Arts and Humanities

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We have all heard the tired jokes about majoring in “How to Become a Barista.” But without the arts and humanities, we would have no films, music, museums, or books! And who would want that?

Science, technology, and engineering majors are all the rage, but unless you are a left-brain type of person, these fields might not be as fulfilling. What are we right-brains to do? “Oh, the humanities!” The humanities cover an incredibly broad spectrum of interests, from foreign languages to history to actual art. This means that students who choose to study this path have a wealth of different paths and opportunities that they can choose to pursue!

If you’re undecided but know you want a liberal arts education, check out College Choice’s list of the Best Liberal Arts Colleges.

Advertisement is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Arts & Humanities FAQs:

What Do Those Who Study Arts & Humanities Do?

Holding a degree in one of the arts or humanities is a sign of a broad education spanning social sciences, arts, language, and history. This person has an open mind to differing views, backgrounds, and beliefs. Arts and humanities teach critical thinking skills, analysis, research, and problem solving. These majors foster a deeper sense of self, a love of knowledge, and independent thinking. Students learn to adapt their expectations and achieve flexibility in any endeavor. They have excellent skills in writing, speaking, reading, and communicating.

Explore any university’s Liberal Arts programs, and you find hundreds of interesting choices. Consider majoring in Creative Writing or Art History. Perhaps Sign Language or Theater Design fit best. Other options include Classic Antiquity, Middle-Eastern Studies, Gender and Sexuality, African-American Studies, Public Administration, and Jazz Studies. Master a difficult language like Mandarin or Hungarian. Delve into Latin American Studies. Become a master sculptor or metalsmith. Let your interests guide you.

If your interest is piqued by the vast array of career possibilities for Liberal Arts and Humanities majors, go for it. Do what makes you happiest. Graduates have translated these skills into unexpected careers. A Women’s Studies major might apply to law or medical school, for example. And business leaders like Mark Cuban and Google’s Jonathan Rosenberg say that degrees in the liberal arts and humanities are more valuable for “future-proofing” your career than anything else. In fact, Cuban even says that if he were just starting college now, he’d major in philosophy over accounting.

How Much Money Can You Make If You Study Arts & Humanities?

Since there are so many subjects to choose from when you study the Arts & Humanities, there is quite a bit of variation in salaries and job markets. Statisticians, for instance, make about $80,500 a year. This is a career that you can start with a Bachelor’s degree while earning a Master’s, and which is projected to see a 34 percent increase in jobs by 2024. Interpreters and translators have one of the most in-demand jobs. While pay is lower, with a median salary of $46,120, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates 17,500 new jobs in the next seven years. That is a spike of 29 percent. Students looking into fields such as fashion design will find New York and California to be the most job-friendly states. And Georgia, Massachusetts, and New York offer the highest median salaries, of around $70,000. Though when cost-of-living is taken into account, Georgia and Utah offer the best ratio of average salary to cost-of-living.

Job Growth

A job growth rate of 27% is expected for web designers in the next decade.

What Arts & Humanities Degrees Are Available?

An Associate’s Degree generally paves the way toward a Bachelor’s degree, though it’s not necessary if you’re going straight into a Bachelor’s program. With just two years of study, students can choose a single concentration such as music, history, or art. An Associate in Graphic Arts earns upwards of $37,850. An Associate’s degree in Textile Design could result in an average of $67,000.

The Bachelor’s Degree allows a broad spectrum of interests, which could lead to Interdisciplinary Studies or a double major. The first two years tackle general education requirements in math, science, language, English, and social sciences. Many of these classes fall under the Arts and Humanities umbrella. Take these opportunities to explore interests before declaring a major. The National Association of Colleges and Employers issued an April 2017 report on Bachelor’s degrees in Humanities with the highest starting salaries. A Liberal Arts or General Studies diploma merits an average income of $51,100. English Language or Literature graduates earn an average of $50,125. Following those two are Visual and Performing Arts ($48,714), History ($47,500), Foreign Language or Literature ($47,000), and Philosophy ($47,000).

Master’s Degrees lead to positions in higher education, or as head librarians, historians and art critics. Master’s programs usually require a thesis or a capstone project. A Master’s in Sociology leads to a starting wage of $57,080. Time Magazine lists average earnings with both a graduate degree and ten years of experience. The salaries range from $100,000 to $138,000. And if you really love books, you could go for a doctorate.

