Earn Your AA in Liberal Arts Degree
- $330/credit (60 credits)
- Gain credentials needed to enter the field
- Transfer up to 45 credits toward your associate degree
- 100% online instruction
- Finish your degree faster
- Prepare to earn your bachelor's degree
Associate Degree in Liberal Arts Program Overview
Strengthen your communication and critical-thinking skills with an Associate of Arts (AA) in Liberal Arts from Southern New Hampshire University. This degree is ideal for those seeking entry-level employment in business, social services and beyond. It can also serve as a meaningful milestone on the journey toward a bachelor's degree.
The AA in Liberal Arts was specifically designed to help you advance in your academic, personal and professional lives. As you complete each course, you'll gain employable skills that can help you navigate and contribute to society as a globally conscious citizen.
Learn how to:
- Communicate using modes of knowledge, inquiry and creative expression
- Use critical evaluation and analytical reasoning to compile research
- Create empathetic solutions to complex problems
- Apply cultural knowledge to inform collaboration
- Use principles of social justice and civic responsibility
Already earned a significant number of college credits? SNHU's AA in Liberal Arts consists primarily of general education and elective courses, so you can maximize your transfer credits and earn a degree faster.
Whether you need a degree to go further at a job you love or you really aren't sure what your calling is yet, this online liberal arts associate degree is a great next step in your education. Earning an associate degree can make an impact on your career and finances by opening doors to new opportunities.
"More and more employers require a degree for eligibility for career advancement opportunities," said Priscilla Hobbs, SNHU’s associate dean of general education and interdisciplinary studies. "Having an associate degree helps you start in your career."
In fact, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows associate degree holders were less likely to face unemployment than those with just a high school education.1 And in 2022, the BLS reported that people with high school diplomas made median weekly earnings of $853, while those with associate degrees made $1,005. For those who continued on to earn their bachelor's degrees, that number jumped to $1,432.1
The online liberal arts associate degree provides a broad, flexible foundation, preparing you for entry-level positions in a variety of roles and industries.
"I already have a job offer for a legal assistant position that will be great in using my problem solving and research skills that I acquired from my liberal arts [associate] degree program," said Autumn Jones-Cox '21.
Some other jobs you could consider pursuing include:
- Administrative assistant. Keep business operations organized by assisting with paperwork, scheduling meetings and being the office's first point of contact.
- Customer service representative. Help customers virtually, over the phone or in person by answering questions and responding to complaints.
- Food service manager. Manage the daily operations of a bar, restaurant, hotel or cafeteria. This is a great option if you've worked in the service industry.
- Information clerk. Perform clerical tasks such as preparing routine reports, bills, claims, payments or orders. You'll be the go-to when someone needs to know where to find information.
For student Avalon Oneita Juliana, an associate degree is just the first step.
"One day, I would like to be a medical doctor," she said. "I chose to start with an associate of liberal arts as it covered the basics and would lead me to any bachelor’s program I’d like to join."
Many students use their associate degree elective courses to get a head start on their desired bachelor's degree. SNHU offers 100+ on-campus and online bachelor's degree programs to choose from, including an online general studies degree.
Understanding the numbers
When reviewing job growth and salary information, it’s important to remember that actual numbers can vary due to many different factors—like years of experience in the role, industry of employment, geographic location, worker skill and economic conditions. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.
Start Your Journey Toward an Online Liberal Arts Degree
Why SNHU For Your Associate Degree in Liberal Arts Online
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
As part of our mission to make higher education more accessible, we’re committed to keeping our tuition rates low. In fact, we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation.
Prior coursework could also help you save time and money. SNHU’s transfer policy allows you to transfer up to 90 credits toward your bachelor's degree and 45 credits for an associate degree from your previous institutions—that means you could save up to 75% off the cost of tuition. You could also save time and money by getting college credit for previous work experience, or by taking advantage of military discounts and employer tuition assistance if available to you.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 160,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), a regional accreditor, which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
- U.S. News & World Report named SNHU the 2021 Most Innovative University in the North and one of the nation's "Best Regional Universities"
- Awarded the 21st Century Distance Learning Award for Excellence in Online Technology by The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)
- A $1 million grant from Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 300,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
93.6% of online students would recommend SNHU (according to a 2022 survey with 17,000+ respondents). Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Expanding access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials:
- Completed free undergraduate application
- Prior transcripts, which we can retrieve at no cost to you
- Test scores are not required as part of your application
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms.
