Why This Matters


    Studies show that employers rank liberal arts skills like critical thinking above technical aptitudes when hiring.


    From financial analyst to education administrator, the professional choices for someone with a liberal arts master’s degree are nearly endless.


    A master’s degree positions you for promotions and increased responsibilities at work, and rewards your expanded job description with a higher average salary range.

Our Research

Almost all of our chosen programs lead to a master of arts in Liberal Studies. They feature either on-campus classes or remote, online learning pathways — some offer both — so you can choose the option that works best for you and your schedule.

Each of these colleges and universities is accredited by a regional credentialing organization, such as the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools for those located in the mid-Atlantic area and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges for those in the South. There is no national organization that accredits liberal arts programs, but regional accreditors look for evidence of strong, relevant curriculum and professors with the top degrees in their fields.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 76 hours to write this article
  • 163 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 210 education programs we compared

The Top 40 Master’s in Liberal Arts Degree Programs

Best Master's in Liberal Arts Degree Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

A master’s degree in the Liberal Arts is considered a generalist degree. It is not specifically geared toward one profession — such as, say, a master’s in K-12 education would be. A Liberal Arts degree offers the sort of classical education that spans professions, so it is appropriate and can be useful for just about anyone in the work force.

People in business, education, health care, and other fields often choose Liberal Arts master’s degrees as a way to pursue leadership skills, such as the ability to communicate effectively to others. It’s often possible to customize your program to suit your own professional interests. Someone hoping to teach high school-level history, for example, might focus their coursework on global civilization or current events. This sort of flexibility is a hallmark of a Liberal Arts program.

Another primary characteristic of a master’s program in Liberal Arts is its interdisciplinary nature. Since the liberal arts span the professions, so, too, do most programs. Many feature core courses that discuss great ideas in philosophy and global learning, and then they allow students to choose courses in the area that interests them and applies to their own professional aspirations.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Liberal Arts programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? All that is required to be eligible for most master’s programs in the Liberal Arts is an undergraduate diploma from an accredited college or university. Some programs require an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5. You should find eligibility requirements and application information on the website of your chosen program.
  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Online master’s programs hold classes either at one set time (synchronously) or via a more flexible schedule that allows students to watch classes and submit assignments when it’s convenient for them (asynchronously). If you are continuing to work while pursuing your degree, an asynchronous model may work better, as you can tackle your school work when you’re not working.

If you have questions while researching potential programs, don’t hesitate to call or email a school’s admissions office. Counselors should be available who can answer your questions and help you determine if the program is a good fit for your needs.

A counselor can also help you plan for financial aid, which may require a separate application and have its own deadline. In addition to school-based aid, you may find scholarships, grants, or loans through any professional organizations you belong to, or even through your employer.