Liberal Arts and Humanities Degree Programs

The liberal arts and humanities is a broad academic field and there are many degree types available, so if you’re pursuing education in this discipline, you may find it difficult to know where to start. This article will arm you with information to make the best choices for your academic career and future, no matter what your professional goals or current level of education. We’ll discuss degree programs in the humanities and liberal arts spanning associate’s degrees to doctorates. We’ll also explore the career options and salary potential for employees in this diverse field.

Associate’s Degrees in Liberal Arts and Humanities


Associate’s in liberal arts and humanities degrees are widely available from community colleges and even some universities. Increasingly, these two-year offerings are also available online. Though they’re similar in scope, there are different types of liberal arts and humanities associate’s degrees one can choose from. Some of these options are listed below:

Types of Humanities and Liberal Arts Associate’s Degree Programs

  • Associate in Arts (AA) in Arts and Humanities
  • AA in Liberal Studies
  • AA in Liberal Arts
  • Associate of Science (AS) in Liberal Studies
  • Associate’s in General Studies
  • Associate’s in Interdisciplinary Studies

Humanities/Liberal Arts Associate’s Curriculum

Any degree program in the liberal arts and humanities will be broad by nature. These 60-credit hour programs are multi-disciplinary and cover topics in language, mathematics, fine arts, natural sciences, behavioral science, and more. Below, you will find some sample course titles taken from actual associate’s in liberal arts and humanities programs:

Liberal Arts and Humanities Associate’s Degrees: Sample Course Titles

  • Survey of Art History: Renaissance to the Present
  • Fundamentals of Creative Writing
  • Women in Literature
  • Music Appreciation: Western Civilization
  • Public Speaking
  • Writing and Inquiry
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • American Government
  • Introduction to the Humanities
  • College Composition
  • Introduction to Information Technology
  • Fundamentals of Speech
  • Biology in Contemporary Society
  • International Relations
  • Introductory Survey of Mathematics
  • World and Regional Geography
  • Contemporary Global Issues

Associate’s Degrees in Liberal Arts and Humanities: Jobs and Salaries

Traditionally, degrees in the liberal arts and humanities are thought to be associated with low wages, especially at the associate’s level. According to, though, individuals with an AA in Liberal Arts degree make about $50,000 a year on average. Different occupations yield different salaries, however. Below are some various job titles requiring an associate’s in humanities and liberal arts alongside their average annual wages, also according to Payscale:

  • Operations Manager: $55,871
  • Marketing Coordinator: $54,131
  • Executive Assistant: $52,269
  • Operations Supervisor: $51,859
  • General Manager (Restaurant): $51,043
  • Program Manager (Non-profit Organization): $49,675
  • Legal Secretary: $48,439
  • Office Manager: $44,808
  • Paralegal: $40,069
  • Administrative Assistant: $37,975
  • Customer Service Representative: $37,248

Keep in mind that your exact salary will depend on a number of factors, including your specific employer and any relevant work experience you may have in the field, for example.

Bachelor’s Degrees in Liberal Arts/Humanities


Bachelor’s in humanities and liberal arts programs require twice the time and effort of an associate’s degree in the field, but they also open up more career opportunities and are associated with higher salaries. Traditionally, bachelor’s degree requirements take four years to complete, though accelerated programs are sometimes available. Some of the different types of bachelor’s degrees in humanities and liberal arts available are listed below:

Types of Bachelor’s Degrees in Humanities and Liberal Arts

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Liberal Arts
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Liberal Arts and Science
  • Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies
  • Bachelor’s in General Studies
  • Bachelor’s in History
  • Bachelor’s in English


Humanities and Liberal Arts Bachelor’s Degree Programs: Curriculum

The classes you can expect to take in a liberal arts and humanities bachelor’s programs will be similar to those required for a comparable associate’s offering, but they may be more academically rigorous and/or explore topics in more depth. Since they are more comprehensive, liberal arts and humanities bachelor’s degrees will also cover a wider range of academic subjects and disciplines. Below, we’ve listed some sample course titles taken from actual bachelor’s degree programs in the field. These are provided for the sake of example only and may or may not reflect the classes you’ll taken in your chosen liberal arts/humanities bachelor’s program.

