Liberal Arts

  • Overview
  • FAQs
  • Options
  • Online program
  • Certificates
Higher education isn’t just about mastering a body of technical knowledge or a set of specific job skills. It involves a profound transformation of a person’s intellect, outlook, and perspective. It provides a unique opportunity to explore new horizons as well as cultivate new aptitudes and interests. By its very nature, the journey through higher education is full of experimentation and discovery.

GCC’s Liberal Arts degree supports this journey by introducing you to a number of academic disciplines that are central to modern life. Math, English, the fine and performing arts, the natural and behavioral sciences, history, communications, and other fields collectively known as the humanities form the core of the Liberal Arts curriculum. They offer you a number of powerful ways to access, analyze, generate, and share different kinds of knowledge. They also prepare you to interpret and express your own experience creatively. Finally, they equip you with a broad understanding of historical, social, and ethical contexts, allowing you to participate fully in a complex global society. Unlike technical or professional training, a Liberal Arts education prepares you to fully engage with the world, giving you the flexibility and intellectual resources you’ll need to stay competitive in a rapidly-changing economy.

The Liberal Arts degree is a good choice for students who want to be ready for the ever-changing job markets of the future, or those who haven’t yet figured out which field they would like to specialize in, making it ideal for transfer students. A Liberal Arts degree also equips you with timeless skills used in a wide spectrum of jobs. In survey after survey, employers report that they look for workers who are flexible and independent thinkers, who can read, write, and use math fluently and accurately, and who can apply both analytical and creative approaches to solving problems. The Liberal Arts student develops all these abilities, making you readily employable.

This program can be completed fully online. Learn more »

You’ll take introductory and intermediate courses in a number of different fields, including the natural sciences, English composition, mathematics, the behavioral sciences, and the humanities. These courses provide a well-rounded foundation on which you can build new perspectives on yourself, your society, and the larger world. Electives make up 22 of the 60 required credits, allowing you the flexibility to “shop around” among disciplines or pursue your chosen field in greater depth. Having this educational background means you’ll be able to access and create more opportunities for yourself, whether professionally or academically. These courses also comprise the core knowledge you need to master before advancing to more specialized studies at a four-year institution, making the Liberal Arts General degree the most popular choice for students who plan to transfer.

Curriculum documents

This is just one way you might complete the Liberal Arts program in 4 semesters over 2 years of full-time study, or 8 semesters over 4 years of part-time study. (Sample course sequences assume that all pre-requisites have been satisfied and the student is prepared for college-level work.) For a detailed list of required courses, optional electives and program information, download the Liberal Arts program description from our official academic catalog.

Course descriptions are also available in the catalog. Find courses

Sample 2 Year Sequence of Courses
Fall 1Spring 1Fall 2Spring 2
ENG Comp. I
HIS course
THE course
ANT 103
World Languages course
ENG Comp. II
ART course
World Languages course
PCS course
MUS course
ENG 200 level course
MAT 117
World Languages course
GEO course
PSY 101
EVS course
BIO course
GGY course
PHI course
PSY 200 level course
Sample 4 Year Sequence of Courses
Fall 1Spring 1Fall 2Spring 2
ENG Comp. I
ANT course
World Languages course
PCS course
HIS course
World Languages course
ENG Comp. II
World Languages course
THE course
ART course
EVS course
Fall 3Spring 3Fall 4Spring 4
ENG 200 level course
MAT 117
BIO course
PSY 101
GEO course
MUScourse
GGY course
PHI course
PSY 200 level course

Student learning outcomes

Students completing a course of study in this program will be able to:

What’s next

Transfer to a Baccalaureate program.

LIB

What does a Liberal Arts degree prepare me for?

GCC’s Liberal Arts degree prepares you for two broad options: work in a wide variety of fields, and more advanced academic studies. Employers regularly report that they look for the kinds of skills the Liberal Arts degree helps students to develop: critical and creative thinking, analytical reasoning, literacy and numeracy, and independent learning. In a fast-changing world, these skills will always be in demand, so Liberal Arts students have many career options open to them. If students wish to pursue higher academic study, the Liberal Arts degree provides an essential foundation in a number of fields.

