Why This Matters


    A liberal arts degree will equip you with leadership, communication, and cultural awareness skills that can’t be automated. These abilities are increasingly in demand in a variety of industries.


    Liberal arts is a broad, interdisciplinary field that can prepare students to start or advance careers in a variety of areas including writing, history, the arts, social sciences, education, and more.


    A master’s degree can significantly increase your earning potential. Those with a master’s earn an average annual salary of $68,090, compared to $37,690 for individuals with a bachelor’s degree.

Our Research

As a humanities-focused field, most liberal arts master’s programs award a Master of Arts (MA) degree. Our goal for this list was to find the best MA in liberal arts programs.

One of our major criteria was that programs be delivered completely or primarily online. We wanted programs that students could access regardless of their geographic location or availability.

We also sought programs that meet high standards of quality set by objective and knowledgeable parties. Therefore, all of the programs on our list are offered by schools with regional accreditation. Degrees and credits from these types of schools are widely recognized and transferable to other regionally accredited institutions.

Once we narrowed our list of programs, we evaluated each of them on the basis of reputation, faculty, outcomes, cost, and flexibility. Then we calculated an Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 51 hours to write this article
  • 156 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 442 education programs we compared

The Top 26 Online Master’s in Liberal Arts Degree Programs

Best Online Master's in Liberal Arts Degree Programs
Intelligent Pick
Clayton State University
Best in the Southeast
University of North Carolina Wilmington
Best for Diversity Studies
East Tennessee State University
Best for Literary Arts
Fort Hays State University
Best Public University
UNC Greensboro
Best in the Northeast
SUNY Brockport
Best in the Midwest
Kent State University
Most Affordable
University of Illinois Springfield
Best Interdisciplinary Focus
The State University of New York
Best Jesuit University
Spring Hill College
Student Recommended
Stony Brook University
Best Private University
McDaniel College
Best in the Southwest
Arizona State University
Most Customizable
SUNY Empire State College
Most Flexible
The University of Memphis
Best Student Support Services
University of Toledo
Best Psychology Focus
Thomas Edison State University
Most Experienced Faculty
University of Michigan-Flint
Best for Small Class Sizes
Rutgers University
Longest-Running Program
JHU Advanced Academic Programs
Best Christian University
Texas Christian University
Alumni Recommended
Albertus Magnus College
Best Specialization Options
Northwestern University
Best Christian Studies Focus
Dallas Baptist University
Best Cultural Management Focus
University of Denver
Best Creative Thinking Focus
University of Massachusetts Boston
Best for Working Adults
Wesleyan University

What You Should Know About This Degree

Unlike many other advanced degrees that focus on hard skills like business or computing, master’s in liberal arts programs help students develop their soft skills and expand their body of theoretical knowledge. In this way, a master’s of liberal arts is one of the most versatile degrees an individual can earn, as the aptitudes you will develop are applicable to many different types of jobs and careers.

Because of the range of topics covered by liberal arts programs, including history, social sciences, the arts, and literature, most programs are interdisciplinary and highly customizable. If you are considering a master’s in liberal arts, it’s important to think about what your particular interests and career goals are. You will most likely have an advisor who can help you tailor your program to your needs, but it’s beneficial to have an idea of what you hope to get out of the program before starting.

Additionally, because there is no singular career path for graduates of liberal arts programs, predicting job placement and return-on-investment can be difficult. If increased earning potential and career advancement in a certain field is important to you, research the employment growth and salary rates for that specific field before selecting which type of program to pursue.

What’s Next?

As you research online master’s in media communications programs, here are some questions to ask:

  • Does the program have any in-person requirements? Although most of the programs on this list can be completed fully online, some do have minimal in-person requirements for residencies or specific classes. When researching programs, look carefully at their plans of study and how classes are delivered. If you will need to visit campus during the program, it’s wise to start planning now on how you will fit this into your schedule and budget.
  • Does this program offer the specialization I want? Many liberal arts master’s programs are customizable, allowing students to focus in areas like English and literature, the arts, history, or psychology. If you want to focus on a particular topic or field, select a program that gives you that option through electives or a concentration.

Another important step in this process is reviewing application deadlines and gathering the application materials, including transcripts, letters of recommendation, and writing samples.

Now is also a good time to think about financing your master’s degree. If you are currently working, find out if your job offers employee tuition benefits. You can also research scholarships, assistantships, loans, and grants.