How to Apply
If you’re ready to apply, follow these simple steps to get the process going:
- Complete a free undergraduate application
- Submit any additional documents required
- Work with an admission counselor to explore financial options and walk through the application process
If you have questions or need help filling out your application, call 1.888.387.0861 or email email@example.com.
Courses & Curriculum
Pursuing an associate degree in liberal arts launches a lifetime of learning. General education courses provide the writing, computational and technical skills that will serve a student in any field. They also promote social justice, inclusion, equity, diversity and responsible citizenship — understood as the common good.
"What initially attracted me to this program was the ability to explore different subjects with different perspectives," said Autumn Jones-Cox '21.
The liberal arts associate degree was built to help you find your direction while gaining a solid educational foundation. Our program allows you to explore:
- Humanities and history
- Social and behavioral sciences
- Science, technology and math
In a world where more and more jobs have become automated, the competencies developed through these foundational subjects matter more than ever. Technology and artificial intelligence have limits, meaning they can't be programmed to respond in every situation – especially ones involving emotion. In this online liberal arts program, you'll learn to hone your critical thinking and decision-making skills, making you an asset in these situations.
As a standalone degree or a starting point for more advanced study, an associate degree in liberal arts from SNHU provides a significant educational experience that enhances your knowledge, skills and insight. And with 4 elective courses built in to the curriculum, you can tailor the program to your interests along the way.
Through small classes and personal attention, this online liberal arts associate degree provides an individualized educational experience that stimulates personal innovation and creativity – elements that are necessary in today’s workplace.
New to online learning? Our associate program includes Success Strategies for Online Learning, a course that highlights strategies for thriving in an online learning environment. To improve your academic success, you'll build skills such as critical thinking and self-advocacy, while learning about all of the support services we have to offer.
"I enjoy the setup of the online schooling," said student Avalon Oneita Juliana. "SNHU made their online program very user friendly."
If you've already taken college courses elsewhere, our associate degree in liberal arts could be the fastest path to a degree credential. Upon graduating, you'll already have all of your general education requirements out of the way. This means you can continue onto a bachelor's program and jump right into the focused courses of your chosen major.
Curriculum Requirements & Resources
- Technology resources: We provide cloud-based virtual environments in some courses to give you access to the technology you need for your degree – and your career. Learn more about our virtual environments.
- Save time and tuition: Depending on your scores, you could earn up to 12 math credits – the equivalent of 4 courses – toward your degree for less than $50 per assessment with our Pathways to Math Success assessments.
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|AA in Liberal Arts|
|Courses May Include|
|AA in Liberal Arts|
|COM 212||Public Speaking||This course is designed to help students develop abilities, including organization and delivery skills, for all speaking situations. The evaluation and improvement of voice, diction, articulation and posture also are studied. May not be used as literature elective.|
|ENG 122||English Composition I||English 122 is a college-level writing course that introduces students to the various forms of academic discourse. This course focuses primarily on the basic elements of college composition and writing as a process in both narrative and analytical forms. Students will investigate the importance and promise of effective written communication in various personal and professional contexts and identify effective strategies through critical analysis of written works as well as their own writing. Finally, this course prepares students for more advanced research analysis by connecting students to important avenues of research.|
|ENG 123||English Composition II||English 123 focuses students on the importance of research to advancing knowledge for various purposes. This course will build on the foundations of composition and introduce students to the research process and the analysis and evaluation of various sources. Students will investigate the writing process for research as well as appropriate research methods and skills. Additionally, this course offers multiple opportunities to engage in the important tasks of revision and editing and will ask students to incorporate feedback to improve their writing.|
|FAS 202||Introduction to Humanities II||This course offers vocabulary, understanding and appreciation of the visual arts in their cultural contexts in history, religion, literature, music and ideas. It focuses on the cultural periods of the Baroque, the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Early Modernism while also exploring related issues in non-European cultures. May be taken independently of FAS-201.|
