Top 15 Bachelor of Liberal Arts Degree Programs

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Root­ed in clas­si­cal antiq­ui­ty, lib­er­al arts edu­ca­tion pro­vides an insight­ful overview of knowl­edge and skills deemed essen­tial for con­tribut­ing to soci­ety. Anthro­pol­o­gy, Eng­lish, his­to­ry, lin­guis­tics, phi­los­o­phy, reli­gion, polit­i­cal sci­ence, and math are just a few lib­er­al arts sub­jects. There­fore, we began hunt­ing for the Top 15 Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts degree pro­grams avail­able on cam­pus­es across the Unit­ed States.

Using the NCES Col­lege Nav­i­ga­tor data­base, we nar­rowed down pub­lic and pri­vate non­prof­it uni­ver­si­ties con­fer­ring bach­e­lor’s degrees in gen­er­al lib­er­al arts and sci­ences. Results were astro­nom­i­cal, so we nar­rowed them down based on the U.S. News and World Report rank­ings. Prospec­tive col­leges had to be nation­al­ly ranked in the top-tier for their great aca­d­e­m­ic rep­u­ta­tion. Each uni­ver­si­ty also must have been region­al­ly accred­it­ed by an agency rec­og­nized by the U.S. Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion. Since afford­abil­i­ty is key, we record­ed each school’s aver­age under­grad­u­ate tuition and looked for valu­able finan­cial aid per­cent­ages. Oth­er impor­tant fac­tors con­sid­ered were stu­dent-fac­ul­ty ratio, reten­tion, grad­u­a­tion rate, stu­dent ser­vices, study abroad trips, and degree flexibility.

1. Harvard University


Named for the Eng­lish min­is­ter John Har­vard in 1636, Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty is the Unit­ed States’ old­est pri­vate, non­sec­tar­i­an res­i­den­tial research insti­tu­tion. Endowed for $37.6 bil­lion, Har­vard belongs to the pres­ti­gious Ivy League with over 6,700 under­grad and 14,500 post-grad­u­ate schol­ars. Along the Charles Riv­er, Har­vard is nes­tled upon a beau­ti­ful 210-acre urban cam­pus in Cam­bridge just three miles from Boston, Mass­a­chu­setts. Known for pro­duc­ing 150 Nobel lau­re­ates, Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty is ranked the sec­ond-best nation­al uni­ver­si­ty, sec­ond top val­ue, and eighth most inno­v­a­tive school by the U.S. News and World Report. The Prince­ton Review rec­og­nized Har­vard for the #6 “Best Career Prospects.” Har­vard also claimed the top spot glob­al­ly in the Aca­d­e­m­ic Rank­ing of World Uni­ver­si­ties (ARWU) Shang­hai rankings.

Through its Exten­sion School, Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty grants a Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts degree part-time to help non-tra­di­tion­al stu­dents fin­ish their col­lege edu­ca­tion. With an accep­tance rate of six per­cent, admis­sion gen­er­al­ly requires two years (60+) of trans­fer cred­its and high aca­d­e­m­ic mer­it. Once admit­ted, stu­dents explore broad fields to sharp­en their crit­i­cal think­ing, ana­lyt­i­cal, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills for career advance­ment. Course­work is deliv­ered in a hybrid for­mat, but at least 16 cred­its must be com­plet­ed in Cam­bridge. Stu­dents form an informed world­view with rig­or­ous Ivy League cours­es from busi­ness and lit­er­a­ture to inter­na­tion­al rela­tions and reli­gion. Har­vard stu­dents can select from 26 minors for spe­cial­iza­tion. There’s also a Joint Bachelor/Master of Lib­er­al Arts avail­able for expe­ri­enced professionals.

Aver­age Annu­al Tuition: $45,278

Learn more about Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty’s Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts Degree Pro­grams here.

2. Georgetown University


Fol­low­ing the tra­di­tion of Ignatius of Loy­ola, George­town Uni­ver­si­ty is a pre­mier pri­vate, non­prof­it Roman Catholic and Jesuit insti­tu­tion with RU/VH research sta­tus. Car­ry­ing a $1.5 bil­lion endow­ment, George­town is based on a 104-acre urban cam­pus in Wash­ing­ton, DC, along the Potomac Riv­er with aux­il­iary branch­es in Italy, Turkey, and Qatar. Every semes­ter, George­town attracts more than 7,600 under­grad­u­ates and 10,200 post-grad­u­ates from 130+ glob­al nations. Accord­ing to the U.S. News and World Report, George­town is the 21st Best Col­lege, 28th Top Val­ue, and 16th Best Uni­ver­si­ty for the mil­i­tary in Amer­i­ca. Mon­ey mag­a­zine ranked George­town Uni­ver­si­ty 84th Nation­wide with 100 per­cent of finan­cial needs met. The Times High­er Edu­ca­tion crowned George­town the world’s 94th Top University.

