Be the Creative Spark That Powers Society With a Liberal Arts Degree

A liberal arts degree is, by definition, difficult to define. Rather than train students for a specific position or job, like a professional or technical degree would, a liberal arts degree teaches students a broad range of skills that can apply to any number of vocations. Critical thinking and communication skills, lifelong learning habits, and an understanding of the philosophy behind different societies are all examples of knowledge those who major in liberal arts will have gained during their time as students.

This broad range of knowledge has led some to believe that this makes a liberal arts degree less useful than other types of degrees, but this is simply not true. A history major, for instance, is well-suited to a career as a legal analyst, a consultant, a lobbyist, or a foreign-service officer. Think tanks, law firms, nonprofits, and museums all actively seek history majors for their organizations.

A philosophy degree might seem the most impractical way to spend four-plus years of postsecondary education to many, but the tech industry is hungry for them. Their training in rational thinking, logic, and game theory are all vital for the artificial intelligence software programs being used in everything from children’s toys and video games to self-driving cars and delivery robots.

According to the consulting firm Accenture, employers in a wide range of industries want applicants with strong communication and leadership skills, capable of managing people and projects. As companies continue to create flatter hierarchies they need team members with high executive functioning skills, who can debate an idea without it turning into an argument and think critically through each stage of a production process, and then apply creative problem-solving strategies along the way. In other words, the skills that liberal arts majors learn as part of their open-ended curriculum are becoming more in demand. 

It’s difficult to give an exact estimate of how many jobs will be available to arts and humanities grads, since there is such a huge variety of degrees available under this umbrella term, but here are some of the big-name companies that eagerly hire those with a liberal arts degree:

  • The United Nations
  • The National Security Agency (NSA)
  • Apple
  • The Peace Corps
  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Google

Another great thing about a liberal arts education is that the level of education is up to you. One can pursue anything from an associate’s degree to a PhD under the liberal arts umbrella. Career counselors and college recruiters will be key in helping you determine the specific majors to support your personal and professional goals. 

Since liberal arts degrees are not geared toward specific jobs, internships and fellowships are vital for opening doors and learning more about the practical requirements of your fields of interest. Look for chances to gain industry experience before graduation so you have a clearer picture of where and how to start building your career post-graduation. 

One final piece of advice: one of the main reasons to pursue a liberal arts degree is to learn how to approach the task of being human in a rational yet creative way. Approach this line of study with an open mind and a sense of adventure!



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