What is Liberal Arts Studies? Admission opportunities in India

February 10, 2020

What is Liberal Arts Studies? Admission opportunities in India

What is Liberal Arts? Benefits of a Liberal Arts Degree Program

The ‘Liberal Arts’ studies date back to go back to the Ancient Greeks, when it was considered to be the ultimate mark of an educated person, if had a degree of Liberal Arts. Well, the dice has rolled over time and Liberal Art is becoming one of the sought after higher education courses to pursue across the world as well as in India. It's been ever present as an established course in the US higher education system, it has very recently resurfaced in Asia and India too.

In Asia, the Alliance of Liberal Arts Universities (AALAU) – a group that was established in November 2017 is becoming popular.

This article will explain in detail about “What is liberal arts?” – including all one needs to know about what studying liberal arts encompasses as well as what students can gain from a  liberal arts degree in respect to career, jobs and status.

History of liberal arts education

Long ago, during the era of classical antiquity, liberal arts had only three subjects: grammar, rhetoric and logic, collectively known as the trivium. The trend continued over medieval times with four further subjects added: arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. It was then called the quadrivium. Thus there were seven liberal arts subjects in the medieval liberal arts curriculum. Bordering as a study of philosophy and theology, the aim of a liberal arts education was to create a person who was virtuous, ethical, knowledgeable in many fields and highly articulate with a flair of debate and public speeches.

Modern liberal arts curriculums today

In today’s world it has been structured to enable students to study a much larger range of subjects aiming to develop well-rounded individuals with general knowledge of a wide range of subjects and with mastery of a range of interconnected and transferable skills, however retaining the core aims of the traditional liberal arts curricula. In general, Liberal Art Studies  term refers to undergraduate or postgraduate degree programs that aim to provide a broader spectrum of knowledge and skills.

Subjects included in liberal arts degree programs at different institutions vary. But the fulcrum of subjects rotate around the following fields:

  1. Humanities – includes literature, art, philosophy, linguistics, religion, ethics, modern foreign languages, music, theatre, speech, classical languages line Latin, Persian or Greek etc.
  2. Social sciences – includes economics, sociology, politics, law, history, psychology, gender studies, anthropology, geography, etc.
  3. Natural sciences – includes chemistry, physics, biology, astronomy, biology, botany, archaeology, zoology, geology, earth sciences, etc.
  4. Formal sciences – includes maths, logic, statistics etc.

Why should I enrol in Liberal Arts Program - Benefits of a Liberal Arts Degree Program

  • It’s a sought after degree program for placements these days and becoming very popular and in demand
  • It provides a sound foundation for graduate study as with a liberal arts background one can have the ability to learn across a diverse field of studies.
  • It prepares you well in a variety of sectors thus strengthening your foundation knowledge in a wider range of subjects than if you were to take a degree specializing in a single subject or vocation.
  • It introduces you to a choice of careers: the range of subjects enabling students to make a more informed decision when choosing their preferred career path.
  • It may become a magic gate for you to choose alternate careers as the knowledge achieved during a liberal arts education enables you to do so.
  • Employers perspective: Liberal arts degrees are appealing to employers as they recognize the ability of liberal arts graduates to have the necessary spectrum of multidimensional skills to adapt to a transition in workplace.
  • Personal skills to be a charged, vibrant personality and thus one with a liberal arts education repertoire extends beyond academia and the workplace to give graduates the necessary qualities that can enable them to do very well in the entire world, communicate and understand other members of the community and thus having a broadened perspective.

Careers with a liberal arts degree

Top organizations and corporates are seeking individuals with Liberal Arts Degrees. Opportunities for careers open up for Liberal Art students as they finish their studies.

Some typical careers paths with a liberal arts degree include:

  • Academicians, Educators and Teachers
  • Language related jobs like a qualified translator, transcriber or interpreter, a foreign language teacher or journalist, or job in the tourism and travel industry.
  • Jobs related to photography, commercial art, painting, interior, graphic and visual design
  • Marketing jobs in the field of advertising, promotions, public relations, journalism, news editing or copywriting.
  • Careers in the field include law, public policy, politics, business, and working for NGOs and charities.
  • Many other career paths including research assistant), event planning, environment conservation and public policy, finance related including bankers, accountants, financial analyst, law enforcement, research analysis and social services such as counselling or therapy.