A PhD candidate prepares a dissertation on a topic of special interest. Instead of studying something general like English Literature, the subject may be “Humanism and Chivalry in French Renaissance Literature.” A PhD opens the door to careers as professors and researchers, directors of nonprofits, and managing editors. A PhD earns approximately 10 to 17 percent more than a Master’s degree holder.

What Arts and Humanities Specialties Are Available?

If you’re interested in studying the liberal arts online, check out our ranking of the best online liberal arts degrees, all from respected and accredited colleges and universities. If you’re interested in a specific field within the arts and humanities, take a look below at our descriptions and rankings in specific fields.

  • Graphic Design

    From billboards for television and movies to magazine and book covers, the work of graphic designers covers our world in color and life. As these industries continue to grow, so too does the demand for qualified, well-trained graphic designers who can turn engaging concepts into eye-popping and imaginative displays. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 250,000 graphic design jobs in the United States, with employees expected to earn almost $23/hour. And if you’re looking for a job that offers maximum flexibility, graphic design puts that control in your hands. One out of every five graphic designers is self-employed, and those in industry enjoy the flexibility of being able to pursue any of the many specializations within the field. College Choice has published lists to help any student wishing to enter this exciting field. For students seeking a traditional collegiate experience there is our ranking of the Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Degrees and the Best Master’s in Graphic Design Degrees. But just as students might value flexibility in their careers, they may also value flexibility in their education, so we’ve also ranked the Best Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Degrees and the Best Online Master’s in Creative and Design Degrees.

  • Fine Arts

    The Fine Arts covers a wide range of subjects, genres and creators, bringing together visual artists, writers and novelists, poets, playwrights, and filmmakers. Movie audiences around the world continue to make the art of film an exciting and lucrative pursuit, while the year 2017 has also seen record sales for paintings and sculptures, towering into the tens of millions of dollars. Thanks to its variability, the field of Fine Arts has any number of exciting career options available for graduates to pursue. Freelance writers earn an average of almost $30/hour, while also enjoying the benefits of the modern publishing industry, including self-employment and self-publishing. There is also tremendous growth in other areas of the fine arts: the BLS predicts “faster than average” job growth for filmmakers, around 9% over the next ten years. College choice has compiled a general ranking of Best Master of Fine Arts Degrees, for those who feel the Fine Arts is there calling, but don’t quite know which field yet. And for students with a disposition towards writing, especially for the flexibility of its career options, there is the Best Online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Degrees ranking.

  • Arts & Technology

    The Internet has taken over our world in the past ten years. Between the expansion of social media companies to the near ubiquity of smart phones, it is hard to imagine a time when technology was not a vital part of everyday life. And with this boom in technology, a boom in employment demands has followed. Companies need web designers and tech experts who are well-trained to handle the blistering speed at which technology seems to evolve in the modern era.

    Web developers earn a similarly high salary ($66,130), and, like the Internet itself, their industry is expected to expand at a rabid pace: 27% job growth (much faster than average) over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. College Choice has put together a ranking of the Best Online Web Design Bachelor’s Degrees. But we’ve also compiled a list of the Most Affordable Online Game Design Bachelor’s Degrees, for students who are looking to enter the word of game design, but wish to do so on a budget. If you’re looking into a graduate program, then take a look at the rankings for Best Master’s in Game Design Degrees.

  • Library Science

    While others may be utterly overwhelmed by information overload these days, you find the plethora of resources exciting! You love everything about information science, technology, and management – and you’re always looking to learn more! Plus, you love sharing your findings with others! Sound like you? While the word “library” may seem a bit archaic, library science is a growing major. You’ll learn to manage and evaluate collections, respond to the information needs of others, and use the latest technology to improve access to information. According to Payscale, those with a master’s degree in Library Science report that they are “extremely satisfied” with their jobs. Whether you’re a library manager, archivist, law librarian, or library director, you can expect an annual salary upwards of $55,000. Popular cities for folks in this career include New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Excited to start your career in this industry? Luckily, College Choice has ranked the Best Master’s in Library Science Degrees! We’ve also ranked the Best Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees for those looking for a bit more flexibility without compromising the quality of the program. If affordability is your primary consideration, take a look at the Most Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees.

