What Can I Do With a Liberal Arts Degree?

liberal arts degree student taking notes

Completing a degree in the liberal arts is a rewarding experience. Graduates with a liberal arts education have accumulated knowledge and experience applicable to a variety of career fields. In fact, jobs for liberal arts graduates can be found in every industry and sector, including STEM fields.

What Is a Liberal Arts Degree?

Before exploring a liberal arts education, it may be helpful to know what it is not. A liberal arts education may sound as if it has something to do with political leanings. However, this is not the case. It also does not involve the fine arts, such as music, sculpture or theater. Instead, a liberal arts education involves a selection of courses from the social sciences and the humanities. The humanities include literature, language, history, political science and philosophy. The social sciences include counseling, psychology and sociology.

What Is the Value of a Liberal Arts Degree?

Compared with a degree in a field like mathematics or chemistry, a liberal arts degree may be broader in scope or even multidisciplinary. It reflects study in subject areas such as history, sociology and the others mentioned above. Students learn extensively transferable skills such as communication, critical thinking, ethical judgment and analytical reasoning.

A liberal arts education presents graduates with a broad range of possibilities. Unlike, for example, a chemistry or astrophysics major, liberal arts graduates can pursue jobs across every industry. Since a liberal arts education imparts skills and knowledge that apply across industries, liberal arts graduates may find it easier to transition to new careers and change their specializations over time.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Liberal Arts Degree?

There are many career options for liberal arts graduates. Some liberal arts majors decide to go into teaching or school administration. Others go into human resources, working for diverse organizations ranging from nonprofits to major technology companies to manufacturing plants. Many liberal arts jobs involve communications, such as the following:

A common assumption is that STEM fields have no place for liberal arts graduates. However, a background in the humanities is beneficial when working at a major tech company like Google or Microsoft.

A liberal arts education teaches students to be critical thinkers, strong communicators, cooperative teammates and ethical decision-makers. The range of skills that liberal arts majors develop is attractive to many employers. Here is a quick look at four of the more popular careers you can pursue with a liberal arts degree.

Professional Writing

A liberal arts education involves a strong focus on communication skills and language, including written language. If you enjoy the beauty of a well-turned phrase, a career as a writer may be right for you. There are many possibilities to explore, including working as a journalist. Some journalists write for one newspaper, while others freelance for multiple publications. It is also possible to specialize in a specific area, like politics, sports or health and wellness.

Copywriting is another position you may consider as a liberal arts graduate. Copywriters seek to inform and entertain readers while selling a product or service. A company’s online content serves to promote the company’s products or services while shaping its public image. Copywriters may write blog posts, landing pages, online ads, eBooks, print ads and brochures.

Another potential role for a liberal arts graduate is that of social media manager. A social media manager may find a job with a single company or work for a digital marketing agency handling multiple accounts. Responsibilities include promoting and maintaining the client's brand image while informing and entertaining the reading public. Social media management has some overlap with copywriting, but social media managers must interact directly and promptly with people who respond to social media posts.

Human Resources

If you enjoy the thought of working with other people to help them achieve greater career success, you might consider a position in human resources (HR). Human resources specialists are responsible for recruiting, hiring and retaining top talent for a company. They administer the company’s benefits program and act as a liaison between employees and senior management. HR professionals also deal with staffing issues like complaints and disputes.

It has become increasingly common for HR professionals to work on training and development programs. However, a company might also hire a separate staff trainer/developer who is free of the responsibilities typically within the domain of an HR manager, such as staffing issues. Training and development managers work with new employees. They deliver orientation sessions and other onboarding services. These professionals also work with established employees, helping them expand their skill sets and knowledge.

Nonprofit

If you feel called to put your skills to use serving others in your community or around the world, you may find nonprofit work satisfying. A liberal arts education can prepare you for a range of positions in the nonprofit sector, including that of a grant writer. Grant writers are responsible for identifying grant opportunities and writing grant proposals designed to secure funds to support their organization’s mission.

Another professional role to consider is fundraising. The goal of a fundraiser is the same as that of a grant writer: to raise funds for a nonprofit entity. However, fundraisers focus on donor relations rather than grant proposals. Fundraisers organize events and campaigns designed to bring in donations for the nonprofit’s mission.

Public Relations

Public relations specialists promote a positive image for their clients by interacting with members of the media, writing press releases and speeches, researching public perceptions of the company and ensuring that marketing campaigns align with the company’s desired brand image. Some public relations specialists work for a single company, while others work for multiple clients such as professional athletes and entertainers.

What Should I Expect From a Liberal Arts Education?

The subjects you will study depend on the degree you choose. For example, if you major in psychology, you will primarily study the human mind and human behavior. However, with any liberal arts major, you can expect a curriculum that challenges you to think critically and express yourself clearly. Be prepared to contribute insightful remarks in class discussions to make a good impression.

Most of your assignments will be completed on your own, but you should also be prepared to work well in groups. Your assignments will demand a great deal of reading and writing. A liberal arts education is an excellent choice for individuals who enjoy reading, love to learn new things and understand that sometimes the question is more important than the answer.

Grand Canyon University welcomes students who are excited about pursuing a liberal arts degree. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences at GCU offers a wide spectrum of liberal arts degree programs in areas such as communications, government and psychology. Blend your passion with purpose and begin working toward a career you will love by joining our Christian learning community. Click on Request Info at the top of your screen to begin your journey at GCU.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.

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