Liberal arts scholarships can be rather easy to find for college students who are pursuing interdisciplinary degrees that provide an overview of the arts and humanities.
Liberal arts programs often offer majors in areas like communications, English, history, linguistics, philosophy, political science, mathematics, sociology, and religion.
Although liberal arts majors are often given a bad reputation for doom and gloom in the job market, graduates from these well-rounded programs can be sought after for their critical thinking abilities, communication skills, appreciation for diversity, commitment to service, and understanding of ethics. In fact, it’s been reported that one-third of Fortune 500 CEOs have earned a liberal arts education.
If you’re committed to developing a broad range of important skills with a liberal arts degree, below are 20 of the best scholarships for liberal arts available to afford your education.
1. AFSCME/UNCF Union Scholars Program
Deadline: February 28th
With the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has created a Union Scholars Program to award up to $5,000 to undergraduate students of color who are majoring in American studies, anthropology, economics, ethnic studies, history, labor studies, liberal arts, political science, psychology, public policy, social work, sociology, or women’s studies. Eligible candidates must be second semester sophomores or juniors, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, have a driver’s license, and be interested in working for the labor movement. Recipients will complete a 10-week summer internship in a union organizing campaign with another $4,000 stipend.
2. Ayn Rand Institute Essay Contest Awards
Deadline: April 26th
In honor of a controversial philosopher of the 20th century who published several thought-provoking novels, the Ayn Rand Institute hosts essay contests annually to award up to $10,000 to graduating high school seniors and college students who submit a logically organized essay debating topics in the Anthem, The Fountainhead, or Atlas Shrugged. Applicants must be in at least ninth grade, attend an accredited educational institution worldwide, and submit an original essay from 800 to 1,600 words in length. Essay submissions will be judged based on their writing style, content, articulation, logic, and philosophic meaning.
3. Beinecke Scholarship Program
Deadline: February 20th
Since its inception in 1975 by the Sperry and Hutchinson Company, the Beinecke Scholarship Program has been offered annually to deliver $4,000 for up to 20 undergraduate students who are currently enrolled full-time in an accredited bachelor’s degree program in the liberal arts, humanities, or social sciences. Qualified nominees must have attained junior standing, have U.S. citizenship, showcase a history of receiving need-based financial aid, display outstanding intellectual ability, and plan to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree upon graduation. Chosen students will also receive an additional $30,000 for financing their graduate studies.
4. Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship
Deadline: February 6th
In memory of a beloved newspaper reporter, teacher, and advertising manager who lived to be 107 years old, the Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship is offered annually for $1,500 through the Austin Community Foundation to women who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in journalism, English, creative writing, communications, or other related liberal arts. Eligible candidates must be age 40 or over, have achieved junior or senior status, reside in Texas, demonstrate financial need, and wish to lead a pioneering career in journalism. Applications must include two writing samples, four 100-word essay responses, a current resume, and three professional references.
5. Betty Rendel Scholarship
Deadline: June 1st
Created in 1995 by the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW), the Betty Rendel Scholarship is awarded annually for $1,000 to three outstanding female undergraduate students who have declared a major in political science, government, economics, or related liberal arts fields. Qualified applicants must have successfully completed at least two years of college, be enrolled full-time at an accredited four-year U.S. institution, be U.S. citizens, and demonstrate extraordinary leadership skills. Along with the application, students must submit three letters of recommendation, an official college transcript, state federation president certification, and a one-page typed essay highlighting their personal qualifications.
Betty Rendel Scholarship
124 North Alfred Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
6. Catherine W. Pierce Scholarship
Deadline: September 12th
Sponsored by the United College Negro Fund (UNCF), the Catherine W. Pierce Scholarship is available for up to $5,000 to college undergraduate students of color who are pursuing a degree in a liberal arts field, including American studies, architecture, economics, theatre, political science, philosophy, history, media arts, music, and women’s studies. Eligible candidates must be attending an approved four-year UNCF member university in America, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, exhibit financial need, and be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Students must attach a maximum 1,000-word essay describing how the scholarship would impact their college education in liberal arts.
