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  • Writer's pictureThe Honest Critique


" Liberal arts take the term ‘art' as a learned skill than fine arts. Such a course of study contrasts with those that are principally vocational, professional or technical. A liberal arts degree is a broad term that encompasses studies in the arts, social sciences, and natural sciences, humanities."

English, history, philosophy, communications, and foreign languages are examples of humanities liberal arts majors, while arts majors include music, design, theatre, and painting. Political science, economics, psychology, sociology, and anthropology are examples of liberal arts degrees in the social sciences. A liberal arts degree could include a major in biology, mathematics, chemistry, environmental science, or physics in the natural sciences.

Students who pursue a liberal arts degree are taught to think critically and convey their thoughts. In India, “Experiential Learning” is the school norm, however there is a different standard for students. Liberal Education is the term for this standard. It's a multidisciplinary, broad-spectrum strategy that's becoming increasingly popular in Indian institutions. It is essentially a new wave that takes form of a three-year degree that encompasses skill development and knowledge over variety of disciplines and subjects.

To define it more easily, suppose there is a letter ‘I’, depicting a specialised honours course and a ‘T’ showing a liberal arts degree. The ‘I’, as seen, has only a vertical line which means a focus on one area of interest only, which is the chosen honours course.
The ‘T’ depicting a liberal arts degree has a horizontal as well as a vertical line. The vertical signifies prime focus on the selected major and the horizontal signifies knowledge in other fields of interest.
That is precisely what liberal arts is; focus on major of choice while getting adequate exposure in areas of interest to create an all-rounder candidate.

Liberal arts colleges offer comprehensive programs that include a wide range of subjects, allowing students to develop transferable skills, curiosity, and employability. Most universities include a foundation period during which students are introduced to the various topics and can choose the combination that best suits their interests and professional objectives. Every student learns how to think critically and communicate effectively owing to this thorough and flexible approach.

Furthermore, the course is aimed to assist students in developing all-round capabilities such as research, analytical, problem-solving, oral, and writing capabilities.

A liberal arts education is extensive and diverse.

Students can pick from a variety of disciplines when it comes to courses or liberal arts studies. In various Liberal Arts universities, the most popular fields and liberal arts subjects include:

  • Literature

  • Media Studies

  • History

  • Psychology

  • Political Science

  • Business Studies/Management

  • Economics

  • Natural Science

Interdisciplinary Studies is a cross-disciplinary programme of study that consists of courses from two of four main categories – the Creative and Performing Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences – and is tailored to the student's specific learning and career goals.

A liberal arts education is designed to help us become a well-rounded individual with broad understanding of a number of topics. Every liberal arts college provides degrees in a variety of fields. The beauty of Liberal Arts is that it allows you to integrate courses that might otherwise be considered "academically incompatible". There are no restrictions on how many different combinations you can make.

While a student can choose Business Studies as their Major, they can choose a whole new academic field for their Minor, such as Anthropology. This gives you an advantage over their peers at work. The following are some of the advantages of a liberal arts education:

  • The ability to work in a variety of industries

  • A diverse set of talents that appeal to a variety of employers

  • A solid basis for graduate work in a master's or doctoral programme.

The greatest advantage of a liberal arts education is its adaptability. Students who major in liberal arts go on to become entrepreneurs, teachers, artists, legislators, and active members of the community.

They may construct the future they want with the abilities they learn in a liberal arts curriculum.

In India, more and more colleges are including a liberal arts degree in their curriculum. Some of these are: -

  • Ashoka University (Sonipat, Haryana)

  • Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts (Pune, Maharashtra)

  • Christ University (Bengaluru, Karnataka)

  • KREA University (Sricity, Andhra Pradesh)

  • FLAME University (Pune, Maharashtra)

There are some notable differences between dedicated liberal arts colleges and other universities. Liberal arts colleges typically rely heavily on student participation and encourage a high level of student-teacher interaction, mentorship and collaboration.

Benefits of a liberal arts degree

Below are some of the key benefits of a liberal arts degree:

  • Employable in various sectors: One will gain a strong foundation knowledge in a wider range of subjects than in a single specialised degree.

  • Introduction to career choices: Students may be exposed to disciplines that would otherwise be unknown because of the breadth of disciplines taught in a liberal arts degree, allowing them to make a better decision when choosing their preferred profession.

  • Stepping-stone to other careers: The knowledge achieved during a liberal arts education can help one to better manoeuvre themselves over careers.

  • Appealing to employers: Employers acknowledge that liberal arts graduates possess the transferrable abilities needed to adapt to changing workplace.

  • Foundation for graduate: A potential undergraduate in liberal arts is eligible to learn in a variety of fields and will have the foundation knowledge to pursue postgraduate study in any topic of their choice.

  • Skills to be a valuable community member: A liberal arts education goes beyond the classroom and the workplace to provide graduates with the skills they'll need to succeed in the real world, communicate and understand others, and acquire a broader perspective.

Careers with a liberal arts degree

Instead of choosing a career at the beginning of their degree, liberal arts students are free to focus on learning as much as they can about the world around them, which opens up opportunities across many industries.

While some of the following careers require further education (such as a master’s or doctorate degree) some typical careers with a liberal arts degree include:

  • Academics: The interdisciplinary knowledge and skills gained in liberal arts will lend an extra dimension as one explores a chosen subject.

  • Art: Photography, commercial art, painting, interior, graphic and visual design

  • Interpreter: Liberal arts students learn at least one foreign language, which can help them become a qualified translator, a foreign language teacher or journalist, or work in the tourism and travel industry.

  • Marketing: Whether students choose advertising, public relations, journalism, editing or copywriting, the humanities subject they covered will help them understand people better, while their communication skills will help them be better understood.

  • Political science: Careers in this field include law, politics, business and working for NGOs.

Other career paths: healthcare, business (entrepreneur, salesperson), event planning, finance (banker, accountant, financial analyst), law, psychologist, counsellor.

(Written by Siddhipriya Chatterjee)

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