Flexibility is the name of the game

One of the joys of being in university is having time to broaden your horizons, discover new interests, and get involved in a range of extracurricular activities. Liberal Studies gives you that freedom.

Commonly called a liberal arts degree at other universities, Liberal Studies allows you to explore many different subjects in the humanities, social sciences, languages and cultures, and fine and performing arts – plus courses you’d like to take from some of Waterloo's other faculties.

You can add focus to your degree with a minor or minors, or keep it completely general. (And if you do fall passionately in love with a subject along the way, you can switch into a major at any point.) An academic advisor can help you plan your degree and choose courses.

You can also enrich your learning through Waterloo’s EDGE (experiential education) certificate and Global Experience Certificate programs – or by studying Liberal Studies as part of the Honours Arts and Business degree.

100+ subject areas

With more than 100 different subject areas at Waterloo, you have plenty of choice! (You can even complete your degree entirely online.)

Transfer students welcome

Liberal Studies allows you to complete up to half of your courses in other programs or by transfer credit from past studies.


Students in the Faculty of Arts building.

bookAvailable through co-op and the regular system of study and as a full-time or part-time and online program

icon of network of peopleOffered by the Faculty of Arts

Graduation capEarn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies



Apply to Honours Arts or Honours Arts and Business and choose Liberal Studies as your major.

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First-year courses

This program does not have any required courses in first year except for the Arts First* requirements. You'll choose eight additional courses in your first year for a total of 10 courses (five each term).

*The Arts First requirement consists of two first-year courses that are capped at 25 students: ARTS 130 - Inquiry and Communication and ARTS 140 - Information and Analysis. Instead of listening to a lecture and trying to capture notes, Arts First courses will have you and your classmates working together to respond to a challenge posed by the instructor.

After first year

Most of the classes you’ll take will be Faculty of Arts courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.

Customize your degree

You can also add additional areas of interest and expertise by including a minor (or minors) as part of your degree.


What can you do with a liberal arts degree?

The incredible flexibility of the Liberal Studies program means that your career prospects are limited only by your imagination and how you choose to develop your skills and knowledge while at Waterloo. You can pursue a wide range of advanced degrees – such as law, education, and master's degrees – or launch your career in government, education, finance, insurance, law, business, and more.

  • Marketing Coordinator – TheAppLab
  • Business Development Agent – Allstate Insurance Company of Canada
  • Workforce Development – Sheridan College
  • Tax Auditor – Canada Revenue Agency
  • Junior Accountant – Dunsire Developments Inc
  • Career Advisor – University of Waterloo
  • Executive Assistant – Mondelez International

Learn about the future of careers in arts, humanities, social sciences, languages, and creative arts.

Ready to learn more?