Indicator

Associate’s Degrees in the Humanities

Share

A substantial number of postsecondary students encounter the humanities at the community-college level—as students pursuing terminal certificates and degrees or as students taking courses to fulfill requirements for four-year programs.1 In 2015 the number of community-college students earning a degree in a humanities discipline or a degree that requires a substantial amount of training in the humanities—a degree in liberal or general studies, for example—was substantially larger than the number of students earning humanities degrees at the baccalaureate level. (The course requirements for an associate’s degree in liberal studies cover an array of subject areas. Nevertheless, a review of course requirements at community colleges by Humanities Indicators staff found that these institutions typically assign more than a third of the necessary credit hours for liberal and general studies degrees to humanities subjects, with history courses often counting toward both humanities and social science requirements.)

Endnotes

  • 1A study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which examined the movement of first-time undergraduate students who started their studies in fall 2008, found that one in four students who started their education at two-year public institutions transferred to a four-year institution. Another 18% of students who started their studies in four-year institutions either transferred to or took classes at a two-year institution. Doug Shapiro et al., Transfer and Mobility: A National View of Student Movement in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2008 Cohort (Herndon, VA: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 2015), fig. 8.
Copy link

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; data 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).

Unlike the humanities degrees conferred at the baccalaureate level, almost all of the degrees counted here were classified by the conferring institution as being in “liberal arts” and “liberal studies” rather than specific humanities disciplines. For instance, of the 363,491 degrees tabulated as humanities for 2015, only 10,382 were conferred in a specific discipline (such as English or history). Since associate’s degrees are generally conferred with half the number of credits required for a typical bachelor’s degree program, students are less likely to specialize in a specific subject area. Nevertheless, the number and share of humanities degrees conferred in a specific discipline has been growing. In 2006, 4,002 humanities associate’s degrees, or 1.6%, were conferred in a discipline. The share was 2.9% of humanities degrees in 2015. For the specific degree programs grouped under each academic field heading, see the Degree Program Code Catalog.

Copy link

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; data 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).

Unlike the humanities degrees conferred at the baccalaureate level, almost all of the degrees counted here were classified by the conferring institution as being in “liberal arts” and “liberal studies” rather than specific humanities disciplines. For instance, of the 363,491 degrees tabulated as humanities for 2015, only 10,382 were conferred in a specific discipline (such as English or history). Since associate’s degrees are generally conferred with half the number of credits required for a typical bachelor’s degree program, students are less likely to specialize in a specific subject area. Nevertheless, the number and share of humanities degrees conferred in a specific discipline has been growing. In 2006, 4,002 humanities associate’s degrees, or 1.6%, were conferred in a discipline. The share was 2.9% of humanities degrees in 2015. For the specific degree programs grouped under each academic field heading, see the Degree Program Code Catalog.

Back to Humanities Indicators
Share