Online Liberal Studies Master’s Degree


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An online liberal studies master’s degree program offers students the opportunity to develop critical thinking and writing skills while gaining different perspectives on subjects such as history, literature, religion, philosophy and the arts.

The degree is not intended to give students any specialized training in a particular field, but rather to enlighten students intellectually. Liberal studies master’s programs “provide an alternative approach to continued learning for adult students who seek broad, interdisciplinary paths to knowledge, usually in a flexible format that accommodates nontraditional students,” according to the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs.

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Course Work

Example courses
Literature and society
Writing and understanding poetry
Ethics, science and culture
Film and media studies
Change, conflict and resolution
The species, the individual and community
Global change

Students in an online liberal studies master’s degree program design an individualized plan of study. While the programs allow for flexibility, most do have some core requirements – students typically must take at least one course each in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

Some programs allow students to focus their course work in concentrations such as biology, English, anthropology, history, religion, linguistics, global studies and medieval studies, among others.

Completion of a thesis or capstone research project is usually required to graduate.

Job Outlook

Median salaries*
Reporter, correspondent or broadcast news analyst $36,000
Craft or fine artist $43,000
Clergy $48,000
Editor $51,000
High school teacher $53,000
Writer or author $55,000
Social and community service manager $58,000
Postsecondary teacher $62,000
Human resources manager $99,000
Advertising, promotion or marketing manager $108,000

*per the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook

Even though the liberal studies master’s degree does not provide students with specialized training in a particular field, the program does allow students to develop critical thinking, communication, writing, analytical, research, problem-solving and decision-making skills that can be useful in many different occupations.

Graduates work in advertising, education, human resources, writing and editing, nonprofits, journalism, ministries and the arts, among other industries. Some seek career advancement in their field or go on to further graduate work. Some occupations may require additional training or certification.

Median salaries range from about $36,000 for a reporter, correspondent or broadcast news analyst to about $62,000 for a postsecondary teacher. Those who pursue management positions, such as an advertising manager, can make more than $100,000 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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