What Should You Expect as You Earn an AA in Liberal Studies?

If you’ve expressed an interest in earning a liberal arts degree, no doubt you’ve already come across people trying to talk you out of it. They might argue for a more “employable” degree.

They might even imply – or outright say – that a liberal arts degree is not worth the time. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Harvard Business Review recently reported on three books that focus on the need for more workers with a liberal arts education. In an interview with Bloomberg, billionaire Mark Cuban predicted that liberal arts majors would soon be in more demand than software programmers and engineers.

Why? Liberal arts majors excel in critical thinking skills, creativity and the ability to communicate. That’s what may attract people to earn a degree in liberal studies.

What Does a Liberal Studies Degree Cover?

When earning a liberal studies degree at the associate level, students gain knowledge from a broad spectrum of topics, such as visual arts, music, English, foreign languages, natural sciences, social sciences, philosophy, economics, religion and math.

The goal of a liberal arts education is to produce well-rounded graduates who can problem solve, exhibit innovative thinking and master “soft skills” such as communication and empathy that can make them excellent collaborators.

Because a liberal studies degree covers so much territory, career possibilities can be multiple and varied, such as the following:

  • Journalist
  • Commercial artist
  • Graphic designer
  • Professor
  • Historian
  • Political scientist
  • Sociologist

Much like the protagonist in Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” liberal studies graduates have options – more than the two from the poem, but the choice may make “all the difference.”

What Can You Learn in Your Liberal Studies Program?

Those who pursue an AA in Liberal Studies will gain foundational knowledge in many different areas. Courses designed for an associate degree from New England College include the following:

  • Making A Difference – This class focuses on the interconnected nature of humanity and an understanding of who we are as humans. Students explore how both individuals and societies make an impact on others in ways small and large.
  • WebU: Using the Internet to Understand Your World – Students examine videos from YouTube and other internet sites, including TED talks, as they explore the concepts of community, personal responsibility and the role art and beauty play in society.
  • Introduction to Art and Art History – Students learn about the history of Western civilization via objects created by people from various cultures, and how artists expressed social, cultural, religious, political and aesthetic values in their work.
  • World Geography – Students receive an overview of landforms, climates and ecosystems before examining in-depth the customs, settlement patterns, religion and economic activities in various parts of the world.
  • Criminal Justice Ethics – Students are introduced to ethical theories and how they are applied to contemporary challenges in law enforcement, corrections and adjudication.
  • Overcoming Prejudice and Discrimination – This course examines stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination, as well as social justice and unity.
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