  • Photography

    Do you have a knack for capturing beautiful images? Do you want to learn the art of photography and further develop your skills? Even if you’re just a beginner, a degree in photography can lead to a fulfilling, fun, and creative career. Whether you want to work in the film industry, marketing field, or even the medical field, a photography degree can open plenty of exciting doors.

    Photographers can make upwards of $34,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of course, your salary can range depending on your level of education and years of experience. While employment for photographers is projected to decline 6 percent from now till 2026, don’t be dismayed. Many photographers are very successful in creating their own freelance businesses. There’s still a huge market for wedding and family photographers if that’s of interest to you!

    Interested in snapping photos for a living but unsure of where to start? Luckily, College Choice is here to help! We’ve ranked the Best Photography Degrees for you to take the stress out of searching for the perfect school.

  • Film

    Looking to create the next big box office hit? Interested in creating meaningful documentaries to inspire folks to change the world? If you’re creative, determined, and enjoy thinking outside of the box, a career in the film industry may be perfect for you. Whether you want to work in lighting or be the director of a film, a film degree will open plenty of doors.

    With a degree in film, many graduates can go on to have very lucrative careers. Film and video editors and operators can make on average over $58,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A producer or director can rake in over $71,00 a year. Not only that, film industry jobs are looking to increase by as much 12 percent from now until 2026. Plus, the more advanced degree you obtain and the more experience you have, the greater your earning potential will be. A degree in film can also be a gateway into the world of acting, if that’s something you’re interested in.

    Ready to work behind the scenes and create some movie magic? It can be overwhelming with all of the available degree options, but luckily College Choice has done the tough work for you! We’ve ranked the overall Best Film Degrees and Best Master’s in Film Degrees. From Boston University to Stanford University, we’ve got you covered. With our ranking, you’re sure to find a film program that perfectly fits your needs!

  • Animation

    With the rise of technology and people’s continued love of film, games, and TV, the need for animators is steadily growing. Are you fascinated with bringing images and drawings to life in 2D and 3D? Do you find yourself in awe of digital and visual effects used in movies, computer games, and more? If so, a degree in animation may be perfect for you! You’ll be able to tap into your creative brain each and every day.

    Multimedia artists and animators can make upwards of $65,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of course, your salary will only rise based on your level of education and years of experience, as well as your skill level. You’ll need to create a stellar portfolio of work if you’re looking to get hired by the likes of Pixar or Dreamworks. Luckily, jobs in this industry are projected to grow 8 percent from now until 2026.

    Interested in creating cool animation and visual effects for a living but unsure of where to start? Luckily, College Choice is here to help! We’ve ranked the Best Animation Degrees for you to take the stress out of searching for the perfect school. If you’re looking for a Master’s Degree check out the rankings for the Best Master’s in Animation Degrees. Or if you’re looking for an online education, look at the Best Online Animation Degrees and if you’re looking to keep a budget then take a glance at the Most Affordable Online Animation Degrees.

  • Interior Design

    Do you have a knack for creating excellent feng shui in a space? Do you love color swatches, fun fabrics, and developing beautiful spaces for folks to live and work in? A degree in interior design may be your calling! Interior designers not only work to create aesthetically pleasing spaces, they also work closely with contractors, architects, structural engineers, and mechanical engineers. If you love HGTV and think you could be the next Chip or Joanna Gaines, keep reading for more information on this degree!

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, interior designers can make upwards of $51,000 per year. Of course, the more advanced degree and experience you have, the higher your earning potential will be. Know how to read a blueprint? Are you aware of building codes and inspection regulations? If so, you’ll get ahead of the others quickly! Plus, the employment of interior designers is projected to grow from now until 2026.

    Ready to design stunning spaces for the world to see? College Choice is here to help you find the best program! We’ve ranked the Best Interior Design Degrees and Best Master’s in Interior Design in the country. From the Savannah College of Art and Design to the New School’s Parsons School of Design in New York, you’re sure to find the perfect program. If you are looking to keep costs down, then our rankings of the Most Affordable Online Master’s in Interior Design Degrees are for you.