The School of Con­tin­u­ing Stud­ies at George­town Uni­ver­si­ty awards a Bach­e­lor of Arts in Lib­er­al Stud­ies with con­ve­nient cours­es dur­ing week­day evenings. From an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary approach, the part-time pro­gram allows stu­dents to devel­op insight­ful views of the world’s past, present, and future. Dis­tin­guished fac­ul­ty moti­vate learn­ers to strength­en their crit­i­cal analy­sis and research skills with an 11:1 ratio. The 120-cred­it pro­gram includes a lib­er­al arts core span­ning Bib­li­cal lit­er­a­ture to the New Mil­len­ni­um. There are 16 pro­gram con­cen­tra­tions offered, includ­ing Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Entre­pre­neur­ship, Inter­na­tion­al Affairs, and Pub­lic Pol­i­cy. Up to 64 cred­its can be trans­ferred from region­al­ly accred­it­ed col­leges. George­town stu­dents also ben­e­fit from one-on-one advis­ing, com­plet­ing an under­grad­u­ate the­sis, and join­ing the Soci­ety of Lib­er­al Studies.

Aver­age Annu­al Tuition: $48,611

Learn more about George­town Uni­ver­si­ty’s Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts Degree Pro­grams here.

3. University of Richmond


Estab­lished in 1830 as a men’s col­lege by Vir­ginia Bap­tists, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Rich­mond has evolved into a pri­vate, non­prof­it co-edu­ca­tion­al lib­er­al arts insti­tu­tion. Split into five schools, Rich­mond edu­cates approx­i­mate­ly 3,200 under­grad­u­ates and 900 post-grad­u­ates annu­al­ly. Sprawled across 350 sub­ur­ban acres, UR is locat­ed in the Com­mon­wealth’s cap­i­tal near the James Riv­er just 44 miles west of Williams­burg. Boast­ing a 93 per­cent reten­tion rate, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Rich­mond is ranked the 32nd Best Lib­er­al Arts Col­lege and 20th Top School for Vet­er­ans by the U.S. News and World Report. Kiplinger’s Per­son­al Finance laud­ed the Uni­ver­si­ty of Rich­mond as Amer­i­ca’s 13th Best Pri­vate Val­ue. In Smart­Money, Rich­mond was the nation’s eighth top pri­vate col­lege ahead of two Ivy League schools.

Designed for adult stu­dents, the Bach­e­lor of Arts in Lib­er­al Arts (BALA) pro­gram is housed in the Uni­ver­si­ty of Rich­mond’s School of Pro­fes­sion­al & Con­tin­u­ing Stud­ies. This 120-cred­it pro­gram teach­es fun­da­men­tal skills for appli­ca­tion in vir­tu­al­ly any career. Stu­dents devel­op well-round­ed char­ac­ter­is­tics like con­fi­dence and com­mu­ni­ca­tion that employ­ers seek. Tak­ing at least one course in his­to­ry, lit­er­a­ture, nat­ur­al sci­ence, math, fine art, and social sci­ence is required for breadth. Trans­fers can apply up to 60 semes­ter cred­its to their degree. Cours­es are sched­uled dur­ing evenings in Rich­mond or at the Week­end Col­lege in Fred­er­icks­burg. Nine diverse con­cen­tra­tions are avail­able, includ­ing Amer­i­can Stud­ies, Edu­ca­tion, Psy­chol­o­gy, Soci­ol­o­gy, and Wom­en’s Stud­ies. Adult learn­ers are assigned lib­er­al arts advi­sors to select an appro­pri­ate curriculum.

Aver­age Annu­al Tuition: $48,090

Learn more about the Uni­ver­si­ty of Rich­mond’s Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts Degree Pro­grams here.

4. Pepperdine University


Affil­i­at­ed with the Church­es of Christ, Pep­per­dine Uni­ver­si­ty is a pri­vate, non­prof­it research insti­tu­tion first found­ed in 1937. In addi­tion to its 830-acre sub­ur­ban cam­pus over­look­ing the Pacif­ic Ocean near Mal­ibu, Pep­per­dine oper­ates six Cal­i­for­nia loca­tions and inter­na­tion­al branch­es from Ger­many to Chi­na. Each year, Pep­per­dine enlight­ens around 3,500 under­grad and 4,000 post-grad­u­ate stu­dents across five schools. The U.S. News and World Report ranks Pep­per­dine as Amer­i­ca’s 52nd Best Uni­ver­si­ty, 25th Top Val­ue, and 42nd Best Vet­er­ans School. Forbes tout­ed Pep­per­dine Uni­ver­si­ty as the nation’s 61st Top Research Pro­duc­er. In the Amer­i­can Coun­cil of Trustees and Alum­ni’s “What Will They Learn?” report, Pep­per­dine scored one of the few “A” grades for a strong core curriculum.

