Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Liberal Arts

Are you ready to find your fit?

Welcome 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.

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

Top 20 Cheap Online Liberal Arts Studies Degree Programs

  1. University of North Carolina-Greensboro
    Location

    Greensboro, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of North Carolina at Greensboro has a well-rounded liberal studies program that balances broad-based learning with career development. Designed specifically for adults with prior college credit, the curriculum seeks to leverage your past experiences while also "increas[ing] your professional skills and opportunities." To start, you'll pick from one of three tracks - Humanities, Social Sciences, or Professional Studies - based on your background and career goals. From there, you'll have no problem completing this online BA in Liberal Studies thanks to conveniences like accelerated, seven-week courses, year-round learning opportunities, and asynchronous course delivery.

    • Graduation rate: 58%
    • School status: Public 
    • Tuition cost: $$$
    • Number of programs offered: 125+
    • Greensboro, NC 
    • Admission requirements: High school diploma (average GPA 3.75) or equivalent, high school courses in math, English, science, social science, and foreign language
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: SAT score of 1030-1220 or ACT score of 23
    • Contact: (336) 334-5000 or admissions@uncg.edu
    • Website
  2. Troy University
    Location

    Troy, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A solidly skills-based program, Troy University's affordable online liberal studies degree helps students "develop the critical thinking, communication, and high-level analytical skills needed for today's job market." As such, the curriculum starts by grounding majors in important social science concepts, from world politics to general psychology. You'll also take specific classes designed to boost your critical thinking skills (such as "Methods in Critical Inquiry" and "Critical Theory") before launching into your electives. But you won't just pick any electives; to best prepare you for a career, Troy requires you to pick classes from each of four categories: Global, Cognitive and Language, Societal, and Behavioral Studies.

    • Graduation rate: 29%
    • School status: Public 
    • Tuition cost: $$$
    • Number of programs offered: 170+
    • Troy, AL
    • Admission requirements: High school diploma or equivalent with 15 Carnegie units
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: 1030 RSAT or 20 ACT
    • Contact: (800) 414-5756
    • Website
  3. Antioch University
    Location

    Yellow Springs, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Antioch University challenges applicants to its liberal studies program to "find a degree that aligns with [their] future." Fortunately, this is an easy task, since Antioch has designed its accredited online liberal arts studies degree "to be compatible with almost any adult student." Incoming majors begin their studies by picking one of three concentrations: Literature and Creative Writing, Leadership for Service and Change, or Individualized Studies. The latter is the most flexible option and comes with an even longer list of focus areas. Some of these are professionally focused (e.g. Healthcare Administration and Human Services Administration) while others offer much more latitude in both coursework and career opportunities (e.g. Human Development and Humanities).

    • Graduation rate: 61%
    • School status: Private 
    • Tuition cost: $$$
    • Number of programs offered: 50+
    • Los Angeles, CA
    • Admission requirements: Online applicants must have 24 credits of transferable undergraduate work from an accredited institution
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: No standardized test requirements for online students
    • Contact: (800) 874-7986
    • Website
  4. Portland State University
    Location

    Portland, OR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Some liberal arts programs attempt to guide students' learning by requiring them to pick concentration(s) or select classes in a certain combination of disciplines. But undergraduates pursuing a cheap liberal arts degree online at Portland State have a different directive. That is, all you have to do is take at least 81 credits in coursework in Arts and Letters, Science, and/or Social Science. Whether you want to take classes from one or all three, you'll get to work with an academic advisor to devise a uniquely personal course of study.

    • Graduation rate: 54%
    • School status: Public
    • Tuition cost: $$$$
    • Number of programs offered: 200+
    • Portland, OR
    • Admission requirements: High school diploma (2.5 GPA requirement) or equivalent with coursework in math, science, social science, English, and a second language
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: SAT and ACT scores are optional
    • Contact: (503) 725-3000
    • Website
  5. California University of Pennsylvania
    Location

    California, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    You'll be hard-pressed to find a more open-ended online liberal studies degree than the program at the California University of Pennsylvania. With few limitations on major-specific courses, this program allows you to take classes not just in the humanities and social sciences, but also in the natural sciences. In fact, you're free to choose your major classes from an impressive 30 different disciplines, whether you're interested in studying Arabic, math, economics, or environmental science. And although you'll take a total of more than 80 credits in major and elective classes, you're only allowed to take at most 24 with the same course prefix - a rule that ensures your education is as broad as it is deep.

    • Graduation rate: 56%
    • School status: Public
    • Tuition cost: $$$
    • Number of programs offered: 100+
    • California, PA
    • Admission requirements: High school diploma or equivalent with coursework in language arts and literacy, math, science, and social studies
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: SAT and ACT scores are optional
    • Contact: (724) 938-4000
    • Website
  6. University of Illinois at Springfield
    Location

    Springfield, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    It may be a large state school, but UIS' liberal studies program will give you the experience of being enrolled at a small, private liberal arts college. In the true spirit of progressive thinking, this accredited online BA in Liberal Studies requires students to pick classes across seven unique categories: art, heritage, identity, institutions, language, nature, and work. Not only that, but you'll have to pick a minor from a select list of options - including typical liberal arts choices like Philosophy and Women and Gender Studies. For the remainder of your coursework, you'll get to work with an advisor to pick classes that meet your needs - you can even earn credit for service learning and independent studies.

