Just what is a liberal arts degree, anyway?

As you consider which college to attend, you’ve probably come across several “liberal arts” schools and wondered: And how can it help you in your career?

First, it’s good to understand the basics of what the term means (and doesn’t mean):

It doesn’t refer to a specific career path (like “medical” education, though it’s often part of that journey).

It doesn’t mean “liberal” in the political sense (but comparing and contrasting perspectives is part of it).

It does refer to a plentiful approach to learning that gives you a broad set of knowledge and skills.

The experience of pursuing a liberal arts degree (a degree of any kind from a liberal arts college) will provide knowledge and skills that every employer values.

Broad Knowledge Base

Whatever your major, a liberal arts education provides a broad knowledge base that deepens your understanding of the world.

To earn a liberal arts degree, you’ll explore many different areas of study, such as:

  • Philosophy
  • Mathematics
  • Literature
  • History
  • Economics
  • Languages
  • Art

Employers put a high value on their people sharing common knowledge that can help with decision-making and relationship-building.

Understanding certain philosophical ideas, mathematical concepts, cultural/historical references, etc., are often key to workplace communication.

If you work in finance, you may need to know a lot about economics, history, and philosophy to be successful. If you’re in marketing, your knowledge of literature, language, and art will come in handy. And so on.

Universal Skills

A liberal arts degree tells employers that you not only know about the world but that you have experience interacting with it.

Studying the liberal arts requires developing a set of skills that every employer values, such as:

  • Analysis
  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem-Solving
  • Communication

Good thinkers and communicators are universally valuable. Whatever field you go into, your ability to ask good questions and find new solutions to workplace problems will set you apart.

Those skills come from the philosophical thinking, logical analysis, and creative exploration that come as part of a liberal arts college experience.

Character Development

Some liberal arts are referred to as the “humanities” because it’s the study of human ideas, stories, and languages. But it’s all a study of humanity. Even math and science are studies of human logic and ingenuity.

Studying these subjects broadly helps you develop character, or positive human qualities such as:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Understanding of Others

These are more than skills, they’re character traits that help you learn, grow, and apply skills in a way that people will respond more positively to.

According to college admissions professional Jennifer Hollis:

“This broad knowledge of the wider world will prepare you to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. A liberal arts education will also help you develop a strong sense of social responsibility as well as … a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings.”

Liberal arts studies challenge you to think deeply about the world around you and encourage you to seek out new perspectives. They prepare you to be not only a team player but a leader in your career.

Job Security

A liberal arts degree looks good on just about any job application because employers need people who know more than their basic job requirements. They need people who can think creatively, and that’s what a liberal arts education is all about.

Whatever the focus of your studies, a degree from a liberal arts college tells employers that you’re capable of original thinking and innovation. These are highly transferable skills from one industry to the next, giving you great job security.

This is why, according to the Harvard Business Review, 80 percent of employers agree that all students need a strong foundation in the liberal arts and sciences. They believe that a liberal arts education makes for better workers and leaders.

Bethany College Offers Many Liberal Arts Degree Options

As a liberal arts college, Bethany College shares the belief that a broad base of knowledge encourages growth and career development. And we’ve seen year after year of successful graduates prove it!

Whatever you choose from among our 24 areas of study, you can expect a holistic educational experience that will prepare you for more than work.

We’re here to enrich your life.

You’ll find all the hands-on experience you need to gain industry skills and studies that encourage a deeper, broader understanding of the world, both of which will help you advance your career.

That’s true whether you study here on our beautiful West Virginia campus or choose to broaden your cultural experiences through travel to any of our 53 study-abroad countries.

Whatever you’re looking for, we’ll help you find it! Learn more about Bethany College and our liberal arts degree offerings.