Online Liberal Arts and Humanities Degree Programs

Online liberal studies and humanities degree programs, with their multi-disciplinary approach to education, can help prepare you for a diverse range of careers.

While humanities and liberal arts graduates can complement a variety of professional fields like business, medicine and law, leading to successful careers, more than 50 percent of jobs in social services are filled by humanities and social sciences majors. Many careers in the field of liberal arts and humanities can be directly related to earning a degree in history, behavioral science, social work, or political science where your academic credentials can qualify you for entry-level positions. You can also use your degree to enter a teaching profession.

However, with employers increasingly looking for candidates with “hybrid” skill sets spanning diverse disciplines, according to a 2017 Burning Glass report on the future of jobs, a degree in liberal arts and humanities can also be used to enhance employability.

Findings by Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, reported 93 percent of employers surveyed found it important that job candidates have skills in critical thinking, clear communication and problem-solving – skills that graduates of liberal arts or humanities are best trained to do. More studies show how a humanities and liberal arts degree can be very employable:

  • A study conducted jointly by the Strada Institute and Emsi reports that more STEM employers are hiring candidates with a humanities background showing that human skills such as leadership, communication, and problem-solving are highly prized in the workforce.
  • A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, suggests that exposure to liberal arts and humanities may correlate to higher levels of positive personal qualities in physicians such as empathy, wisdom, emotional intelligence, tolerance of ambiguity while reporting lower levels of adverse traits like burnouts.

Whether you have just finished high school or are a working professional, online degree programs in liberal arts and humanities can allow you the advantage of working and studying at the same time because of their flexibility. Explore this page to compare and consider the wide range of options available to you. 

Online degree programs in liberal arts and humanities are widely available with more than 500 institutions offering distance learning options according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Degree programs offered in the liberal arts and humanities spectrum range from associate to doctoral degrees.

The sections below describe the different degree programs you may be able to pursue in liberal arts and humanities such as communication, language, history and geography and more.

Be sure to click on the buttons under each section to explore information that can be helpful as you consider an online degree program in liberal arts and humanities that aligns with your career goals.

Explore our list of top online colleges, presenting some of the best options for prospective online students looking to make the most of your education.

Online Written and Oral Communication Degree Programs

The world is getting smaller as digital technology progresses making changes to the way we communicate. According to the World Economic Forum, digital media users are becoming selective about the content they consume and are looking for information that provides value and is easy to understand making communication an important skill to have now and well into the future. English and foreign language majors are likely to do well in the job markets in the future. Employment of occupations related to media and communication are expected to grow 6 percent up to 2026.

Click on the buttons below to explore the different degree programs you can have in communication, languages and writing. You can find information on the type of coursework you may encounter by degree level, the kind of jobs and wages you may be able to earn, as well as the career outlook related to each concentration.

Online Cultural Studies Degree Programs

To summarize Jeffery Carlson’s article “Against Being Inclusive”, cultural studies can give students the opportunities to shake aside personal assumptions, listen and engage in real conversations — skills that have substantial implications “for global ethics in an age of violence”. While this may sound idealistic, there are practical applications to the skills you may pick up during the course of your online liberal arts and humanities degree program. According to a 2016 study on e-commerce, as the world becomes increasingly globalized, understanding how different cultures function can have a critical impact on how products and services are marketed in diverse countries.

Click on the buttons below to explore your options in online degree programs in cultural studies. Find information on top-paying states, industries with the highest concentration of employment and more.

Online Social Sciences Degree Programs

Social sciences can help you make a difference to the world around you. According to Dr. Olugbenga Ajilore, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Toledo, social sciences help us understand the causes behind the different social problems we see around us and why some policies work where others fail. Social sciences’ research can have far-reaching effects in fields you may not expect including healthcare, education and even computing. The BLS notes that employment for occupations such as historians and geographers are projected to have an average employment growth rate.

Clicking on the buttons below can open up degree-level information on coursework and the kind of jobs you may be able to get after earning a degree.

