Why Major in the Humanities?

What are the humanities?

The humanities study the history and experience of human beings. At the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences, the humanities include the following departments and programs:

Pursue your passion while developing relevant and cross-functional skills that are in demand throughout industries and organizations.

What can you do with a degree in the humanities?

Graduates go on to rewarding careers in  a variety of fields including: public health, social work, journalism, communications, primary and secondary education, politics, university administration, non-profits, NGOs, government agencies and more.

A humanities degree prepares students for professional school entrance exams and advanced and professional degrees in medicine, law and business administration. 

Why study the humanities?

Employers want to hire employees with the skills the humanities teach

According to a study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities

  • 91% of employers agree that for career success, “a candidate’s demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than his or her undergraduate major.”
  • 96% of employers agree that “all college students should have experiences that teach them how to solve problems with people whose views are different from their own.”
  • 78% agree that “all college students should gain intercultural skills and an understanding of societies and countries outside the United States.”

Association of American Colleges and Universities Report: Falling Short? College Learning and Career Success, 2014.

In an article titled, “That ‘Useless’ Liberal-Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket,” Forbes magazine showed that people with balanced strengths in social and math skills earn about 10% more than their counterparts who are strong in only one area. Tech companies like Slack and OpenTable--as well as smaller local companies--depend on workers with problem-solving and social skills.

The Atlantic magazine quotes Judy Samuelson, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program, saying that a robust education that emphasizes “the ability to think, the ability to write, the ability to understand the social and historical context of the decision they’re making” makes the best workers and the best leaders.

Did you know?

Humanities majors compete with nearly all other majors in terms of long-term earning potential.

How Pay Stacks up Infographic.

Median annual earnings for select liberal-arts and other degress, based on years of experience.

Number and Share of Workers Who Majored in the Humanities, by Occupational Sector Infographic.

Number and Share of Workers Who Majored in the Humanities, by Occupational Sector, 2015

At UB, the humanities are designed to help you succeed:

  • Departments are small and prioritize individual attention.
  • A Director of Undergraduate Study, available in every department, helps you design a course plan.
  • Opportunities to apply to work one-on-one with faculty
  • Abilty to participate in a wide range of experiential learning, internship and study abroad possibilities.
  • Flexbility to combine humanities majors with other majors, certificates, or pre-professional programs.

Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies