Why study the liberal arts?

Get a better job

Studying the liberal arts is more than just picking one subject and memorizing facts—it’s about learning a whole new way to examine the world. Skills like critical thinking, innovation and creativity are exactly what employers want, and they’re exactly what a liberal arts education teaches. These talents are so in demand in the job market because they’re rare. When employers find students who've internalized the creative problem-solving skills of the liberal arts, they hold on to them.

A study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities found that nearly three-fourths of employers nationwide would advise students to pursue a well-rounded liberal arts education.

Never be irrelevant

You’ve probably heard about the power of technology and automation to reshape the economy—and to take jobs with it. First it was workers in the service industry and on the factory floor, but now it’s expanding to include many more areas. The values of the liberal arts never become obsolete. In fact, even as more and more jobs are automated with technology, many experts think that the skills of a liberal arts education will only become more valuable to employers, because they are the kinds of skills that can’t be done by computers. The world will always need innovative problem solvers who can bring critical thinking and creativity to finding new solutions.

“In an age when parts or all of many jobs are constantly going to be exposed to digitization, automation, and outsourcing … it is not only what you know but how you learn that will set you apart. Because what you know today will be out-of-date sooner than you think.”  

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Friedman

74% of employers would recommend a liberal arts education to a young person they know as the best way to prepare for success.

Flexibility and freedom

Students with liberal arts degrees go on to professions in a variety of careers, precisely because the skills they learn have such wide-ranging applications. With a liberal arts education, students can work almost anywhere.

93% of all employers agree with the statement that “a candidate’s demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than their undergraduate major.”

Be more human

What does that mean? Well, simply, the liberal arts helps students gain an appreciation of and insight into the things that bring joy to many people lives: art, music, literature, dance. With a liberal arts understanding, you’ll gain a richer exposure to the worlds, and gain the ability to form deeper understanding and bonds with them.

Want to know more about VCU's College of Humanities and Sciences? Have questions about our many departments and schools? Kenedy Edmonds, recruitment coordinator, has answers. You can reach her at askchs@vcu.edu.