Liberal Arts and Humanities Online Graduate Certificate Programs

Often multidisciplinary in nature, Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Liberal Arts and Humanities provide a means to deepen skills and knowledge. The liberal arts and humanities encompass the social sciences, natural sciences and creative arts. Within each broader category, there is a full spectrum of course plans that could build expertise for a resume or enhance one’s ability to form questions, research, and argue a point.

written by Rana Waxman

Why Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Liberal Arts and Humanities?

Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Liberal Arts and Humanities are planned-out for the busy adult who wants to study at the graduate level without the commitment of a full degree. A liberal arts education could inspire students to relate in constructive ways to their environment by looking at issues from different lenses.

Take a Few Online Courses at the Graduate Level

Available across many topics, students typically take about 3 to 4 courses to complete their certificate. For the full-time participant, this could mean a time to completion of one year or even less. Note that certificates of 18 credits could take longer to finish.

  • Refresh a Professional Resume
  • Short Term Programs
  • Take Graduate-Level Courses
  • Earn a Credential

Study to Earn a Credential

While they are not degrees in themselves, online certificate programs are awards (diplomas) that could indicate mastery of a specific subject. Or, that a student has built some foundational knowledge in preparation of continued education at the graduate level.

Thus, for some, a certificate could be a standalone credential, while for others, a potential stepping stone along the way to a next degree. In fact, some schools might transfer earned certificate credits into related Masters program, so if this is your aim, refer to details provided by a prospective school.

How to Apply to an Online Liberal Arts Certificate Program

There are two principal types of Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Liberal Arts and Humanities: (1) Post-Baccalaureate, (2) Post-Masters.

For most post-baccalaureate certificates, applicants are presumed to have earned a Bachelors degree, and may need to have some prerequisite courses under their belt. In the case of post-masters (also called ‘advanced certificates), applicants typically need to have earned or be in the process of earning a Masters degree.

Each graduate school also sets its own standards in the form of acceptable grades and minimum GPA. Also, one might need to complete a graduate school application form rather than just applying into the program, so these are good details to verify ahead of time. In terms of other material, some examples of items are listed below, but remember to check these with your prospective school too.

  • Letters of recommendation
  • CV or Resume
  • Personal Statement

Categories of Liberal Arts and Humanities Online Graduate Certificate Programs

In fact, the liberal arts include four main categories and numerous sub-domains.

  1. Humanities – (E.g. English Literature, Modern Languages, History, Ethics, Philosophy)
  2. Social Sciences – (E.g. Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Political Science, Sociology)
  3. Creative Arts – (E.g. Fine Art, Theatre, Speech, Technical and Creative Writing)
  4. Sciences – (E.g. Business, Technology, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Physics)

Online Graduate Certificates in Area, Ethnic & Cultural Studies

Students interested in the culture and development of an area, an ethnic group, or any other group might consider an online Graduate Certificate in Area, Ethnic and Cultural Studies.

Within this category, one might study other related topics such as how to build peace, prevent violence and resolve conflict among people and groups.

Online Graduate Certificates in Communications & Public Relations

An online Graduate Certificate in Public Relations might prepare students to sway targeted audiences in order to meet specific organizational goals. Through their courses, participants might gain experience in researching target markets, developing PR and communication plans, and measuring the results of their efforts.

Online Graduate Certificates in English

Students who pursue a Graduate Certificate in English online might study Literature, Language, Rhetoric, Theory and Pedagogy. Alternatively, some graduate schools may online graduate certificate in English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. These typically prepare the student to teach English language learners in a variety of settings, including U.S. schools.

Online Graduate Certificates in History

An online Graduate Certificate in History could help current educators teach about a specific period in time. Some programs might also offer tracks such as U.S. history, world history and secondary education. Thus, a student might select the option that fits with educational and professional goals.

Online Graduate Certificates in Humanities

Online Graduate Certificates in Humanities could enhance students’ ability to think critically and solve problems. Some of today’s programs focus on how human beings use digital means to interact and take part in society. Students might therefore study the uses of textual and visual media in digital spaces, such as Web sites, blogs, podcasts, and vlogs.

Online Graduate Certificates in Languages

For those who want to build reading comprehension in a foreign language, study linguistics or a romance language, an online Graduate Certificate may be an option. These programs could blend grammar, syntax and vocabulary acquisition. Distance students may be exposed to relevant readings, though programs that aim to build verbal skills may ask students to come to campus for practical coursework.

Online Graduate Certificates in Liberal Arts & Sciences

Explore a new angle to rev up your professional life through an online Graduate Certificate in Liberal Arts and Sciences. Some of the themes could include fundraising, leadership, communications and computer science.

Online Graduate Certificates in Literature and Writing

Study to enhance your ability to write creatively and professionally through an online Graduate Certificate in Literature and Writing. These intensive programs could explore the practice of rhetoric and discourse in professional and technical environments.

Online Graduate Certificates in Philosophy and Ethics

Challenge your point of view through an online Graduate Certificate in Philosophy and Ethics. Depending on the program theme, students might explore key questions about human existence and knowledge, truth, morals and the meaning of life. Coursework could expose participants to some of history’s renowned thinkers and relevant texts in the arts, sciences and culture across time.


Per O*Net, 9% of Business Practices Supervisors have earned a post-baccalaureate certificate.i

Online Graduate Certificates in Women’s Studies

Put gender studies under a microscope through an online Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies. Some programs may focus on feminism while others, on integrative women’s health. Participants might become familiar with topics such as female lifecycle spectrum, women’s beliefs, intuitions, and mind/body needs.

About the Online Format

Students enrolled in Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Liberal Arts and Humanities may take all web-based courses or, in some cases, may need to attend portions of their program on campus. Online courses are often asynchronous — which means one doesn’t have to attend online classes at a specific time.

Distance learners might meld some self-study with peer-to-peer interaction over an online learning network to facilitate instruction. There could also be complete weekly assignments, readings, discussions, and occasional group work, as well as exams and other activities designed to keep participants motivated and engaged.

Apply to Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Liberal Arts and Humanities

Initiate or jumpstart a career in a field you are enthusiastic about through Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Liberal Arts and Humanities. Choose your subject from the menu, then review partner programs in that category. From there, contact the graduate schools you select right away with the on-page form.


  • Loyola University Chicago

  • Queens University of Charlotte

  • Campbellsville University

  • Nova Southeastern University

  • New School, The

  • UMassOnline

  • Lesley University

  • Pennsylvania State University

  • Youngstown State University

  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln

  • West Virginia University

  • Johns Hopkins University

  • Boston Language Institute

  • Mercer University

  • Missouri State University