The Frank R. Seaver Col­lege of Let­ters, Arts, and Sci­ences allows Pep­per­dine stu­dents to earn a cross-dis­ci­pli­nary Bach­e­lor of Arts in Lib­er­al Arts. Con­tain­ing 100 semes­ter units, this pro­gram draws on the human­i­ties to lib­er­ate stu­dents to exer­cise their fullest poten­tial. Pick­ing one con­cen­tra­tion from Fine Arts, Human Devel­op­ment, Lan­guage, Social Sci­ence, Math­e­mat­ics,
Sci­ence or Sports Medicine/Physical Edu­ca­tion is required. Stu­dents who progress through the four-year, full-time cur­ricu­lum could earn Cal­i­for­ni­a’s Mul­ti­ple Sub­ject Teach­ing Cre­den­tial. This West­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Schools and Col­leges (WASC) accred­it­ed pro­gram has a 85 per­cent pass rate on the Cal­i­for­nia Sub­ject Exam­i­na­tions for Teach­ers (CSET) exam. Those inter­est­ed in edu­ca­tion will for­feit elec­tives for practicum and stu­dent teach­ing expe­ri­ences. BALA majors could also par­tic­i­pate in the ser­vice-learn­ing Social Action and Jus­tice program.

Aver­age Annu­al Tuition: $48,342

Learn more about Pep­per­dine Uni­ver­si­ty’s Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts Degree Pro­grams here.

5. Indiana University — Bloomington


Endowed for $1.9 bil­lion, Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty Bloom­ing­ton was char­tered in 1820 as the state’s largest flag­ship pub­lic, res­i­den­tial RU/VH research insti­tu­tion. As a mem­ber of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­can Uni­ver­si­ties, IUB serves more than 32,600 under­grad­u­ates and 9,800 post-grad­u­ates with “Pub­lic Ivy” edu­ca­tion. Its vast 1,937-acre urban cam­pus in Indi­ana’s sev­enth-largest city has accom­mo­dat­ed notable alum­ni like Mark Cuban and John Mel­len­camp. The U.S. News and World Report ranked Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty — Bloom­ing­ton as the 75th Best Nation­al Uni­ver­si­ty, 29th Top Pub­lic Col­lege, and 62nd Best School for Vet­er­ans. Newsweek mag­a­zine laud­ed Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty — Bloom­ing­ton as Amer­i­ca’s ninth most gay-friend­ly school. Kiplinger’s Per­son­al Finance named Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty Bloom­ing­ton the Big Ten’s fourth Best Val­ue too.

Recent­ly cre­at­ed in 2014, the Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Stud­ies pro­gram is housed with­in IUB’s Col­lege of Arts and Sci­ences. Under­grad­u­ates have the flex­i­bil­i­ty to devel­op a strong lib­er­al arts foun­da­tion with broad con­cen­tra­tions rather than majors. The 120-cred­it cur­ricu­lum fea­tures CASE course­work for writ­ing, oral com­mu­ni­ca­tion, crit­i­cal analy­sis, cul­ture stud­ies, and sci­en­tif­ic inquiry. Stu­dents work close­ly with fac­ul­ty men­tors to tai­lor their con­cen­tra­tion with cours­es from at least two depart­ments. Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty Bloom­ing­ton has 2,000+ cours­es to choose from. More than 35 cer­tifi­cate options are also avail­able, includ­ing African Stud­ies, Arts Admin­is­tra­tion, Dutch Stud­ies, Entre­pre­neur­ship, Glob­al Human Diver­si­ty, and Pub­lic Affairs. The uni­ver­si­ty’s four-year grad­u­a­tion rate cur­rent­ly aver­ages to 59 percent.

Aver­age Annu­al Tuition: $10,388 (in-state) and $33,741 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty — Bloom­ing­ton’s Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts Degree Pro­grams here.

6. University of Delaware


Trac­ing its his­to­ry back to 1743, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Delaware is the Small Won­der’s largest pri­vate, urban research insti­tu­tion hold­ing land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant sta­tus. Since form­ing the nation’s first study abroad pro­gram in 1923, UD has grown to serve over 22,800 domes­tic and inter­na­tion­al stu­dents. Head­quar­tered on a mas­sive 2,311-acre sub­ur­ban cam­pus in Newark, Delaware oper­ates satel­lite branch­es in Dover, Wilm­ing­ton, Lewes, and George­town with a $1.34 bil­lion endow­ment. The Uni­ver­si­ty of Delaware was ranked the 75th Best Nation­al Uni­ver­si­ty, 29th Top Pub­lic Col­lege, and 62nd Best School for Vet­er­ans by the U.S. News and World Report. For keep­ing stu­dent debt under $25K, Wash­ing­ton Month­ly also named Delaware Amer­i­ca’s 38th Best Bang for the Buck.

