Liberal arts are typically broken down into five major categories: humanities, social sciences, natural science, mathematics, and professional studies or practical disciplines. Each of these areas covers many different topics that come together to make up one overall theme, but they all share something in common: they teach you how to think.
The emphasis in liberal arts education is not only on knowledge, however; it teaches students how to process information, apply what they learn to real-life situations, and retain this new knowledge for later use. This way of teaching is called educational psychology because it focuses on studying why people behave the ways they do.
Another important aspect of the liberal arts is cultivating moral reasoning or understanding of right and wrong. Many academic fields train their students in systematic approaches to prove whether an idea or concept is morally acceptable or not. This helps students understand the impacts of what they say and do and gives them a basis for making decisions themselves.
Liberal arts degrees often emphasize literacy and language as part of the curriculum. Students are taught how to read, interpret literature, and recognize authentic writings. They may also be educated about other languages such as French or Spanish depending on where their college program lies.
Some degree programs include courses related to music, art, and/or theater. These are usually considered soft skills or hobbies rather than formal training in any field, but they are still valuable assets for young adults.
History of the liberal arts
Historically, the term “liberal art” referred to all non-technical subjects that were not considered practical or useful in one’s daily life. For example, literature is usually thought of as more esoteric and inspirational than other academic disciplines like math or economics.
However, during Ancient Greece this was definitely not the case! Most Greeks spent their time studying either science (math, physics, biology) or rhetoric (language study). These fields are clearly important and have applications beyond just making an argument or talking about how great someone sounds on the phone.
The word “liberal” comes from the Latin liberare, meaning free. The classic liberals in ancient Athens gave up most possessions and resources to pursue philosophy, politics, and education. They believed knowledge should be accessible to anyone who wanted it, not only the rich or powerful people.
Today, we still consider these types of studies to be liberal because they emphasize individual expression and understanding of humanities themes and concepts. This is why students can choose to major in anything from Literature to Dance to Painting – each field teaches you something different and applies what you learn outside of school.
Popular liberal arts
The term ‘liberal art’ was first used in the 16th century to describe humanities courses, particularly literature, that were very accessible for non-specialists. These courses focused not only on reading great works of literature, but also studying how these texts relate to each other, and how they influence you.
Many universities now offer such programs under different names, like English or Literature, which share this defining feature of being broad and approachable.
These programs typically include study of at least one language (usually French or Spanish), history, philosophy, religion, economics, politics, and music. Some have added more specific areas, like sociology with its focus on human societies, or psychology with its studies of behavior and emotions.
Some schools go even further by incorporating critical thinking into their curriculum, as well as teaching students basic academic skills like note taking and citation. All of these things help prepare students to be successful in life beyond academia.
Furthermore, many people believe that learning about the humanities makes you more intelligent because it teaches you about concepts like causality, contradiction, and dialectics — all of which are important tools for reasoning.
Ways of the liberal arts
The term “liberal art” was first used in the 16th century to describe humanities courses that focused on literature, language, and philosophy. These are often referred to as the study of the great books or wisdom texts.
Today, however, it has come to mean much more than just that. Many people refer to the studies found within the broader field of what is now called the liberal arts as part of their general education.
These include things like writing, grammar and syntax, rhetoric, vocabulary, logic, mathematics, accounting, economics, geography, history, political science, sociology, psychology, and ethics among others.
To emphasize the importance of this broad area, some even use the term “the liberal spirit” to relate to these disciplines. This refers to an open-mindedness, tolerance, and understanding of other points of view which can be applied in different areas.
The importance of the liberal arts
Recent debates about whether or not college should be free have sparked much discussion about what degree programs are worth their cost. Many people refer to these programs as “liberal” because students are taught to think beyond simple questions with many false answers.
The term “liberal art” was first used in the 16th century, but it did not become popular until the 19th century. During this time, intellectuals and artists were described as liberals due to how they thought about knowledge. They believed that any type of learning can lead to true understanding so there is no one area that has more weight than another.
Some scholars believe that education should focus only on teaching students facts and skills from various areas, leaving it up to them to connect the pieces later. This way, they say, students will choose their own paths in life and learn from experiences and conversations with others.
