BA in Humanities: Why Study Humanities?

HUMwhyThe Humanities Indicators Project, an initiative to track long-term trends in the Humanities, has found evidence that Humanities majors fare much better than commonly assumed in the job market. Humanities majors’ capacity for critical thought, for making sense of the accumulated ideas and expressions of human culture reflect exactly the type of creativity, adaptability, curiosity, and independence prized by employers today.

In fact, there has never been a more crucial time for the Humanities than the present. As futurist Daniel Pink has written, “Thanks to an array of forces—material abundance that is deepening our nonmaterial yearning, globalization that is shipping white-collar work overseas, and powerful technologies that are eliminating certain kinds of work altogether—we are entering a new age. It is an age animated by a different form of thinking and a new approach to life—one that prizes aptitudes that I call ‘high concept’ and ‘high touch.’ High concept involves the capacity to detect patterns and opportunities, to create artistic and emotional beauty, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into something new. High touch involves the ability to empathize with others, to understand the subtleties of human interactions, to find joy in one’s self and to elicit it in others, and to stretch beyond the quotidian in pursuit of purpose and meaning.” A Whole New Mind (New York: Riverhead Books, 2006), pp. 2-3.
Students who graduate from the program will find that their major has given them a solid, liberal arts foundation, a wide array of career options and the flexibility to adapt to a rapidly changing world. They will be well prepared to work in a wide variety of fields or to pursue professional degrees in professions such as law, education, and business; or to pursue specialized graduate study in their chosen academic discipline in the Humanities. More importantly, they will be well positioned to become lifelong learners and to appreciate the many expressions of human thought and creative expression throughout the world.