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What Can You Do with a Liberal Studies Degree?

pursuing a liberal studies degree

Have you heard the joke about the liberal studies major?

A liberal studies degree won’t teach you enough to get a job, but it will teach you enough to be annoying to all of your friends.

Or what about this one?

The science major asks, “Why does it work?”

The engineering major asks, “How does it work?”

The business major asks, “How much will it cost?”

The liberal arts major asks, “Do you want fries with that?”

While liberal studies majors have been the punchline of many a joke, the joke isn’t on them at all.

A liberal studies degree is an interdisciplinary degree that incorporates the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities. While it’s true the program won’t teach you to do one specific job, what you gain from a liberal studies degree is more marketable than you might realize.

Because the program is broad in scope, students learn to be adaptable in many areas. Graduates tend to be more well-read and broadly educated than their friends and family, and they are savvy at writing, critical thinking, collaborating and analyzing problems from a variety of perspectives.

Rodriquez says in the 25 years he’s worked for CLS, he’s seen graduates enter and become successful in almost every imaginable field.

“In a nutshell, interdisciplinary education focuses on learning to ‘understand,’ and not just learning to ‘do,’” said Frank Rodriquez, director of operations and student support services for the University of Oklahoma College of Liberal Studies. “A good interdisciplinary education will give students an employment advantage, in that they will have a broader perspective on many of the issues and problems they might encounter on the job. Interdisciplinary education can enhance both critical thinking and problem solving, both of which are highly desirable skills in today’s workplace.”

What does this all boil down to when it comes to a career? Rodriquez says in the 25 years he’s worked for CLS, he’s seen graduates enter and become successful in almost every imaginable field.

“We have had graduates who became bankers, business owners, computer programmers, lawyers, physicians and oil and gas employees, even college professors. That is just a brief sampling,” he said. “As a liberal studies graduate myself, I can say that my life was positively changed in so many ways as a result of the Master of Liberal Studies degree. I feel like my liberal studies degree was the best education experience of my life – much more intellectually satisfying and stimulating than studies I completed as a doctoral student. So, I guess the biggest advantage that I have gained from the liberal studies degree is a greatly enriched life of the mind.”

So, if you’re thinking about a degree in liberal studies to advance your career or start a new one, go for it. Chances are, you won’t end up flipping burgers for a living.

Learn more about our Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies.

Tami Althoff
Tami Althoff holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is a reporter with more than 20 years’ experience working for newspapers, including The Oklahoman. She has covered everything from breaking news to local music and art. She loves sports, especially OU football and basketball games, where she often embarrasses her children by yelling too loudly.

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