Humanities and Liberal Arts Programs In America
Areas of Study
Humanities and liberal arts cover a huge range of subjects, and therefore education options in undergraduate humanities and liberal arts programs are also varied and flexible. Four-year degrees include a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), and Bachelor of Arts and Sciences (BAS/ BASc). Admission for these programs at most universities and 4-year colleges is competitive.
Within these degrees, students have extensive choice of major, double major, or major and minor combinations. These options include, but are not limited to, history, literature, philosophy, ethics, linguistics, foreign languages and cultures, archaeology, comparative religion, philosophy of law, art history and criticism, anthropology, classics, medieval studies, contemporary studies, music, criminal justice/ justice studies, sociology, mathematics and statistics, cognitive science, psychology, geography, psychology, political science, urban studies, gender and women's studies, economics, computer science, African American studies, native/ Aboriginal studies, cultural studies, labour studies, development studies, environmental studies and peace studies. Honors degrees are available, and some institutions also offer diplomas and certificates in arts or general studies.
Generally, individual programs in the various humanities and liberal arts subjects are available under the College or School of Arts, and students can major in the subject of their choice. Some universities and college have liberal science courses (or math, physics, chemistry, computer science, geography, astronomy, etc.) specifically designed for Arts students. Institutions may also have separate Colleges or Schools of Humanities or Social Sciences. Other places to look into are Colleges or Schools of Liberal Arts, Arts and Sciences, Communications and Culture, Arts and Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and other combinations of the above terms. Some large universities have smaller affiliate colleges that specialize in liberal arts as part of their campus; be sure to investigate this option of studying at a smaller "college" within a university. Many Christian and Catholic universities and colleges also specialize in humanities and liberal arts education so don't forget them either.
The investigative nature of humanities and liberal arts courses means that classes tend to be a combination of lecture, theoretical work and class discussion. Emphasis is on analysis, expression, understanding, discovery, development and both intellectual and imaginative skills. Study abroad, field trips or work placements aim to give humanities and liberal arts students a wider context for the ideas they are studying, and interdisciplinary programs (such as global cultures, humanities and arts, european studies) are often available.
Depending on articulation agreements, students can apply to the third year of certain bachelor's degree programs with a completed two-year Associate of Arts (AA) degree. An Associate of Arts can be taken at the university or community college level and can also include many of the specializations mentioned above.
While humanities and liberal arts are geared more towards intellectual rather than vocational skills, community and career colleges may offer diplomas and certificates in professional studies related to the humanities and liberal arts. Some community and career colleges have specific departments of Social Sciences. At this level you can study journalism, library and information technology, child and youth care, police studies, legal studies, criminology, languages and more.
So start exploring now: let Schools in the USA help you learn more about preparing for an education that opens many future career doors.
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