Humanities Grads Gainfully Employed and Happy

February 13, 2018
Payday

New data suggest that STEM majors are not the only route to success.

By Scott Jaschik |  February 7, 2018

What's the worst college major for your career, according to Forbes? Anthropology and archaeology. Kiplinger's says to stay away from religious studies, music, anthropology and art history.

Such warnings are common these days. And liberal arts professors and admissions deans at liberal arts colleges will tell you that plenty of students (and an even larger share of parents) believe them. Many colleges with liberal arts roots are rushing to add preprofessional programs.

But a study being released today by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences -- based on data from the U.S. Census and other government sources, plus Gallup polling of workers nationwide -- challenges the myth of the underemployed, unhappy humanities graduate.

The report doesn't contest that those who majored in engineering or natural sciences earn more, on average, than do humanities graduates do. But it shows humanities grads to be gainfully employed and holding positions of authority, and finds that only a slightly smaller share of them than of their better-paid counterparts think they have enough money. When it comes to measures of career satisfaction, humanities grads are as satisfied as those who majored in STEM...

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