Also See:  Ph.D. (Liberal Arts) in India

India and Liberal Arts Study Programs

The demand for liberal arts is gaining momentum in India with many institutions designing curriculum focussing on Liberal Arts studies. I know of many engineers, doctors, management employees leaving jobs and joining Liberal Art programs. There are specialized liberal arts institutes like  Ashoka University in New Delhi as well as  FLAME University in Pune, which are offering various programs.

Well established colleges like Lady Shri Ram College as well as St Stephens College in Delhi as well as Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts in Pune, have actually tailored their curriculum and atmosphere to facilitate interdisciplinary learning. We look at a few such institutions in India who have ventured into imparting Liberal Arts programs and have done very well and become popular.

Ashoka University, Sonipat

At  Ashoka University, the educational program structure for undergraduate liberal arts education and learning is flexible, varied and substantial. The program includes major, minor and foundation courses. 

The Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts (SSLA), Pune

SSLA was set up in by  Symbiosis International University, which is a pioneer in setting up India's first liberal arts program. On offer is India's only 4-year program in Liberal Arts. This degree program helps students learn the skills, attitudes and abilities to grow into leaders of substance.

Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities, Sonipat

This institution offers began with a set of 13 trainees in 2003, and belongs to the  OP Jindal University in Haryana. There is a unique artist-in-residence programme for the trainees allowing them to develop and collaborate over a series of categories. On offer is a three-year  BA (Hons.) in Liberal Arts and Humanities and a four-year dual degree program with Rollins College, one of the top liberal arts colleges in the United States.

FLAME University, Pune

The  Foundation for Liberal and Management Education (FLAME) is just one of the oldest committed liberal education institutes in the country. Notified as an independent university in 2015, it provides a multidisciplinary program framework; herein trainees are allowed to take up a series of foundation courses over the first couple of semesters before taking a well-informed choice on the topic they want to major in. There are a considerable variety of courses that enables a trainee to major in topics such as music, dance, public policy, entrepreneurship and also film and also television.

Lady Shri Ram College (LSR), New Delhi

Lady Shri Ram College for Women has continually ranked amongst the top liberal arts colleges in India as well as is known for generating ladies that have actually made a mark in every area they have ventured right into. Scholar Nivedita Menon, who is one of one of the most powerful feminist voices in India, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi as well as politician Maneka Gandhi are alumni of this institution. Of a total amount of 15 divisions, 10 are dedicated to the humanities at this university including Sociology, History, Political science as well as Economics.

Christ University, Bangalore

Christ University has been positive in redefining its goal by continuously adjusting with time, which has in turn, kept their liberal arts programs in tune with the rapidly changing needs of the country. Bachelors' of Arts is a 3 year training course in which trainees can opt for any of the topics in humanities as well as social science streams like English, History, Sociology, Economics and a range of local languages.

St Stephens College, New Delhi

St Stephens College is just one of one of the most desired institutes for arts in India. With a stellar line up of alumni consisting of Shashi Tharoor, Amitav Ghosh as well as also the former president of Pakistan Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the college attracts the brightest minds in the nation and also provides an equally remarkable education. It complies with the choice based credit system in their program that enables pupils to choose their courses and also subjects with the utmost objective of gaining the required number of credits. Several of the intriguing courses they have are science fiction and also investigative literary works, traveling writing and literary theory.

Madras Christian College, Chennai

Madras Christian College (MCC) was started in 1837 by a host of Scottish missionaries and also built upon by specialized Indian teachers. The college provides self-financed as well as aided day as well as night programs in the field of liberal arts like English, Social Work, Economics, Philosophy, History, amongst the most popular subjects

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It reads to be a very interesting scope for studies. Liberal Art is the happening thing around. Well written!

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