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Liberal Arts Myths and Realities

The following text and video were produced by sociology and graphic design students within TU’s Kendall College of Arts & Sciences with guidance from faculty mentors and approval from Dean Kalpana Misra. It is their hope that this information answers questions and dispels misconceptions about a liberal arts education in the 21st century.

The University of Tulsa’s Kendall College of Arts & Sciences houses majors in the arts, humanities and social sciences. While the liberal arts have long been valued for their contributions to the public good – educating young people to become thinkers and leaders in a democratic society – some pundits and politicians have questioned the value of a liberal arts education for college students in today’s economy.

In 2015, sociology senior seminar students examined the liberal arts and the job market. In collaboration with graphic design majors, they produced a video (above) and researched misconceptions such as:

Myth: The liberal arts will not teach you marketable skills.
Reality: The liberal arts help students cultivate skills that are useful in a variety of work settings.

Myth: A liberal arts degree will narrow your career options.
Reality: The range of careers for liberal arts majors is actually wider than it is for many pre-professional and STEM majors.

Myth: Graduate school is required after majoring in the liberal arts, and your major will determine the graduate degree you pursue.
Reality: Career-level jobs can be obtained with a bachelor’s degree, but some jobs and career paths do require further education. Liberal arts graduates can pursue a wide range of graduate degrees.

Myth: After earning a bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts, you should go directly to graduate school or establish a career—any short-term alternatives are a waste of time and money.
Reality: Short-term alternatives can help graduates explore their long-term interests.


Sociology seniors Callie Burrows, Grace Farha, Katie Hill, Fraser Kastner, Ethan Rex, Erica Sampson, Isaac Sanders, and Travis Teague wrote the text for the video and the text that follows it, with Professor Susan Chase’s guidance. Third Floor Design graphic design majors Sarah Beam, Hartly Carlisle, Belle McDaniel, and Cristina Moore created the video with help from Ben Davis. Ethan Rex narrated the text in the video.

References (in video)

George Anders, “Revenge of the Philosophy Majors,” Forbes 196 (August 17, 2015): 70-80.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth among the Youngest Baby Boomers,” March 31, 2015, accessed November 3, 2015 (

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-2015, accessed November 3, 2015 (