Liberal arts schools are schools that graduate fewer STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and pre-professional majors, focusing instead on humanities, arts, sciences and communication programs. These schools are usually private institutions, but some public schools do fall into this category. Liberal arts colleges usually have smaller enrollments and students get to work more closely with professors. The schools on this list have much smaller student-to-faculty ratios than many other types of schools. The 2015-2016 College Salary Report is an excellent resource for anybody who is considering applying to or attending a liberal arts college or university, but wants to find out how much their alumni earn.
Liberal Arts Grads Can Earn High Salaries Too
Liberal arts schools sometimes get criticized because their graduates don't make as much money as alumni from schools that graduate many STEM majors, especially in the first few years out of college. However, the critical thinking skills associated with the liberal arts are valuable to employers, and many liberal arts graduates go on to earn very respectable salaries. When we include students who go on to get graduate degrees, 20 of the schools on the list boast median alumni salaries over $100,000 after 10 years of work experience.
Best Liberal Arts Colleges by Alumni Salary
Harvey Mudd College, which is regularly at or near the top PayScale's College Salary Report and College ROI Report, falls into the liberal arts category even though most of its graduates (86 percent) graduate with degrees in science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics. Despite the heavy focus on STEM subjects, Harvey Mudd requires all of their students to take enough liberal arts classes to qualify for this classification.
Most liberal arts schools award less than 20 percent of their total degrees in STEM subjects.
You might also be surprised that the United States's top military schools, including the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Military Academy at West Point and Air Force Academy, also qualify as Liberal Arts colleges because of their well-rounded curriculum.
Classic Liberal Arts Colleges Produce High Earners
Many of the most famous private liberal arts schools in the country also produce alumni with some of the highest salaries in the country. Colgate University, Swarthmore College, Williams College, Occidental College, Carleton College and Pomona College are excellent examples of liberal arts colleges that don't just have amazing academic opportunities, but prepare students well for successful careers.