As college graduation nears, liberal arts majors are being left behind as employers look at applicants with a specific degree in mind. While focus on liberal arts is still relatively high, there has been an increased emphasis on more science-focused majors. This is a trend around the globe. The Chinese government for example, is working toward turning every university in their country into a “world class” institution of science and technological research.
Because of this trend, many liberal arts majors have decided to specialize in a handful of sciences. For example, math majors now typically take advanced calculus courses, which prepare them for a career in research. While other majors may still have their own independent research, it is usually secondary to the requirements of the department they work for.
While most majors in the liberal arts will have some sort of independent research component, many have specific research centers. These centers often sponsor national and international conferences, workshops and projects. The main goal of these conferences is to bring together different disciplines and share data from their own studies. Often, these conferences bring together a variety of disciplines from different countries, but it also can be a cross-disciplinary conference where disciplines from other fields are brought in.
Some of these centers also offer research programs, which will usually be focused on specific topics within each field. For example, the Center for Public Research, Education and Community Improvement in Chicago was established by the United States Department of Labor in 2020 to help create programs that will promote the public interest and better use of federal funds. Currently, this center works on research, education, policy development, implementation and evaluation of public research and educational programs.
In some instances, liberal arts majors find that there are limited avenues for their research outside of their major. Students who do not have a specific academic advisor are more likely to find themselves writing their own grants and doing independent research. This can be a challenge if they do not know where to start looking, but students with an academic advisor are more likely to be awarded funding.
If you are interested in pursuing a major in the liberal arts, take a few classes to get a feel for the program you want to pursue. You can even look online for research programs or even find information on how to apply for grants in your state to help pay for your education.