Best 20 Online Liberal Arts Degrees in 2024

January 26, 2024 | Admin

Online Bachelors in Liberal Arts

The diverse field of liberal arts covers everything from sociology and psychology to biology, ecology, physics, and even fine arts. As a result, liberal arts students can often create a custom, interdisciplinary slate of classes tailored to their desired career area. This approach can help students pursue majors not already offered in their school’s general catalog – for example, a student might pursue their love of literature and African-American studies by combining both into one Liberal Studies degree. Many students also use this to their advantage by pursuing a major in two fields of study.

Why Attend an Online Liberal Arts Degree Program?

According to U.S. News & World Report, a study conducted by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce that looked at the return on investment at 4,500 U.S. colleges and universities found that the median return on investment of liberal arts colleges after 40 years was significantly higher than the median for all colleges.

Besides the opportunity to earn more money, the primary driver for most people who choose to pursue a liberal arts degree online is flexibility: you can complete your coursework from anywhere with a computer and an Internet connection. The ability to study at any time eliminates the need to choose between family and work obligations or furthering your education and career, making an online program a great option for parents or those who are caregivers for older relatives, as well as those who do not live within easy commuting distance of a program. In many cases, the online format and web conferencing also allow professors greater flexibility in meeting with students outside of traditional office hours.

Many schools will also offer credit for relevant experience or other coursework, helping shorten your pathway to an online bachelor’s degree liberal arts.

Benefits Summary:

  • Little to no in-person work required
  • Rolling/multiple start dates for courses
  • Complete coursework on your schedule, at your pace
  • Continue working full-time while you study
  • Typically work with the same staff and faculty as in-person students

Discover more online liberal arts degree opportunities with our handy degree-finding tools.

We ranked 20 liberal arts and liberal studies degrees offered completely online by some of the country’s most affordable colleges. Read the results below!

Best 20 Online Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts

1. North Carolina A & T State University – North Carolina – 83 Points

North Carolina A & T State University offers a robust online Liberal Studies bachelor’s program with several concentration areas. As a historically black research university, they offer some of the best specializations in African-American Studies and Cultural Studies. Other concentrations include Pre-Law and Women’s Studies. Students may also participate in the Individualized Studies Program to customize their degree.

  • Tuition: $120 per credit hour
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1

2. University of Maine at Augusta – Maine – 74 Points

The Liberal Studies program at the University of Maine at Augusta provides every student a strong foundation in communication skills, creative problem-solving, and research skills across all four main liberal arts subjects. Students can choose a minor subject to concentrate on. The school also offers an associate’s degree program.

  • Tuition: $245 per credit hour
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 14:1

3. Thomas Edison State University – New Jersey – 73 Points

Thomas Edison State University allows Liberal Studies students to choose from two different areas of study formats. With option A, students craft a customized degree with free choice of electives from two or more disciplines. Option B features a set list of 12 concentrations to choose from. This program was designed for adult learners interested in career advancement or changing careers, as well as those interested in seeking graduate education.

  • Tuition: $399 per credit hour
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 15:1

4. Utah State University – Utah – 69 Points

The liberal arts degree program at Utah State University does not require students to choose a second major or concentration, though they are highly encouraged. Students may also specialize their degree with a strong minor or certificate programs. Students from certain states, such as Florida or Massachusetts, may need additional approval to attend.

  • Tuition: $333 per credit hour
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1

4. Clayton State University – Georgia – 69 Points

In order to enroll in Clayton State University‘s online Liberal Studies degree program, students must have completed at least 45 semester credit hours of lower-division study. Completion of English Composition I & II is also required. The choice of a minor is mandatory. Students may be required to participate in an internship/practicum.

  • Tuition: $169 per credit hour
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1

6. Eastern New Mexico University – New Mexico – 68 Points

Eastern New Mexico University offers a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences (BAAS) in Liberal Arts. Courses are delivered online in three formats: Asynchronous with self-paced classroom interactions, Synchronous live classroom, and a solo format with no lectures or classroom interactions. Students will complete coursework in at least one of each area of History, Political Science, Psychology/Sociology, and Religion.

