Humanities in the News
- "What Can I Do With a Degree in the Liberal Arts?," lists some of the latest news on careers for liberal arts majors
- "What Is The Value Of An Education In The Humanities?" by NPR (Feb 3, 2016)
- "Without a base in humanities, both the students — and the democratic society these students must enter as informed citizens — are denied a full view of the heritage and critical habits of mind that make civilization worth the effort." -- Adam Frank
- "If You Want Your Children to Survive the Future, Send Them to Art School" in HuffingtonPost Education (Feb 2, 2016)
- "Digital Companies Need More Liberal Arts Majors" in the Harvard Business Review (Jan 2016)
- "It’s the same with data analysts and business intelligence engineers. What’s more important than taking the massive amounts of data that a company receives every day and making sense of it?"
"What can’t be replaced in any organization imaginable in the future is precisely what seems overlooked today: liberal arts skills, such as creativity, empathy, listening, and vision." For example, launching a product with a mediocre user interface or unintuitive user experience is currently OK, if not encouraged as best practice. It’s part of the old Silicon Valley mantra: launch a product that barely works and iterate, iterate, iterate. But as more companies move to the digital space, they’re discovering that “launch and beg for patience” doesn’t hold true anymore. Ask Twitter how hard it is to gain new users, or ask anyone over 40 how to use Snapchat. You’ll see that neither service is designed for the mass consumer. But as consumers begin to lead a digital life, companies must meet them where they are, regardless of their tech savvy. Companies with easy-to-use interfaces and intuitive functionality will win every time over companies that create any roadblock to using a product. That’s where liberal arts skills come in — and where liberal arts students will finally have their day in the sun."
- "Tech companies are hiring more liberal-arts majors than you think" in The Washington Post (Aug 2015)
- "...what hope would a humanities or social science major have of getting a job at one of these companies? Quite a lot, actually. In fact, liberal arts graduates joined the ranks of tech companies at a faster clip in the past few years than their engineering and computer-science counterparts, according an analysis by LinkedIn of its own users. And of the recent liberal arts grads the company examined, as many as 2 in 5 now work at an Internet or software company. That's a staggering number.
"The philosophy behind liberal arts, which encourages diversity of skills and flexible critical thinking, transfers to the workplace in various forms," LinkedIn wrote in a blog post summarizing its study.
- "That 'Useless' Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech's Hottest Ticket" in Forbes (July 2015)
- "What the ‘liberal’ in ‘liberal arts’ actually means" in The Washington Post (April 2015)
- "Enough with trashing the liberal arts. Stop being stupid." in The Washington Post (March 2015)
- "We don’t need more STEM majors. We need more STEM majors with liberal arts training" in The Washington Post (Feb 2015)
- "But as an instructor, I also think that if American STEM grads are going lead the world in innovation, then their science
education cannot be divorced from the liberal arts. Our culture has drawn an artificial line between art and science, one that did not exist for innovators like Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs. Leonardo’s curiosity and passion for painting, writing, engineering and biology helped him triumph in both art and science; his study of anatomy and dissections of corpses enabled his incredible drawings of the human figure. When introducing the iPad 2, Jobs, who dropped out of college but continued to audit calligraphy classes, declared: 'It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing.'" -- Dr. Loretta Jackson-Hayes
- "Don’t Dismiss the Humanities" in The New York Times (Aug 2014)
- "University students focusing on the humanities may end up, at least in their parents’ nightmares, as dog-walkers for those majoring in computer science. But, for me, the humanities are not only relevant but also give us a toolbox to think seriously about ourselves and the world." -- Nicholas Kristof
- "Why Top Tech CEOs Want Employees With Liberal Arts Degrees" by Fast Company (Aug 2014)
- "While the tech boom is partly responsible for the spike in students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math, many tech CEOs still believe employees trained in the liberal arts add value to their companies. In 2010, Steve Jobs famously mused that for technology to be truly brilliant, it must be coupled with artistry. 'It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough,' he said. 'It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing.'"
- "Business and the Liberal Arts" in Inside Higher Ed (Oct 2013)
- "The best preparation for life and career -- be it in finance, entrepreneurship or something else -- is a liberal arts degree," writes Edgar M. Bronfman.
- "Employers More Interested in Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Than College Major" by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (April 2013)
- "National Survey Shows Need to Increase Focus on Applied Learning, Intercultural Skills, Ethical Judgment, and Evidence-Based Reasoning as Outcomes for All College Students"
- "The best lawyers are not law graduates, claims judge in The Telegraph (UK) (July 2012)
Careers with a degree in Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Always keep in mind that while degrees open doors to careers requiring degree-specific knowledge and skills, a wider view shows many career paths open to those with humanities skills. The news articles listed above highlight this, as do the articles below highlighting skills employers want in today's job market.