We’ve ranked the top ten online colleges offering liberal arts and humanities programs based on criteria that are important to you as an online student including the percentage of online students, financial aid and career support services. Be sure to read our detailed methodology at the bottom of the page and learn why these can be the best college opportunities for you as an online student.

Best Online Colleges for Associate Degrees in Liberal Arts and Humanities

The 2017 Burning Glass study states that hundreds of thousands of students graduate from associate liberal arts, humanities and general education programs from community colleges every year with most graduates intending to use these degrees as stepping stones toward bachelor’s degrees.

It can be a good idea to see if your college lets you choose electives or certificates in topics like management, computing or sales that may complement your associate degree which may considerably enhance your career prospects. Associate degree programs typically take full-time students two years to complete.

Best Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees in Liberal Arts and Humanities

Choosing the right combination of skills and being able to market them can be essential for a successful career after your bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and humanities. Bachelor’s degrees can take full-time students approximately four years to complete.

Best Online Colleges for Master’s Degrees in Liberal Arts and Humanities

According to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, graduates of master’s degree programs in humanities are more satisfied with their jobs in terms of location, opportunities for advancement, and contribution to society than graduates of other master’s degree programs. Those with a master’s or more advanced degree in humanities may be able to earn 38 percent more than those with a bachelor’s degree in the humanities. Master’s degree programs can take full-time students approximately two years to complete.

What kind of jobs can you get with a liberal arts degree and which one are the most in-demand? According the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU), top professions with a liberal arts degree include elementary and middle school teachers, managers, counselors, sales executives, accountants, auditors, lawyers and judges. The Partnership for Public Service states that the government employs thousands of individuals with a background in the humanities, social science, and arts.

We’ve listed some of the in-demand occupations you can pursue using data from the BLS including wages, employment numbers and projected job openings so you can see what you may be able to do with your liberal arts and humanities degree.

Occupations In-Demand for LIBERAL-ARTS
Job Openings
Median Salary
Typical Entry Level Education
Anthropologists and Archeologists80063,670Master's degree
Anthropology and Archeology Teachers, Postsecondary70086,220Doctoral or professional degree
Archivists1,00053,950Master's degree
Child, Family, and School Social Workers36,90047,390Bachelor's degree
Clergy27,50050,400Bachelor's degree
Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other13,30043,790Master's degree
Curators1,70054,570Master's degree
Directors, Religious Activities and Education20,90043,860Bachelor's degree
Editors12,40061,370Bachelor's degree
Geographers20081,540Bachelor's degree
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary40080,520Doctoral or professional degree
Healthcare Social Workers22,20056,750Master's degree
Historians40063,680Master's degree
Interpreters and Translators9,80051,830Bachelor's degree
Librarians and Media Collections Specialists14,70059,500Master's degree
Life, Physical, and Social Science Technicians, All Other9,40050,550Associate's degree
Museum Technicians and Conservators1,80044,430Bachelor's degree
Political Scientists800122,220Master's degree
Proofreaders and Copy Markers2,10040,630Bachelor's degree
Religious Workers, All Other8,30031,630Bachelor's degree
Social Science Research Assistants5,30047,510Bachelor's degree
Social Scientists and Related Workers, All Other4,80083,330Bachelor's degree
Social Workers, All Other6,60061,230Bachelor's degree
Sociologists40083,420Master's degree
Technical Writers6,10072,850Bachelor's degree
Writers and Authors12,80063,200Bachelor's degree