  • Tuition: $169.75 per credit hour
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1

7. University of Northern Iowa – Iowa – 62 Points

The Guided Independent Study BLS degree at the University of Northern Iowa is a good choice for students who need a highly flexible schedule to work at their own pace. Students are allowed to take up to 9 months to complete a course. The program is deemed a good fit for those who already have an associate’s degree or have completed at least 60 hours of transferable credit.

  • Tuition: $320 per unit of credit
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1

8. California State University Chico – California – 57 Points

California State University-Chico has an online program designed for students living outside the city of Chico. This is a degree completion program, in which lower-division courses will be taken at pre-approved 2 or 4-year colleges. Upper division online courses can be taken in the fall, spring and summer semesters.

  • Tuition: $3,934 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 24:1

9. University of Wisconsin Whitewater – Wisconsin – 51 Points

The University of Wisconsin – Whitewater splits its liberal studies program curriculum into five “requirement areas”: Context, Skills, Content, Experience, and Focus Area. These studies foster critical thinking skills, ethical judgments, communication, and foundational knowledge of various disciplines including worldwide cultures.

  • Tuition: $371 per credit (Wisconsin residents)
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1

10. University of Massachusetts Lowell – Massachusetts – 50 Points

Students in the Liberal Arts program at the University of Massachusetts – Lowell can earn their degree in as little as 12 months with full-time enrollment. New applicants can transfer up to 90 college credits into their degree. A high degree of customization is available, with students being allowed to choose 2 concentrations out of 9 different areas.

  • Tuition: $380 per credit; $1,140 per course (3 credits each)
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1

11. Wilmington University – Delaware – 49 Points

Wilmington University offers a completion degree in Liberal Studies for students who already possess an associate’s degree. Students may transfer up to 90 credit hours into the program. A variety of minor fields and certificates allow for specialization. Coursework focuses on career-readiness with classes in professionalism, leadership, and collaboration.

  • Tuition: $381 per credit hour
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 12:1

12. Northwestern State University of Louisiana – Louisiana – 45 Points

The B.A. in Liberal Arts at Northwestern State University of Louisiana features a foreign language requirement, wherein students may take 12 hours in the same language or 6 hours in two languages. The online learning format caters to adult learners with fast-track classes lasting 8 weeks. Some classes require in-person midterm or final exams, though most will allow exams to be proctored at a local testing center or university.

  • Tuition: $375 per credit hour
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1

12. Rogers State University – Oklahoma – 45 Points

Rogers State University offers two specialization options in their Liberal Arts program: English and Global Humanities. Additionally, they offer six minors for further customization: Creative Writing, English, Humanities, Philosophy, Spanish, and Technical Writing. Students may also be interested in the bachelor program in General Studies. The school offers an associate’s program in Liberal Arts as well.

  • Tuition: $329 per credit hour
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1

14. Saint Leo University – Florida – 44 Points

Saint Leo University is a private Roman Catholic university offering a Liberal Studies degree. Lower-division courses are provided through the school’s University Explorations program, with upper-level customization available through elective credits. Students will be required to take some courses in Benedictine values and principles.

  • Tuition: $4,560 per semester
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1

15. Colorado State University Fort Collins – Colorado – 38 Points

Students must transfer at least 40 hours in general education credits in order to enroll in the Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts program at Colorado State University-Fort Collins. There are several minors to choose from for specialization. Class discussions take place both live and asynchronously.

  • Tuition: $476 per credit
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 14:1

16. Faulkner University – Alabama – 37 Points

Faulkner University is a private Christian university affiliated with the Churches of Christ. They offer an arts degree in Humanities of interest to those seeking a liberal arts education with a faith-based approach. Courses include studies in philosophy, literature, foreign languages, Western culture, and the arts.

