Human Sciences in the Contemporary World provides excellent preparation for careers that demand intellectual independence, research skills, and the ability to combine detailed analysis with an integrating vision. The skills and knowledge acquired regarding cultural practices, social structures, and forms and aspects of the contemporary world would be highly appropriate for anyone who plans to go into law, government, business, journalism, consulting, or any other field demanding an articulate grasp of life in a globalizing environment (e.g., market research for a major corporation). Students of the B.A. program who are interested in pursuing graduate degrees will be well prepared for study in the social sciences and in many humanities disciplines as well.
But can you get a job if you major in the Human Sciences? These days, doesn’t everyone say that you need to major in one of the STEM fields (sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to get a good job after college?
The immediate employment opportunities for STEM majors, right out of college, is marginally better than for the humanities and the social sciences, and initial salaries are somewhat higher. But when you look to the longer term, the facts can be downright surprising.
Recently, in May 2015, the British Council published the results of a study it did jointly with Ipsos Public Affairs. Ipsos is an international corporation based in Paris that does global market research, and the British Council is the United Kingdom’s international organization for spreading the English language and developing cultural relations and educational opportunities in the more than 100 countries where it operates. The study included people in 30 countries, including the U.K. and the U.S.A. What they wanted to find out was what the higher-education pathway looked like for leaders in all professions, public and private, in those countries. The first two of their major findings were that (1) “the majority of leaders have degrees in the social sciences and humanities” and (2) “young professional leaders favour degrees in social sciences and humanities.” Here are some of the numbers: 55% of all professional leaders held undergraduate degrees in the social sciences or the humanities (44% social sciences, 11% humanities), with the next two largest groupings being business (14%) and engineering (12%). Among professional leaders younger than age 45 there was an even stronger representation of undergraduate degrees in the social sciences and the humanities (58%) compared to older leaders (51%).
This is just one study, of course. But the results do harmonize with some other studies that have been done over the years. In particular, AT&T found, by following the careers of its employees over the long term, that employees with humanities and social sciences degrees tended with the passage of time to rise higher in the corporation than those with technical degrees. This of course does not mean that every human sciences major will surpass every science, business, or engineering major! But it should help ease your mind about future prospects if Human Sciences in the Contemporary World turns out to be the major for you.
If you want to pursue the Human Sciences—which at UD is an interdisciplinary social sciences major drawing also on humanities and the biological sciences—you have reason to be encouraged. In fact you have two reasons. The first is what the British Council study implies: that the social sciences and the humanities are not an employment dead end, but a pathway to success. The second is that if you are a Human Sciences major at the University of Dallas, you will learn how to conduct studies like the British Council/Ipsos survey, you will learn how to evaluate and interpret the results, and you will be able to suggest new ways and new studies that would refine and make more accurate the results of previous work. You would also have a strong foundation in the conceptual underpinnings of past and contemporary social sciences, not to mention the breadth of vision spurred by the University of Dallas Core Curriculum. You would have learned how to read closely and speak and write with persuasive attention to detail. You would have learned how to work closely and cooperatively with faculty and fellow students. Precisely those talents make you very professionally valuable in the contemporary world.