Possible career paths for liberal arts graduates
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Possible career paths for liberal arts graduates

Possible career paths for liberal arts graduates

A liberal arts degree is often painted as ‘useless’ by those who mistakenly believe graduates will not be able to apply their knowledge; will have difficulty findng employment; or will struggle to develop skills that will help them in their future line of work.

But time and time again, reality dispels this.

A liberal arts or humanities degree encompasses many subjects – just some of which include sociology, English and Political Science.

Many liberal arts graduates continue to be successful in their field of work, suggesting that the programme is still worth your time, money and effort. Prominent individuals such as actress Emma Watson, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Alibaba’s co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma, have all graduated with a liberal arts degree – namely, English Literature, Communications and English degrees respectively.

While diverse in nature, this type of degree can provide you with an arsenal of transferable skills that will prove useful across a range of industries. These include verbal and written communication skills, critical thinking skills, creativity, problem solving, and more.

Meanwhile, key figures at Microsoft believe that the liberal arts will be essential to unlocking the full potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the future.

So, whether you’re interested in pursuing a liberal arts degree or already are, here are some careers you could branch into, according to your major.

Psychology 

A psychology degree can equip students with a range of transferable skills, including in research and communication, both of which can be applied across numerous occupations. Source: Shutterstock

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. Depending on where you pursue your degree, some are more research-oriented than others. Despite that, this degree can open doors to many careers in fields that are both directly and indirectly related to psychology, including:

  • Teaching
  • Journalism or writing
  • Market research
  • Academia (with a postgraduate qualification)

English and Literature 

This degree can help students develop their analytical thinking and evaluation skills. Source: Shutterstock

Students pursuing this degree tend to enjoy reading and writing voraciously. Typically, with this degree, students would have been exposed to a variety of  traditional and modern works of literature, and understand how they work and help you understand how they relate to the wider world. Over the course of study, students will develop their analytical thinking and evaluation skills, and more, which can prepare them for a wide range of careers, including:

  • Teacher
  • Publisher
  • Copywriter
  • Editor

History 

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and former US president George W. Bush studied Medieval History and Philosophy and History respectively. Source: Shutterstock

There are many variations to this degree (e.g. BA History, BA Ancient Classical and Medieval Studies, etc.), but this programme typically exposes students to a wide range of modules. Over your course of study, the content is likely to become more specialised. You may find yourself analysing trends and how they relate to the modern world.

Fun fact: former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and former US president George W. Bush studied Medieval History and Philosophy and History respectively, showing us how diverse your career choice could be with this qualification.

  • Teacher
  • Writer
  • Academia (with a postgraduate qualification)

Communications 

A communications degree prepares students for a wide range of careers across a multitude of fields. Source: Shutterstock

Depending on your course and university, a communications degree (also known as Mass Communications, International Communications, etc.) can be a broad area of study that can prepare you for a variety of communications-related career paths within various industries, be it education or oil and gas. Subjects you may be exposed to include media, ethics and marketing, among others. Potential employment fields or jobs include:

  • Communications executive  
  • Public relations
  • Journalism
  • Marketing

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