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What are the course requirements for a Liberal Arts degree?

The general Liberal Arts degree consists of 60 credits, broken down this way: Two English composition courses (4cr apiece), a Personal Communications Skills course (3cr), three Behavioral and Social Sciences courses (3cr apiece), one 200-level English literature course (3cr), one History course (3cr), one Humanities elective (3cr), two Natural or Physical Sciences laboratory courses (4cr apiece), one college-level Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning course (3cr), and 22 credits of electives.

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What are degree options?

GCC does not offer full baccalaureate degrees, so students do not enroll in a major here. Instead, the requirements of the general Liberal Arts degree have been customized in various ways to prepare students to major in many academic fields once they transfer. These customizations are known as “options.” Faculty in each department work to keep the requirements in their options aligned with the basic courses students need to pursue full baccalaureate majors later on.

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If I enroll in an option, will I still earn a Liberal Arts degree?

Yes. The course options and electives of the general Liberal Arts degree have simply been predetermined for you according to the option you enroll in. For example, Education students take a number of specific Education courses to fulfill part of their general electives, and the courses they may choose among to satisfy their literature requirement are limited to two. No matter which option you choose, you will still meet all the requirements of the general Liberal Arts degree, and you will still be eligible for MassTransfer and other transfer agreements.

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Can I switch options?

Yes. This is easily done, but it might mean that you will have to take extra courses to satisfy the requirements of your new degree option. Students in options sometimes elect to switch back to the general Liberal Arts program (LIB) in order to graduate and transfer sooner, even though they have not fulfilled all the requirements of a specific option.

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Can I enroll in more than one option at the same time?

No. However, courses taken to meet the requirements of a Certificate program may be applied to degree option requirements once you enroll in that option.

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How can I choose a good option for me?

You can meet with advisors in the Academic Advising Center to discuss your interests and academic strengths. They can recommend options for you to explore as well as introduce you to various diagnostic tools you can use to further reflect on your aptitudes and passions. You can also explore the individual option pages from this site. Each option page contains more detailed information on what that particular option can offer you. There is also contact information for option advisors, and GCC faculty are ready to answer your questions about their respective academic fields.

Posted in: LIB

How long will it take to complete a Liberal Arts degree?

If you complete 15 credits per semester (about five courses), you can earn your degree in four semesters, or two years. However, many students are unable to complete 15 credits per semester because of work and family responsibilities. GCC offers a more limited selection of courses during the January Intersession as well as each of the two Summer Sessions in order to help students stay on track to graduate in a reasonable timeframe. For most options, we have created 4- and 8-semester sample schedules to give you an idea of how you might plan out your course requirements here.

Posted in: LIB

In addition to our general Liberal Arts degree, GCC offers concentrations of study in Liberal Arts options with graduation requirements that prepare you to major in a specific academic field upon transfer to a four-year institution. Students enrolled in a Liberal Arts option will graduate with the degree “Associate in Arts in Liberal Arts” (your area of study will be reflected in your transcript, not your diploma).

By taking classes in a Liberal Arts option, students complete courses that help develop 100 and 200 course level knowledge and skills in a particular field. If you don’t satisfy the requirements of a specific Liberal Arts option, you may still be able to fulfill the requirements of another option, or fulfill the requirements of the Liberal Arts General degree. Students are advised to work closely with their GCC advisor to select the specific courses that will help meet their career or transfer goals.

All of our options are eligible for MassTransfer, which guarantees admission, full transfer of credit, and a tuition discount (each based on final to GPA) to graduates who transfer to eligible programs in the Massachusetts higher education system.

Liberal Arts options

 

Considering an online degree or certificate? Learn more about online learning at GCC at gcc.mass.edu/online.

The Liberal Arts program has associated certificates that can “stack” into the degree. Depending on course selection, if you’re enrolled in this program you can earn one of the following certificates halfway through completing your degree:

These programs are a great way to increase your earning power and job potential with a marketable career certificate while you’re still working toward your degree. Work closely with your advisor to make sure you choose the right classes!

Learn more about our degree and certificate and degree pathways »