicants with liberal arts backgrounds and a degree in sociology, psychology, literature, journalism, or philosophy for positions in marketing, promotions, or public relations.
  • Law Enforcement – FBI special agents are required to have a foreign language degree to qualify for the language program; CIA language instructors also need a foreign language degree.
  • Education – Every state in the US requires public school teachers to be licensed. Teachers need to have a bachelor’s degree, complete a certification program and have student teacher training.
  • Finance – Most employers require financial advisors to have a degree in finance, math, or economics.

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