Humanities Education

December 6, 2013 • Volume 23, Issue 43
Are humanities degrees worth the cost?
By Marcia Clemmitt


Brian Schwarz (AP Photo/Invision/Chris Pizzello)
Humanities students such as filmmaker Brian Schwarz of the University of Texas-Austin are on the decline in the United States, as economic concerns prompt students increasingly to choose career-focused majors such as engineering. Schwarz, seen here in Beverly Hills, Calif., won a student Academy Award for his film “Ol' Daddy,” about a young man who cares for his ailing father. (AP Photo/Invision/Chris Pizzello)

A recent American Academy of Arts & Sciences report declared that dwindling support for the humanities could cripple U.S. commercial innovation and erode civic engagement. Although the number of Americans with degrees in the humanities, such as history and English, is at a record high, the proportion of those majoring in the humanities has been declining, as students increasingly choose career-focused majors such as nursing and engineering. New data show that humanities majors earn less in their first jobs than career-specific majors. Florida's governor has proposed trimming state tuition for students in majors with strong job prospects while allowing tuition to rise for humanities students. A House panel wants to slash funding for humanities research and education. Meanwhile, the new revelations about humanities graduates' earnings give liberal arts colleges reason to worry about a White House proposal to rate colleges based partly on graduates' salaries.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Education and Funding
Aug. 31, 2018  Education Funding
Jun. 27, 2016  Student Debt
Dec. 06, 2013  Humanities Education
Apr. 19, 2013  Law Schools
Nov. 20, 2009  The Value of a College Education
Dec. 10, 1999  Reforming School Funding
Aug. 27, 1993  School Funding
Dec. 24, 1948  Federal Aid to Education
May 05, 1948  Financial Support for Higher Education
Sep. 03, 1937  Federal Grants for Education
Aug. 20, 1934  Federal Aid to Education
Arts and Humanities
College Financing and Funding
General Employment and Labor
Undergraduate and Graduate Education