However, this theory does not agree with our current society where most jobs require you to know lots of things about something specific. A lawyer, for example, must be well-versed in both law and business. So how could we still have people who want to be lawyers but do not like business or law?
Liberal education puts emphasis on educating students outside of just vocational fields by requiring courses such as English, history, math, science, philosophy, and other disciplines. All of these topics teach us about the world and ourselves, making them important.
Ways to become a liberal arts degree
Obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s in liberal studies is not easy, but there are ways to achieve this goal. Some schools offer these degrees as standalone courses of study while others require you to take some additional classes first.
Some universities have transitioned into offering only online programs due to concerns about student-to-teacher ratio, accessibility, and cost. If flexibility is more important than having face-to-face interaction with professors, then an online program may be your best bet.
There are many great resources available across the internet for students wishing to pursue higher education in the field of liberal studies. Many colleges and universities also have open days or information sessions where they can showcase their courses and departments.
At The University of Texas at Dallas, one such event was held last spring when over 1,000 people attended.
Degree programs in the liberal arts
Programs that offer degrees in the field of liberal studies are sometimes referred to as “liberal” because they emphasize literacy, language, literature, music, art, and philosophy. These areas are called the humanities because they study how humans think about themselves and the world around them.
The term “arts” is often left out of this description because these other fields overlap with each other so much. A degree program can be considered an art major or a humanities major if it contains all five.
But no matter what name you give it, studying the humanities is an excellent way to develop your mind. This includes things like reading literary works, listening to music, and exploring different cultures through art and philosophy.
Reading books and articles will always stick with you longer than watching a movie. The same goes for listening to songs – there are lots of stories behind most tunes!
Using the media and culture around us to understand ourselves and others comes up many times in the humanities. Artists use their craft to express themselves, philosophers discuss the meaning of life, and writers create narratives to tell stories.
These examples show that human beings need to connect ideas together to make sense of the universe. The more we expose ourselves to different viewpoints, the better we know who and what makes us feel good about ourselves and the world.
Liberal arts majors typically learn something from every course they take, but some courses focus more heavily on one area than another.
Sample degree programs in the liberal arts
The term ‘liberal art’ was first used in the 16th century to describe an education system that focused more on cultivating the fine or refined artistic skills than it did on teaching practical knowledge like how to cook, sew, or paint.
Today, however, the word has come to mean much more than that! Many schools these days use the term interchangeably with the term ‘arts and humanities’. This is not correct because the term ‘art’ includes things such as painting, sculpture, music, and creative writing, while the term ‘humanities’ refers to things like literature, history, and sociology.
Typically, students who major in the arts are also required to take classes in other departments like English, psychology, political science, or philosophy, depending on what area of the arts they choose to study. These additional courses are referred to as being linked to the field of the arts. Students may even be asked to teach one of these courses at another school or program after graduation!
Liberal arts degrees focus very heavily on educating students through the development of their reasoning, logic, and communication skills. Schools that offer this type of education promote them as good preparation for jobs that require professionals to work in areas like business, medicine, law, or public service.
The future of the liberal arts
As we know, the term “liberal arts” has been used in many ways throughout history. But one of the most important times that this word was used is in today’s post-modern society.
The reason why it is so important now is because the value of the liberal art education has become devalued. More and more students are being exposed to the academic field of liberal studies at very early stages in their educational career, making them feel like they ‘learned something’ while simultaneously feeling bad about themselves for doing so.
Many young people no longer see the importance in studying literature, philosophy, or other topics that were once considered fundamental to learning how to be intelligent, self-aware individuals. Some even go as far to say that these things are not needed anymore since technology makes up your own mind for you!
This situation needs to change, and it can if we all work together. There are many great reasons to learn about different areas of study beyond just knowledge, skills, and psychology. They include: literacy, communication, reasoning, problem solving, creativity, self-awareness, etc.
We need to reestablish the importance of the liberal arts in our culture. We must promote the academic fields such as English, mathematics, social sciences, and others as equally valuable and necessary parts of an educated person. Only then will our children learn about themselves and the world through reading, writing, and thinking.