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Liberal Arts Jobs: What Can I Do with a Liberal Arts Degree?

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What can you do with a liberal arts degree? A liberal arts degree can teach you the necessary skills to thrive in any industry. Students are encouraged to think differently, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively.

If you’re wondering where to go next in your career, here are some liberal arts degree jobs to explore. 

Liberal arts degree jobs

Journalism

Your writing skills will develop throughout your liberal arts degree—you’ll be encouraged to engage with difficult texts and share ideas with your peers. Through these discussions, you’ll gain different modes of thinking.

These skills will help you gain a competitive advantage in the world of journalism. Working as a top-level journalist, you can earn up to US$65,000 on average in the United States.

Social Impact

Stephanie Moya, who studied political science during her undergrad at University of California, Riverside, learned how to think ethically as a liberal arts major.

“Throughout the degree, we learned to focus on solving inequality issues,” she explains. “We specifically focused on the inequality issues between women, and African Americans.”

These learnings can be applied to a role in a non-profit organization, or in social services, where you can earn anywhere between US$61,000 and US$91,000 on average in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Startups

During a liberal arts degree, you’re also encouraged to build your communication and problem solving skills, helping in a fast-paced startup environment.

Melissa Wright, now senior associate director of the Center for Engaged Pedagogy at Barnard College in New York City, was a liberal arts major herself.

After finishing a BA in English and German from Canisius College and an MA in English from the University at Buffalo, she got a job working for a tech startup.

“I was quite surprised at entry level at how my employers saw my liberal arts degree,” she says. “I was able to communicate effectively, and transfer skills like problem-solving into real-world problems.”

Marketing & PR

Going into finance is not the most obvious liberal arts degree job for graduates. Yet Xiaohan Shi, who studied a liberal arts degree in history, got a job working as a PR assistant in a bank after graduation.

The bank specifically wanted to hire someone with a liberal arts degree. “They wanted someone with the soft skills to communicate properly,” Xiaohan explains.

“For example, they wanted me to organize a conference, which they wanted to style in a very traditionally Chinese way; my history knowledge would help to inform their theme.”

Roles in marketing and communications span across industries, requiring communication skills and research expertise. Working as a marketing manager, you can earn up to $104,000 on average in the US, according to Glassdoor.  

Are there liberal arts degree jobs in the corporate world?

While you may expect the business world to be filled with financiers and economics graduates, the range of skills you gain during your liberal arts degree can also set you in good stead for a corporate career.

Melissa from Barnard College emphasizes the value of learning a language during your liberal arts degree.

“I ended up becoming a German major, which is the leading language in the global economy,” she explains. “I became a consultant, where I used the skills from my study abroad to travel internationally, and ease into conversations during business meetings.”

Stephanie is now an MBA student at UC Riverside, planning to enter a business-focused role after graduation. She says she’s been able to transfer the ethical reasoning skills she learned during her liberal arts degree into a business context.

“I was afraid I wasn’t going to do as well in the MBA because I didn’t have that business background,” says Stephanie.

“But during my first quarter at business school, I can really apply those skills in understanding diversity to the business world, because it’s quickly changing—a lot of businesses are pushing for more diversity.”

Why choose business school?

You can enter the business world straight after a liberal arts degree. Or, like Stephanie, you could enroll in a graduate business school program—an MBA or a business master’s degree—to help you make the switch.

An MBA, for example, will help you gain the foundational business knowledge to build a business career in any industry, including consulting, technology, and finance.

There are so many advantages to doing an MBA, but at its core an MBA will help you build you professional network, accelerate your career progression, and increase your earning potential.

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MBA graduates from top business schools can expect to earn upwards of US$100,000 three years after graduation. Jobs for MBA graduates include exciting roles like management consultant, investment banker, and project manager.

And top MBA employers include Amazon, Google, Goldman Sachs, and more Fortune 500 companies as well as startups and social enterprises.

Many graduate business schools are especially interested in recruiting liberal arts majors to add diversity to their classes. Xiaohan Shi, for example, is now pursuing an MBA at EDHEC Business School in France, in the hopes of landing a corporate role after graduation.

There are various jobs for liberal arts majors that will value your undergraduate degree. However, investing in a graduate business school degree on top of your liberal arts degree is a differentiator, that will widen your options and help take your career forward.

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