The Col­lege of Arts & Sci­ences at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Delaware awards a Bach­e­lor of Arts in Lib­er­al Stud­ies. Stu­dents under­take well-round­ed, cre­ative explo­ration into a self-designed com­bi­na­tion of aca­d­e­m­ic sub­jects. The 124-cred­it pro­gram includes more breadth of dis­cov­ery in the arts, human­i­ties, and social sci­ence than any tra­di­tion­al major. Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary ini­tia­tives must be focused on sub­jects cen­tral to lib­er­al arts, such as Eng­lish, his­to­ry, and phi­los­o­phy. There’s an appoint­ed BALS admin­is­tra­tor to guide majors through their cur­ricu­lum design. Sum­mer research pro­grams are offered with UD’s state-of-the-art insti­tutes, such as the Cen­ter for the Study of Diver­si­ty. Admis­sion will require being already matric­u­lat­ed with a min­i­mum 2.25 GPA and no more than 75 credits.

Aver­age Annu­al Tuition: $12,520 (in-state) and $31,420 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Uni­ver­si­ty of Delaware’s Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts Degree Pro­grams here.

7. Miami University


Named one of Richard Mol­l’s orig­i­nal “Pub­lic Ivies,” Mia­mi Uni­ver­si­ty is Ohio’s sec­ond-old­est pub­lic, mul­ti-cam­pus research insti­tu­tion first found­ed in 1809. Stand­ing atop 2,000 rur­al acres, Mia­mi is head­quar­tered in the sev­en square-mile town of Oxford near the Great Mia­mi Riv­er with region­al cam­pus­es in Mid­dle­town, Hamil­ton, and West Chester. Across the sys­tem, Mia­mi edu­cates more than 21,400 under­grad­u­ates and 2,500 post-grad­u­ates. Mia­mi Uni­ver­si­ty is crowned Amer­i­ca’s 82nd Best Nation­al Uni­ver­si­ty and 34th Top Pub­lic School with the fifth Best Under­grad­u­ate Teach­ing by the U.S. News and World Report. Placed on the Pres­i­den­t’s High­er Edu­ca­tion Com­mu­ni­ty Ser­vice Hon­or Roll since 2007, Mia­mi was ranked in the Top 25 in the Fiske Guide to Colleges.

Boast­ing a reten­tion rate of 89 per­cent, Mia­mi Uni­ver­si­ty offers nine accred­it­ed pro­grams through its Region­als pro­gram. One such option is the Bach­e­lor of Arts or Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Lib­er­al Stud­ies. Non-tra­di­tion­al stu­dents with mul­ti­ple inter­ests can fin­ish a prac­ti­cal, mar­ketable degree by attend­ing cours­es con­ve­nient­ly at Miami’s com­muter cam­pus­es. Small class sizes and flex­i­ble sched­ul­ing accom­pa­ny this two to three-year pro­gram. The lib­er­al arts core teach­es stu­dents to exam­ine assump­tions, explore dif­fer­ing views, and make well-informed deci­sions for eth­i­cal cit­i­zen­ship. Stu­dents com­plete the­mat­ic sequences in Eng­lish, human­i­ties, fine arts, social sci­ences, and nat­ur­al sci­ences. Up to 60 exist­ing cred­its can be applied, and some online course­work could help fill miss­ing gaps.

Aver­age Annu­al Tuition: $14,287 (in-state) and $30,987 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Mia­mi Uni­ver­si­ty’s Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts Degree Pro­grams here.

8. Iowa State University


Under the Mor­rill Act, Iowa State Uni­ver­si­ty was found­ed in 1858 as a flag­ship pub­lic land-grant and space-grant research insti­tu­tion with “very high research activ­i­ty.” As an elite AAU mem­ber, Iowa State edu­cates more than 30,000 under­grad­u­ates and 5,000 post-grad­u­ates across eight col­leges. List­ed on the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places, ISU’s 1,795-acre urban cam­pus dwarfs Ames about 30 miles north of Des Moines. Fol­low­ing the mot­to, “Sci­ence with Prac­tice,” Iowa State is ranked Amer­i­ca’s 108th Best Uni­ver­si­ty, 52nd Top Pub­lic Col­lege, and 89th Best School for Vet­er­ans by the U.S. News and World Report. Forbes mag­a­zine crowned Iowa State Uni­ver­si­ty the 118th Top Research Uni­ver­si­ty Nation­al­ly. The Prince­ton Review also includ­ed Iowa State Uni­ver­si­ty among its “Guide to 353 Green Colleges.”

