Are your educational and career interests broad or undefined? Do you find learning about multiple fields of study interesting? If so, you may consider a liberal arts or humanities education that can prepare you for many different options.
Humanities and liberal arts are closely related fields of study that are designed for students with wide-ranging interest areas. Programs in these fields are ideal if you wish to pursue a variety of career options or are undecided about what you want to do after college.
Degree programs in this field may be called liberal studies, liberal arts or humanities, and can be earned through programs like the bachelor's degree in humanities or master's degree in liberal arts. Doctoral degree programs specifically in liberal arts are rare; however, programs in liberal arts areas do exist if you are considering working in higher education. If you enter a liberal arts program, you will most likely choose two or more emphasis areas or design a curriculum according to your interest.
Depending on the program, these areas may include literature, American studies, religion, global studies, philosophy, pre-law, biomedical science, arts and media, psychology and business. Studying at the undergraduate can prepare you for a variety of options, including pursuing law school, beginning a career in writing or media, entering an alternative master's degree program in education or a teaching certification program. Liberal arts programs help you develop skills that will be useful in life as well as most careers, such as critical thinking, interpersonal interaction, management, planning, communication, research, writing and information management skills.
While there is no defined career path for a liberal arts degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are several career options if you choose a liberal arts education, provided you receive any required advanced education or certification in addition to the degree. Some of the many careers available include graphic designers, members of the media, entertainers, business executives and human resources representatives (www.bls.gov).
Job outlooks reported by the BLS for the above professions vary, as do the median salaries. For example, the BLS predicted that employment for the arts, entertainment and recreation field will see a 15% employment growth rate from 2008-2018. In contrast, media professionals can expect a slight decline in job prospects by six percent in the same decade and the BLS reported a median salary of $43,780 for reporters and correspondents, while graphic designers were predicted a 13% increase in employment and an average annual salary of $48,140 in 2010.
Whether you're considering a bachelor's or master's degree program in humanities or liberal arts studies, you will generally work with an academic advisor to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum, which can provide you with the opportunity to sample a number of fields. This can be beneficial when you are pursuing job opportunities, as many employers look for applicants with a diverse academic background.
If you have a bachelor's degree in liberal arts or humanities, you took some media writing classes and wrote for the school newspaper, you might consider a career in media. If you focused more on business courses, you could be on your way to a career as a corporate executive. If your liberal arts or humanities program allowed you to focus on art and computer classes, you may be qualified for a position in graphic design after earning your bachelor's degree.
Alternative master's degrees in education are available for degree-holders in any field, provided you meet all requirements and take any prerequisites. Other careers that require further study after the liberal arts or humanities bachelor's degree are lawyers and medical doctors.
Graduate humanities and liberal arts programs can be used to supplement your training at the bachelor's degree level or prepare for advanced research or writing careers. One of the most important things to remember about a liberal arts or humanities degree program, specifically at the undergraduate level, is that it is designed to work within your own interest as an individual student and will often require further study or certification after graduation to qualify you for specific careers.