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Top 10 Colleges Offering Liberal Arts Degree Programs Online


A liberal arts education is a major achievement for any student as they embark on the path to establishing a career. Characterized by the spirit of inquiry and exploration, a liberal arts background allows students to develop the communication, research and intellectual skills required to compete in an information-based economy. Contrary to more outcome-oriented vocational training programs, the liberal arts graduate emerges from their schooling knowing more about the world and their place in it. Plus it provides an excellent foundation for aspiring journalists, authors, freelancers, and other writers!

When considering the diverse educational paths presently available to students today, many who seek a well rounded education based in the arts and sciences pursue a liberal arts degree. Many also elect to participate in an online learning program since they are often a great way to not only meet the fundamental goals and mission of a liberal arts education, but also offer a variety of opportunities in comparison to standard brick-and-mortar university programs. Additional factors, like tuition, accreditation, educational rank and unique program construction, often amplify the appeal of online programs in today’s ever changing learning environments. Here is a list of the Top 10 Liberal Arts Degree Programs Online to help you find the school that best suits your personal and educational needs while maximizing learning opportunities.

1. University of Massachusetts – UMASS Online

UMASS Online offers three course tracks that fall under the designation of liberal arts. These are a Bachelor’s of Arts in Community Studies, a Bachelor of Liberal Arts, and a transfer/degree completion track for a Bachelor’s of Liberal Arts that allows for transfer credits. All of these programs are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Degrees earned through UMASS Online carry all of the same distinctions that any degree from the University of Massachusetts does. There is no designation on the diploma that the degree was an online variant. For undergraduate courses, tuition ranges from $125 to $1980 per course. Furthermore, transition into any of the other online course offerings is seamless, should the student decide to pursue a more specialized course of study after beginning their liberal arts track.

For more information about UMASS Online’s program, go here

2. Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University offers a two-year AA in Liberal Arts that transitions directly into any of their over 100 four year offerings. The program at SNHU is also accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. With over 80 years of operation as a traditional university, Southern New Hampshire University is one of the fastest growing universities in the country today.

Tuition at SNHU is $960 per course, or $320 per credit hour for undergraduate work. There are discounts for military personnel. Financial aid is also available for students who qualify. This low tuition, along with the variety of options available for four year study, make the AA in Liberal Arts at SNHU a solid choice for high school graduates.

For more information about SNHU’s program, go here

3. Excelsior College

U.S. News and World Reports has consistently listed online degree programs from Excelsior College in the top 100 of it’s annual Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. As one of the pioneers (and best providers) of distance learning education available, their Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Master of Arts in Liberal Studies programs are perfectly suited for busy students. Both maximize the time investments required to complete a degree while minimizing expenses and tuition. Plus much of your real world experiences can earn you academic credit thanks to flexible transfer policies.

Tuition ranges from $425 per undergraduate credit hour and $565 per graduate credit hour. Their program also allows students to work towards obtaining various professional certifications as they progress through their coursework, making their graduates immediately employable in a variety of fields. All programs are accredited through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

For more information about Excelsior’s programs, go here

4. Penn State Online

Of all online programs, Penn State Online combines a large-scale worldwide strategy with a wide variety of program offerings. For students pursuing liberal arts coursework, they offer an Associates degree in Arts, Letters, and Sciences as well as a Bachelor of Arts In Letters, Arts, and Sciences. As the 43rd highest university listed in the 2010 Academic Ranking of World Universities, Penn State graduates are among the best educated, best trained, most recruited, and best able to succeed. Plus this programs offers a liberal arts education based in all of the prestige, honor, and tradition that 158 years of academic excellence provides. All programs available through Penn State Online are accredited by The Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Tuition at the Penn State Online ranges from $518 per credit if fewer than 12 credits per semester are taken to a flat rate tuition of $6,353 dollars for 12 or more credits (plus additional technology fees.) They offer a wide range of tuition payment and deferral plans, as well as assist with financial aid for their students. Their range of degree offerings and their ability to create a financial plan for their students gives Penn State University an advantage in the financial department.

For more information about Penn State Online’s programs, go here

5. Baker University

For the Liberal Arts major dedicated to refining their undergraduate accomplishments, Baker University is unique in that it offers a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts degree. The program is a 36 credit hour course of study that takes students anywhere from 18-24 months to complete. This program costs $345 dollars per credit hour.

Baker University’s online program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Their concentration programs also meet the various professional standards for study in professional disciplines.

For more information about Baker’s program, go here

6. Widener University

Widener University, one of the top ranking liberal arts colleges offering distance learning programs, offers a 10 course Master of Arts in Liberal Arts program with a 3 credit capstone project to busy students graduate seeking the flexibility online programs provide. The capstone project allows a student to reflect upon the acquired dispositions and knowledge gained through their study in a meaningful way that is specific to future learning and employment goals. This brings the total to 33 credit hours, and can be completed in 18-24 months.

Tuition for Widener is $630 per credit hour for the Master’s program. Also, there is a course requirement to maintain a 3.0 grade point average through the student’s course of study. The program is accredited by the Middle States Association for Colleges and Schools.

For more information about Widener’s program, go here

7. University of Arkansas Global Campus

The University of Arkansas Global Campus offers a range of programs for online study, ranging from minor concentrations to doctoral level coursework. The interdisciplinary approach of the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies allows students to gain extensive knowledge in many academic disciplines through the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. There are many things you can do with a degree of this caliber since it provides a well rounded educational basis to balance a career upon. From editing to freelancing to even teaching college courses (with additional schooling,) the University of Arkansas Global Campus has a program just for you. Tuition for undergraduate work is $204.70 per credit hour and graduate tuition is $349.47.

The program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Furthermore, individual concentrations are often accredited by their respective professional organizations.

For more information about the University of Arkansas Global Campus’ program, go here

8. Kaplan University

Since the 1930′s, Kaplan University has specialized in offering quality education through distance learning programs – a longstanding tradition which, in comparison, many other liberal arts schools lack. Kaplan’s Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies degree allows for the option of transfer credits being applied toward degree requirements and through its College of Public Service, instills a passion for making a difference. For students who have begun studies in another setting, this is particularly useful. Tuition is $337.00 per credit hour, and with a 180 credit hour course of study, tuition totals $66,780 dollars from start to finish.

This program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. They also partner with Operation Hope, a non-profit organization that aims to increase access to education for people facing substantial financial impediments to the continuing of their studies.

For more about Kaplan’s program, go here

9. Argosy University

A Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts with an emphasis on real-world applications and experiences is currently offered by Argosy University. By combining online coursework with regional internship and capstone experiences, students receive the benefits of online learning with personalized care, networking opportunities, and guidance of a mentor.

Tuition for this program is just over $66,000 for the entire program. Transfer credit and financial aid will impact the amount that a student is required to contribute. The program is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

For more information about Argosy’s program, go here

10. Ashford University

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Ashford University offers 15 undergraduate degree options for online study, including a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts designation. The program is 120 credit hours in length, and transfer credits are an option for students with prior coursework. Tuition runs $413 per credit hour. Financial assistance is available, as well as the ability to work with various tuition reimbursement programs offered by some employers and other organizations. Degree programs at Ashford are accredited through a number of accreditation bodies, including the Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

For more information about Ashford’s program, go here