Online Bachelor's in Liberal Studies

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Disciplines Featured in Maryville’s Liberal Studies Program

Liberal studies focuses on the holistic study of the humanities, sciences, and arts. Maryville University’s online liberal studies degree explores a variety of subjects, such as literature, philosophy, and the social and physical sciences. In addition to these core topics, our liberal studies program also allows students to personalize their education by choosing a concentration that aligns with their professional interests and career goals. The concentration that liberal studies students focus on is important, because it may help them prepare to enter specific professional industries after graduating.

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Overview of the Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies Degree

The Council for Aid to Education has published data presenting an empirical case that humanities majors progress critical thinking and reasoning in greater strides than standard business, technologies, engineering, and mathematics majors. According to the National Humanities Alliance, this baseline of education can equip graduate with the skills they need to excel in highly competitive industries, including media, nonprofits, government, health care, and many more. The bachelor’s in liberal studies is an example of a humanities program, and it is designed to provide students with a comprehensive foundation in the humanities and social sciences, while also allowing personalization via specialized concentration classes that cover a variety of professional disciplines.

The core humanities and social sciences coursework cultivates general skills and knowledge, with students typically focusing on learning how to effectively communicate, conduct research, analyze data, and collaborate with others. These courses cover topics such as philosophy, psychology, literature, and history.

The liberal studies curriculum also requires completion of general education coursework as well as professional concentration courses. Professional concentration courses are chosen based on a student’s personal interests. Real-world scenarios are incorporated within the online coursework to help you learn how to apply your growing theoretical knowledge in the field. Our aim is to teach you highly transferable skills that can be applied in almost any industry.

Liberal Studies Concentrations

Below is a list of the professional concentrations for the Fall 2018 through Summer 2019 term. Students in Maryville University’s online bachelor’s in liberal studies degree program can select a concentration during enrollment.

  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Communication
  • Criminal Justice/Criminology
  • Cybersecurity
  • Financial Services
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Healthcare Management
  • Management Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Organizational Leadership

Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies Degree Disciplines

Liberal studies students can take multiple courses related to the professional concentration they’ve selected. This allows them to shape their education based on their own interests, giving them a head start in developing in-demand practical skills that employers in their field may find attractive. For instance, if a student is interested in business, professional concentration courses in accounting or business administration may be of interest. Alternatively, if a student is interested in healthcare, professional concentration courses in healthcare management may be a better fit.

Below is more information about the online liberal studies degree concentrations offered by Maryville University during the 2018-2019 academic term.


Students who choose the accounting discipline can take classes that teach them how to manage financial assets for individuals and businesses. The curriculum is designed to help students develop the technical skills needed to navigate the accounting information systems used to store financial data and process complex calculations. Accounting discipline students may also learn how to produce a variety of essential financial reports using these accounting tools.

Through managerial accounting coursework, students can learn how to use their knowledge of finance to inform business strategies. This is a valuable skill for liberal studies graduates, because it may increase their potential to qualify as candidates for administrative positions that also involve managing company funds. Knowledge of forensic accounting and ethics is likely to also prove valuable in this regard, because businesses value accounting professionals who know how to identify fraudulent behaviors and other corrupt financial practices.

Business Administration

The business administration professional concentration includes classes geared to teach students how to maximize the operational efficiency of an organization. Through their coursework, students may learn how to unite people and resources in order to achieve an employer’s objectives. This should not be done at the expense of customer safety or satisfaction, so the business administration curriculum also emphasizes producing leaders who understand how to promote ethical behavior in their organizations.

Students have a significant degree of control over what exactly they learn from business administration concentration, as they can often select the areas they want to focus on. The options include accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing, and information systems.


Communication professionals help organizations articulate ideas and convey their missions to stakeholders. By choosing to concentrate on communication, liberal studies students can learn how to lead media campaigns for a variety of clientele. The classes teach how to communicate using traditional platforms, such as print and television, as well as on new platforms, such as digital media. This is useful when working with organizations that need to spread messages internally to employees and externally to consumers.

To tie these concepts together, students pursuing the communication professional concentration can also expect to learn how to design and create dynamic communication strategies that can be adapted to changing situations, audiences, social movements, technology and delivery modalities.

Criminal Justice

Through a criminal justice concentration, students can take criminology courses that examine the theories on why people commit crimes. The criminal justice curriculum typically allows students to gear their education specifically for a future law enforcement career, but if they have other career goals, they can also take more general courses.

