Humanities: What Defines This Area Of Academia?
The academic area known as humanities encompasses a wide area of study. Not too far removed from the social sciences, humanities students examine culture, language, art, and philosophy. They also apply critical thinking to each area and produce comprehensive analysis therein.
Humanities degrees tend to lead to jobs in teaching and writing, but due to the wide range of taught skill sets, these degrees can lead to many other options.
Humanities tend to get bracketed alongside social sciences since both academic fields involve a lot of critical thinking and have similar subject matter. What specifically makes humanities different from social sciences is its focus on qualitative analysis – you will never use stats or mathematics in humanities.
This kind of analysis is applied to such subjects as English, philosophy, and history. The humanities student aims to produce a critical analysis of human nature, or ‘humanity,’ as found in history, literature, and the arts.
Of course, this is just a broad interpretation of what humanities are. Each subject will have its unique methods and means of interpretation.
Do Colleges Define Humanities In This Way?
Most universities and colleges will bracket all humanities-related majors under the same collective title. This humanities division may include such subjects as religious studies, classics, linguistics, gender studies, drama, and history – to name a few.
Other colleges will combine humanities options alongside performing arts, such as music and theater, and define them collectively as Arts and Humanities.
Most colleges today implement humanities subjects as General Education courses as a means of broadening their analytical skills. For example, at UCLA, either cultural or literacy classes are a mandatory part of every undergraduate’s curriculum.
Is Humanities Popular?
Humanities remains one of the most popular academic research areas for those working towards their bachelor’s degrees. Over 100,000 students enroll in a humanities subject each year.
The most popular humanities subjects are English, closely followed by foreign languages, religious studies, and philosophy.
How Employable Are Humanities Majors?
The starting average wage for humanities majors is below average for post-graduate employment, but it does increase over time.
In terms of job prospects, things can be incredibly vague compared to other, more concentrated degrees, where students study with a particular job in mind.
However, humanities majors could put the skills learned from their humanities degree into practice and become historians or archivists.
Humanities majors often become teachers, analytical writers, content writers, communications directors, and instructional designers. There is also the potential for humanities majors to follow a path in advertising or public relations.
Humanities is an extensive area of academia, which teaches students a wide variety of skill sets and sets them in good stead for a wide range of job prospects.