Bachelor of liberal studies: the overlooked degree

The other day, I received a text message from a friend asking what my major was. I responded back explaining that I don’t really have a major and that I am going to be earning a Bachelor of Liberal Studies.

She wanted an explanation on what exactly a BLS is and what the demand is for that particular degree. Knowing that my friend is a nursing major, I was curious to know why she was interested and found out that she has a friend who is interested in a Liberal Studies program.

I changed my major five different times, and ASU guided me to choose that degree because of the 80+ transfer credits I had. I was excited that someone with no college experience would be interested in that program and really explained to her what the degree offers a person and how it can be used.

 

 

The Bachelor of Liberal Studies is an odd degree. It isn’t a professional program and really doesn’t gear a student to be proficient in any particular career trade. Typically, when people go to college, they need a major that will qualify them for the jobs they are interested in.

For example, if you want to be an engineer, you need an engineering degree. If you want to be a public relations specialist, you should focus on communication. I rarely find job opportunities that list a Bachelor of Liberal Studies as an education qualification. That can make this degree become overlooked.

My simple answer for my friend’s question was that the BLS degree is always in demand. I entered the program because I have a career and more than five years of work experience that stand out over my education qualifications, but the BLS degree
will prepare graduates to be able to critically think, become leaders and address a broad array of situations to support their career development.

It’s unfortunate that this program has the impression that it is a “last resort” program for students who cannot figure out what they want to major in or cannot be accepted into any other program.

This program needs to be advertised more for incoming freshman and transfer students to ASU. Yes, it has a guideline for the core courses, but you can choose classes from more than 10 different subjects. You can take a communication course, business course, religion course and history course and have them all count as core classes.

Employers love liberal arts majors because of the soft skills these graduates can offer. Graduates will be able to communicate more effectively, be innovative thinkers and be exceptional problem solvers. Those are the skills that will make and break a professional in their career.

In the IT industry, the majority of my candidates don’t get the job, because they cannot communicate effectively. They are programming and developing machines, but no one can understand what is really being done. Maybe that is why the media industry portray the IT actors as hermits living in their mother’s basement.

The Bachelor of Liberal Sciences can offer a range of skills that helps with the development and understanding of how our complex world works.

Reach the columnist at ceacret@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @chelsieeacret