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Arts And Humanities Degrees

arts and humanities

Studying for an arts or humanities degree does not limit you to working as an artist, actor or teacher in the future. Discover how arts and humanities relate to the world of work here.

Although there is a lot of talk about how important STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) study is and technological careers of the future, many of these careers involve creativity, logic and reasoning as well as an understanding of human behaviour. These are the domain of the humanities and developing these skills can lead to all sorts of interesting careers.

  • Arts and humanities subjects include:
  • Visual arts like photography, fine art, textiles and design
  • Literary arts such as creative writing
  • Performing arts, including dance, drama, theatre production and music
  • Literature, modern, classic and poetry
  • Classics, which covers ancient languages, literature, philosophy, history and archaeology
  • History
  • Philosophy, religion or theology

Although you might have an understanding of the obvious careers associated with the arts and humanities, such as fine artist, author, dancer, English teacher or historian, you might not have considered the usefulness of a humanities or arts qualification to other careers. It pays to think creatively about how you could use your knowledge, understanding and skills in the real world of work.

For example, did you know that studying philosophy can be useful to a career in the financial sector where ethics and integrity are an important part of the business or that studying literature can lead to a career in PR?

How does studying arts and humanities relate to work?

The study of an arts or humanities subject isn’t normally directed at a particular occupation in the same way that something like computer science is. This doesn’t mean that these subjects are not useful in preparing you for the world of work however.

Studying visual arts

The visual arts are broad and can be a springboard to careers as diverse as graphic designer, computer games artist, concept artist for the film industry and product designer amongst many others and if you can combine your artistic skills with technological ones then even more careers become available to you.

Studying literary arts

Creative writing has lots of applications, including working in marketing and PR. There is also high demand for good content writers who are able to write for different audiences and for different purposes, all of which your skills will prepare you for.

Studying performing arts

The study of performing arts can do much more than churn out actors. You could consider a career as a broadcast presenter, stage manager, arts administrator or drama / music therapist.

Studying English literature

If you take the example of English literature, this can be useful in pursuing a career in journalism, media, publishing, advertising and PR.

Studying classics

Studying classics would provide a good foundation for careers such as archivist, gallery curator, heritage manager, editorial consultant or researcher.

Studying history

Not everyone who studies history wants to be an historian or a history teacher. The study of history can be a route into a role within a museum or in television research for example.

Studying philosophy

The study of philosophy is incredibly broad and rich. It can lead to roles in politics, in business, in policy development, as a human rights lawyer or in corporate social responsibility.

Many employers are interested in the skills that you develop through study as well as the knowledge gained and the fact that you have completed your study is evidence of your ability to commit yourself to self-development. As such, lots of employers will consider you for employment in a field not directly related to your study, particularly if you have done very well.

Studying for a humanities degree will develop your writing skills, teach you how to reason and make judgements, present a supported argument and research. All of these skills are relevant to a great many occupations; couple these with some specific knowledge and understanding and you’re off to a good start in your working life.

As with any degree course it is important to develop your work related skills and gain some experience as this will always make you more employable.

About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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