Study: Liberal studies, graphic design are the most valuable majors for arts & literature students

A new analysis from WorldWideLearn.com highlights 15 surprisingly valuable majors in the fields of liberal and fine arts.

Foster City, CA

Students seeking a liberal or fine arts major that is likely to pay off should consider liberal studies, graphic design and visual arts, according to a new study from WorldWideLearn.com that ranked arts & literature programs based on which ones offer the best combination of educational availability and long-term career potential.

Majoring in the liberal or fine arts may not be regarded as a wise decision, as much of the recent emphasis on career opportunity has focused on fields within science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But recent studies have shown that arts majors can be more valuable than many students realize, and employers are seeking the soft skills — including critical thinking and an excellent ability to communicate in writing — that go hand-in-hand with studying the arts.

Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, WorldWideLearn.com ranked liberal and fine arts majors on four metrics. These include:

  • Educational Availability, which takes into account the number of available degrees
  • Earning Index, a measurement of the relationship between the average cost of a degree and the average salary of a career associated with it
  • Employment Opportunity, representing both the projected growth and the number of new jobs expected between 2012 and 2022
  • Educational Affordability, a survey of the average tuition costs for available programs on each degree track

According to the analysis, the 5 most valuable arts & literature majors are:

  1. Liberal arts/Liberal studies
  2. Graphic design
  3. Visual and performing arts
  4. Game and interactive media design
  5. Studio arts

To see the full list of rankings and find out how each major scored in the different categories, please see WorldWideLearn’s article on "15 Surprisingly Valuable Arts & Literature Majors".