Hybrid Liberal Arts & Humanities Graduate Programs

Hybrid Liberal Arts Degrees are blended online programs with low residency requirements. The term ‘liberal arts’ has come to mean a ‘well-rounded’ education, an idea put forth by the ancient Greeks. Liberal arts topics include the humanities, which can mean Arts, English, Foreign Languages, History, and Philosophy. They might also include the Social Sciences (Anthropology, Communication, Geography, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Women’s Studies), the Sciences (Biology, Geology, and Physics), and Mathematics (Economics). Also, any of these liberal arts majors may be studied in-depth as a single subject, with the potential for inquiry, discussion and research.

Why Consider Hybrid Liberal Arts Degrees?

Whether you prefer to earn your graduate degree in a multi-disciplinary program or a more focused approach, hybrid liberal arts degrees may help on-the-go adults to further their education. This may be especially useful for current professionals who can’t commit to traditional class times. In fact, students are often able to log onto their courses whenever it is convenient, wherever they have Internet – from home, the office or on the road.

Interact and Collaborate

When on campus, students in hybrid liberal arts graduate programs may take part in dynamic seminars or symposiums. These are forums for group discussion and feedback, where students listen and ask questions about their assignments. They might also share their own research in progress with colleagues and faculty. Or, they may come to campus to pursue classes that are not offered online. Either way, residencies may provide face-to-face interaction, and the chance for lively debate. Plus, students get to take part in campus life, on-site student services and resources. 

Develop Soft Skills

A liberal arts education may help students develop ‘soft skills’ which may be transferrable to many potential career paths.i Hybrid liberal arts programs may result in the following outcomes.

  • Technical abilities related to your major
  • Ability to analyze and interpret information
  • New methods to form and express informed opinions
  • Improved ability to communicate effectively
  • Exposure to the diversity of human culture and various points of view
  • Better grasp of human nature and society

Scheduling to Suit Your Needs

Some universities allow students to complete their degree in liberal arts on a part-time or full-time basis. For instance, you might find a program that offers full-time semesters with evening and summer classes on campus. Or, the program could be mostly online and part-time, but have mandatory summer attendance.

DID YOU KNOW? Top executives in the public sector often have a degree in business administration, public administration, law, or the liberal arts.ii

What Types of Hybrid Liberal Arts Degrees Are There?

Hybrid liberal arts degrees are available at the masters and doctorate levels, both as multiple and single content area programs. Admission requirements vary, though most masters programs accept students with a bachelors degree from any major. Doctoral programs often require students to have earned a masters degree. 

Graduate certificates in liberal arts and humanities are a non-degree option that tends to focus on one topic. As they are shorter term, they may only entail about five courses. Students might go this route if they want to add onto skills, transition into new territory, or prepare for a full degree later.

Hybrid Master of Liberal Arts Programs

Hybrid Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) degrees tend to allow students to design their own program and thus, meet their own academic needs. One of the hallmarks of this type of program is its cross-disciplinary format. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean there are no pre-set requirements. In some schools, a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts may entail about 33 credits. Of these, there may be core classes, practicums, and a concentration track.

  • Culture and Society may explore issues such as conflict resolution in different cultures, business and public service.
  • Health and Society may help students develop the ability to manage data and research to meet challenges within health care administration.
  • Information Systems and Society may delve into technology-based solutions to leadership and managerial issues.
  • Coastal Environment and Society may expose learners to environmental data and research, often a hot point for political conflict.
  • Education and Society may help students develop the skills and knowledge to manage conflict in educational systems.
  • Institutional Assessment may highlight student-learning outcomes and curricula assessment.

MLA degree students may be able to choose a thesis or non-thesis option. The thesis adds credits, and may be a wise choice for students who plan to continue to a doctoral program. Finally, some programs require a portfolio project or comprehensive exam, where students must show they have synthesized the course content. 

Hybrid Masters Degrees for Other Liberal Arts Majors

There are other masters degrees in liberal arts and humanities for students who want to build their professional identity or expertise. Look for Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees in subjects that range from communication to writing.

Master of Communication (MComm): The Master of Communication is a professional degree program that is designed to bridge theory, research and practice. Students may be able to choose a track to focus their studies more narrowly. Areas of emphasis might include health, environmental or strategic communication. 

Master of Arts in English: The Master of Arts in English may help students develop their skills both in research and writing. Students are often able to work one-on-one with faculty advisors to complete an original thesis or manuscript. Areas of emphasis might include literature, creative writing, and rhetoric.     

Master of Arts in Science Writing (MA): Science writers help break down complex issues in science, medicine and technology so that the layperson and medical doctor can grasp the different concepts and phenomena. Coursework in this type of program is likely to help students develop their ability to write for the science niche. Students may take classes in journalism, creative writing, communication, editing and multimedia.   

Hybrid PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies

A Hybrid Doctor of Philosophy in liberal arts or interdisciplinary studies is a research degree and the highest form of study in the field. Most programs include rigorous coursework, where students explore their major in depth. The PhD may also require an all-inclusive exam, where students show they have synthesized their coursework. At some point in their program, students form a proposal for a research topic. They then research, submit and orally defend their dissertation, a body of work that contains their original ideas. 

Some PhD programs entail about 66 credits, but credits and content areas vary. Since students spend a fair bit of their program engaged in research, they often anchor their focus in one area.

  • Educational Studies PhD: The Doctor of Educational Studies program may provide a deep look at the entire educational studies discipline. In some programs, there may be a focus on social justice in both the Pre-K to 12 and higher education fields.
  • Ethical and Creative Leadership PhD: The PhD with a major in ethical and creative leadership may explore leadership processes in depth and in a variety of settings.
  • Public Policy and Social Change PhD: The PhD in public policy and social change might delve into historical, economic, and social contexts of policy. Courses might address the constitutional and legal framework of policymaking at the local, state, national, and international levels.
  • Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness PhD: The PCC program may draw from ideas in philosophical, scientific and religious traditions.

Explore Hybrid Liberal Arts & Humanities Graduate Programs

Hybrid liberal arts degrees may provide a level of community, inquiry and support. Start to explore your options with the on-page menus. Choose your degree level and subject, then review the programs that your search yields. You can also fast-forward to a search for graduate schools with hybrid liberal arts graduate programs by location. Either way, to contact the schools on your list, simply ollow the link to fill out a form. Take the next step now!


[i] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2007/winter/art01.pdf | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/management/top-executives.htm

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