The future of work: Liberal arts colleges that prepare students for a tech-enabled world

As the world undergoes rapid technological development, will liberal art graduates still have a role to play in the future of work? The answer?


While automation threatens to replace jobs with technology, inherently ‘human skills’ in communication, creativity and problem-solving – hallmarks of liberal arts graduates – are still needed in the workplace to complement technological advances.

Unsurprisingly, this is echoed by research findings.

For example, key findings from Strada Institute’s report, Robot Ready: Human+ Skills for the Future of Work, found that human skills, such as leadership, communication and problem-solving, are among the most in-demand skills in today’s labour market. They also found that human skills help liberal arts graduates excel in a variety of career fields, including marketing, public relations, technology and sales.

Liberal arts studies encompass a broad range of specialisations, from communication to psychology. Graduates can expect opportunities in a diverse range of fields, from private to government sectors across varied roles, including journalism to public relations, and more.

There’s no denying that the use of technology is a crucial aspect of our future; it presents a myriad of opportunities and its reach is limitless, but bridging the gap between tech and humanity is important for both to succeed in their domains. It’s clear that the future of work isn’t merely confined to being technologically-savvy, but being equipped with the necessary communication skills as well to thrive.

So, if you’re interested in pursuing a liberal arts education, here are four North American institutions worth exploring:


Students keen to learn a combination of technical, social, cultural, creative and communication skills will be spoiled at Central College, a private liberal arts college in Pella, Iowa. The college is known for its academic rigor, especially in its STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programmes.

Central prepares students to be both entry-level experts and leaders and difference-makers in their chosen fields. At Central, students are welcomed with open arms and learn from faculty who help them open doors for a successful future.

Source: Central College

Here, programmes prepare students for the real world. Graduates carve successful careers, empowered by the college’s help with internships and graduate placements. In fact, 98% of Central STEM graduates are successfully employed, in graduate school or completing a year of service one year after graduation.

Central students know professors well and benefit from faculty attention to student goals and future success. Students work alongside professors to complete research or creative projects typically unavailable to undergraduates. In addition, each academic major allows students to study off-campus for at least one semester.

Charming Pella, a town of 10,000 famous for its Dutch heritage and architecture, great bakeries, laid-back coffee shops, Fortune 500 companies and world-famous tulip festival, is just 40 miles from Des Moines, Iowa’s capital. includes Pella on its 2018 lists of Best Places to Live in Iowa and Best Places for Millennials in Iowa.


This private New York-based college offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programmes. True to its motto, “a place to think”, programmes at Bard aim to inspire disciplined scepticism and critical thinking.

Undergraduate students can earn a bachelor of arts degree in one of approximately 35 stand-alone programmes that form the following academic divisions: The Arts; Languages and Literature; Science, Mathematics, and Computing; Social Studies; and Interdivisional Programs and Concentrations.

Majors include literature, psychology, philosophy, and more. Bard College also offers two five-year, dual-degree undergraduate programmes, including Economics and Finance, which offers a BS degree in economics and finance and a bachelor of arts degree in another field in the liberal arts or sciences other than economics. The Bard College Conservatory of Music offers a BM in music and a BA in another field in the liberal arts or sciences other than music.

Source: Bard College

They also offer 12 graduate programmes in the following fields: Conducting, Economic Theory and Policy, MBA in Sustainability, Photographic Studies, Curatorial Studies, Environmental Policy and Education, Music, Teaching, Decorative Arts, Fine Arts, Orchestra and Vocal Arts.

Becoming a student at Bard also means studying in a campus surrounded by a rich natural and cultural life.


Florida is known for its stunning beaches and theme parks, but the sunshine state is also home to Eckerd College – a liberal arts institution with a cool waterfront campus. Here, a whopping 95 percent of the faculty hold PhDs or the terminal degree in their field, so students can expect to learn from highly-knowledgeable staff.

Eckerd has a vast of majors to choose from, including American studies, anthropology, communication, creative writing, economics, political science and more. Majors aside, students also have the opportunity to study abroad and earn academic credit towards their degree. For example, students can study economics, arts, culture and more in Cuba. Eckerd also has a relationship with the University of Havana, allowing students and faculty to study Cuba’s marine environment.

Eckerd has a one-of-kind co-curricular programme for full-time students, currently unavailable at any other educational institution in the US. The Eckerd College Search and Rescue Team (EC-SAR) is a highly-trained group of student volunteers who work closely with the US Coast Guard, 911 Emergency Medical Response and other state and local agencies to answer more than 500 maritime distress calls per year. Team members are trained in technical rescue, boating safety, seamanship, searching, fire-fighting, de-watering, navigation, medical response and evening piloting rescue vessels.


The only Canadian institution on the list is Bishop’s University, located in Québec, a predominantly French-speaking province. This institution is known for its small, intimate classes and strong sense of community.

The university boasts of a vast selection of academic programmes where students can opt to study accounting, education or business administration, among others. Meanwhile, Bishop’s graduate programmes are designed to offer students the chance to further their academic and professional development.

Source: Bishop’s University

Some of the graduate programmes available include Master’s of Arts (M.A.) and Master’s of Education (M.Ed.) in Leadership, Societies and Language, Master’s of Science (M.Sc.) in Computer Science, Master’s of Science (M.Sc.) in Physics, Graduate Certificate in Brewing Science, Graduate-level Micro-Program in Climate Change, Graduate Certificate in Business and Graduate Certificate in Knowledge Mobilization.

Bishop’s is Canada’s top school for Student Satisfaction in 2019 for the primarily undergraduate universities category by Maclean’s, also scoring well in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International*

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