Liberal Arts/Humanities Bachelor’s Degrees: Sample Course Titles

  • The Art of Being Human
  • Research Methods for the Humanities
  • Introduction to Communication
  • General Psychology
  • Studies in World Art
  • Statistics for Business and Economics
  • College Writing
  • Culture and Diversity
  • Civic and Community Engagement
  • Finite Mathematics
  • Critical Writing and Research
  • Values and Decision Making
  • America and the Contemporary World
  • History of the English Language
  • Literary Interpretation and Analysis
  • Humanities, Arts and Design, and Global Awareness
  • Methods of Historical Inquiry
  • Ethical Decision-Making in Business
  • Introduction to Philosophy

Some bachelor’s in humanities and liberal arts programs allow students to specialize in a specific academic discipline. This is a way of narrowing the focus of the degree plan to prepare students for work in specific fields and subfields. We’ve listed some of these concentration options below. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and in some cases, students are allowed to customize their own unique concentration.

Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts/Humanities: Concentrations

  • Mass Communication
  • Business Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Economics
  • Christian Studies
  • English
  • Legal Studies
  • Sociology
  • Political Science
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Art History
  • Psychology
  • Gender Studies

Liberal Arts and Humanities Bachelor’s Degrees: Jobs and Salaries reports that professionals with a bachelor of arts in liberal studies degree make around $59,000 a year. That’s nearly ten thousand dollars a year more than those with an associate’s credential in the field. The specific job title you hold will affect your annual wage, though. Below are some examples of occupations requiring a liberal arts and humanities bachelor’s degree alongside their average salaries, according to Payscale:

  • Director of Operations: $82,121
  • Human Resources Manager: $73,479
  • Project Manager: $66,214
  • Operations Manager: $61,566
  • Executive Assistant: $61,453
  • Elementary School Teacher: $53,947
  • Project Coordinator: $50,760
  • Marketing Coordinator: $48,636
  • Office Manager: $44,875
  • Human Resources Specialist: $43,828
  • Administrative Assistant: $39,651
  • Program Coordinator (Non-profit Organization): $38,503

Master’s Degree Programs in Liberal Arts and Humanities


Master’s in humanities and liberal arts programs are ideal for those students who wish to specialize (or further specialize) in a specific area of the field or for those who desire to take on leadership positions in the workplace. Typically, these programs require two years of post-baccalaureate coursework. Many humanities/liberal arts master’s degrees can be earned on a part-time or full-time basis, and some can be completed during evenings, weekends, or online to accommodate working professionals. Some of the different types of master’s degrees in the field are listed below:

Types of Master’s Degrees in Humanities and Liberal Arts

  • Master of Liberal Studies
  • Master of Arts (MA) in Liberal Studies
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Liberal Arts
  • Master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies

Master’s in Humanities and Liberal Arts Degrees: Curriculum

The curriculum for your master’s in liberal arts and humanities degree will be unique and depend on the program and school you choose, but generally speaking, you can expect courses to be more challenging than those you took in your bachelor’s program. You can also expect them to be more research-based. You may even be required to take classes that address the proper research methods for the field. Below, we list some sample course titles taken from actual liberal arts and humanities master’s programs to give you an example of what your course schedule may look like.

Liberal Arts/Humanities Master’s Degrees: Sample Course Titles

  • Human-Centered Leadership
  • The Art of Public Speaking
  • Rethinking Literary Modernism
  • Leadership for Social Change and Renewal
  • Professional and Grant Writing
  • Music in Contemporary Society
  • Ethical Issues in Science and Medicine
  • Cinema and Society Across Cultures
  • Classic Studies in Animal Behavior
  • Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Topics in Gender Studies
  • Religion and Politics in a Post-Secular World: Rethinking Secularization
  • Borders and Boundaries: Race, Gender, and the Human
  • Introduction to Psychsomatics
  • Stonewall: Riot, Rebellion, Activism, and Identity
  • Women in Southern Literature
  • Modern Astronomy and Our Place in the Universe
  • The Political Philosophy of the American Revolution

As is the case for bachelor’s programs in this academic discipline, master’s in liberal arts and humanities programs often offer specialization and concentration options for students to choose from. This allows them to become experts in a specific area of the field. Below, you will find a list of some of these content customization options:

