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Online Liberal Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Degree Programs

The liberal arts, humanities, and social sciences are overlapping terms for a collection of related but distinct disciplines that focus on documenting and studying various aspects of the human existence and the human experience. Among the disciplines traditionally associated with the humanities are fine arts (creative writing, dance, music, theater, and visual art), history, literature, and philosophy, while the social sciences encompass a number of additional fields, including anthropology, linguistics, political science, psychology, and sociology.

Taken together, the humanities and social sciences form a key pillar in a modern liberal arts education and are foundational elements of a college-level general education curriculum. Individually, the fields that comprise the humanities and social sciences are the focus of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in creative writing, history, literature, political science, sociology, and other disciplines. Undergraduate and graduate degrees in many of these liberal arts, humanities, and social sciences subjects can be earned through online programs offered by a number of accredited, non-profit colleges and universities.

Types of Online Liberal Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Degree Programs

OnlineEducation.com researches online degree programs and classifies programs based on degree level and subject area. Undergraduate and graduate programs in various liberal arts disciplines are sorted by their curricula rather than by their formal designations and grouped accordingly in order to assist students in the potentially difficult process of finding programs that align with their educational needs and professional goals. All of the programs listed on the site are offered by accredited public or private, non-profit colleges and universities, and programs must offer all or most of their coursework using distance learning technologies.

Online liberal arts, humanities, and social sciences programs are grouped into the following categories:

  • Online Bachelor’s in Anthropology Programs: These programs provide students with undergraduate-level coursework in human biological, cultural, linguistic, and social development and evolution over time, as well as methodologies for studying sociocultural constructs. Students earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology may specialize in one or more of the following subfields: sociocultural anthropology; biological/physical anthropology; archaeology; and linguistic anthropology.
  • Online Bachelor’s in Creative Writing Programs: These programs offer a curriculum that focuses on the craft of fiction and nonfiction writing and storytelling. Students in these programs typically learn about literary theory, read works of literature, take writing classes, and apply what they have learned to creating their own written works in a range of genres, including poetry, fiction, non-fiction, playwriting, and screenwriting.
  • Online Bachelor’s in English Programs: A bachelor’s in English program curriculum typically includes courses in literary theory, English composition, and literary analysis, and may also provide courses in creative fiction and/or non-fiction writing. Students in these programs generally study written works by genre, era, author, and/or region and learn how analyze and write about these works using the tools of literary criticism.
  • Online Bachelor’s in General and Liberal Studies Programs: Bachelor’s in general and liberal studies programs focus on the development of critical thinking and communication skills and their application across a range of humanities disciplines and social sciences, including but not limited to history, literature, political science, information technology, and sociology. Some bachelor’s programs with a general or liberal studies curriculum give students a choice of several optional specializations.
  • Online Bachelor’s in History Programs: These programs provide instruction in the philosophy and theories of history and historical analysis, as well as classes in ancient civilizations, American history, European history, and/or the history of other parts of the world. Some online bachelor’s in history programs give students the option of specializing in the history of a particular region or country (e.g,, the US, England, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, China) or a particular historical era (e.g., the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, the Civil War, Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries).
  • Online Bachelor’s in Military History Programs: Bachelor’s in military history programs focus on applying the theories and tools of historical analysis to studying world conflicts and their impacts, and to better understanding the strategies employed by military and political leaders in times of conflict.
  • Online Bachelor’s in Political Science Programs: Students in online bachelor’s in political science programs study systems of governance, methods of political analysis, and theories of government and politics at the local, state, national, and international levels. The also learn to apply qualitative and quantitative tools, including statistics, to better understand political issues.
  • Online Bachelor’s in Sociology Programs: Studying sociology at the bachelor’s degree level involves learning theories of social development and analytical methods for better understanding and analyzing social institutions and relevant social issues. Students in these programs learn to apply this knowledge to understanding contemporary social issues.
  • Online Master’s in Creative Writing Programs: Master’s in creative writing programs, which may be designated as Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing programs, provide advanced training and instruction for writers of fiction and non-fiction, as well as playwrights, poets, and screenwriters.
  • Online Master’s in English Programs: Students earning a master’s degree in English take advanced courses in literary theory and analysis and learn how to conduct literary research and write about literary works of various types. They also engage in the close textual analyses of contemporary and historic works of fiction and literary non-fiction.
  • Online Master’s in General Studies, Liberal Studies, and Liberal Arts Programs: These programs provide students with opportunities to study broadly across the liberal arts and to take an interdisciplinary approach to academic research that draws on theories and methodologies in the social and behavioral sciences, arts, and humanities.
  • Online Master’s in History Programs: Students in an online master’s in history program take advanced courses in historical research methodologies and typically study the history of a particular region or era while learning how to conduct historical research and present their findings.

Additional Resources for Online Liberal Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Degree Programs

Each of the program pages listed below provides a detailed and comprehensive overview of a particular online degree program in the liberal arts, humanities, or social sciences. The program pages offer information on admissions, program structures, curricula, and other important factors. In addition, OnlineEducation.com interviews educators, administrators, and other experts in various academic and professional fields, which can be found in our Expert Interviews and Featured Articles sections, and we publish carefully researched answers to commonly asked questions about degree programs and careers in the liberal arts, humanities, and social sciences in our FAQ section.


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