The purpose of a liberal arts degree program isn’t to train you in the technical skills required for a specific career path, but instead to develop your thinking, decision-making and communication skills through a broad education. Liberal arts colleges and major programs expose students to a range of knowledge in subjects in the arts, sciences and humanities.

The Arts

Part of the typical liberal arts degree program includes studies in the fine and creative arts. As a liberal arts student, you may find yourself taking courses such as art history, music history, theatre and literature.

While coursework in these subjects is part of a well-rounded education, is also serves a greater purpose. The inclusion of these disciplines in a liberal arts curriculum is part of the reason these degree programs help students develop their creativity, according to U.S. News & World Report. Today’s employers are increasingly valuing creativity in job candidates, U.S. News reported – and a liberal arts education is better suited to foster your creativity than technical or professional programs.

The Sciences

Liberal arts students take coursework in both social sciences and natural sciences, so they develop a solid understanding of how the natural and social worlds work. Among your natural science classes, you’ll likely take courses such as biology or life science, chemistry, physics, mathematics, astronomy. Your social science courses might include coursework in sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics and political science.

Even if you don’t plan to go into a career in the sciences, understanding scientific principles, the scientific method, the basics of research and the reasons behind human social interactions can be very important no matter what career you pursue. Coursework in these subjects helps you learn to think critically and apply logic and reason to process events and make decisions in your professional and personal life.

The Humanities

The humanities are academic disciplines that focus on human culture and condition. Some academic disciplines that are considered humanities may also fall under the category of arts or social sciences. What’s most important isn’t what these disciplines are called, but instead what knowledge and skills you learn from studying them.

Humanities courses that are common in liberal arts studies include philosophy, languages, history, archeology, religion, linguistics, ethics, political science and the philosophy of law. Combined with courses in the arts and the natural and social sciences, studying the humanities can help you learn to see the larger picture when making strategies or decisions, analyze all available information and communicate your ideas in written or oral form.

If you choose a liberal arts school, your education will cover coursework in a variety of subjects. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking there’s anything random in the nature of your education. The curriculum at the top liberal arts colleges is chosen with a purpose in mind: to grow students’ thinking, analytical and communication skills and provide them with a comprehensive educational background.