Iowa State’s Col­lege of Lib­er­al Arts and Sci­ences grants a Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Stud­ies degree to let stu­dents focus course­work in three dis­tri­b­u­tion areas rather than one major. Stu­dents struc­ture their 120-cred­it cur­ricu­lum to cater to their voca­tion­al goals with their BLS advis­er. Up to three-fourths of cred­its are trans­ferrable from accred­it­ed col­leges with a 2.0 GPA or high­er. If need­ed, cours­es can be com­plet­ed at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Iowa or the Uni­ver­si­ty of North­ern Iowa because there’s no res­i­den­cy require­ment. Pass­ing CLEP Sub­ject Tests can help test out of cer­tain cours­es. At least 12 cred­its are required in human­i­ties, social sci­ences, and nat­ur­al sci­ences each. Cer­tifi­cates can be added for Latin Amer­i­can Stud­ies or Lead­er­ship Studies.

Aver­age Annu­al Tuition: $7,736 (in-state) and $20,856 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Iowa State Uni­ver­si­ty’s Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts Degree Pro­grams here.

9. Temple University


Receiv­ing over $224 mil­lion in research fund­ing, Tem­ple Uni­ver­si­ty is a pub­lic, state doc­tor­al-grant­i­ng RU/VH insti­tu­tion fol­low­ing the mot­to that “Per­se­ver­ance Con­quers.” Since its incep­tion in 1884, Tem­ple has expand­ed to enroll more than 28,400 under­grad­u­ates and 9,300 post-grad­u­ates annu­al­ly. With exten­sions abroad in Rome, Tokyo, Sin­ga­pore, and Lon­don, Tem­ple is based on a main 105-acre urban cam­pus in Philadel­phia, Penn­syl­va­ni­a’s largest city. Con­fer­ring Amer­i­ca’s 15th best fine arts degrees, Tem­ple is deemed the 115th Best Uni­ver­si­ty and 55th Top Pub­lic School by the U.S. News and World Report. Forbes ranked Tem­ple Uni­ver­si­ty as the nation’s 147th Best Research Uni­ver­si­ty. The Times High­er Edu­ca­tion also hon­ored Tem­ple in the Top 400 Glob­al Universities.

Housed in Ander­son Hall, the Col­lege of Lib­er­al Arts at Tem­ple Uni­ver­si­ty offers a self-designed, chal­leng­ing cur­ricu­lum for a Bach­e­lor of Arts in Lib­er­al Stud­ies. Pri­mar­i­ly upper-divi­sion, the pro­gram intro­duces inter­dis­ci­pli­nary per­spec­tives to fine-tune stu­dents’ writ­ing, read­ing, and research skills. Cours­es can fol­low one of two tracks: Human­i­ties or Social Sci­ences. The 123-cred­it pro­gram is most suit­able for work­ing adults who have broad goals for their pro­fes­sion­al advance­ment. Tem­ple offers the cours­es at the main, Ambler, and Cen­ter City cam­pus­es with select online options. Stu­dents who sub­mit a port­fo­lio could receive a max­i­mum of six cred­its for life expe­ri­ence. Study­ing abroad for one semes­ter at the Japan cam­pus could help stu­dents appre­ci­ate cul­tur­al diversity.

Aver­age Annu­al Tuition: $15,188 (in-state) and $25,494 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Tem­ple Uni­ver­si­ty’s Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts Degree Pro­grams here.

10. Oklahoma State University


For­mer­ly called Okla­homa Agri­cul­tur­al and Mechan­i­cal Col­lege until 1957, Okla­homa State Uni­ver­si­ty holds HLC-NCA accred­i­ta­tion as a pub­lic, co-edu­ca­tion research insti­tu­tion with land-grant and sun-grant sta­tus. Each semes­ter, more than 23,400 stu­dents enroll in O‑State’s 200+ majors. Since the Mor­rill Act, OSU has occu­pied a 1,489-acre urban cam­pus in Still­wa­ter off High­way 51 just 62 miles west of Tul­sa. Accord­ing to the U.S. News and World Report, Okla­homa State is the 149th Best Nation­al Uni­ver­si­ty, 76th Best Pub­lic Col­lege, and 120th Top School for For­mer Mil­i­tary. Kiplinger’s Per­son­al Finance rec­og­nized OSU as Amer­i­ca’s 64th Best Pub­lic Val­ue. Award­ed the CASE Seal of Excel­lence, O‑State is among Prince­ton Review’s “Col­leges That Pay You Back.”