|HUM 100||Perspectives in the Humanities||Art, literature, and philosophy tell lasting stories. Beyond the intended purpose of the artists and authors, or the shifting interpretations of the audiences, these creations tell us about cultural development, changes in worldview, and common themes that span centuries and continents. How have you come to understand the world? How do you express that understanding through the act of creating? This course investigates the purpose of art, literature, and philosophy across different periods, how its themes represent the cultures that produced it, and how that art still serves society today.|
|HUM 200||Applied Humanities||What is the purpose of art, literature, and philosophy? Is it enough to create simply for the act of creating, or should a work serve as a deliberate commentary, be it political, social, personal, or derivative of other motivations? In this course, students have the opportunity to select works, collections, or periods within the humanities for research and study. The study is guided by both subjective and objective analyses to differentiate between an artist's or author's intended meaning and a society's interpretation of that meaning.|
|HIS 100||Perspectives in History||More than just dates, names, and places, history is the study of the human condition. It seeks to understand human behavior through the thoughtful examination of different types of historical sources. The study of history is a living subject, always changing as new discoveries and interpretations are presented. This course examines the process of investigating and writing about history through analysis of sources and the presentation of this analysis as an argument. Through this exploration of historical investigation, students will develop a holistic perspective on the contemporary relevance of history and their responsibility to participate and engage in such discourse.|
|HIS 200||Applied History||The application of history in our daily lives is not always apparent. However, studying the past is imperative for informing our understanding of society today. Armed with this informed understanding, we are transformed into effective citizens and public agents. In this course, students will explore how history has shaped the role of the citizen in America. Ultimately, historical perspectives will be utilized to understand a topic relevant to American society today.|
|IDS 100||Perspectives in Liberal Arts||Explore the four general education lenses of academic inquiry: Humanities, History, Social Science, and Natural Science. Apply these lenses as a framework for understanding relevant topics, distinguish opinion from research, and communicate ideas clearly. Develop an awareness for different points of view and how they impact the development of a well-educated individual.|
|SCI 100||Perspectives in the Natural Sciences||This introductory course serves as an entry point into the natural sciences which concentrates on the natural world that both surrounds us and includes us. Students explore the big ideas in natural science as well as the methods that the field employs to solve problems. The course emphasizes and explores empirical modes of study as a way of looking at the world and aims to foster science literate citizens.|
|SCI 200||Applied Natural Sciences||This applied course actively involves students in the process of science and builds upon foundational natural science concepts in introductory survey courses. Students have the opportunity to engage in inquiry based learning which utilizes natural science methodologies and apply these toward problem solving skills in contemporary topics.|
|SCS 100||Perspectives in the Social Sciences||How do social scientists examine issues impacting human behavior? This course will focus on the questions social scientists ask in their research of individuals, families, and larger society, as well as how social scientific inquiry has developed over time. This exploration of social science will focus on the ways in which researchers consider behavioral phenomenon and use research to study various concepts. Students will examine the relevance of social science to current issues, develop evidence-based questions about human behavior, and explore basic social scientific research approaches.|
|SCS 200||Applied Social Sciences||Social scientists consider a number of factors when deciding to invest time and resources into investigating a problem. Students engage in inquiry based learning by selecting a current issue and exploring it from the perspective of social scientists (psychologist, sociologist, anthropologist etc.). Students use a systematic approach to engage in an evidence-informed investigation pertaining to a current issue.|
|SNHU 107||Success Strategies for Online Learning||This course focuses on student success strategies for students who are new to higher education or online learning. Skill areas include critical thinking, self-advocacy and support services, and the empowerment of students to utilize their strengths in order to improve the likelihood of academic success.|
|Total Credits: 60|
Minimum Hardware Requirements
PC (Windows OS)
Apple (Mac OS)
Currently supported operating system from Microsoft.
Currently supported operating system from Apple.
8GB or higher
8GB or higher
100GB or higher
100GB or higher
Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.
Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.
SNHU Purchase Programs
5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency
5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency
- Laptop or desktop? Whichever you choose depends on your personal preference and work style, though laptops tend to offer more flexibility.
