Best Online Master’s in Liberal Arts and Sciences

The 15 Best Online Master’s in Liberal Arts and Sciences will give you a broader understanding of the world. 

Most university students examine one field using a single lens. In doing so, they are liable to limit their capabilities. With a liberal arts and sciences degree, you can look at many areas using just as many lenses. This ultimately allows you to market yourself as many things because you are many things, making you a more capable and well-rounded individual. 

What is a Master’s in Liberal Arts and Sciences Degree?

A master’s in liberal arts and sciences is both a multi-faceted path of study and a way of thinking that informs your every decision. With a liberal arts degree, you’ll learn crucial skills such as writing, critical thinking and analytical skills, and problem-solving skills.

Look at it this way. You’re in a hallway with many doors. A CEO walks into one door, and a politician walks into another door. With a master’s in liberal arts and sciences degree, you can confidently walk through any of those doors. Even if you don’t have the hard skills, you can adapt and learn anything and everything. 

How Much Can You Earn with a Master’s in Liberal Arts and Sciences Degree?

Earnings vary greatly with what you decide to do with this degree. According to Arizona State University, some of the top career prospects for graduates are editors, journalists, paraprofessionals, publicists, and policy analysts. 

According to Glassdoor:

  • The base pay for a policy analyst is $58,000, while the base pay for a senior policy analyst is $69,000
  • The base pay for a journalist is $44,000
  • The base pay for an editor is $55,000
  • The base pay for a publicist is $49,000
  • The base pay for a paraprofessional is $27,000.

What Is Required for a Master’s in Liberal Arts and Sciences Degree?

To gain admission to a graduate program in liberal arts, most schools will expect you to have:

  • A 3.00 GPA (B average) out of 4.00 in your undergraduate coursework, as proved in your official transcripts
  • Strong letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores
  • A purpose statement or letter of interest
  • A resume or biographical statement

To graduate with a master’s degree, you’ll take courses in many fields, including literature, religion, philosophy, and the social sciences. Many schools will ask you to take several electives, which you can choose from their course catalogs. 

What Are the Best Master’s in Liberal Arts and Sciences Degrees?

OSR uses six data points: three school-wide and three program specific. For school-wide, OSR uses Student Satisfaction, Admission Rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. For program-specific, OSR checks the Median Debt of graduates from that program, how many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department, and what percentage of students at that school graduated from that department.

The six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US institutions. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the US Department of Education. A more detailed description of the OSR process can be found on the methodology page.

  1. Arizona State University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $6,144(in state) / $6,144(out of state)
    • 18 credit hours of electives
    • Students and faculty include Nobel laureates
    • 30 total credit hours

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission Rate63%
    Programs offered online45

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School8.48%
    80%
    OSR Score

    At Arizona State University-Skysong, you will explore the unity of the humanities through political, religious, social, and scientific questions and research. Your 30 credit hours will comprise ten classes, which are each 7.5 weeks long. Recognized as a top university for humanities research, this is undeniably a fantastic option for any student seeking a master’s in the liberal arts. 

  2. Johns Hopkins University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $52,170(in state) / $52,170(out of state)
    • Graduate work includes a capstone
    • Ten courses 
    • The first program of its type in the country

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73.40%
    Admission Rate13%
    Programs offered online6

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School< 1%
    76%
    OSR Score

    Johns Hopkins University’s master’s in liberal arts will help you strengthen your critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills. At ten courses long, you’ll take a mix of core and elective classes that will ultimately shape your life. If you want to understand the world from a variety of perspectives, this is the program for you.  

  3. Fort Hays State University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $3,497(in state) / $9,961(out of state)
    • Named the Best Master’s in Liberal Arts program of 2020 by Intelligent.com
    • 31 total credit hours
    • Concentrations include global studies and literary arts

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction71.20%
    Admission Rate89%
    Programs offered online22

    Program Level

    Median Debt$30,018
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School11.66%
    75%
    OSR Score

    At Fort Hays State University, you can pick your unique path and follow it until you obtain your master’s degree. Some of the fascinating core classes are Origins and Implications of the Knowledge Society and Ways of Knowing in Comparative Perspective. This Master of Liberal Studies degree divides its credits between ten hours of core courses and 21 hours of concentration classes.

  4. University of Illinois at Springfield

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $8,772(in state) / $15,857(out of state)
    • Individualized degree proposals
    • Students’ thesis will demonstrate their accomplishments and scholarly research
    • Students design effective learning experiences

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73.00%
    Admission Rate52%
    Programs offered online11

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School3.81%
    74%
    OSR Score

    The University of Illinois-Springfield offers one of the most personalizable master’s degrees in the nation. You can take classes in a wide variety of areas, including but not limited to global education, philosophy, women and gender studies, African-American studies, and technology. Application deadlines are April 15 for the fall and November 15 for the spring.

  5. Albertus Magnus College

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $19,648(in state) / $19,648(out of state)
    • 33 total credit hours
    • The study seeks to illuminate the human experience
    • Faculty members comprise various departments

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction81.00%
    Admission Rate64%
    Programs offered online8

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School6.95%
    73%
    OSR Score

    Albertus Magnus students are expected to take a diverse set of classes. They must choose one course in each of Society and Culture; Arts and Humanities; Science, Technology and Environmental Studies; Religion, Philosophy, and Moral Choice. After completing 30 credit hours, students must design their own final project.