Okla­homa State Uni­ver­si­ty has an aver­age stu­dent-fac­ul­ty ratio of 20:1 across six col­leges, includ­ing the Col­lege of Arts & Sci­ences. Here under­grad­u­ates can com­plete a Bach­e­lor of Arts or Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Lib­er­al Stud­ies. This eight-semes­ter pro­gram offers greater depth of knowl­edge over a dozen human­i­ties and social sci­ences dis­ci­plines. Stu­dents improve their crit­i­cal think­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills while expand­ing their per­cep­tions of the world. Two areas of con­cen­tra­tion are select­ed from 18, includ­ing Anthro­pol­o­gy, Eng­lish, His­to­ry, Geog­ra­phy, Music, Polit­i­cal Sci­ence, Speech, and The­atre. Some cours­es may be online via Desire2Learn, but most are face-to-face. Stu­dents can join engag­ing work­shops like Amer­i­can Sign Lan­guage and Mem­oir Writ­ing. Par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Cam­bridge Schol­ars Pro­gram allows majors to dis­cov­er Dick­en’s Eng­land too.

Aver­age Annu­al Tuition: $7,778 (in-state) and $20,978 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Okla­homa State Uni­ver­si­ty’s Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts Degree Pro­grams here.

11. University of La Verne


Root­ed in the val­ues of “Knowl­edge, Ser­vice, and Vision,” the Uni­ver­si­ty of La Verne is a pri­vate, non­prof­it co-edu­ca­tion­al col­lege affil­i­at­ed with the Church of the Brethren. With a reten­tion rate of 85 per­cent, La Verne enlight­ens approx­i­mate­ly 2,500 stu­dents from diverse faiths and eth­nic­i­ties. Just 35 miles east of Los Ange­les, the uni­ver­si­ty stands on a 26-acre sub­ur­ban cam­pus with­in the Pomona Val­ley below the San Gabriel Moun­tains. The U.S. News declared La Verne the 160th Best Nation­al Uni­ver­si­ty and 130th Top School for Vet­er­ans with the 24th Best Online Bach­e­lor’s Cours­es. Accord­ing to Forbes, La Verne is the West­’s 88th Top Uni­ver­si­ty. The Uni­ver­si­ty of La Verne has also been des­ig­nat­ed a His­pan­ic-serv­ing Insti­tu­tion (HSI).

The Col­lege of Arts & Sci­ences employs first-rate schol­ar-teach­ers to deliv­er 24 WASC-accred­it­ed bach­e­lor’s degrees. Among them is the Bach­e­lor of Arts in Lib­er­al Arts. La Verne allows stu­dents to design an indi­vid­u­al­ized, mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary major ground­ed in the human con­di­tion. The pro­gram pro­vides the ide­al broad-based spring­board for grad­u­ate school and Cal­i­for­ni­a’s Mul­ti­ple Sub­jects Teach­ing Cre­den­tial. At least one course must be com­plet­ed in fine arts, human­i­ties, for­eign lan­guage, nat­ur­al sci­ences, and social sci­ences. Stu­dents choose their own 20-cred­it con­cen­tra­tion focused on a con­tem­po­rary social, polit­i­cal, or cul­tur­al issue. The B.A. could be fin­ished tra­di­tion­al­ly or in an accel­er­at­ed, evening for­mat for adults aged 25+. Some may join the Glob­al Ideas Hon­ors Pro­gram for study-trav­el trips abroad.

Aver­age Annu­al Tuition: $38,560

Learn more about the Uni­ver­si­ty of La Verne’s Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts Degree Pro­grams here.

12. SUNY Purchase College


With­in the State Uni­ver­si­ty of New York sys­tem, SUNY Pur­chase Col­lege is a com­pre­hen­sive pub­lic, four-year lib­er­al arts insti­tu­tion opened in 1967 by Nel­son Rock­e­feller. Occu­py­ing 550 sub­ur­ban acres, Pur­chase State is locat­ed in a wealthy ham­let of Westch­ester Coun­ty under an hour’s dri­ve from Man­hat­tan. SUNY Pur­chase uses its $63.9 mil­lion endow­ment to encour­age over 4,200 stu­dents to “Think Wide Open.” SUNY Pur­chase was ranked the 171st Best Lib­er­al Arts School and ninth Top Pub­lic Col­lege by the U.S. News and World report. Hon­ored in the Prince­ton Review’s “Best 380 Col­leges,” Pur­chase State has a medi­an mid-career salary of $79,000 accord­ing to PayScale. Kiplinger’s Per­son­al Finance rec­og­nized Pur­chase in the top 100 best pub­lic values.

