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2023 Best Online Liberal Studies Degrees

By Holly Johnson | Updated 12/22/2022
2023 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Liberal Studies Badge

Online bachelor's degrees in liberal studies are often highly customizable programs that enable students to select their own combination of courses based on personal and professional interests. However, what most programs have in common is a focus on transferable skills, especially in analysis, problem solving, and communication. Graduates with this degree pursue a wide variety of occupations, including bank manager, financial consultant, information technology manager, and many more.

Liberal studies programs are frequently designed for students who have completed some college coursework or perhaps an associate degree at another accredited institution. Once accepted, students may be allowed to select just one area of concentration or possibly combine two or more subjects. These programs often culminate in some kind of senior capstone project.

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Online Liberal Studies Bachelor's Degrees You May Be Interested In

2023 Best Online Liberal Studies Degrees

RankSchool Salary Score Median Starting Salary
# 1 #1 Thomas Edison State University 100 100 $76,418
# 2 #2 University of Pennsylvania 100 $60,724
# 3 #3 Drexel University 100 $60,242
# 4 #4 University of Arkansas Grantham 99 $56,582
# 5 #5 Montana State University - Billings 96 $51,489
# 6 #6 Western New Mexico University 95 $50,375
# 7 #7 Purdue University Global 89 $46,308
# 8 #8 Hodges University 89 $46,081
# 9 #9 Texas Tech University 86 $45,043
# 10 #10 Texas Woman's University 86 $44,994

#1 Thomas Edison State University

  • Salary Score: 100
  • Median Starting Salary: $76,418
  • Locations: Trenton (NJ)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Thomas Edison State University (TESU), a public university, offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies. Most full-time students complete this 120-credit hour program in four to five years. To be admitted, applicants must be at least 20 years old or 18 if they are active military members. The school accepts transfer credits from other accredited institutions and may offer credit for prior military and professional training.

TESU delivers its online courses through the Moodle platform. For this major, students can combine coursework from two or more liberal arts subject areas, which include humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and more. In order to graduate, students must be able to define the major concepts, interrelationships, and historical development of their subject areas.

#2 University of Pennsylvania

  • Salary Score: 100
  • Median Starting Salary: $60,724
  • Locations: Philadelphia (PA)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) is a private, nonprofit institution that is considered an Ivy League school. It has a highly competitive acceptance rate of 7.7% and a graduation rate of 97%. Its online Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences requires the completion of 30 course units, which is the equivalent of 120 credit hours.

Penn students use the Canvas learning system to access their online courses. Liberal studies courses may include scientific reasoning, writing, digital culture, statistics, and ethics. Overall, the liberal studies program is designed to help students develop communication abilities, understand multicultural perspectives, and apply their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. To graduate, students must complete a capstone project and a senior portfolio.

#3 Drexel University

  • Salary Score: 100
  • Median Starting Salary: $60,242
  • Locations: Philadelphia (PA)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Through Drexel University, a private, nonprofit institution, students can earn an online Bachelor of Science in General Studies. The program caters to applicants who have completed up to 135 quarter credits or 90 credit hours at other accredited colleges and want to complete their degree. Drexel's schedule, which is organized into four 10-week quarters a year, may allow some students to finish their degree requirements more quickly.

Online students use the school's proprietary learning platform, Drexel LEARN, to complete their courses. General studies majors can customize their degree programs with courses concentrating on business, counseling, education, criminal justice, project management, and more. To graduate, students must also complete a senior project.

#4 University of Arkansas Grantham

  • Salary Score: 99
  • Median Starting Salary: $56,582
  • Locations: Kansas City (KS)
  • Accreditation: DEAC

The University of Arkansas - Grantham (UArk) is a public university that offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. For this degree, students must complete the university's core course requirements as well as the requirements for the minor of their choice, which typically includes the completion of a total of 120 credit hours.

UArk students use the Blackboard learning management system to access their online courses. Core courses may include English literature, calculus, art appreciation, economics, and U.S. history. Some of the many options for minors are African American studies, criminal justice, geography, Spanish, writing, political science, and communications. Some of these minor programs include certificates. All students must complete a senior capstone course.

#5 Montana State University - Billings

  • Salary Score: 96
  • Median Starting Salary: $51,489
  • Locations: Billings (MT)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Through Montana State University - Billings (MSUB), a public institution, students can earn an online Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies. This degree completion program allows students to transfer up to two years' credits from other accredited institutions, and it requires the completion of a total of 120 credit hours. MSUB accepts all applicants, and its graduation rate is 35%.

At MSUB, online courses are delivered through the Brightspace learning platform. Enrollees in the liberal studies program can select from a wide range of business-oriented concentrations, including Management and Public Relations, Organizational Communication and Human Resource Management, and Health Administration and Organizational Communication.

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