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What is a Liberal Arts Degree?

There’s been a lot of talk about the value of a liberal arts education of late. It’s a concept that is still very new to India. So what is it and how can it help you?
BY Rimi Chakraborty |   30-07-2014
If you read the term ‘Liberal Arts’ in any college curriculum, don’t think that it aims to take you back in time to some freedom movement! Liberal Arts  is actually an ancient curriculum which focuses on having a student study a varied grouping of subjects in order to become a well-rounded and knowledgeable graduate. A liberal arts degree can help you get better opportunities, and create a strong base for your career, both professionally and intellectually.

Yesterday and Today’s Liberal Arts education

Liberal Arts refers to the skills required for a person to be an active part of civic life.The concept harks back to the time of the ancient Greeks, when students were required to study a composition of grammar, rhetoric, and logic – to which arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy were later added.

Today, liberal arts students study an interdisciplinary program which covers subjects from the humanities (ie. art, literature), to the sciences (under which subjects such as psychology, biology, and mathematics fall).

Students get to choose their course load from a series of options under each heading, and are generally required to fulfill a certain number of credits in various subjects in order to qualify for their degree. This course-load is studied alongside the core subjects required for the focused track which students are studying (ie. Politics or Mathematics). Each institution has its own regulations about course-loads and subject offerings.

Where can you study Liberal Arts?

Liberal Arts is a popular field of study in the U.S., although it is increasingly reappearing as a part of European university curriculums as well. The degree in the U.S. is offered as four year undergraduate course after which students can progress on to a postgraduate degree if they choose to.

If you’re looking for a global smattering of options for where to study a liberal arts based curriculum, check out Penn State University (U.S.), Acadia University (Canada), Richmond University (U.K.), John Cabot University (Italy), Yale-NUS University (Singapore), and Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities (India).

Benefits of a Liberal Arts Degree

With a degree in liberal arts one can venture into many fields of work – including, but not limited to academics, as an interpreter, in art (photography, graphic design), as a lawyer, in NGO-work, an event planner, researcher, banker, psychologist, journalist, in the tourism industry.

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