- Note: Chromebooks (Chrome OS) and iPads (iOS) do not meet the minimum requirements for coursework at SNHU. These offer limited functionality and do not work with some course technologies. They are not acceptable as the only device you use for coursework. While these devices are convenient and may be used for some course functions, they cannot be your primary device. SNHU does, however, have an affordable laptop option that it recommends: Dell Latitude 3301 with Windows 10.
- Office 365 Pro Plus is available free of charge to all SNHU students and faculty. The Office suite will remain free while you are a student at SNHU. Upon graduation you may convert to a paid subscription if you wish. Terms subject to change at Microsoft's discretion. Review system requirements for Microsoft 365 plans for business, education and government.
- Antivirus software: Check with your ISP as they may offer antivirus software free of charge to subscribers.
Tuition & Fees
As a private, nonprofit university, we’re committed to making college more accessible by making it more affordable. That’s why we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation.
We also offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
|Online Undergraduate Programs||Per Course||Per Credit Hour||Annual Cost for 30 credits|
|Degree/Certificates (U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)*||$693||$231||$6,930|
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually. *Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.
Additional Costs No Application Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you get an associate degree in liberal arts?
Yes, you can. An associate degree in liberal arts allows you to explore a variety of possible career paths and provides solid preparation for more advanced degrees. If you’ve already completed some college coursework, a liberal arts associate degree can be the fastest path to earning a college credential.
If you know you need to continue your education but aren't sure where to start or how much you can realistically commit to, the associate in liberal arts program is a good option.
"The AA in Liberal Arts program helps you get a jump-start on college while also earning a degree along the way," said Priscilla Hobbs, SNHU’s associate dean of general education and interdisciplinary studies.
At SNHU, the 60-credit associate degree in liberal arts focuses on general education courses. You’ll explore everything from writing and public speaking to humanities and social sciences. And you can gain key career skills like communication, critical thinking and problem solving that will serve you well in any field.
The associate degree in liberal arts also includes 12 elective credits, so you can dig deeper into an area of interest, explore potential careers or get a head start on courses that could apply to a bachelor’s degree.
If you have transfer credits, this general studies associate degree can be a fast track toward graduation. SNHU’s generous transfer policy allows you to apply up to 45 transfer credits to a 2-year degree. With the maximum transfer load, you could turn your existing coursework into a degree with just 15 credits, or 5 courses.
Earning an associate degree can also help you get a head start on a bachelor’s degree. Because you’ll already have your general education requirements done, you can jump right into your major courses and be ready to graduate sooner.
Why is it called liberal arts?
Liberal arts often describes a category of university majors, including literature, mathematics and humanities. Liberal arts subjects are designed to give you general knowledge on a subject, rather than technical skills.
Sometimes called a general studies associate degree, an associate degree in liberal arts offers a broad base of liberal arts education, in subjects like social sciences, natural sciences and history.
These general education courses will help you develop important career skills that are in high demand across many industries. These skills include critical thinking, problem solving and communication.
Learn more about liberal arts degrees.
How many courses is 60 credits?
An undergraduate course is typically worth 3 credits, so a 60-credit degree usually translates into 20 courses. The actual number of courses can vary, however, based on the specific degree program and its learning requirements. If a degree requires an internship for credit, for example, the total number of required courses may be lower.
At SNHU, an associate degree in liberal arts consists of 48 credits – or 16 courses – of general education subjects. Topics include English composition, mathematics, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and history.
Another 12 credits – or 4 courses – consist of elective courses, allowing you to explore a variety of subjects that interest you or to specialize your degree in a specific subject.
Can I turn my college credits into a degree?
Yes, you can. Pursuing an associate degree in liberal arts is an efficient way to leverage previous college credits to earn a degree.
SNHU accepts up to 45 transfer credits toward an associate degree program. This means you could take as few as 5 courses (or 3 terms) to finish your degree.
"(You have) the ability to transfer in credits from other schools, exams like CLEP and prior learning experiences," said Chase Thomas, who finished his associate degree at SNHU in 2018 before putting his credits toward a bachelor's.
Since the associate degree in liberal arts is mostly made up of general education courses, applying previous college coursework to your program is an efficient way to get your degree quicker. Your admission counselor can help make sure no transfer credits are left behind.