7. Davidson Fellows Scholarship Program
Deadline: February 1st
Named one of the seven prestigious undergrad scholarships in U.S. News and World Report, the Davidson Fellows Scholarship Program is hosted annually to provide $10,000, $25,000, or $50,000 to extraordinarily gifted young people aged 18 and under who have completed projects at the college graduate level. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of significant accomplishments in STEM fields as well as liberal arts fields like literature, music, and philosophy. Interested students will need to submit a completed application with a detailed project description and a professional nominating form to be considered.
8. Enid Hall Griswold Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: February 15th
Administered by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), the Enid Hall Griswold Memorial Scholarship is presented annually for $1,000 to deserving undergraduate students who are currently pursuing a four-year bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts majors of history, political science, government, or economics. Qualified students must be juniors or seniors, attend an accredited college or university in the United States, carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25, maintain full-time enrollment status, and demonstrate financial need. Applications won’t be complete without official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, proof of citizenship, and a 1,000-word goals statement.
9. IHS Humane Studies Fellowships
Deadline: March 1st
Annually, the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) at George Mason University offers the Humane Studies Fellowships for up to $15,000 apiece to graduate scholars nationwide who are pursuing a liberty advancing career in the academic areas of economics, philosophy, law, political science, history, and/or sociology. Eligible candidates must be earning an accredited doctoral degree, attend an accredited post-secondary institution, have unmet financial need for tuition expenses, maintain excellent academic standing, and be committed to research focused on advancing the ideas of a free society. Preference is given to applicants who have participated in any IHS program, including summer seminars and research colloquiums.
IHS Humane Studies Fellowships
3434 Washington Blvd. Suite 1C5
Arlington, VA 22201
10. Jay A. Graybeal Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th
Through the Community Foundation of Carroll County, the Jay A. Graybeal Scholarship is granted each year for $1,000 to graduating high school seniors or currently enrolled college students who are pursuing liberal arts studies in history, museum studies, historic preservation, American studies, anthropology, or architecture. Applicants must have resided in Carroll County of Maryland for at least one year, demonstrate diverse interests in the liberal arts, maintain high academic standards, and be actively involved in related volunteer or work experience. Applications must include a current resume, two letters of reference, and an essay addressing why studying history is important to our future.
Jay A. Graybeal Scholarship
255 Clifton Blvd. Suite 313
Westminster, MD 21157
11. Jeff Iorilla and Roel Hinojosa Scholarship
Deadline: April 30th
Ranging in value from $1,000 to $5,000, the Jeff Iorilla and Roel Hinojosa Scholarship for Liberal Arts is given each year through the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Association to college students attending accredited U.S. institutions who are openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or straight ally. In particular, this scholarship is reserved for students pursuing a degree in the liberal arts, including political science, peace and conflict studies, history, and public service. Applicants must demonstrate a clear interest in serving the unique needs of the LGBTQ community.
12. John S. Jockusch Endowed Scholarship
Deadline: February 15th
At the University of Texas at San Antonio, the College of Liberal and Fine Arts has created the John S. Jockusch Endowed Scholarship to award $1,500 each year to undergraduate or graduate students who have declared a liberal arts major in American studies, anthropology, classical studies, communications, English, geography, history, philosophy, political science, or sociology. Eligible candidates must be enrolled full-time with at least nine credits per term, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and showcase financial need on their FAFSA form. Applications should be accompanied by one faculty letter of recommendation and a brief essay highlighting future aspirations.
13. Lambda Iota Tau Scholarships
Deadline: May 31st
As part of the Association of College Honor Societies (AACH), the Lambda Iota Tau Scholarships are presented each year for $1,000 for two to four college students who are attending an accredited four-year U.S. university to receive a degree in literature, English, creative writing, or other closely related liberal arts. Qualified applicants must be enrolled full-time with at least 12 semester credits per term, have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better, show active involvement in their Lambda Iota Tau chapter, and have presented an initiation paper on a literary topic.
14. Marion Maccarrell Scott Scholarship
Deadline: February 20th
Funded by the Hawaii Community Foundation, the Marion Maccarrell Scott Scholarship is distributed for $1,000 each year to graduating high school seniors from any public school in Hawaii who are planning to major in geography, economics, history, anthropology, international relations, philosophy, political science, sociology, or another liberal arts field. Eligible candidates must be accepted at an accredited institution on the U.S. mainland, carry a minimum overall GPA of 2.8, and exhibit a sincere commitment to world peace. Applicants are asked to write a one-page essay describing how their learning may lead to a greater international understanding.
