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5 Advantages of a Humanities Degree (at CSSH)

Fall colors are on full display on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023 on Northeastern’s Boston campus. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

The benefits of studying the humanities are often overlooked in our STEM-focused society. However, the unique blend of skills imparted by a humanities degree is more important than ever. The College of Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH) at Northeastern offers an experiential learning approach that bridges the gap between disciplines. Here are five compelling abilities our students and programs exemplify: 

#1: Effective Communication

Whether you’re a doctor, teacher, or copywriter, communication is a fundamental skill for any working professional. Employers are especially attracted to candidates able to clearly and effectively get a message across. CSSH programs, including English, Sociology/Anthropology, World Languages, and more, train students to better understand personal and global perspectives. Classes emphasizing verbal and written communication enable students to articulate their ideas clearly and thoughtfully. From essay writing and presentations to debates, there’s no shortage of opportunities to learn how to organize your thoughts and leave a powerful impression with words. 

#2: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving 

Humanities students constantly enrich their learning with complex problems that require creative solutions. Analyzing centuries-old historical texts, developing reasonable arguments, and strategizing new public policies all engage critical thinking and problem-solving skills. CSSH’s experiential learning opportunities develop these skills further by engaging students with real-world applications. By applying classroom learning in professional settings through co-op, humanities students have a leg up when entering the job market after graduation. 

#3: Cultural Competence and Empathy

A humanities degree enables students to expand their worldviews and develop diverse, global perspectives, bolstered by a deep understanding of different cultures, societies, and historical contexts. Through CSSH’s culture of inclusion, students engage in collaborative environments designed to enhance the creation and exchange of new knowledge across communities. Graduates emerge better prepared to work alongside diverse groups of people, navigate cross-cultural situations, and promote inclusivity in their workplaces.

#4: Ethical Decision Making 

While studying the humanities, students often come across complex moral and ethical dilemmas. Interdisciplinary topics such as AI and data ethics or globalization and global justice prompt students to reconsider their personal biases. At CSSH, research centers such as The Ethics Insitute and the Center for International Affairs and World Cultures support students as they navigate these issues, preparing them to make informed decisions in their academic, personal, and professional lives. 

#5: Versatility 

Humanities degrees are CSSH are highly flexible, featuring a variety of majors, minors, and programs. Our interdisciplinary approach to education helps students pursue multiple academic interests through combined majors. Instead of being boxed into a specific discipline or technical skill, humanities students can adapt to rapidly changing fields or job markets. Having a versatile skillset, with a deep understanding of human culture, history, and society, can open the door to various career paths. 

Where will a humanities degree take you?

Not only is a humanities degree beneficial for your career trajectory, but it can help make you a more informed, well-rounded citizen. Skills like effective communication, critical thinking and problem-solving, cultural competence and equity, ethical decision-making, and versatility are valued in a wide range of professional and personal situations. Graduating with a humanities degree can give you a deep understanding of the world around you, leading you to a fulfilling career and life.

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