Where can you go with a liberal arts or science degree?
The range of answers might surprise you. For many of our students, a liberal arts or science degree opens doors to further graduate study. For some, their degree here begins a career in the professions — such as medicine, law and education. But for many others, a bachelor's degree provides all the foundation needed for a solid career.
What do employers value about a liberal arts education?
According to several national surveys, major employers tend to look for the right skills rather than the right major. What are the "right" skills? According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers put the following at the top of their collective list:
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Honesty and integrity
- Teamwork skills
- The ability to solve complex problems
- The readiness to adapt in a changing workplace
These transferable skills, i.e. skills employees take with them to any job, are characteristic of a liberal arts education. See NACE's web site for more detail.
An AT&T survey also found that liberal arts majors advanced more quickly to management positions than those with other degrees. The research reflects what many employers already know — that a liberal arts education prepares graduates to become employees with the skills necessary for success.
Famous Liberal Arts Graduates
- John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the U.S. — History major
- Sally Ride, first woman in space — English major
- Brian Lamb, CEO of C-Span — Speech and Communication major
- Ellen Bravo, co-director of National Association of Working Women — Greek and Latin Literature major
- Christopher Meloni, actor, Law & Order: SUV — History major
Making the most of your education in liberal arts and sciences
Choosing a major is an important step toward preparing for a career. And choosing a liberal arts or science education can translate into an extra-wide range of options. For example, history majors can go into government, journalism, or even museum work. And it's not unusual for psychology majors to work in public relations, advertising or market research.
Regardless of your major, there are steps you can take to prepare for a successful career. First and foremost is to understand your possible options and focus your sights on the few that interest you most. To explore careers, there are many resources available through the CLAS advising office and the UCD Career Center.
In general, the following activities can help make you more marketable to potential employers after graduation:
- Add a minor
- Focus your elective classes
- Seek work experience through internships, volunteer positions, or extracurricular involvement
There's just one more thing to say about the career potential in a liberal arts and sciences degree. In the process of earning it, you'll develop the mental muscle to tackle whatever you desire.