What jobs can you get with an associate degree in liberal arts?
An associate degree in liberal arts offers a solid foundation of general education and career skills that can help you find success across many fields.
"Liberal arts majors can often be seen in unique, off-the-beaten-path roles that help fill a void, or in up-and-coming departments that don't have clearly defined duties and responsibilities," said Lindsey Ranstrom, an instructor at SNHU.
A growing number of employers require a college degree for career advancement opportunities and even entry-level positions.1 Earning an associate degree in liberal arts can help you earn this key credential faster.
Some of the careers that are possible with a liberal arts associate degree include:
- Customer service representative: Support customer needs face-to-face, over the phone or online, solving problems and ensuring a positive experience.
- Administrative assistant: Manage the day-to-day work of an office, including organizing files, preparing documents and scheduling appointments.
- Advertising sales agent: Sell advertising space to businesses and individuals, contact potential clients, make sales presentations and maintain client accounts.
- Insurance sales agent: Contact potential customers, explain various insurance policies and help clients choose plans that suit them.
Earning a liberal arts associate degree can also help boost your lifetime earning potential. In 2022, workers with an associate degree had median weekly earnings of $1,005, compared with just $853 for people with a high school diploma alone.1
What is the abbreviation for associate degree in liberal arts?
The abbreviation for an associate degree in liberal arts is an AA, or Associate of Arts, degree. A liberal arts associate degree may also be called an associate in general studies or a general education degree.
How do I convert my associate degree into a bachelor's?
Going from an associate degree into a bachelor’s program can save you time and money and help you graduate with your 4-year degree faster.
With an associate degree in liberal arts, you’ll start your bachelor’s degree having already completed your general education requirements. This means you can get started on your major courses right away and graduate sooner.
"Immediately after graduating with my associate degree in 2018, I moved straight into a bachelor's program in human services," said Chase Thomas, who went on to complete both a bachelor's and a master's at SNHU.
And if you end up stopping or pausing your education after finishing your liberal arts associate program, you’ll still have a degree. This means you'll have a credential in hand that provides more benefits than if you entered a bachelor’s degree program and took a break halfway through.
Workers with associate degrees have better employment opportunities and higher earnings than workers who have taken some college courses but didn’t complete a degree.1
Is an online associate in liberal arts worth it?
An online associate degree in liberal arts is an ideal choice if you've already earned a significant number of college credits but don't have a degree.
At SNHU, you have the option to transfer up to 45 credits toward your associate degree, so you could turn your existing coursework into a degree with just 15 credits or 5 courses.
The degree can also be very beneficial if you're aiming to earn more money. In fact, the BLS reported in 2022 that people with high school diplomas made median weekly earnings of $853 while those with associate degrees made $1,005.1
Is it better to have 2 associate degrees or a bachelor's degree?
If you want to maximize your time and money, we recommend pursuing a single bachelor's degree. While an associate degree is very valuable, many of the requirements are general education courses, so pursuing two associate degrees wouldn't specialize your education as effectively as a bachelor's degree could.
What are the advantages of an online associate degree?
There are many benefits to earning your online associate degree at SNHU. Here are just a few:
- Transfer-friendly programs: You can transfer up to 45 previously earned credits toward your associate degree.
- Convenient: You'll have 24/7 access to coursework online, so you can study when and where it's convenient.
- Affordable: You can take advantage of some of the most affordable online tuition rates in the nation.
- Expert instruction: Your courses will be taught by professors with relevant, real-world experience.
Can you skip an associate degree and go straight to a bachelor's?
Yes, you can enroll directly into a bachelor's program once you've earned a high school diploma. However, some students prefer to use an associate degree (typically 60 credit hours) as a "halfway" marker in their journey toward a bachelor's degree (typically 120 credit hours).
Should I put an associate degree on a resume?
You should absolutely include your associate degree on a resume, as it can help you stand out among job seekers. According to the BLS, workers in 2022 with only a high school diploma had an unemployment rate of 4.0%, while workers with an associate degree had an unemployment rate of just 2.7%.1
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
Sources & Citations (1)
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2023/data-on-display/education-pays.htm (viewed May 9, 2023). Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.