Indicator

Bachelor's Degrees in the Humanities

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Since the Second World War, the trend in humanities bachelor’s degree completions has fluctuated, rising sharply beginning in the mid-1950s, plummeting through the 1970s and early 1980s, and then partially recovering. The number of humanities degrees conferred has declined sharply in the most recent years for which data are available.

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* Degree completion counts could not be obtained for 1979 and 1983. The degree counts depicted do not include “second majors.” For data on such degrees, see “Humanities Bachelor’s Degrees as a Second Major.”
** The “Historical Categories” are the limited set of humanities disciplines that have been tracked by the federal government since 1949. 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 differences 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 since 1987 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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* Information could not be obtained for 1979 and 1983. The percentages do not include “second majors.” For data on such degrees, see “Humanities Bachelor’s Degrees as a Second Major.”
** The “Historical Categories” are the limited set of humanities disciplines that have been tracked by the federal government since 1949. 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 differences 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 since 1987 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: Office of Education/U.S. Department of Education, Integrated Postsecondary Data System (IPEDS). 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 humanities. The largest change was the inclusion of categories in the field of communication that fall within the humanities. For a detailed inventory of the specific degree programs that constitute each of the academic fields as they are conceptualized by the Humanities Indicators, see the Degree Program Code Catalog.

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* Values for the disciplines included in the “Other” category are provided in Supporting Table II-2c.

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. For a detailed inventory of the specific degree programs that constitute each of the humanities disciplines as they are conceptualized by the Humanities Indicators, see the Degree Program Code Catalog.

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