SUNY Pur­chase Col­lege’s School of Lib­er­al Arts & Sci­ences has cre­at­ed an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary pro­gram lead­ing to a Bach­e­lor of Arts in Lib­er­al Arts. The 120-cred­it cur­ricu­lum includes at least 90 cred­its of lib­er­al arts course­work, but sched­ul­ing is whol­ly indi­vid­u­al­ized. Stu­dents work with two or more fac­ul­ty spon­sors from dif­fer­ent depart­ments to chart their own cours­es. It’s pos­si­ble to devel­op inno­v­a­tive con­cen­tra­tions like Mediter­ranean stud­ies, bioethics, and phi­los­o­phy of sci­ence. Stu­dents can select from 32 estab­lished minors rang­ing from play­writ­ing and Jew­ish stud­ies to arts man­age­ment. The stu­dent-fac­ul­ty ratio of 15:1 allows for per­son­al atten­tion and an engag­ing atmos­phere for cre­ativ­i­ty. Most of the senior year is devot­ed to an inde­pen­dent study project.

Aver­age Annu­al Tuition: $8,267 (in-state) and $18,117 (out-of-state)

Learn more about SUNY Pur­chase Col­lege’s Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts Degree Pro­grams here.

13. University of New Mexico


Estab­lished in 1889 by Bernard Shan­don Rodey, the Uni­ver­si­ty of New Mex­i­co is the Land of Enchant­men­t’s flag­ship pub­lic, four-year research insti­tu­tion. Asso­ci­at­ed with three Nobel Lau­re­ates, UNM edu­cates a diverse stu­dent body with over 19,800 under­grad­u­ates and 7,400 post-grad­u­ates each year. With branch­es from Los Lunas to Rio Ran­cho, the Uni­ver­si­ty of New Mex­i­co is cen­tral­ized on a 600-acre, high-alti­tude urban cam­pus in Albu­querque on the north­ern edge of the Chi­huahuan Desert. Not­ed for a selec­tive accep­tance rate of 46 per­cent, the Uni­ver­si­ty of New Mex­i­co is ranked Amer­i­ca’s 180th Best Nation­al Uni­ver­si­ty and 100th Top Pub­lic Col­lege by the U.S. News and World Report. The Uni­ver­si­ty of New Mex­i­co is also hon­ored as Wash­ing­ton Month­ly’s 116th Best school for Civic Engagement.

Under­grad­u­ates who feel too restrict­ed in spe­cial­ized majors can pur­sue the Uni­ver­si­ty of New Mex­i­co’s Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts. The Col­lege of Arts & Sci­ences attracts stu­dents into this indi­vid­u­al­ized, four-year pro­gram by offer­ing flex­i­bil­i­ty to com­bine 3+ con­cen­tra­tion areas. It’s the #1 degree award­ed to extend­ed learn­ing stu­dents. The BLA inte­grates human­i­ties, social sci­ences, visu­al arts, and nat­ur­al sci­ences into one well-round­ed pack­age. Stu­dents hold­ing at least 12 cred­its with a 3.5 GPA or bet­ter can declare Hon­ors. Course­work is mon­i­tored eas­i­ly on Lobo­Trax for cus­tomiz­ing a plan of study. Stu­dents can fol­low estab­lished themes like Human Devel­op­ment and Cul­ture, Orga­ni­za­tion­al Devel­op­ment, Health & Well­ness, or Gen­der Stud­ies. There’s also a Bach­e­lor of Inte­gra­tive Stud­ies offered.

Aver­age Annu­al Tuition: $7,071 (in-state) and $21,302 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Uni­ver­si­ty of New Mex­i­co’s Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts Degree Pro­grams here.

14. Bowling Green State University


Bowl­ing Green State Uni­ver­si­ty was found­ed in 1910 under the Lowry Nor­mal School Bill but tran­si­tioned into a com­pre­hen­sive pub­lic, state-fund­ed research insti­tu­tion. Encom­pass­ing 1,338 sub­ur­ban acres, BGSU has a res­i­den­tial cam­pus in Bowl­ing Green around 15 miles south of Tole­do and an off-cam­pus exten­sion in Huron. More than 300 clubs keep Bowl­ing Green State Uni­ver­si­ty’s approx­i­mate­ly 14,800 under­grad­u­ates and 2,800 post-grad­u­ates high­ly engaged. Accord­ing to the U.S. News, Bowl­ing Green State is the coun­try’s 185th Best Uni­ver­si­ty, 103rd Top Pub­lic School, and 147th Best Col­lege for Vet­er­ans. Forbes crowned Bowl­ing Green State Uni­ver­si­ty as the Mid­west­’s 157th Top High­er Learn­ing Cen­ter over­all. Bowl­ing Green State Uni­ver­si­ty also was the high­est-ranked Ohio col­lege in Wash­ing­ton Month­ly’s “Best Bang for the Buck” list.

