Unlike degrees in engineering or business, liberal arts degrees cover a wide variety of programs to suit students with a variety of skills, interests, and career goals. Liberal arts degrees include those in social sciences, such as sociology and psychology; those in English and communications; and those in history and political science.
Students in online liberal arts degree programs will often take courses in a variety of subjects, including the subjects of their major and minor. Students in English programs will take courses in history and philosophy; students in foreign language programs will take courses in communications and political science. The scope of courses students take allows them to understand the historical and political context of a particular poem or short story, for example, and reading literature of a given time period can help students better understand the mindset of a certain population. Liberal arts degrees provide a context for subjects and learning that other degrees can’t necessarily provide.
The breadth of liberal arts degrees and the career options they provide to graduates are the field’s biggest strengths. They are also the source of liberal arts’ biggest criticisms. Some argue that because a degree in history or English doesn’t necessarily lead to a set career path the way a degree in engineering or education might, liberal arts degrees make it harder for students to get jobs and therefore have less value. However, their versatility is what makes liberal arts graduates marketable to prospective employers — they have been exposed to a variety of subjects, have experience in quantitative and qualitative data analysis, and are trained to make connections in and understand the context of several different situations.
Liberal arts graduates are also uniquely situated for growth in a changing economy. Because their degrees cover so many subjects, they are not locked into one particular job or career path. They can more easily switch career fields, from, for example, a writer to a museum curator, because they have been exposed to multiple subject areas and have learned how to develop several skillsets.