In today’s economy, employers look at education as a way to determine if you can do your job. If you have a degree in something that doesn’t relate to what you need to be hired for, you won’t get paid very much of it.
In fact, many experts say that students are wasting their time majoring in things like Philosophy or Literature because they will not find employment with those degrees.
On top of that, some argue that obtaining a bachelor’s degree is no longer the sure-fire way to success that it once was.
A liberal arts degree does not necessarily prepare you well for career opportunities outside the field, and it costs a lot of money!
This article will talk about why an undergraduate degree in the humanities isn’t quite the slam dunk it used to be and how to make the most out of your educational investment while still receiving good value from studying literature, philosophy, history and other areas of the humanities.
History of liberal arts
Historically, education consisted mostly of training in the humanities or what we now refer to as the “liberal” arts: literature, language, history, and philosophy. These are things that most people have already known how to do at some level because almost everyone is exposed to them in childhood.
They are also things that anyone can learn for free anywhere at any time. At its core, literacy is a human skill that all intelligent individuals should possess. Literature, languages, and learning other cultures rely heavily on this basic ability.
So why focus only on these areas? Because they form good citizens. People who read books are more likely to be well-educated, informed, and conscious users of power. They are less susceptible to propaganda because they know how to evaluate sources.
Furthermore, by studying the works of great authors, readers discover new ways to express themselves and understand different worldviews. This aids personal growth.
Liberal arts education was important not just because good reading and writing helps you, but because it helped society become more civilized. Only through exposure to diverse ideas could we hope to find common ground and understanding.
This is still an important goal today, even though universities no longer emphasize this directly. Nevertheless, there are many ways that students gain knowledge through engaging with the disciplines described above.
Some courses may focus more on specific writers or philosophies, while others may use concepts from several.
Difference between liberal arts and other degrees
In reality, what most people refer to as “liberal art” education is not actually that liberal at all.
Other terms used for this type of degree include general studies or humanities programs, college-readiness courses, or simply academic curriculum. These types of programs are typically focused on teaching students how to think, discuss topics, and get into debates with different points of view.
Typically, these types of classes are taught from a philosophical standpoint, so students will learn about great thinkers such As Socrates, Plato, and Ayn Rand.
These concepts can be applied in many ways to help you grow and develop as a person – building self-confidence, self-awareness, communication skills, etc.
Liberal arts degrees do more than just teach you how to read, write, and speak well. They emphasize educating students through the use of literature, math, science, history, and philosophy.
Reasons why liberal arts education is important
One of the most significant reasons that liberal arts education is so crucial in our society today is because it teaches you how to think.
It trains students in disciplines such as literature, history, philosophy, political science, and art by incorporating concepts and lessons across those fields. That way, they’re not just studying one thing, but learning about different ideas and concepts related to all of them.
Students learn to analyze information, stories, and events from multiple perspectives – not only politically, like in social studies or economics classes, but also philosophically, like in ethics courses. And they hone their communication skills through things like writing and public speaking, which are used in every field.
Liberal arts degrees also emphasize teamwork, leadership, and other non-technical career skills that can be applied beyond school and work. These days, people don’t necessarily need a degree to have a job — but they will if they want to keep up with ever-changing trends in their field and advance their own careers.
On top of everything else, liberal arts graduates are more likely to go into teaching, business, politics, or any number of other professions than someone who majored in something practical like engineering or medicine. They’re also much less likely to drop out before earning their degree.
This isn’t an argument for getting rid of hard sciences! But there’s no reason academic subjects should be seen as inferior anymore.
Ways to become a liberal arts degree holder
Many people associate only prestige or status with an education that includes large amounts of literature, history, and philosophy, but this is not true anymore. These subjects matter, they have importance, but no one should assume that they are more important than any other field.
It is very common these days to find students who have limited knowledge in certain areas but who have obtained a bachelor’s degree. Students who take courses like sociology, psychology, political science, economics, international relations, and business know nothing about those fields beyond what they learned in high school.
This kind of educational background can be just as valuable as one that focuses on much deeper areas, however it does not represent all college graduates.
Liberal arts degrees remain popular because they prepare you for many different careers rather than limiting yourself to a specific area. People who have studied art, music, theater, and dance may work in design, marketing, teaching, or entertainment. Those who have majored in languages could pursue journalism, publishing, or translation.
Degree programs in liberal arts
Recent debates about higher education focus almost entirely on degree programs that teach practical skills like business, nursing or teaching. These are often referred to as “career” degrees.
But there is another major category of undergraduate degree program at many colleges and universities across America — the ones that emphasize the study of the humanities (or what used to be called the fine arts).
These are typically not considered career-oriented courses, but they can help prepare students for careers just by giving them more generalized knowledge that may prove helpful later in life.
Furthermore, some recent studies suggest that students who take these broader disciplines learn better than those who don’t, which could also contribute to their success after college.
Degree programs to consider
Historically, higher education has focused more on educating students through the study of liberal arts. These are referred to as humanities or general studies courses because they teach about topics that are not specific to a field.
These include things like history, literature, philosophy, and sociology. By studying several of these areas simultaneously, student learn how different cultures built up their knowledge and influence, which helps them achieve personal growth.
In recent years though, this has started changing. More universities are offering specializations in fields such as business, technology, nursing, and medical science. But what if you want to stay independent and pursue your dreams?
What if you wanted to be a writer, for example? Or perhaps you’d like to work with numbers and finance? Well, most major colleges offer degree programs in the area known as “liberal arts.” They just call it something else- creative writing, journalism, marketing, etc.
Liberal arts degrees may seem outdated at this current time, but they can still provide you with an excellent education.
What is a good job for a liberal arts degree holder?
A liberal arts education really sets you up for anything, because it teaches you how to think systematically. Whether you are reading a book, watching a movie, or talking with people, your mind keeps moving as you explore different concepts and ideas.
This quality of thinking about life applies beyond just academic subjects like English, history, and psychology. It also includes non-academic areas such as business, politics, and religion.
Furthermore, since being able to connect pieces together is integral to most jobs, the more skills you have in this area, the better.
Being able to apply yourself across disciplines and sectors makes you very attractive to employers. Many college graduates cannot do this well, which is one of the main reasons why employment opportunities remain limited even though there are so many students graduating at almost every level.
Examples of jobs a liberal arts degree can get you
A liberal arts education is not only rich in content, but it also teaches students how to process information, think about issues, and evaluate sources thoroughly. These are all important skills for life.
Liberal arts degrees focus less on pure academic study and more on preparing students to be productive members of society. Because they hone these other fundamental skills, many employers consider them just as valuable as an undergraduate degree in fields like business or humanities.
Many large corporations recruit directly from student groups at colleges and universities with strong liberal arts programs. These companies look beyond a school’s overall prestige to determine if an individual student would be a good fit for their position.
Furthermore, some professional fields require no formal bachelor’s degree-only a high school diploma or equivalent. For example, doctors and lawyers typically do not need a four year college degree to be successful. They instead rely on professional training and experience.
Yet, even though they don’t require a bachelor’s degree, most professions expect candidates to have completed several years of formal education. In fact, many positions require two years of work experience along side your bachelors.
These additional requirements give weight to the importance that professionals place on having a well rounded educational background.