15. Michael and Marie Marucci Scholarship
Deadline: March 31st
In the amount of $5,000, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) gives the Michael and Marie Marucci Scholarship each year to an outstanding undergraduate student who is presently earning a bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts, including political science, geography, history, foreign language, comparative literature, or international studies. Qualified candidates must be attending an accredited four-year U.S. institution, plan to study abroad, show competence in at least one foreign language, be legally blind, and maintain full-time enrollment. Applications should include two recommendations, official transcripts, confirmation of legal blindness, and a 700-word personal essay.
16. Penn State Liberal Arts Scholarship
Deadline: March 7th
At Penn State University, the College of Liberal Arts has created an annual scholarship to lower tuition-related expenses for undergraduate students who have declared a major in African studies, anthropology, applied linguistics, Asian studies, classical studies, communications, comparative literature, economics, English, history, Jewish studies, labor relations, literature, philosophy, political science, sociology, Spanish, or women’s studies. Eligible applicants must be enrolled full-time at the University Park campus, take at least 24 credits each year, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, provide proof of financial need by filing a FAFSA form, and show a strong desire to pursue public or community service.
17. StraightForward Media Liberal Arts Scholarship
Deadline: March 31st, June 30th, September 30th, and December 31st
Four times each year, the Internet advertising agency StraightForward Media funds a Liberal Arts Scholarship to award $500 to full-time undergraduate college students who are pursuing an enlightened education in the liberal arts to fine-tune their English and foreign language skills. Students are eligible to apply as long as they’re pursuing an accredited degree from a four-year university in English, foreign languages, literature, history, art, political science, economics, sociology, or even psychology. For consideration, interested individuals must submit an online application with four short essay question responses.
18. Strauss Foundation Scholarships
Deadline: March 4th
Since 1997, the Donald A. Strauss Foundation has presented up to 15 scholarships annually for $10,000 apiece to full-time students who are pursuing a four-year degree in California at the California Institute of Technology, Loyola Marymount University, Occidental College, Pomona College, Scripps College, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, or UC Santa Cruz. Liberal arts majors are eligible if they showcase outstanding leadership potential, rank in the upper one-third of their class, are juniors or seniors, exhibit effective communication skills, and submit an innovative public service project proposal.
19. Thomas S. Morgan Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
For liberal arts majors with a passion for history, the Thomas S. Morgan Memorial Scholarship is granted each year for $1,000 through the Phi Alpha Theta National Honor Society to provide financial support to graduating college seniors who are enrolling in a master’s degree program in history this upcoming fall. Qualified students must be verified members of Phi Alpha Theta, be accepted at an accredited U.S. graduate school, maintain good academic standing, and plan to major in any area of history. Candidates must submit six copies of the application with official transcripts, a curriculum vitae or resume, GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation.
Thomas S. Morgan Memorial Scholarship
4202 East Fowler Avenue
Tampa, FL 33620
20. UTLAC Study Abroad Scholarships
Deadline: January 30th
Ranging in value from $500 to $2,000 apiece, the University of Texas Liberal Arts Council (UTLAC) has created Study Abroad Scholarships to financially support students in the liberal arts who are planning to study or complete a research project abroad. Eligible applicants must be classified as undergraduate students, be studying a liberal arts major, carry a minimum overall GPA of 2.75, have completed at least 15 hours in-residence at any University of Texas campus, and exhibit financial need for learning abroad. Scholarships are available for funding the fall, spring, or summer semester, but not Maymesters.
Earning a degree in liberal arts can be a great way to sharpen your career focus, learn more about your passion, and build marketable skills, but you’ll first need to finance your education. In a time when the price tag for higher education continues to rise, it’s essential that liberal arts majors find several sources of financial funding to guarantee they won’t be walking across the graduation stage towards a pile of student loan debt. Consider applying to some of these great liberal arts scholarships to lower your academic expenses for gaining a well-rounded education.