By building a solid foundation in English, history, literature and the arts, students are better prepared for more in-depth studies or career choices. A humanities and humanistic studies degree is a launching pad for various careers.
Humanities and humanistic studies are considered to be two different fields, with humanistic studies looking forward while the humanities concentrate on the past. For instance, the goal of a humanistic studies program is to develop analytical, contextual and critical thinking skills that will enable graduates to go forth and create innovative and unique work by exploring the human condition.
A degree program in the humanities would involve subjects such as cuisine, art history, the culture of various regions and literature of various societies. Creative writing may also play a prominent role in your degree program. Possible careers for a graduate include teacher, writer, anthropologist, consultant or lawyer, to name a few. You may need advanced degrees for most career paths. For instance, you will need a master's or doctorate degree in order to work in a postsecondary institution. You will also need a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree to practice as a lawyer, in addition to other licensing requirements.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), by May of 2010 lawyers earned a mean annual wage of $129,440, writers and authors earned $65,960, anthropologists and archeologists earned $58,040 and management analysts, or consultants, earned $87,260 (www.bls.gov). That same year, secondary teachers earned a mean annual wage of $55,990, and postsecondary teachers of the area, ethnic and cultural studies earned $76,720. Professors who taught foreign language and literature earned $66,520.
The curriculum for a humanistic studies degree program might include seminars on being human, writing and global perspectives on political science and history. The field is considered to be multidisciplinary, involving philosophy, feminism, film, ecology and art. You may need to complete a research-oriented project and produce a unique thesis in order to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in humanistic studies. Degree plans may allow you to choose a focus in various studio arts, such as ceramics, photography, painting or graphic design. You could also pursue a bachelor's degree in humanities that would explore language, literature and culture over the course of history. There is also the potential for your degree program to be enhanced by visits to art galleries, concerts, plays and museums.
A Master of Arts in Humanities degree program may give you the opportunity to focus on a specific field within the humanities. For example, you may be able to concentrate on cinema and media studies, the classical languages, cultural policy studies or creative writing. After earning a M.A. degree, you could then pursue a doctorate degree (Ph.D.) in a specific field related to the humanities or humanistic studies. For example, you could focus on the classics, linguistics or art history, to name a few. Depending on your focus, you may need to demonstrate proficiency in one or more languages. You would be required to defend a dissertation in order to earn your Ph.D. in humanities or a related field.