Hold­ing HLC-NCA accred­i­ta­tion, Bowl­ing Green State Uni­ver­si­ty offers a Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Stud­ies pro­gram in its Col­lege of Arts & Sci­ences. The broad-based BLS major is designed for work­ing adults who’ve had their high­er edu­ca­tion dis­rupt­ed. Stu­dents receive the valu­able oppor­tu­ni­ty to per­son­al­ize their stud­ies based on pre­vi­ous cred­its and career inter­ests. At least 30 trans­ferrable cred­its are required for entry into the 122-cred­it pro­gram. Bach­e­lor’s stu­dents devel­op an inter­de­part­men­tal cur­ricu­lum with cours­es in human­i­ties, arts, writ­ing, behav­ioral sci­ence, and nat­ur­al sci­ence. BGSU’s mis­sion is to pre­pare self-reliant cit­i­zens who lead suc­cess­ful lives with eth­i­cal integri­ty and social respon­si­bil­i­ty. Online learn­ing is avail­able for some cours­es via Can­vas. The Cen­ter for Inter­na­tion­al Pro­grams also has abroad options.

Aver­age Annu­al Tuition: $10,796 (in-state) and $18,332 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Bowl­ing Green State Uni­ver­si­ty’s Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts Degree Pro­grams here.

15. University of Houston


As one of four Texas uni­ver­si­ties with a Phi Beta Kap­pa chap­ter, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hous­ton is a pub­lic, mul­ti-cam­pus doc­tor­al-grant­i­ng insti­tu­tion with “very high research activ­i­ty.” With an eco­nom­ic impact sur­pass­ing $3 bil­lion, Hous­ton serves more than 34,800 under­grad­u­ates and 7,800 post-grad­u­ates each year. Sur­round­ing Cullen Boule­vard, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hous­ton has a 667-acre urban cam­pus in South­east Texas with­in Amer­i­ca’s fourth most pop­u­lous city. Retain­ing 83 per­cent of fresh­men, this top-tier col­lege holds SACS accred­i­ta­tion as one of the Prince­ton Review’s “Best 380 Col­leges.” The U.S. News and World Report ranked Hous­ton as the 187th Best Uni­ver­si­ty, 105th Top Pub­lic School, and 149th Best Col­lege for Vet­er­ans as well as the 303rd Top Glob­al University.

Nick­named the “triple-minor major,” the Bach­e­lor of Arts in Lib­er­al Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hous­ton blends inte­gra­tive dis­ci­plines in the Col­lege of Lib­er­al Arts and Social Sci­ences. This flex­i­ble, indi­vid­u­al­ized pro­gram spans four years full-time with over 40,000 course com­bi­na­tions pos­si­ble. Stu­dents com­plete a lib­er­al arts major while select­ing three minors, such as Busi­ness, Biol­o­gy, Eng­lish, Art His­to­ry, Logis­tics, Anthro­pol­o­gy, Clas­si­cal Stud­ies, or Glob­al Affairs. At least 15 to 18 cred­its must be com­plet­ed in each minor. Stu­dents nur­ture their under­stand­ing of the world and appre­ci­a­tion for human diver­si­ty by ven­tur­ing abroad. Vir­tu­al­ly every inch of the globe is acces­si­ble from Munich and Venice to Dubai and Syd­ney. One practicum place­ment is also required for job mar­ket experience.

Aver­age Annu­al Tuition: $8,759 (in-state) and $20,519 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hous­ton’s Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts Degree Pro­grams here.

Why Should I Get a Liberal Arts Degree?

Many stu­dents run from lib­er­al arts majors in fear of bad job and salary prospects. How­ev­er, earn­ing a bach­e­lor’s degree in lib­er­al arts can actu­al­ly unlock oppor­tu­ni­ties in the work­force. In Forbes mag­a­zine, a lib­er­al arts edu­ca­tion was recent­ly deemed the tech indus­try’s “Hottest Tick­et.” Com­pa­nies are search­ing for well-round­ed pro­fes­sion­als who are curi­ous, adapt­able, task-ori­ent­ed, and supe­ri­or at com­mu­ni­cat­ing. These char­ac­ter­is­tics per­fect­ly sum up a lib­er­al arts grad­u­ate. Study­ing lib­er­al arts can qual­i­fy you for sev­er­al fast-grow­ing jobs, includ­ing inter­preter, car­tog­ra­ph­er, oper­a­tions research ana­lyst, and statistician.

Pur­su­ing a gen­er­al­ist degree in lib­er­al arts can reap great mar­ket val­ue. Accord­ing to Forbes, lib­er­al arts majors gar­ner the high­est aver­age start­ing salary at $43,100. That’s sig­nif­i­cant­ly high­er than his­to­ry, Eng­lish, phi­los­o­phy, and visu­al arts majors. Since 2011, salary trends have risen by 3.9 per­cent, so it’s clear employ­ers are reward­ing a lib­er­al arts edu­ca­tion. You may not earn as much mon­ey as an engi­neer­ing major, but these Top 15 Bach­e­lor of Lib­er­al Arts Degree Pro­grams can fos­ter entry into many careers.


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