4 Reasons Why Having A Liberal Arts Degree Can Help Your Career

liberal arts degrees find jobsBy Heather Huhman


It's an ongoing debate that has been given a lot of steam in recent years – Is a liberal arts degree worth it?

In ancient times, the liberal arts included subjects that were considered "essential for a free citizen to study." Today, the term has evolved into an education that imparts general knowledge that includes literature, language, philosophy, history, mathematics, psychology, and science.

When jobs are scarce and college tuition is sky-high, it's definitely worth discussing. While the liberal arts are valuable, are they as valuable as specialized education?

Check out these four reasons why having a liberal arts degree can help your career.


It stirs the conversation

In a recent Business Today article, Going Liberal on Wall Street, "One of the major pluses of a non-technical education is the emphasis on inter-personal skills. Students in liberal arts take courses in diverse fields like History, Political Science, and English. It enables them to engage in meaningful conversation on a variety of social, economic, and political issues."


It opens your mind

When studying one of the various fields of study in the college of liberal arts, students have the opportunity to expand their knowledge. Major areas of liberal arts include: mathematics, science, arts, language, and history.

Many universities also require students to take "general education courses" which typically are spread among the different categories within liberal arts. This allows students to get a well-rounded education instead of spending their college years on only one specific subject.


It's employable

An important thing to remember is if you have a Bachelor of Arts it doesn't mean you won't find a job. There are positives and negatives to any field of study and the pros definitely outweigh the cons for liberal arts.

While there are many sectors that directly pull from the liberal arts, many companies (like Disney) prefer their entry-level employees to have a blank slate and will train on the job.


It has a history

There are many famous leaders who have received a B.A., a few examples:

  • Henry "Hank" Paulson, 74th United States Secretary of the Treasury and former CEO & Chairman of Goldman Sachs, graduated with an English degree from Dartmouth College.

  • Steve Wynn, American business entrepreneur, best known for the Wynn and Encore resorts in Las Vegas, graduated with a degree in English literature.

  • Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and George W. Bush all graduated with various degrees in history.

  • Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung both received psychology degrees, who were both pioneers in the psychology field.

It doesn't matter what degree you get - it matters what you do with it. Picking up the right internships and experiences early on can help shape and focus a career path. People with degrees in the liberal arts can still be the President or CEO; it's up to them to make it happen.

What do you think? Have any other advice for liberal arts majors? Share your thoughts in the comments below!



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13 Comments

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lazybum742

Nobody believes this. Poor use of sponsored material.

January 26 2012 at 7:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jewjewjewjew.jew

This article is poorly written and fraught with faulty logic. Having interpersonal skills or an open mind are not qualities that will land you a solid career. Nor are they qualities that are especially hard to cultivate with or without an education.

Wow. One is employable in the sense that a company may totally train you therefore making your education highly irrelevant is not a convincing argument.

Here are some examples of individuals anomalies that either made the education work due to other skills or the reality that they followed it up with graduate degrees.

Very convincing.

January 19 2012 at 4:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
AndrewL

I am at a crossroads with this post. I have a B.A. degree in History and Political Science. I am very proud of my self for being able to complete college and obtain my degree, but It has not paid off in the way I wanted it too. My first job out of college was as a financial representative for Northwestern Mutual. They did not care what my degree was in. Although selling financial products was not my niche, I was still able to gain employment. At the same time though, I wish I would have picked a degree that was more concentrated on a certain skill or trade. I think it would have been more beneficial in the long run. Although I did learn a lot, in a lot of different areas, I do not feel I am adequately trained in a certain field. I mean, even to become a teacher I would need to go back to school and take a certain amount of education courses, and then take the license exams to be able to teach. Now i have decided to go back, get another undergrad in Psychology and eventually go onto grad school to get my Masters or PhD.

As a recent college graduate who has struggled with the post-college life, I would recommend to anyone thinking about an Liberal Arts degree to think really hard what you want to do upon graduation. The job market for Liberal Arts Degrees is as broad and undefined as the degree it self. I am not dissing or putting down the degree, obviously, because I have one my self. I just think that If I could go back and redo my undergrad I would have picked something more focused and centralized, like Accounting or Engineering. Except I hate math, which is probably why I studied the Liberal Arts lol.

January 17 2012 at 8:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rhobere

maybe i'm missing something, but my engineering degree program requires that I take multiple history, political science, economics, literature and philosophy classes (and obviously copious amounts of math and science). I'm even required to take a music/arts class. The only difference is I'm also getting a formal education in circuits, programming, robotics and more physics than a non-nerd could tolerate. I'm not saying there isn't a place for BA's, but everything you just touted as being an advantage of one is required to achieve a BS and then some.

January 13 2012 at 4:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rhobere's comment
Ryan

That was my first thought as well but I think this article isn't about BA verse BS. I think it is more about is a BA worth getting at all.

January 17 2012 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rhobere

maybe I missed something, but my engineering degree requires multiple history, political science, literature, economics, and philosophy classes. I'm even required to take a music class. the only difference is I will have a specialization in addition to conversation stirrers and mind openers. I'm not saying that there isn't a place for BA's, but all the things you just listed are achieved through a BS and then some.

January 13 2012 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fpfininc

these are excellent examples of how valuable a basic BA degree is, regardless of the usefulness of the degree, it micht also be good (as per these excellent examples) to be burn super rich and go tto the most excusive colleges .

January 08 2012 at 9:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Martins

Sigmund Freud never earned a bachelors in psychology. He was a medical doctor who trained as a neurologist. His research was originally in neurophysiology. Who proof reads this stuff?

January 08 2012 at 9:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to The Martins's comment
calymos

proofreading? this is the internet.

January 15 2012 at 5:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
EDDIE

liberalarts is like highschool. you need a major or a trade today

January 08 2012 at 9:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
debrockman

I think a lot of it depends on whether you intend to go to grad school or not. If not, engineering, accounting, nursing, etc., will land you jobs with a future. If you DO intend to go to grad school, it really doesn't matter what your undergrad degree is in, you just need to fulfill the requirements for the grad school you want to go to.

January 08 2012 at 8:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
rxfld

A free enterprise system rewards those that serve others - a liberal arts degree serves no one -

January 08 2012 at 8:24 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rxfld's comment
The Achins

Absolute idiocy! I have been a journalist, teacher, financial advisor, farmer --- all using my liberal arts degree. I have helped students learn how to learn, be educated on content, understand healthy living, written about graft and illegal activities, educated average people on the basics of finance so they too can be rich, etc. etc. etc. What planet are you on, anyway?

January 08 2012 at 8:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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