  • Drafting

    We’re not talking about sports drafting here! Rather, drafting is a degree for those interested in technical design and architecture. Within this degree program, you can expect to take courses like: sustainability in design, rapid visualization techniques, green building trends, and more. Common career paths include architectural drafter, civil drafter, and mechanical drafter.

    Drafters are not architects but they do work together. Drafters use computerized software to convert designs made by engineers and architects into technical drawings. And it’s not just buildings you may be designing. Drafters also design things as small as microchips. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, drafters can expect to earn an average of nearly $55,000 per year. You’ll have an advantage in the field if you specialize in architectural, civil, electrical, or mechanical drafting.

    Employment of drafters is projected to grow within the next eight years due to increased construction projects. Ready to learn all that goes into drafting? With so many options, choosing a degree program can be tough. College Choice has ranked the Best Drafting Degrees in the country to help you out.

  • Fashion

    Do you love fashion week? Inspired by the latest runway trends? Looking to become the next Anna Wintour? A degree in fashion may be perfect for you! If you have a creative mind and a passion for design, you could find yourself working with the biggest names in fashion. Perhaps you’re more interested in the business side of fashion design – there are programs for that as well! You can explore fashion’s theoretical foundations, looking at how globalization has affected the industry. Or you can work on your own creative projects.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fashion designers can make upwards of $67,000 a year. And that’s with limited education and experience! With an advanced degree, you’ll not only have tons of additional experience, but more connections and insights into the world of fashion as well! Not to mention, an advanced degree can raise your bank account to the fine tune of over $100,000 a year.

    Ready to grab a needle and thread and get to work? College Choice has ranked the Best Fashion Degrees and the Best Master’s degrees in Fashion offered through small art schools, and others through large research universities. Many of these creative-based programs require workshops, one-on-ones with faculty, exhibitions, and thesis projects.

  • Social Studies

    The great thing about studying social studies at an advanced level is that you’ll get to dabble in a range of subject areas. Social studies programs typically include classes with topics like civic education, public issues, media literacy, and more! Whether you’re interested in group behavior, politics, social trends, or pretty much anything else, a degree in social studies will provide you with the necessary background.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a Social Sciences Teacher is upwards of $79,000. Of course, your salary will range depending upon which type of school you work in and in what city. Additionally, if you decide to work in a different industry entirely, your salary will reflect that accordingly. For example, you could go on to work as a sociologist, political scientist, anthropologist, historian, or something else entirely!

    Now that you’ve decided what you want to do, you may be overwhelmed with the idea of picking a college to pursue this degree. Luckily, College Choice has helped to narrow down your degree options! In fact, we’ve ranked both the Best Online Master’s in Social Studies Degrees and if you’re looking to save money, the Most Affordable Online Master’s in Social Studies Degrees for you!

  • Art History

    Art is one of the earliest forms of human expression, serving as a primary method for humans to communicate, express their creativity, and develop an understanding of the world around them. At history is the study of artistic expression throughout the ages. With a degree in Art History, you will learn about the different styles of art – as well as notable artists – throughout the ages, and learn how art has evolved and impacted the world with time.

    With a degree in Art History, you have a range of career options available to you. You could work in a museum or art gallery, or become a curator or preservationist for a gallery or large museum. Many candidates also go on to work in art history education at the high school level or higher. While salaries vary depending on your chosen field, with university professors making the highest average wages, most graduates in Art History-related careers tend to make at least $47,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, take a glance at the Best Online Art and Art History Degrees, and if you’re looking for a Master’s at the Best Online Master’s in Art and Art History Degrees or the Most Affordable Online Master’s in Art & Art History.

  • English

    It may seem like a broad degree, but a major in English can help you land just about any job. These degrees provide you with valuable skills that are marketable in a variety of sectors. You’ll take classes in English literature and creative writing, with many colleges allowing you to focus on one specific aspect of the expression of the English language (such as poetry or journalism).

    If you love to read, write, and communicate, an English degree will allow you to develop your skills and pursue a career in areas such as academia, advertising, media, education, or publications. You might become a journalist for a magazine or newspaper, or educate students in a high school classroom. You could even become an information officer or marketing executive. Average salaries for English majors start at around $55,000, with the highest earners working in marketing and advertising. We’ve ranked both the Best Online English Degrees and the Cheapest Online English Degrees so that you can find the perfect program.

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