  6. Texas Christian University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $27,990(in state) / $27,990(out of state)
    • Course example includes Superheroes Across Global Contexts 
    • Program is flexible and affordable
    • Faculty emphasizes making studies fun and enjoyable

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction75.80%
    Admission Rate41%
    Programs offered online1

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School2.87%
    72%
    OSR Score

    To complete a master’s in liberal arts degree through Texas Christian University, students must take 12 credit hours in approved MLA classes. You must also maintain a 2.75 or higher GPA in order to graduate. No distinction is made on your official transcripts, meaning online degrees are equal to on-campus degrees at TCU.

  7. Stony Brook University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $10,870(in state) / $22,210(out of state)
    • Ranked No. 2 best online program in the nation by BestColleges.com
    • Alumni includes environmental consultants and teachers
    • SPD accepts applications on a rolling basis

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction75.20%
    Admission Rate42%
    Programs offered online2

    Program Level

    Median Debt$19,200
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School< 1%
    70%
    OSR Score

    A unique feature of Stony Brook University’s master’s program is that students can combine on-campus and online coursework, or they can all of their classes online. The coursework comprises 33 credit hours. Fifteen of those hours must be in the liberal studies core. 

  8. University of Memphis

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $9,054(in state) / $17,838(out of state)
    • Students can customize an interdisciplinary course of study
    • The program is 33 credit hours
    • Students must submit a persuasive application essay

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction76.40%
    Admission Rate85%
    Programs offered online18

    Program Level

    Median Debt$44,230
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School5.99%
    69%
    OSR Score

    Offering a highly esteemed master’s in liberal arts and sciences program, the University of Memphis allows students to create a personalized course of study. In doing so, they can achieve their personal and professional development goals. A portion of your credits to graduate will include out-of-the-classroom, real-world development experience.

  9. Rutgers University-Camden

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $16,848(in state) / $27,768(out of state)
    • 26-year-old MLAS program
    • The degree is intended to broaden your intellectual horizons
    • You can mix on-campus and online learning

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission Rate69%
    Programs offered online8

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School4.43%
    68%
    OSR Score

    Rutgers University’s MLAS program aims to broaden your horizons tenfold. Here, you’ll explore new ideas, add substantial experience to your resume, and explore your many areas of interest. If you’d like to mix online and on-campus classes, you can take courses from the Criminal Justice, Childhood Studies, Public Policy, and History departments. 

  10. University of North Carolina at Greensboro

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $5,219(in state) / $18,937(out of state)
    • You can complete the degree in 18 months or less
    • Most courses are seven weeks long
    • No GRE required

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction74.80%
    Admission Rate78%
    Programs offered online7

    Program Level

    Median Debt$29,812
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School4.09%
    68%
    OSR Score

    The University of North Carolina-Greensboro’s MAAS program connects students’ knowledge, tools, and experience to prepare them for the real world. If saving money and avoiding massive amounts of debt is important to you, then look no further. Through UNC Greensboro, online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. 

  11. University of North Carolina Wilmington

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $4,626(in state) / $17,834(out of state)
    • The online degree has been offered for over ten years
    • You can individualize your course of study
    • All students must take Contemporary Issues in Liberal Studies

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction75.80%
    Admission Rate67%
    Programs offered online6

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School< 1%
    68%
    OSR Score

    The University of North Carolina-Wilmington offers one of the oldest online MALS degrees in the nation. And it’s an excellent one at that. Throughout your graduate work, you’ll take courses in social concerns and cultural systems; environment, science, and society; and literature, arts, and society.

  12. University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $5,119(in state) / $19,778(out of state)
    • Some courses emphasize volunteering in the 21st century
    • Classes are 16 weeks long
    • 33 total credit hours

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission Rate74%
    Programs offered online7

    Program Level

    Median Debt$38,390
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School8.97%
    67%
    OSR Score

    Are you a working adult who doesn’t want to set aside years and thousands of dollars in order to earn your degree? If so, then take a look at the University of Oklahoma, who offers a fast-paced, accelerated program designed to accommodate your working lifestyle. It’s an excellent program, including courses on culture, diversity, and other interdisciplinary studies. 

  13. University of Michigan-Flint

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $10,413(in state) / $15,593(out of state)
    • The program concentrates on American culture
    • You can enroll full or part-time 
    • Coursework stresses individualized learning and research

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction74.00%
    Admission Rate65%
    Programs offered online4

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School< 1%
    66%
    OSR Score

    The University of Michigan-Flint Liberal Studies in American Culture program is unique among online universities. Throughout your coursework, you’ll examine how race, gender, equality, politics, religion, and popular culture play a role in American identity. Upon completion, you’ll be able to help companies and organizations understand and navigate this interplay.

  14. University of Toledo

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $13,429(in state) / $23,766(out of state)
    • Each student has their own Success Coach
    • 33 total credit hours
    • Students develop a personalized plan of study

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73.00%
    Admission Rate94%
    Programs offered online11

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School< 1%
    66%
    OSR Score

    At the University of Toledo, faculty truly care about your education as well as your success beyond the program. Along your path, the school will provide you with a Success Coach, advisers, and interactive faculty to assist and inform your life and career prospects. Students also have access to eTutoring and a detailed eLibrary.

  15. SUNY College at Brockport

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $8,412(in state) / $18,192(out of state)
    • Students can take elective courses online or on-campus
    • Students can personalize their academic coursework
    • 30 total credit hours

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission Rate53%
    Programs offered online15

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at SchoolNot Reported
    66%
    OSR Score

    The SUNY College at Brockport offers an excellent liberal studies program. Students’ custom plan of study accommodates their needs and career aspirations. Graduates have gone on to work in education, human services, government, business, and many other positions that require interpersonal and interdisciplinary skills.