A recent report shows that by their mid-50s liberal arts majors make more money than those who studied in professional and pre-professional fields. The Association of American Colleges and Universities just released “Liberal Arts Graduates and Employment: Setting the Record Straight.” Here are some of the findings:
- 4 out of 5 employers want students to study the liberal arts
- 93% of employers want candidates who can think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems. This is more important than the undergraduate major
- Employers want broad knowledge and specific skills
- The top 15 professions of liberal arts graduates include: teaching, law, legislators, business, social work, sales, clergy, accounting, and marketing.
- Liberal arts graduates in the humanities and social science have an average salary of $26,271 directly out of college and $66,185 at the age of 56.
- Students who major in pre-professional or professional programs have an average salary of $31,183 directly out of college and $64,149 at the age of 56.
- Liberal arts majors attain advanced degrees at a higher level than students who majored in pre-professional or professional progams
Here is a taste of an article on the report at Inside Higher Ed:
Liberal arts majors may start off slower than others when it comes to the postgraduate career path, but they close much of the salary and unemployment gap over time, a new report shows.
By their mid-50s, liberal arts majors with an advanced or undergraduate degree are on average making more money those who studied in professional and pre-professional fields, and are employed at similar rates. But that’s just one part of the paper’s overall argument that concerns about the value of a liberal arts degree “are unfounded and should be put to rest.”
“That’s a myth out there – that somehow if you major in humanities, you’re doomed to be unemployed for the rest of your life. This suggests otherwise,” said Debra Humphreys, a co-author of the report and vice president for policy and public engagement at the Association of American Colleges and Universities. “That sort of journey to professional success is more of a marathon than a sprint.”
Tom Van Dyke says
A recent report shows that by their mid-50s liberal arts majors make more money than those who studied in professional and pre-professional fields.
Yes, the stats are there for those educated in the 1970s. But I question what a liberal arts education even is these days.
In 2011, the University of California at Los Angeles decimated its English major. Such a development may seem insignificant, compared with, say, the federal takeover of health care. It is not. What happened at UCLA is part of a momentous shift in our culture that bears on our relationship to the past—and to civilization itself.
Until 2011, students majoring in English at UCLA had to take one course in Chaucer, two in Shakespeare, and one in Milton—the cornerstones of English literature. Following a revolt of the junior faculty, however, during which it was announced that Shakespeare was part of the “Empire,” UCLA junked these individual author requirements and replaced them with a mandate that all English majors take a total of three courses in the following four areas: Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies; Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies; genre studies, interdisciplinary studies, and critical theory; or creative writing. In other words, the UCLA faculty was now officially indifferent as to whether an English major had ever read a word of Chaucer, Milton, or Shakespeare, but was determined to expose students, according to the course catalog, to “alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class.”
Such defenestrations have happened elsewhere, of course, and long before 2011. But the UCLA coup was particularly significant because the school’s English department was one of the last champions of the historically informed study of great literature, uncorrupted by an ideological overlay.
Tom Van Dyke says
Gaffe: When a politician accidentally tells the truth
“I promise you, folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art-history degree,” he said in Waukesha, Wis. on Thursday.
The president immediately walked back his accidental put-down. “Now, nothing wrong with an art-history degree — I love art history — I don’t want to get a bunch e-mails from everybody.”