“What do you major in?” “History” “Well, what can you do with that degree?” Everyone who has majored in any of the humanities has had this conversation at least once, if not more. People always tend to hype up more “practical” majors like business or engineering. While humanities majors usually have an open path, allowing you to create your own means of success, it gets challenging to find exactly what to do with your degree. Explore the many job options out there, then find the one that works for you.
Check out everything you can do and more with a humanities major.
What is a Humanities Major?
In order to become successful in humanities, you have to know what all it encompasses first. You learn how to effectively communicate, think critically and make connections across fields and topics. Classes in the humanities tend to take a multidisciplinary approach to education, meaning that if you major in English, you won’t only read books. You get to learn about the music, art, language, religion and philosophy of whatever class topic you chose. “As a history major, you get to train in ways that broadly prepare you with the research skills that the market demands,” said University of Kentucky professor Dr. Melanie Goan. This goes for all humanities majors; you won’t only learn through one style of education.
Some specializations that fall under the category of humanities: English, history, political science, digital media, anthropology, drama, journalism, linguistics and more. “I think some novice history buffs don’t understand the breadth of social studies, there’s a lot of wiggle room–sociology, psychology, anthropology, geography…There’s a lot out there you can major in that’s history adjacent if it’s something you love,” University of Kentucky graduate student Chloe Hebert said. Having such a wide array of major options should tell anyone of the huge amount of employment opportunities with these majors.
Why Aren’t More People Majoring in Humanities?
So, why do people stray away from majoring in the humanities? First, they think they won’t get a job after graduation and they worry that they will have wasted four or more years of their life in college. But they don’t know about the abundance of different opportunities open to every humanities major–like becoming a journalist or a social media coordinator or even a music therapist. Often, people assume those who major in the arts or English or media won’t make a lot of money, but as you can see, the humanities can live up to the business or economics salaries (starting salary for a business major: $50,000).
Another factor keeping students away from the humanities: peer pressure. “There’s a bit of peer pressure there when students are choosing a major, they’re thinking ‘what will my neighbors say, what will my dad’s boss say,’” Dr. Goan said. The fact that so many people do not know about how well-off graduates in the humanities makes the myth of humanity majors as unsuccessful become reality. “[A]s cliché as it may sound, doing what you love is one of the most important things you can do in life! If you love history and are passionate about it, there are endless options for you that will lead to a happier life than doing something you’re less interested in,” University of Kentucky senior Autumn Paine said. Moral of the story: do what you love.
Jobs in the Humanities
1. English Major
Possible Jobs: Writer, library assistant, copywriter, journalist, communications director, technical writer, social media coordinator
Starting Salary: $43,600
Average Mid-Career Salary: $78,300
2. History Major
Possible Jobs: Middle school or high school teacher, lawyer, librarian, research analyst, historian, museum curator
Starting Salary: $44,000
Average Mid-Career Salary: $77,200
Possible Jobs: College professor, historian, geologist, travel guide/agent, historian, physical anthropologist
Starting Salary: $50,000
Average Mid-Career Salary: $77,000
Possible Jobs: Actor, film director, music therapist, drama therapist, community arts worker, dancer, broadcast presenter
Starting Salary: $44,000
Average Mid-Career Salary: $78,000
5. International Relations
Possible Jobs: International diplomat, international lawyer, CIA analyst, military officer, language translator, foreign service officer
Starting Salary: $51,000
Average Mid-Career Salary: $85,000
6. Liberal Arts
Possible Jobs: Teacher, entrepreneur, entertainer, freelance writer, print/media journalist
Starting Salary: $41,900
Average Mid-Career Salary: $68,000
Possible Jobs: Speech/language therapist, teacher, copyeditor/proofreader, English as a second language instructor, technical writer
Starting Salary: $47,900
Average Mid-Career Salary: $73,500
8. Film Studies
Possible Jobs: TV/film camera operator, film director, program researcher, film/video producer, location manager
Starting Salary: $41,300
Average Mid-Career Salary: $87,200
Possible Jobs: Paralegal, copywriter, journalist, editorial assistant, public policy, social worker, lawyer, management consultant
Starting Salary: $48,200
Average Mid-Career Salary: $86,000
10. Digital Media
Possible Jobs: Media planner, multimedia specialist, social media manager, public relations officer, program researcher
Starting Salary: $42,300
Average Mid-Career Salary: $75,000
Can you see all the opportunities for humanities majors now? Endless.