Online liberal studies degrees

August 14, 2019 · 9 min read · By ASU Online
ASU Online offers degrees in liberal and interdisciplinary studies, which can prepare you to succeed in a variety of professional opportunities.

Degrees that focus on essential competencies, such as problem-solving, detail management and decision-making, can prove useful in almost any career. A liberal studies program can help you develop these skills while teaching you to become an influential communicator and effective leader.

The proficiencies gained with a liberal studies education continue to be in demand, and graduates can pursue roles in almost any industry, from education to technology to business and more. These types of degrees can help you enter the workforce or become a more attractive candidate for management-level opportunities, such as marketing manager, financial planner, public relations manager, social media manager and more within a field where you’ve already begun your career.

The expertise you can build through a liberal studies program can also equip you to learn technical competencies quickly on the job, improving your ability to find success in areas like marketing analysis or database administration. This may also help you stay on top of the digital trends affecting businesses or even prepare you for roles related to social media management or content marketing. It’s not uncommon for individuals with this type of degree to move into leadership roles or start their own businesses at some point either.

Fitting a wide range of intellectual interests, liberal studies programs can help you gain the skills needed for your ideal career. In particular, earning an online liberal studies degree can allow you the flexibility and convenience to maintain your current professional and personal commitments as you study.

Whether you’re looking to begin a bachelor's degree, master’s degree or graduate certificate program, with ASU Online, you can explore interdisciplinary studies and even learn to work with today’s digital audiences. Each program can offer you well-rounded exposure to a variety of topics and skills that can prepare you for whatever industry and role you plan to pursue upon graduation.


Bachelor’s degrees

Liberal studies (BLS)

The liberal studies program can provide you with a chance to study more than just one discipline. You can build a strategic foundation that helps you think better and become a stronger decision-maker, which you can then apply to almost any industry. Coursework in the Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies online program consists of a combination of required classes and a series of electives in specific areas, such as humanities or social and behavioral sciences.

Courses cover subjects including:

  • Cultural diversity in the U.S.
  • English composition.
  • Mathematics.
  • Natural science.
  • Quantitative applications.


With a focus on applying what you’re learning to real-world situations, students can gain a diverse set of relevant proficiencies ranging from critical thinking to effective collaboration, along with those aligned with leadership. Industries including finance, business, health and safety, and design are all potential fields for an individual with a bachelor of liberal studies to enter.

Possible careers include:

  • Bank branch manager.
  • Entrepreneur.
  • Human resource specialist.
  • Interior designer.
  • Sales manager.
Two liberal studies students sit across from each other at a desk while in conversation.

Interdisciplinary studies (BA)

The customization offered through the Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies online program allows you to design your major around your interests. This flexibility helps students present a diversified set of abilities and experiences when entering the workforce. Regardless of the areas you study, you can learn strategies for problem-solving and responding to contemporary social issues from multiple perspectives.

To narrow down their focus, interdisciplinary studies students often concentrate on a few specific disciplines, such as science, business, communication, English or others. Core courses can integrate into your chosen concentration while you learn multiple approaches to address common issues that may arise in almost any workplace, such as personnel complaints or project delays.

Courses cover subjects including:

  • English composition.
  • Humanities.
  • Mathematics.
  • Natural science.
  • Quantitative applications.


Additional components of the interdisciplinary studies program can include directed study and internships. Directed study aims to help students establish collaborative skills that can translate into the workforce or prepare you for graduate level education, as you will most likely work one-on-one with a faculty member to complete a research paper or develop a project.

Possible careers include:

  • Event planner.
  • Marketing manager.
  • Production assistant.
  • Social services director.


Interdisciplinary studies — organizational studies BA)

Streamlining the interdisciplinary studies program by adding a concentration in organizational studies may appeal to students who want the flexibility of an interdisciplinary degree with the added ability to learn about the dynamics of today’s organizations. Through the Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in organizational studies, you can gain insight into how to approach answering questions, solving problems and looking at modern issues from more than one angle.

Courses cover subjects including:

  • Communication strategies.
  • Diversity.
  • Ethics/politics.
  • Management styles.
  • Technologies.


Those who earn an organizational studies degree online often seek job opportunities where they can exhibit management proficiency. Positions in this area, regardless of whether you’re managing people or operational details, may require the types of innovative thinking and productivity that drive businesses onward.

Possible careers include:

  • Compliance manager.
  • HR manager or employee trainer.
  • PR or sales manager.
  • Quality control manager.


Digital audiences (BS)

Specialized liberal studies degrees can prepare you for opportunities related to a specific profession. One such option is the Bachelor of Science in Digital Audiences. Consumers are shifting their attention online, and traditional marketing practices can’t guarantee the same reach as digital.

Helping prepare you to go into a position associated with digital, a bachelor's degree in digital audiences can teach you how to use online options and social media to deepen a company’s impact through search engine marketing campaigns, optimization, social strategies, audience research and more.

Courses cover subjects including:

  • Audience acquisition and engagement.
  • Audience research and behavior.
  • Coding.
  • Digital audience analysis and growth.
  • Media and society.