Master’s Degrees in Humanities and Liberal Arts: Concentrations and Specializations

  • American Studies
  • Digital Studies
  • History
  • Religious and Ethical Studies
  • Digital Studies
  • Globalization Studies
  • Writing, Editing, and Publishing
  • Heritage Preservation
  • International Studies
  • English Literature and Language
  • Educational Studies
  • Creative Writing
  • Public History
  • Cultural Studies
  • Dance and Movement Studies
  • Social Justice, Community Development, and Advocacy
  • Women and Gender Studies
  • Health and Wellness Studies
  • Performance Studies
  • General Liberal Studies

Master’s in Liberal Arts/Humanities Degrees: Jobs and Salaries

Professionals with a liberal arts and humanities master’s degree make significantly more than those who have an associate’s or bachelor’s credential. According to, these individuals make approximately $67,000 a year on average. Of course, the salary you make will be heavily dependent upon the specific job you perform. Below, you will find examples of specific occupations requiring a humanities/liberal arts master’s degree alongside their average annual wage. This information is also taken from Payscale.

  • Chief Executive Officer: $139,924
  • Senior Marketing Manager: $101,857
  • Information Technology Manager: $101,769
  • Director of Communications: $80,610
  • Executive Director: $74,466
  • Project Manager: $72,009
  • Instructional Designer: $71,289
  • Marketing Manager: $60,434
  • High School Teacher: $50,372
  • Graphic Designer: $48,344
  • Administrative Coordinator: $46,736
  • Program Coordinator (Non-Profit Organization): $43,269

Other factors may affect your wage with a master’s in liberal arts/humanities, including your particular employer and years of work experience.

Doctoral Degrees in Liberal Arts and Humanities


If it’s your desire to ascend to the very top of your career field, then a doctorate in humanities and liberal arts may be your ticket to success. These terminal degree programs require a very large investment of both time and effort and are generally heavily research-based. Of course, the requirements for this type of graduate degree will vary depending on the type of liberal arts/humanities doctoral degree you decide to pursue. Some examples are listed below:

Types of Doctorate Degrees in Humanities and Liberal Arts

  • Doctor of Liberal Arts (DLA)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Liberal Arts
  • Doctor of Liberal Studies
  • PhD in Humanities

Liberal Arts and Humanities Doctorates: Curriculum

Though some overlap is to be expected, the curriculum for your liberal arts and humanities doctoral degree program should be fairly unique to the type of program you select as well as the school you choose to attend. Even so, we’ve listed some sample course titles to give you an idea of the scope and breadth of doctoral classes in the field. These course titles are taken from actual program offerings.

Humanities/Liberal Arts Doctoral Programs: Sample Course Titles

  • The Challenge of Postmodernism
  • Cyber Ethics
  • Mind-Brain and the Arts
  • Medicine and Morality in Global Perspective
  • Examining the Arts: Great Ideas Reading
  • Scholarly Inquiry and Writing in the Humanities
  • A History of Technology
  • Social Transformation Through Art
  • Humanities Theory, Method, and the Disciplines
  • Topics in Aesthetic History
  • Introduction to Global Humanities
  • Theories, Histories, and Practices of Interdisciplinarity
  • Semiotics and Discourse Analysis
  • Family and Community Ties
  • Modern Literature and the Human Condition

Doctorates in Liberal Arts and Humanities: Jobs and Salaries

Many professionals with a doctor of liberal arts/humanities credential go on to profess at the college level. Although wages are similar for most postsecondary teachers, they do vary based on the subject you teach. Below, we list some of the types of postsecondary teachers in the field of humanities and liberal arts alongside their mean annual wages, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

  • Social Sciences Teacher: $64,370
  • Foreign Language and Literature Teacher: $65,010
  • Communications Teacher: $66,510
  • Art, Drama, and Music Teacher: $66,930
  • Philosophy and Religion Teacher: $69,590
  • History Teacher: $72,690

Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, and your salary will vary based on the university where you teach as well as the number of years of experience you have in the field of liberal arts and humanities.

Liberal Arts and Humanities Rankings