- Learn All the Top Skills Employers Want" in Forbes (Dec 2014)
- "The 10 Skills Employers Want Most in Graduates" in Forbes (Nov 2014)
- "The 10 Unique Soft Skills Employers Desire in New Hires" in Entrepreneur (June 2014)
- "The College Degrees and Skills Employers Most Want" in Forbes (April 2014)
- "15 Traits of the Ideal Employee" in Forbes (April 2013)
Here are some websites managed by national organizations and other academic institutions with valuable career information.
- American Historical Association list of careers
- "Careers in History" by Loyola University Chicago's Department of History (includes discussion of transferable skills and alumni quotes)
- “What Can I do With a Major in…History?”by Hofstra University Career Center (gives list of careers)
- Career Alternatives for Art Historians
- UNL Department of English's career planning website
- University of Texas Fine Arts Career Services Center list of careers for theater majors
- Berklee College of Music's list of careers in music
- Northern Illinois University's list of careers in Textiles, Apparel & Merchandising
- "What to do with a degree in history," by The Guardian (UK) lists career statistics and the degree skills
- "$100k Careers That Can Start With a History Major" from WorldWideLearn (Jan 2016)
- "What Can You Do With a History Degree?" QS Top Universities (July 2014) gives typical and less typical career info
- "What can I do with my degree in History?" from the University of Kent (UK)
People in the field of Performing Arts
Monty Python actor Terry Jones has written much on history of chivalry; actress Katharine Hepburn studied history at Bryn Mawr College; singer Lauryn Hill studied history at Columbia University; actor Edward Norton studied history at Yale University; comedian-actor Steve Carell studied history at Denison University; Shakira took a course "Intro to Western Civ: prehistory to c.843 A.D." at UCLA; Quentin Tarentino loved his history courses; comedian, actor, TV producer Larry David majored in history at the University of Maryland; actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen read history at Christ's College, Cambridge; singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffet earned at B.A. in history from the University of Southern Mississippi; actor, comedian, and former financial broker Will Forte earned a history degree from UCLA; actress Ellen Barkin double majored in history and drama at Hunter College, almost going on to teach ancient history; actor Dean Cain graduated with a B.A. in history from Princeton University
Leaders in Sports
The head coach of men's basketball at University of Texas, Shaka Smart, graduated with a degree in history from Kenyon College; basketball stars Kareem Adul-Jabbar (UCLA) and Grant Hill (Duke University) both studied history; UNL Husker Football athletes Ameer Abdullah (Detroit Lions) and Rex Burkhead (Cincinnati Bengals) both studied history
Journalism & Media Personalities
CNN news anchor Wolf Blitzer studied history at SUNY-Buffalo; Conan O'Brien has a B.A. in American history and Literature from Harvard; Ted Turner, founder of CNN and TBS, was a classics major at Brown University; former President of NBC and current president of CNN, Jeff Zucker, graduated with a B.A. in American history from Harvard; businesswoman and TV personality Martha Stewart studied European and architectural history at Barnard College;
Leaders in Politics, Government, and Law
Vice President Joe Biden earned a B.A. with double majors in history and political science from the University of Delaware; Robert Gates, ex-Secretary of Defense, majored in history at the College of William and Mary; Chief Justice John Roberts majored in history at Harvard; President Woodrow Wilson studied political philosophy and history at Princeton; 55th Governor of NY, David Paterson, earned a B.A. in history from Columbia University; chemist, former Deputy Secretary of Defense and CDI, John M. Deutch, studied history and economics at Amherst College; Dianne Feinstein, the senior senator from California, earned a B.A. in history from Stanford; Bev Perdue, the first female governor of North Carolina, earned a B.A. in history from the University of Kentucky; Jerry Brown, the governor of California, majored in classics at UC Berkeley; Eric Shinseki, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, has a master's in English literature from Duke University; British archaeologist, military officer, and diplomat T.E. Lawrence [of Lawrence of Arabia fame] studied history at Jesus College, Oxford, and postgraduate work in medieval pottery at Magdalen College;
Leaders in Business
Carly Fiorina, ex-HP CEO studied medieval history and philosophy at Stanford; Ken Chenault, CEO at American Express, majored in history at Bowdoin College; Brian Moynihan, Bank of America's CEO, was a history major at Brown University; A.G. Lafley, former Proctor and Gamble CEO, majored in French and history at Hamilton College; Sir Michael Moritz, former member of the board of directors for Google, earned a B.A. in history from Christ Church, Oxford; great-grandson and executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, William Ford Jr., earned a degree in history from Princeton University; Andrea Jung, former Avon CEO, majored in English literature at Princeton University; financial analyst Meredith Whitney gradated with a B.A. in history from Brown University