Graduate degrees in the liberal arts are important

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

Getting into college is a big step and a life changing decision for many individuals, but what comes after may be even more impactful.

For many students in STEM, graduate school is the obvious path as it can lead to medical school, optometry and other forms of higher education.  

However, when liberal arts students mention attending graduate school, people can often be caught making remarks about how it is ‘unnecessary’ for future careers in the humanities. 

Yet, for many liberal arts and humanities undergraduate students, graduate school is a practical and impactful part of their growth and career.

“Even the people with no interest in majoring in the humanities benefit from the people getting graduate degrees in those fields,” said Ph.D. English student Karen Lagana. “The latter enhances everyone’s understanding. Their knowledge seeps into the culture and helps improve education in the humanities at all levels, including high school.”

“It’s benefitted me because I’ve been part of a community with like-minded colleagues and mentors,” Lagana said. “This elevates my own understanding.”

The arts are often extremely competitive, and while experience can help those flourish, unpaid internships or low paying jobs are just not feasible for most. 

Having a graduate degree can make candidates not only gain experience while earning an education, but appear more impressive and hirable

In fact, the number of grad students has more than tripled since the 1970s, no doubt due to the increasing demand for higher education in jobs.

Because about one in three Americans are college graduates with a bachelor’s degree, this has caused a devaluation of undergraduate education.

While STEM degrees remain largely important, employers find that many candidates with liberal art degrees have some much wanted qualities.

Employers rank skills like communication and critical thinking higher than technical aptitudes, and these wanted skills are often hallmarks of liberal arts training.

Moreover, many liberal arts programs focus on research, analysis and writing, making these students exceptional candidates for a wide variety of jobs. 

The humanities often offer opportunities for interdisciplinary studies, enabling students to develop a well-rounded perspective and a broad range of knowledge that is applicable to multiple fields,” said junior sociology major Joshua Glover. 

“Pursuing graduate studies in the humanities is not only beneficial for those interested in academic or research careers, but also for those seeking careers in various fields such as law, education, non-profit organizations and more,” Glover said. “A deep understanding of the humanities and the ability to think critically are in high demand.”

Overall, while it can be easy to discredit the importance of graduate degrees for the liberal arts, it needs to be understood that these degree programs have true and worthy benefits.

They allow for the individuals in these studies to strengthen their resumes, gather deep and thoughtful understanding of their studies and prepare for a rigorous career.

Graduate degrees in the liberal arts are important to pursue and should be valued by prospective students who want to further their education and careers. 

Sarah Elise Shea is a freshman English literature major who can be reached at [email protected]

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