Top 9 Cheap Online Liberal Arts Studies Degree Programs (Bachelors)

online liberal arts studies degree programsWelcome to our list of some of the most affordable online liberal arts studies degree programs in the United States.

Unfortunately, many people assume that a degree in the Liberal Arts is all but worthless; on par with degrees in English and History, some critics insist that these degrees don’t adequately prepare students for the most in-demand careers. However, there are a lot of benefits to these degrees as well. People who study the Liberal Arts are at a distinct advantage in some ways, mainly due to the opportunity they have to study a multitude of subjects and to build essential skills in critical thinking, communication, and research. Liberal arts graduates frequently find jobs in education, management, public relations, journalism, marketing, and many other fields.

Because of the broad scope of the degree and the ease of teaching many of the required courses in an online format, many colleges now offer Liberal Arts degrees entirely through distance education. Students can log in to the online classroom at their own schedule and can complete courses at their leisure. This format is particularly attractive to nontraditional students, such as working adults or parents, who need a high degree of flexibility in school.


There are upwards of three dozen completely accredited, online colleges that offer such Liberal Arts degrees, but not all are created equal. We’ve sifted through the U.S. Department of Education’s College Navigator database to find the 9 cheapest online colleges that offer B.A. degrees in the Liberal Arts online. Far from just being affordable, these schools are also reputable, and we verified their quality by including references to their rankings or awards from such prestigious sources as U.S. News and the Ranking of World Universities.

Cheap Online Liberal Arts Studies Degree Programs Ranking

Dubbed by the U.S. News as the 3rd Best Online Bachelors Program, Penn State Online offers students an online liberal arts degree at around $13,000 per year.

9. Penn State Online

Online Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Letters, and Sciences

Penn State offers a Bachelors’ degree in Letters, Arts, and Sciences that allows students to develop the program of study that best fits their needs. This versatile online liberal arts studies degree program focuses on four key principles- critical analysis, research, theory and application, and communication. The online college even offers a certification in organizational communication that shares many of the same courses as the B.A. Penn State also offers distance learners the same opportunities as their on-campus students, including the chance to apply for scholarships and join online student societies. Penn State won recognition for academic excellence in 2014 when U.S. News ranked the online college the #3 Best Online Bachelors’ Program.

Tuition: $13,202/yr


CSU was ranked by the U.S. News as the 35th Best Regional Western University for its high academic integrity and it offers students a credible and affordable liberal arts degree online at less than $7,000 per year (instate).

8. California State University Chico

Liberal Studies Online

The Liberal Studies program at California State University is ideal for students with some college experience who want to work in education. The cheap online liberal arts studies degree completion program is designed to meet requirements for kindergarten, elementary, and middle school teachers in California and emphasizes intellectual inquiry, research, and communication. Students attending college online can choose to minor in Sociology or Career and Life Planning, and must enter a separate program to earn their teaching credentials. The online college also offers Professional Development courses for students who want to further improve their career. In 2015, U.S. News ranked CSU as the #35 Best Regional Western University for its high academic quality.

Tuition: $6,972/yr (In-state) $18,132/yr (Out-of-state)



The Academic Ranking of World University has ranked this college as the 24th Best World University in 2014, and it offers a reliable and affordable liberal arts bachelor degree.

7. University of Wisconsin Whitewater

Online Liberal Studies BA or BS

The University of Wisconsin prepares Liberal Studies students for careers in a wide variety of fields. The online college offers the accredited online liberal arts studies degree completion program as either a B.A. or a B.S. Both degrees help students develop a global perspective, critical thinking ability, and an understanding of people and society. Students have significant freedom in their studies; they may choose a main focus as well as an additional emphasis or minor. Whatever area students choose to explore, they can be sure they will receive an excellent education; the Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked this affordable online college as 24th Best World University in 2014.

Tuition: $7,578/yr (In-state) $15,151/yr (Out-of-state)


Take online courses at Northeastern University to work towards a liberal arts degree online at about $11,000 per year.

6. Northeastern University

Online Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies

The Liberal Studies program at Northeastern University gives students a knowledge base in a variety of subjects, as well as the chance to design their own education. The curriculum includes courses in English, diversity, technology, mathematics, ethics, science, and history. While students mainly determine their own career options, the online college says that graduates of the program are well prepared for work in management, education, and business. The fact that Northeastern is ranked as the #42 Best National University by U.S. News will certainly improve students’ career prospects. The top online college also makes the cost of higher education more affordable through abundant scholarships for both incoming and upperclassmen students.

