The value of a humanities degree is not always obvious to the general public and potential employers. This occurs despite the reality that those with humanities degrees possess admirable qualities and valuable skills for organizations and businesses. These include the ability to think critically, communicate well, and analyze cultural productions such as text, images, built environment, videos, etc. Just as importantly, humanities students are bucking the trend of going to college for purely utilitarian reasons. Popular reason goes that attending college is about getting a degree, which is about getting a good job and making good money. There’s lots of holes in this logic, and humanities students are smart enough to notice this and question these commensensical notions and recognize other more creative and thoughtful possibilities. This is exactly why they can be real assets to a business, nonprofit, governmental organization, or other workplaces.
Below is a short compilation of a few resources making arguments for the value of humanities degrees. I focus particularly on the study of the humanities generally with more of an emphasis on undergraduate majors. Questions around advanced degrees bring up additional complex concerns, and bear separate analysis. What follows is intended to be a starting place to articulate the value of the humanities rather than a comprehensive list of articles and resources.
Liberal Arts Degrees and Their Value in the Employment Market A study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities on long-term employability of the humanities. See also a summary of the article.
The Heart of the Matter The Humanities and Social Sciences for a Vibrant, Competitive, and Secure Nation, a report by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences report
Humanities Indicators A resource with the latest humanities data on education, workforce, funding, and public life.
A Wider Perspective and More Options: Investigating the longer term employability of humanities graduates based out of the UK, which draws on interviews with humanities majors.
No More Digitally Challenged Liberal Arts Majors William Pannapacker on “rebooting” humanities training
Humanities = Employability Leslie Madsen-Brooks, history faculty at Boise State University argues for the “secret sauce” of humanities training
Carlyle Co-founder’s Recipe for Success: Study the Humanities A short piece from the New York Times that argues for a new formula: H = MC, or Humanities Equals More Cash
Why Silicon Valley Needs More PhDs An argument for the value of humanities training in the tech field
11 Reasons to Ignore the Haters and Major in the Humanities A summary from Business Insider
We Need More Humanities Majors The “pro” side of a debate in the Washington Post
Why Major in Humanities? Not just for a good job–for a good life This article goes beyond the economics to argue for the value of a humanities degree