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The Career Key By Lawrence K. Jones, Ph.D., NCC
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What are Liberal Arts, Humanities & General Studies Majors?

What are liberal arts? Find out what these majors are, the problems they may pose, their advantages, and steps to take to career success if you choose one. These are programs of study and independent or individualized studies in the liberal arts subjects and humanities disciplines. To a large extent, you will design your own program – combining a study of the arts, sciences, and humanities.

Since each student’s program is unique and varies according to his or her interests, a particular Holland personality type cannot be matched to these majors.  If you choose one of these majors, you will want to design your program in such a way that it matches your personality, for the most part.
Here is a more specific description of these majors:

  • Liberal Arts and Sciences is a structured combination of the arts,
    biological and physical sciences, social sciences, and humanities,
    emphasizing breadth of study. Includes instruction in independently
    designed, individualized, or regular programs.

  • General Studies is an undifferentiated program that includes
    instruction in the general arts, general science, or unstructured
    studies.

  • Humanities/Humanistic Studies is a program that focuses on
    combined studies and research in the humanities subjects as
    distinguished from the social and physical sciences, emphasizing
    languages, literatures, art, music, philosophy and religion.

Graduates with these majors are able to offer employers valuable skills and attitudes:

  • Appreciation of different lifestyles and points of view
  • Balanced knowledge of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities
  • Analytical, problem-solving skills
  • Enthusiasm for learning and independent thinking
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Ability to speak and write effectively
  • Ability to interact with people at different levels

However, liberal arts students usually must make a special effort to learn some of the skills that professional and technical graduates (engineering, business, computer science) often have. They should consider taking supplemental courses, getting work experience (internships, volunteer work, part-time and summer jobs), and doing extracurricular experiences that strengthen their knowledge and skills in such areas as:

  • Leadership, business administration
  • Accounting, and marketing
  • Computer and information systems proficiency
  • Statistics

 

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