Tuition: $11,070/yr


Recognized as one of the Top 15 Best Online Universities from the Online Education Database, Ottawa University offers students an online liberal studies degree at less than $11,000 per year.

5. Ottawa University

Online Bachelor of Arts in Studies in Liberal Arts

Ottawa University offers a Liberal Studies degree that is tailored to busy adults who want to get their education on their own schedule. The online college provides personal academic advisors and a 4:1 student to faculty ratio, meaning students get plenty of individualized attention and support. The curriculum builds skills in critical thinking with courses in the arts, sciences, humanities, and mathematics. Students also take a capstone course in Applied Liberal Arts, in which they have the chance to put their studies to the test in the real world. This faith-based online college recently won recognition as one of the Top 15 Best Online Universities from the Online Education Database.

Tuition: $10,920/yr


Take classes online directly from any computer that has access to the internet at Azusa Pacific University. It offers a reliable online liberal arts degree at around $10,000 per year.

4. Azusa Pacific University

Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies Degree Online

Azusa Pacific University offers a Liberal Studies degree that is tailored for adult students who want to work as elementary and special education teachers. The online college helps people already working in the education field as aides or paraeducators make the step to a teaching career. The online liberal arts studies degree curriculum covers the Christian faith, the philosophy and ethics of education, and the knowledge necessary to pass the teacher examinations in California. The cheap online college is a Yellow Ribbon school and a Servicemembers Opportunity College, making it an good choice for military students.

Tuition: $10,300/yr


Clayton State University offers students a reliable and affordable liberal arts degree online at around $5,000 per year.

3. Clayton State University

Online Liberal Studies Program

Clayton State University offers a Liberal Studies program that is intended for working students who want a degree that reflects the various aspects of their jobs. The flexibility allows students to get exactly what they need out of their education in order to move ahead in their career. Students attending college online are eligible for courses from any school in the Atlanta Regional Consortium of Higher Education, which gives them a huge selection from which to choose. The online liberal arts studies degree curriculum also places a heavy emphasis on internships and real-life experience. Reviews of the cheap online college on CollegeProwler are generally positive and say that the professors are both knowledgeable and friendly.

Tuition: $5,135/yr (In-state) $14,915/yr (Out-of-state)


Work towards a new career and develop more skills at Colorado State university Online by getting a liberal arts bachelor degree at an affordable rate.

2. Colorado State University Online

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts Online

Liberal Studies students at Colorado State University get an education in communications, economics, political science, sociology, and humanities in addition to the chance to specialize in what interests them. The curriculum teaches writing, speaking, analytical, and problem solving skills to prepare students for a variety of careers. The online college also allows students to further specialize with a minor in economics, business administration, sociology, anthropology, political science, or media studies. The online classroom supports the rigorous coursework with a format that encourages discussion. U.S. News currently ranks CSU as the #58 Top Public University, and yet it still offers a tuition price that deems it an extremely affordable online college.

Tuition: $8,400/yr


For under $6,000 per year students at Thomas Edison State University can get a liberal arts degree online. All classes are held online and no on campus time is required.

1. Thomas Edison State College

Online BA in Liberal Studies

Thomas Edison State College provides a Liberal Studies degree for adult students who want to move on to graduate education or advance their careers. The program has students focus on two liberal arts subjects and study the differences and interactions between the two. Because TESC is a school for adult learners, the cheap online college awards generous nontraditional credit for military and professional training, portfolio assessment, and credit-by-exam programs. The low cost of attendance makes TESC a good choice for anyone, but especially for military students. According to Military Advanced Education magazine, the online college is one of the top ten military friendly institutions in the country, and is an excellent option for earning and undergraduate online liberal arts studies degree.

Tuition: $5,700/yr (In-state) $8,395/yr (Out-of-state)

See also: Top 10 Cheap Online Interdisciplinary Studies Degree Programs (Bachelor’s) 2014 and Liberal Arts Scholarships.


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About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career when she started working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates’ careers. Her interests actually span far beyond writing, and she is currently studying to be a physicist! Check out her Google+ Profile.