Indicator

Advanced Degrees in the Humanities

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The past six decades have seen dramatic growth, marked decline, and then partial recovery in the completion of advanced degrees in the humanities. In the most recent years for which data are available, the trends have diverged at the master’s and doctoral levels, as the number of master’s degrees started to fall sharply (similar to the recent downturn in the number of bachelor’s degree completions) while the number of new doctoral degrees remained at a relatively high level.

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* The “Historical Categories” are the limited set of humanities disciplines that have been tracked by the federal government since 1948. These disciplines include English language and literature, history, languages and literatures other than English (including linguistics and classical studies), and philosophy. Please see the Note on the Data Used to Calculate Humanities Degree Counts and Shares for further explanation of the difference between the two trend lines.

Source: Office of Education/U.S. Department of Education, Survey of Earned Degrees, Higher Education General Information System (HEGIS), and Integrated Postsecondary Data System (IPEDS). HEGIS and IPEDS data were accessed via the National Science Foundation’s online data system, WebCASPAR. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

With the 2017 update, the Humanities Indicators adjusted the taxonomy of degrees tabulated as part of the field. The largest change was the inclusion of categories in the field of communication that fall within the humanities. All data for years 1987 and later have been tabulated using the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP). For an explanation of the advantages of using the CIP to tally humanities degree completions, see the Note on the Data Used to Calculate Humanities Degree Counts and Shares. For an inventory of the specific degree programs that together constitute the academic humanities as they are conceptualized by the Humanities Indicators, see the Degree Program Code Catalog.

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* The “Historical Categories” are the limited set of humanities disciplines that have been tracked by the federal government since 1948 These disciplines include English language and literature, history, languages and literatures other than English (including linguistics and classical studies), and philosophy. Please see the Note on the Data Used to Calculate Humanities Degree Counts and Shares for further explanation of the difference between the two trend lines.

Source: Office of Education/U.S. Department of Education, Survey of Earned Degrees, Higher Education General Information System (HEGIS), and Integrated Postsecondary Data System (IPEDS). HEGIS and IPEDS data were accessed via the National Science Foundation’s online data system, WebCASPAR. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

With the 2017 update, the Humanities Indicators adjusted the taxonomy of degrees tabulated as part of the field. The largest change was the inclusion of categories in the field of communication that fall within the humanities. All data for years 1987 and later have been tabulated using the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP). For an explanation of the advantages of using the CIP to tally humanities degree completions, see the Note on the Data Used to Calculate Humanities Degree Counts and Shares. For an inventory of the specific degree programs that together constitute the academic humanities as they are conceptualized by the Humanities Indicators, see the Degree Program Code Catalog.

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Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; accessed via the National Science Foundation’s online data system, WebCASPAR. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

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Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; accessed via the National Science Foundation’s online data system, WebCASPAR. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

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