Some classes cover the roots of criminal behaviors and terrorism, allowing students to expand their knowledge of the circumstances that can influence someone to break laws. For instance, abnormal psychology coursework is used to teach students about the nature of abnormal behaviors while also explaining how knowledgeable professionals can intervene to correct those behaviors. Likewise, domestic and international terrorism coursework digs into the etiology of terrorism, allowing students to gain a thorough understanding of how terrorist organizations are formed, how they operate, and the tactics they use to inflict harm on their targets.


The information stored in computer networks is more valuable than ever; therefore, cybersecurity professionals are needed to ensure that sensitive data are secure. This liberal studies professional concentration allows tech-savvy students to take on the crucial task of learning how to secure databases, prevent network security breaches, and monitor organizations’ networks to identify potential threats.

The offensive track for the cybersecurity concentration emphasizes ethical (also known as “white hat”) hacking, which involves using technical expertise to try to breach a digital network. The ethical hacker looks for unidentified security vulnerabilities and helps come up with solutions on how to eliminate these. The defensive track focuses on teaching students how to establish functional digital safety measures and how to respond to incidents if those safeguards fail. The general cybersecurity concentration offers classes from both sides of the field, allowing students to develop a balanced skill set.

Financial Services

With financial services skills, a liberal studies graduate has better understanding of money management and how it impacts the overall success of businesses as well as individuals. This can lead to careers working with financial services organizations, such as banks, insurance companies, and consumer finance companies. The bulk of the professional concentration courses cover the functions of money and how to navigate financial systems. This involves studying the relationship between finance and the economy and how to measure that relationship. Students may learn valuation techniques, budget planning, investment banking, and how to administer various types of financing. This knowledge is applicable to small businesses or even on an international scale, as there are countless people who need assistance with planning their financial futures.

Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychology is used in the legal and criminal justice system to determine why people commit crimes or engage in delinquent behaviors. By choosing this professional concentration, liberal studies students may learn more about the psychological aspects of law enforcement and corrections. In the more hands-on introduction to criminal investigations coursework, they learn about proper investigations are conducted. In other classes, such as Multicultural Policing and Juvenile Delinquency, students can learn how different mental health and societal factors can play into law enforcement strategy, making it easier to come up with ideas for suppressing crime in different neighborhoods.

Healthcare Management

Like any for-profit business, healthcare organizations must remain profitable in order to function optimally. Healthcare managers apply their knowledge of business operations to healthcare settings, ensuring that human and material resources are being applied efficiently and cost-effectively. These resources account for a large amount of spending in healthcare institutions, so skilled healthcare managers can significantly impact the solvency of their employers’ finances.

Because of the need for healthcare managers who have these skills, students who choose a healthcare management concentration are exposed to the financial, economic, and legal aspects of healthcare businesses. For example, courses that highlight healthcare compliance and quality allow students to learn more about the regulatory structure used to ensure that healthcare organizations are providing safe, high-quality services.

Management Information Systems

A management information systems professional is capable of analyzing an organization’s data  to find out how to improve performance. In fact, an educated specialist can convert different company data into reports that are used to guide management decisions. This field relies heavily on problem solving, critical thinking, and technology, making it one of the more technical liberal studies concentrations. Students in this concentration also learn how information technology is employed by modern businesses and how they can help their employers leverage it to maximize efficiencies. The coursework includes classes such as database design and programming, as well as an introduction to the principles of cybersecurity. This resulting IT skill set can be helpful to graduates seeking jobs in a variety of technical fields.


Digital technology has transformed the marketing industry and created a range of new opportunities for businesses. The marketing professional concentration introduces students to traditional channels, such as print media, while also teaching them how to market on new media platforms, such as social media. Each marketing class offers a new outlook on how to build and manage relationships with current and potential consumers. While some coursework focuses directly on marketing, this concentration also offers classes that cover sales and consumer market behavior. Through these classes, students may also learn more about the psychological processes that influence consumers to purchase products.

Organizational Leadership

A strong leader can have a significant positive impact on his or her company’s ability to consistently achieve goals. The organizational leadership professional concentration is designed to teach students about the characteristics that good leaders should have and how different leadership styles are used to achieve different objectives within an organization. Because leaders are valued in every type of organization, this concentration allows a great level of flexibility in regard to the career paths graduates can pursue. Their ability to facilitate communication in interdisciplinary teams, combined with their enhanced knowledge of organizational behaviors, helps to make them prime candidates for positions that rely heavily on teamwork and collaboration.

Start Pursuing a Liberal Studies Degree Today

With so many options on the table, it may be hard to choose just one concentration for your bachelor’s in liberal studies degree. For this reason, Maryville University offers students the ability to create individualized plans with the help of advisors who know what each program has to offer. Based on the information you provide, the advisors can help find the liberal studies discipline that fits you best. Learn more by visiting Maryville University’s bachelor’s in liberal studies degree page.