PhD in Liberal Arts: Scope and Employability

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Scope and Employability of PhD in Liberal Arts

Are you an aspiring doctoral student with a Master’s degree? Are you a young professional who wants to study further? Are you planning to get an advanced degree in a non-STEM subject area? If your answer to any of these is a ‘Yes’, then read on! In this blog, I’m focusing on a PhD degree in Liberal Arts. I have taught Liberal Arts courses in the US for nine years and have also supervised research projects and dissertations. This Blog is based on my academic experience. I am addressing two broad questions : 

  • What is the scope of a PhD in Liberal Arts? 
  • What are employability options after a PhD in Liberal Arts?

I will also address the following : 

  • Subjects that can be included in a PhD in Liberal Arts,
  • Why is the choice of subjects important? 
  • How to choose topics with high value for future employability?
  • Why are Multidisciplinary topics important? 
  • Examples of Multidisciplinary Topics which can help you to create your Research Topics. 

Scope of PhD in Liberal Arts: What are the Subjects Included in this PhD? 

You can choose ANY subject within:

  • Humanities. 
  • Social Sciences. 
  • Life Sciences.  

That’s an incredible range of choices: Economics, Literature, Psychology, Ecology, International Relations, Economics, politics, Business, Biomedical Sciences, Media Studies, Art History, Philosophy, Governance, Cultural Studies, Regional Studies, Global Politics, Migration Studies, Journalism, Design Thinking, Microbiology, Genetics, etc etc 

Must Read: Careers And Jobs After Liberal Arts Degree

Is the Choice of Research Topic Important?

Absolutely. Two key reasons for this: 

  • First, because you are going to live with that topic for a few years. So, you should be passionate about it!
  • Secondly, you should be curious enough to get deeper and deeper knowledge about it because a PhD means that you will be an ‘expert’ on your topic! 

How do I Choose my PhD Research Topic in Liberal Arts? 

This is an important question. Your topic or research question must be:


Choose a subject about which there isn’t too much research. Or, choose to study a ‘problem’ for which you are offering a fresh perspective; a new solution. 


Ask yourself: Is the topic relevant to an industry? Will this research offer a useful analysis of a social/economic/ political problem? What is the problem-solving potential of this topic? Will my findings be important and impactful? 

Remember: Your PhD will be only as interesting as your Topic! 

Choose a Multidisciplinary Topic

The solution to any ‘problem’ requires multiple perspectives. For example, an economic problem needs social and political analysis. Maybe it also needs consideration of gender and development studies. Multidisciplinarity is essential in the world of research today. 

A solid PhD. The topic must draw upon multiple disciplines to offer new perspectives. 

Must Read: What is Liberal Arts Education?

How to Choose Multidisciplinary Research Topics? 

In my experience with research mentoring,  I find that students often find this process difficult. Below I am offering 15 examples of how different subject areas can be tapped to create innovative research topics :

  • Theater and Performance Studies can be combined with Rural community Development 
  • Gender Studies, Politics and International Relations(Peace and Conflict -Resolution) 
  • Philosophy and Ethics with Governance and Social Responsibility
  • Religious Studies with Politics, Nationalism, and International Affairs
  • Cultural Anthropology with Tourism and Economics
  • Youth, Education, and Social Mobility
  • Art Conservation with History, Sociology, Cultural Anthropology 
  • COVID-19, Public Health, Psychology, Mental Health
  • Technology, E-Commerce(Business), and Client Behavior ( Psychology) 
  • Climate Change, Sociology and Community Health 
  • Migration, Social Disruption, and Health 
  • Gender Studies, Climate Change and Impact on Women in the Labor Force.
  • Media Studies with Sociology 
  • Gender, Law, and Religion
  • Health sciences, drug development, and cell biology 

Does this list give you some new ideas? Tell me in the comments !!!

What are the Jobs Available After a PhD in Liberal Arts? 

Since the range of subjects from which you can choose is so vast, the opportunities that exist for employability are also very diverse. Employability options after PhD in Liberal Arts : 

  • Consulting ( in a variety of high-ranking companies) 
  • International Development (United Nations and other international agencies ) 
  • Financial Services (especially if you have done Quantitative Research )
  • Higher Education Sector leadership at universities and Institutes 
  • Publishing Industry 
  • Government jobs
  • Professional research 
  • Academic Faculty 

Today, many top-ranking companies, including in Tech, Finance, Research, and Product Development prefer candidates who have a multidisciplinary research background. This adds diversity to their talent pool of engineers, coders, or finance experts for better problem-solving. So go ahead and choose a Multidisciplinary Topic for your PhD in Liberal Arts. 

Do you want to learn how to write a Research Question or Looking for your Dream university for PhD in Liberal Arts? Reach us out at Leverage Edu. We will be back next Friday with another amazing blog from Dr.Maina Chawla Singh. Till then, if you have any questions or suggestions, just drop us a comment and we will get back to you.

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