  • Tuition: $325 per semester hour
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 13:1

17. Portland State University – Oregon – 35 Points

The Liberal Studies program at Portland State University can be focused on either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. Courses cover three major distribution areas: Arts and Letters, Science, and Social Science. General education credit transfers are accepted from most universities and community colleges.

  • Tuition: $188.25 per credit
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 21:1

18. University of Toledo – Ohio – 31 Points

The University of Toledo offers a degree program designed for working adults as well as military veterans. They accept prior learning credits, transfer credits, and military service credits to shorten the time needed to earn a degree. Several pre-formatted areas of concentration are available.

  • Tuition: $383.19 per credit hour
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1

19. University of Illinois at Springfield – Illinois – 30 Points

Students in the Liberal Studies program at the University of Illinois at Springfield study in seven different elective categories: identity, work, nature, institutions, language, heritage, and art. Additionally, there are many minor areas to provide a thematic focus for their degree. Online students may not have access to all minors.

  • Tuition: $362 per credit hour
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 12:1

20. Arizona State University – Arizona – 27 Points

Arizona State University awards a B.A. in Liberal Studies for freshmen as well as those looking for a finishing degree. Students will take a total of 40 classes. Each class lasts 7.5 weeks. Students have a wide degree of course selection to customize their degree.

  • Tuition: $561–$661 per credit hour
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 25:1

What Can You Do with an Online Liberal Arts Degree?

The following are just some of the career options for liberal arts degree holders:

  • Advertising professional 
  • Archivist
  • Artist
  • Events director
  • Financial analyst
  • Graphic designer
  • Human resources specialist
  • Journalist
  • Marketing specialist
  • Public relations specialist
  • Project manager
  • Research analyst
  • Social worker
  • Statistician
  • Teacher
  • Technical writer
  • Web developer

Career Opportunities for Liberal Arts Bachelor Degree Holders

The best online liberal arts degree programs can help open the door to exciting career opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, as of 2019, 62% of liberal arts degree holders worked in one of these fields :

  • Educational instruction and library occupations
  • Management occupations
  • Office and administrative support
  • Business and financial operations
  • Sales and related occupations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for liberal arts degree holders is about $50,000. The following fields are projected to grow by at least 7% before 2030:

  • Secondary school teachers, except special and career/technical education
  • Elementary school teachers, except special education
  • Personal service managers

What is the Cost of a Liberal Arts Degree Program?

The cost of earning a liberal arts degree online can vary significantly depending on the type of institution you’re considering, whether you’re transferring any credits, and how many credit hours you’ll need to earn your degree. That said, there are some national averages that can serve as a rough baseline.

  • Bachelor: According to U.S. News & World Report, the average tuition price of an online bachelor’s degree for in-state, in-district students was about $300 per credit for the 2019-2020 academic year. Compare this to the average per-credit price at private colleges, which was just under $500. In some cases, the on-campus price can appear lower, but it’s important to remember that we’re comparing tuition costs only here, and on-campus tuition prices do not take into account factors like gas spent commuting parking fees, room and board, or other costs commonly associated with on-campus learning.
  • Master: According to U.S. News & World Report, per-credit costs for an online liberal studies master’s degree typically range from $200 to $1,000. Students should expect to pay between $6,000 and $36,000 in total tuition.

Our Ranking Methodology

We ranked 20 liberal arts schools offering an online Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts or degrees in equivalent subject matter. 60% of the ranking comprised estimated tuition, 20% comprised average class size (student-faculty ratio), and 20% comprised undergraduate enrollment. Estimated tuition data was gathered directly from the school’s website. Class size and enrollment were gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Interested in more online learning opportunities? Use our degree finding tools and articles to discover your own path!

Reporting Errors

Employees of the above-listed schools can contact us to report errors in the data presented in this article. We will make corrections as soon as possible.












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