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Why students could make a beeline for liberal arts

Posted on May 3, 2016
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Liberal Arts

Liberal arts are gaining acceptance and popularity with students pursuing higher education the world over, though some countries encourage it more than others.

Before going on to why students may be attracted to pursuing an education in liberal arts, we could see what falls under its purview.

Falling under its wide ambit are interdisciplinary programmes, which cover areas within humanities, including social and natural sciences.

Disciplines falling under humanities are wide ranging from arts, music, and theatre to philosophy, linguistics, theology. Social sciences generally refer to subjects like sociology, economics, history, political science, law and psychology, to name a few. Natural sciences include under its umbrella botany, zoology, chemistry, physics, archaeology, geology, etc.

Higher education is offered in liberal arts in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia and other developed economies. Students could also opt for a liberal arts subject while pursuing professional courses such as management, engineering and accounts, among others.

Although many universities offer four-year degree programmes in liberal arts, certain institutions offer specialised one-year courses.

Certain students might pursue these courses in dedicated liberal arts institutions, while others would like to pursue them in universities. While dedicated liberal arts colleges would focus on the proactive participation of students, frequent student-teacher interaction and internship, universities give precedence to research. Universities will more likely have full-time staff teaching these specialised subjects. This is, however, not likely in liberal arts colleges, which may not have sufficient infrastructure or may not be tied up with organisations that provide internships for students who graduate from there.

The major gains for a student pursuing liberal arts is knowledge in a wide variety of subjects as opposed to those pursuing specialisation only in one subject or vocational courses. In other words, students with a degree in liberal arts can hop over to other disciplines, while no such option exists for students pursuing only one area of study.

Students educated in liberal arts are obviously empowered to venture beyond their workplace and dabble in activities affecting communities directly. They would also be in a position to understand public life much better.

Career options for persons armed with a degree in liberal arts include visual arts such as photography, painting, sculpting, drawing, etc. Alternatively, they can become counsellors, teachers, interpreters, and professionals in tourism and travel industry and not-for-profit organisations, market research, environment, policy making and so on.

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