This program also includes a capstone project or experience where students are able to work directly with actual clients. Activities for these projects may ask you to rely on what you’ve learned already to create audience-first content or develop, test and execute audience growth strategies in real time. Additionally, certification opportunities in areas such as Google Analytics and Google AdWords can be completed.

These competencies gain importance as businesses continue to put more emphasis on strategies related to digital audiences. According to a recent Clutch report, 83 percent of companies think their digital marketing meets goals and attains a good return on investment. This figure illustrates this area’s necessity to business and why companies may want to hire people with an educational background in a related field.

Many of the potential careers you can pursue upon completion of a Bachelor of Science in digital audiences program align with positions in advertising, promotions or marketing. Opportunities at the management level in these areas are experiencing a period of high growth, according to the BLS. The projected 10 percent growth from 2016 to 2026 will result from organizations maintaining and expanding their market share through online strategies.

Possible careers include:

  • Community manager.
  • Digital analyst.
  • Journalist.
  • PR associate.
  • Social media manager.

Master’s degrees

Liberal studies (MLSt)

Aligning with the way many people learn on a daily basis, the master's of liberal studies online program moves beyond the confines of a single academic discipline. It explores problems and issues from a transdisciplinary approach, giving you research and writing expertise applicable in almost all professions.

Based on the concept that studying the ideas of Western and international civilizations increases intellectual awareness, the master’s in liberal studies program can show you how to take recurring issues and address them from a contemporary perspective.

With a course structure that’s flexible enough to allow for customization, you can look forward to dynamic classes that include movies, online content, engaging discussion and ideas to challenge your way of thinking.

Courses cover subjects including:

  • Ethics, science and culture.
  • Film and media studies.
  • Religion, health and culture.
  • Writing about social issues.


Notably, the majority of courses in this program are devoted to electives, so you can focus your studies on the areas that interest you most and have the highest degree of relevance to what you hope to do professionally. A master’s degree in liberal studies not only allows you to immerse yourself in a wide variety of topics, but also helps you develop competencies to provide more value for your organization.

Possible careers include:

  • Advertising account executive.
  • Editor.
  • Policy analyst.
  • Publicist.
  • Writer.


Digital audience strategy (MS)

By 2020, digital advertising will equate to 43 percent of total media ad spending in the U.S., a percentage greater than the expenditure for all traditional media combined, according to eMarketer. This is to accommodate the huge number of online consumers looking to buy goods and services. To generate the right advertising and reach the appropriate customers, businesses need individuals who understand what a digital audience looks like. Even if it’s not the primary function of a job, having experience in this area, along with a relevant degree, can help you meet the challenges digital marketing poses.

While you may already work in a field where digital marketing is present, a master’s degree can assist you in building proficiencies that may help advance your career. In particular, the Master of Science in digital audience strategy online can make you more appealing for a leadership position working in digital media as you provide current expertise, because technology — and how we use it to reach consumers — frequently changes.

Courses cover subjects including:

  • Defining the digital audience.
  • Media entrepreneurship.
  • Media law.
  • Search engine strategy.
  • Social media campaigns.


Ethics is another area stressed in the digital audience strategy graduate program. Because privacy is such an integral component of the digital space, students learn how to make ethical business decisions that protect their audiences while ensuring the online user experience remains engaging and actionable.

Possible careers include:

  • Audience analyst.
  • Communications manager.
  • Entrepreneur.
  • Public relations director.
  • Social media strategist.


Graduate certificate

Digital audience strategy

Designed for professionals interested in expanding their skills, the digital audience strategy graduate certificate can teach you how to quantify and qualify how consumers engage with content online, like through social media or via mobile devices. Within this program, you can learn strategies and tactics that help grow a company’s digital audience through methods like search engine optimization, paid and organic social media campaigns and digital content creation.

Coursework centers around data and content and how it can be effectively used to reach a target audience.

Courses cover subjects including:

  • Digital audience research, behavior and analytics
  • Social media engagement
  • Search engine optimization and marketing
  • Media campaigns


Through a focus on the skills necessary to execute digital campaigns, the graduate certificate in digital audience strategy can help you improve your ability to promote the work you’re already doing online or take on new digital responsibilities.

Possible careers include:

  • Community manager
  • Social media specialist
  • Public relations specialist


Earning an online liberal studies degree or certificate with ASU

For individuals looking at degrees or certificates that combine creativity with competencies such as problem-solving and strategic thinking, ASU Online programs offer choices that allow you to customize your learning experience, helping you build proficiencies that can be applied to almost any industry. Regardless of whether you’re considering a program with a broad approach, such as those in liberal and interdisciplinary studies, or one that takes you to the forefront of today’s digital market trends, an online liberal studies degree or certificate from ASU can help you develop skills and expertise to utilize throughout your career.

Program details are subject to change. Current information can be found by visiting individual degree pages on the ASU Online website.


Occupational Outlook Handbook — Management Occupations by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
How Businesses Use Digital Marketing in 2018 by Clutch
Occupational Outlook Handbook — Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Mobile Ad Spending to Surpass All Traditional Media Combined by 2020 by eMarketer

Two ASU liberal studies students paint a mural on a wall.


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