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Online Degrees in Liberal Arts and Humanities

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

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 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. 

Editors
Job DescriptionEditors plan, review, and revise content for publication.
Mean Annual Salary: $68K
Typical Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
Librarians
Job DescriptionLibrarians help people find information and conduct research for personal and professional use. Their job duties may change based on the type of library they work in, such as public, school, and medical libraries.
Mean Annual Salary: $61K
Typical Degree Required: Master's degree
Healthcare Social Workers
Job DescriptionSocial workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. One group of social workersclinical social workersalso diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.
Mean Annual Salary: $57K
Typical Degree Required: Master's degree
Interpreters and Translators
Job DescriptionInterpreters and translators convert information from one language into another language. Interpreters work in spoken or sign language; translators work in written language.
Mean Annual Salary: $52K
Typical Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
Child, Family, and School Social Workers
Job DescriptionSocial workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. One group of social workersclinical social workersalso diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.
Mean Annual Salary: $48K
Typical Degree Required: Bachelor's degree

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 Degrees

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 Degrees

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 Degrees

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.

Top Colleges for Online 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.

1
Western Wyoming Community College(Rock Springs, WY)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$2,256
No. of online programs
11
% of students in distance education
44%
Avg. amount of Aid
$2,532
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
2
Allen County Community College(Iola, KS)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$1,920
No. of online programs
81
% of students in distance education
70%
Avg. amount of Aid
$2,944
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
N/A
3
San Joaquin Delta College(Stockton, CA)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$1,104
No. of online programs
43
% of students in distance education
45%
Avg. amount of Aid
$3,069
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
4
South Texas College(McAllen, TX)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$2,400
No. of online programs
27
% of students in distance education
25%
Avg. amount of Aid
$3,899
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
15%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
5
Mohave Community College(Kingman, AZ)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$2,430
No. of online programs
18
% of students in distance education
73%
Avg. amount of Aid
$3,547
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
N/A
6
Central Texas College(Killeen, TX)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$3,390
No. of online programs
54
% of students in distance education
55%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,717
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
7
Copiah-Lincoln Community College(Wesson, MS)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$2,800
No. of online programs
26
% of students in distance education
17%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,205
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
8
Palo Alto College(San Antonio, TX)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$6,060
No. of online programs
20
% of students in distance education
46%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,342
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
9
Great Basin College(Elko, NV)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$2,820
No. of online programs
48
% of students in distance education
82%
Avg. amount of Aid
$3,615
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
28%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
10
Cochise County Community College District(Sierra Vista, AZ)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$1,968
No. of online programs
12
% of students in distance education
54%
Avg. amount of Aid
$4,400
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
N/A
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
N/A
Top Colleges for Online 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.

1
Troy University(Troy, AL)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$7,584
No. of online programs
47
% of students in distance education
49%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,610
Admissions Rate
88%
Graduation Rate
39%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
2
University of Central Florida(Orlando, FL)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$4,478
No. of online programs
45
% of students in distance education
58%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,126
Admissions Rate
50%
Graduation Rate
70%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
3
Ashford University(San Diego, CA)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$10,848
No. of online programs
68
% of students in distance education
100%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,219
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
8%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
N/A
4
Mary Baldwin University(Staunton, VA)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$30,690
No. of online programs
22
% of students in distance education
49%
Avg. amount of Aid
$16,246
Admissions Rate
95%
Graduation Rate
45%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
5
University of Memphis(Memphis, TN)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$7,680
No. of online programs
45
% of students in distance education
35%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,030
Admissions Rate
85%
Graduation Rate
43%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
6
Gardner-Webb University(Boiling Springs, NC)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$30,310
No. of online programs
3
% of students in distance education
50%
Avg. amount of Aid
$13,175
Admissions Rate
53%
Graduation Rate
49%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
7
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College(Saint Mary of the Woods, IN)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$29,510
No. of online programs
20
% of students in distance education
27%
Avg. amount of Aid
$15,454
Admissions Rate
76%
Graduation Rate
57%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
8
Bellevue University(Bellevue, NE)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$7,152
No. of online programs
70
% of students in distance education
88%
Avg. amount of Aid
$3,557
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
17%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
N/A
9
Eastern Oregon University(La Grande, OR)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$6,928
No. of online programs
21
% of students in distance education
63%
Avg. amount of Aid
$6,138
Admissions Rate
98%
Graduation Rate
31%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
10
University of Illinois at Springfield(Springfield, IL)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$9,515
No. of online programs
24
% of students in distance education
65%
Avg. amount of Aid
$8,972
Admissions Rate
52%
Graduation Rate
50%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
Top Colleges for Online 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.

1
Liberty University(Lynchburg, VA)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$15,734
No. of online programs
127
% of students in distance education
90%
Avg. amount of Aid
$6,937
Admissions Rate
30%
Graduation Rate
47%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
2
Troy University(Troy, AL)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$7,584
No. of online programs
47
% of students in distance education
49%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,610
Admissions Rate
88%
Graduation Rate
39%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
3
Southern New Hampshire University(Manchester, NH)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$30,756
No. of online programs
106
% of students in distance education
93%
Avg. amount of Aid
$3,728
Admissions Rate
78%
Graduation Rate
49%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
4
Sam Houston State University(Huntsville, TX)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$5,472
No. of online programs
37
% of students in distance education
50%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,494
Admissions Rate
74%
Graduation Rate
51%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
5
University of Nebraska at Kearney(Kearney, NE)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$5,753
No. of online programs
24
% of students in distance education
55%
Avg. amount of Aid
$7,930
Admissions Rate
82%
Graduation Rate
61%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
6
Morehead State University(Morehead, KY)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$8,950
No. of online programs
16
% of students in distance education
46%
Avg. amount of Aid
$6,163
Admissions Rate
80%
Graduation Rate
42%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
7
Bellevue University(Bellevue, NE)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$7,152
No. of online programs
70
% of students in distance education
88%
Avg. amount of Aid
$3,557
Admissions Rate
N/A
Graduation Rate
17%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
N/A
8
Wayland Baptist University(Plainview, TX)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$14,520
No. of online programs
26
% of students in distance education
53%
Avg. amount of Aid
$6,226
Admissions Rate
99%
Graduation Rate
20%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
9
New England College(Henniker, NH)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$23,599
No. of online programs
47
% of students in distance education
63%
Avg. amount of Aid
$15,668
Admissions Rate
100%
Graduation Rate
42%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
10
The University of West Florida(Pensacola, FL)
Additional Info
Average in-state tuition
$3,735
No. of online programs
22
% of students in distance education
63%
Avg. amount of Aid
$5,005
Admissions Rate
50%
Graduation Rate
44%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
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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 Humanities
Job Openings (2016-26)
Average Salary (2016)
Typical Entry Level Education
Child, Family, and School Social Workers37,900$48,430Bachelor's degree
Clergy29,200$50,800Bachelor's degree
Healthcare Social Workers22,500$56,810Master's degree
Directors, Religious Activities and Education19,400$45,470Bachelor's degree
Librarians14,500$60,760Master's degree
Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other14,100$44,780Master's degree
Writers and Authors12,700$72,120Bachelor's degree
Life, Physical, and Social Science Technicians, All Other9,900$51,160Associate's degree
Religious Workers, All Other7,700$36,380Bachelor's degree
Interpreters and Translators7,700$51,790Bachelor's degree
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2016-26 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com
Methodology and Sources
Methodology 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
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