Look Out! Humanities Majors are Disappearing!


Maddy Bergey, Editor

English, philosophy, art, or ethnic studies versus business, finance, or engineering—though these areas of study are not directly pitted against one another, there seems to be inherent competition. The first areas listed were examples of humanities majors, whereas the second examples listed were more career-based majors. Today, many people are moving away from humanities majors in order to focus more on career-orientated fields. This poses various questions about why the decline is happening and how it could impact society in the future.

With today’s ever-changing technological world, STEM is a heavily-dominated field in general. Whether or not this has a correlation with capitalistic ideals within the United States, the focus is now on technology, employment, and production.

According to an article published in the Los Angeles Times, students today are viewing college as too large of an investment to not fully earn back in return. This inevitably causes people to turn away from liberal arts schools in order to receive an education with a smaller price.

Despite the world shifting to being extremely technology-focused, the absence of humanities majors would be detrimental to society. In liberal arts schools where humanities majors are nurtured, their focus is to help students receive a well-rounded education; primarily, liberal arts schools are focused on teaching intellectual skills, nurturing open-mindedness, and providing knowledge about how to most equitably exist in a diverse world. This is truly what the world needs. At this precarious time where political parties keep getting more divided, marginalized groups seemingly keep getting more oppressed, and the rich keep becoming more wealthy, a well-rounded perspective about the people and systems of this world is ultimately the future.

Inevitably, this has shaped my view about the path I want to take in my future. As a senior looking ahead to a higher education, going to a liberal arts college was the most important factor to me. Throughout my search, I knew I desperately desired to be exposed to a diverse group of people in a liberal arts school in order to receive knowledge of the wider world outside of predominantly white communities in rural America. Because of this, I decided on St. Olaf College to major in Gender and Sexuality Studies. When people hear that, they usually respond with a condescending tone, further questions, or a silent nod. Often, I think the major title stuns people because, no, it is not something that falls under STEM. With this degree in Gender and Sexuality, I intend to find a career that exists in a creative and advocative realm in order to stand up for groups whose voices systemically get drowned out.

In general, humanities majors are so crucial to the world—especially in times of deep division—because they help us as humans to prepare for existing in a world with various cultures, hurtful systemic notions, oppressive hierarchies, and perspective differences. Focusing on humanities helps to nurture one’s communication skills, problem-solving abilities, creativity, and so much more. As a whole, they broaden perspectives and give insight on how to navigate worldly contradictions.

As I continue my path of education, I am excited for the opportunities presented within humanities’ areas of study in order to advocate for the groups of people I deeply care about.


Works Cited

Goldberg, Nicholas. “Column: Where have all the English majors gone?” Los Angeles Times, 24 Oct. 2022, www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-10-24/college-humanities-decline#:~:text=Seeking%

20a%20return%20on%20their,job%2Dbased%20classes%20at%20college.&text=It’s%20not%20exactly%20news%20that,career%2Dfocused%20fields%20of%20study. Accessed 5 Mar. 2023.