    • Graduation rate: 56%
    • School status: Public 
    • Tuition cost: $$$
    • Number of programs offered: 40+
    • Springfield, IL
    • Admission requirements: High school diploma or equivalent with coursework in English, math, science, social science, and foreign language or fine arts. Class rank and GPA are taken into consideration for admissions.
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: SAT and ACT scores are optional
    • Contact: (217) 206-6600 or admissions@uis.edu
    • Website
  7. Northern Arizona University
    Location

    Flagstaff, AZ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Most online schools aim to provide convenience and accessibility, but Northern Arizona University goes above and beyond in its efforts to accommodate nontraditional learners. For starters, its affordable online BA in Liberal Studies features a flat-rate fee that allows you to take as many courses as you want over a six-month period for one low tuition rate. Plus, the program uses a "competency-based curriculum" that lets you progress in accordance with your understanding - not by some preset timetable. And like most liberal studies programs, the curriculum covers a wide range of courses - with an emphasis on "history, literature, politics, philosophy, and art" - giving you a versatile knowledge base that you can apply to any number of careers.

    • Graduation rate: 58%
    • School status: Public 
    • Tuition cost: $$$
    • Number of programs offered: 130+
    • Flagstaff, AZ
    • Admission requirements: High school diploma (2.5 GPA required) or equivalent with coursework in math, English, science, social science, foreign language, and fine arts
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: SAT and ACT scores are only required for scholarship consideration
    • Contact: (928) 523-9011 or admissions@nau.edu
    • Website
  8. Utah State University
    Location

    Logan, UT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    While many liberal arts programs combine coursework from across the entire academic spectrum, Utah State's degree focuses "primarily on subjects in social science, humanities, and the arts." The goal is to help students develop strong analytical and critical thinking skills through an understanding of cultural evolution, from the development of civilization to the history of political institutions. As such, this online liberal arts studies degree includes specific course requirements in areas like foreign language, ethical inquiry, and communications. However, you'll also have the flexibility to pursue topics outside these areas. Indeed, many seek supplemental majors, minors, and certificates along with their liberal arts degree.

    • Graduation rate: 57%
    • School status: Public 
    • Tuition cost: $$$
    • Number of programs offered: 100+
    • Logan, UT
    • Admission requirements: High school diploma (2.9 GPA to be admitted in good standing) or equivalent with coursework in math, english, social science, science, and foreign language
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: SAT and ACT scores are optional
    • Contact: (435) 797-1000
    • Website
  9. William Paterson University of New Jersey
    Location

    Wayne, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    William Patterson University's multifunctional liberal studies program should appeal to a wide variety of learners. In addition to adult students, transfers, and military veterans, the program is also suitable for traditional college students seeking an interdisciplinary education. As a major in this online BA in Liberal Studies program, you'll have a chance to gain expertise in two academic disciplines and to understand "the practical and intellectual connections between them." In addition, WPU requires BLS students to complete both an internship and senior capstone experience as a way to contextualize their learning. Lastly, the curriculum includes optional tracks in Psychology and Sociology, making this degree a particularly strong choice for undergrads who aspire to careers in either of these fields.

    • Graduation rate: 58%
    • School status: Public 
    • Tuition cost: $$$$
    • Number of programs offered: 95+
    • Wayne, NJ
    • Admission requirements: High school diploma or equivalent with coursework in math, English, science, social science, and additional subjects (foreign language and college prep courses fall under this category)
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: SAT and ACT scores are optional
    • Contact: (973) 720-2000
    • Website
  10. Jacksonville State University
    Location

    Jacksonville, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    As a student in Jacksonville State's accredited online liberal arts studies degree program, you'll enjoy "considerable freedom" to design your own course of study. In fact, once you've met your general studies requirements, you'll have very few restrictions in the courses that you can take. The only stipulations are that you complete at least 36 hours of upper-level classes; your remaining 24 credits you can take from any electives that suit your "interests, aptitudes, and career goals." This also makes it easy for you to get credit for any transfer courses that you may bring with you from other universities.

    • Graduation rate: 44%
    • School status: Public 
    • Tuition cost: $$$
    • Number of programs offered: 99+
    • Jacksonville, AL
    • Admission requirements: High school diploma (2.0 GPA required) or equivalent
    • Standardized test scores/requirements: SAT and ACT scores not required for 2021-2022 school year
    • Contact: (256) 782-5781 or info@jsu.edu
    • Website

  • Methodology: Here's How We Rank Schools


    At Best Value Schools, we help students of all ages get the best possible value for their education. When choosing the best schools and programs, we prioritize tuition rates, student debt, financial aid opportunities, graduation rates, and the availability of online programs.
    We source unbiased data from government and educational databases like the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 6,374 schools across the U.S. We organize that data into five weighted categories to compile our school rankings.

    Metric Data Used Percentage
    Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 25%
    Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 35%
    Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 15%
    Program Offerings Number of program options 10%
    Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 15%

    You can read more about our comprehensive evaluation process on our methodology page.


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Sources:
IPEDS Data Center
College Navigator

See also: Liberal Arts Scholarships.

Additional Resources

Use articles and resources to uncover answers to common questions, get guidance on your goals, and learn about applying to schools.


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