Methodologies and Sources

  • Against Being Inclusive, Liberal Education 101, no. 1, 2016, https://www.aacu.org/liberaleducation/2015-2016/fall-winter/carlson
  • Because It Can Challenge Conventional Wisdom, Why Social Science?, August 2018, https://www.whysocialscience.com/blog/2018/8/27/because-it-can-challenge-conventional-wisdom
  • Because It Makes Computing Work for People, Why Social Science?, September 2017, https://www.whysocialscience.com/blog/2017/9/12/because-it-makes-computing-work-for-people
  • Because Social and Behavioral Research Improves Health and Quality of Life, Why Social Science?, September 2017, https://www.whysocialscience.com/blog/2017/9/26/because-social-and-behavioral-research-improves-health-and-quality-of-life
  • Burning Glass Technologies, Saving the Associate of Arts Degree: How an A.A. Degree Can Become a Better Path to Labor Market Success, January 2018, https://www.burning-glass.com/wp-content/uploads/RPT_Saving_the_Associates_of_Arts_Degree.pdf
  • Burning Glass Technologies, Saving the Liberal Arts | Making the Bachelor’s Degree a Better Path to Labor Market Success, February 2018, https://www.burning-glass.com/wp-content/uploads/Saving-the-Liberal-Arts.pdf
  • College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=all&p=24+24.0103&pd=1&l=92+93+94&ct=1+2+3&ic=1+2+3, accessed October 2018
  • Co-op Information for Students, Cooperative Education in the Liberal Arts, Northeastern University, https://cssh.northeastern.edu/experiential-learning-2/cooperative-education/students, accessed October 2018
  • Digital media and society implications in a hyperconnected era, World Economic Forum, USA, 2016, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEFUSA_DigitalMediaAndSociety_Report2016.pdf
  • Economists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/economists.htm, accessed October 2018
  • Five Rules of the College and Career Game, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 2018, https://1gyhoq479ufd3yna29x7ubjn-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/Fiverules.pdf
  • Job Satisfaction of Humanities Master’s Degree Recipients, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, June 2018, https://www.humanitiesindicators.org/content/indicatordoc.aspx?i=31282
  • Liberal arts (n.), Online Etymology Dictionary, https://www.etymonline.com/word/liberal%20arts, accessed October 2018
  • Liberal Arts: Making a Difference with Your Liberal Arts Degree, Partnership for Public Service, http://career.uga.edu/uploads/documents/RWB_LiberalArtsJobs.pdf, accessed January 2019
  • Liberal Studies, Northeastern University, https://www.northeastern.edu/bachelors-completion/program/liberal-studies-online/, accessed October 2018
  • Major: Humanities, BigFuture, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/liberal-arts-sciences-general-studies-humanities-humanities, accessed October 2018
  • Major: Liberal Arts and Sciences, BigFuture, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/liberal-arts-sciences-general-studies-humanities-liberal-arts-sciences, accessed October 2018
  • Medical Students’ Exposure to the Humanities Correlates with Positive Personal Qualities and Reduced Burnout: A Multi-Institutional U.S. Survey, Journal of General Internal Medicine, May 2018, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 628-634, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-017-4275-8
  • Occupations of College Humanities Majors Who Earned an Advanced Degree, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, February 2018, https://www.humanitiesindicators.org/content/indicatordoc.aspx?i=279
  • Rebooting Jobs: How Computer Science Skills Spread in the Job Market, Burning Glass Technologies, 2017, https://www.burning-glass.com/wp-content/uploads/rebooting_jobs_2017.pdf
  • The effect of culture on attitude towards online advertising and online brands: applying Hofstede’s cultural factors to internet marketing. International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, 10(4), 270-301, 2016, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Naser_Valaei/publication/312409435_The_effect_of_culture_on_attitude_towards_online_advertising_and_online_brands_Applying_Hofstede’s_cultural_factors_to_internet_marketing/links/587e1de008aed3826af41c31/The-effect-of-culture-on-attitude-towards-online-advertising-and-online-brands-Applying-Hofstedes-cultural-factors-to-internet-marketing.pdf
  • Workforce of the future: The competing forces shaping 2030, 2018, https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/services/people-organisation/workforce-of-the-future/workforce-of-the-future-the-competing-forces-shaping-2030-pwc.pdf
  • World Economic Forum, The Future of Jobs Report, 2016 http://reports.weforum.org/future-of-jobs-2016/preface/
  • Robot-Ready, Strada Institute, Emsi, 2018, https://www.economicmodeling.com/robot-ready/
  • The State of Humanities 2018, Graduates in the Workforce and Beyond, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, https://www.amacad.org/sites/default/files/academy/multimedia/pdfs/publications/researchpapersmonographs/HI_Workforce-2018.pdf

Source: 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
Methodologies and Sources