Indicator

Humanities Degree Completions: An International Comparison

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The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) gathers a wealth of data on the education-related investments and outcomes of its member nations, permitting comparisons among countries regarding the share of degrees earned in various academic fields. As of 2018, the United States was below the OECD average in the share of all bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees that are awarded to students of the humanities. In most nations, including the United States, the humanities’ share of degrees conferred decreased from 2015 to 2018.

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* The horizontal axis of this graph does not extend to 100%, as this would make it difficult to compare nations. In no nation do humanities degrees constitute more than a small percentage of all degrees. See “About the Data” for the disciplines grouped by the data collector under the heading of “humanities.”

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), OECD.Stat Extracts (online data analysis tool), http://stats.oecd.org. This information is gathered by the OECD from member countries on an annual basis via the “UOE” (UIS/OECD/EUROSTAT) data collection. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

 

To arrive at meaningful comparisons among countries that have substantially different educational systems, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) uses the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), which was created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the early 1970s to facilitate efforts to aggregate and present international education statistics.

The disciplines UNESCO includes within the humanities are “religion and theology,” “foreign languages and cultures (living or ‘dead’ languages and their literatures, area studies),” “native languages (current or vernacular language and its literature),” and “other humanities (interpretation and translation, linguistics, comparative literature, history, archeology, philosophy, ethics).” (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization [UNESCO], “International Standard Classification of Education [ISCED] 2011” [Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2012], 73).

Data were obtained by navigating to http://stats.oecd.org and selecting on the left sidebar menu “Education and Training” > “Education at a Glance” > “Students, access to education and participation” > “Graduates by Field.” Humanities Indicator staff further customized and then exported the data extract using the controls below the page title.

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* The horizontal axis of this graph does not extend to 100%, as this would make it difficult to compare nations. In no nation do humanities degrees constitute more than a small percentage of all degrees. Percentages include professional practice doctorates. See “About the Data” for the disciplines grouped by the data collector under the heading of “humanities.”

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), OECD.Stat Extracts (online data analysis tool), http://stats.oecd.org. This information is gathered by the OECD from member countries on an annual basis via the “UOE” (UIS/OECD/EUROSTAT) data collection. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

 

To arrive at meaningful comparisons among countries that have substantially different educational systems, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) uses the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), which was created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the early 1970s to facilitate efforts to aggregate and present international education statistics.

The disciplines UNESCO includes within the humanities are “religion and theology,” “foreign languages and cultures (living or ‘dead’ languages and their literatures, area studies),” “native languages (current or vernacular language and its literature),” and “other humanities (interpretation and translation, linguistics, comparative literature, history, archeology, philosophy, ethics).” (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization [UNESCO], “International Standard Classification of Education [ISCED] 2011” [Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2012], 73).

Data were obtained by navigating to http://stats.oecd.org and selecting on the left sidebar menu “Education and Training” > “Education at a Glance” > “Students, access to education and participation” > “Graduates by Field.” Humanities Indicator staff further customized and then exported the data extract using the controls below the page title.

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* The horizontal axis of this graph does not extend to 100%, as this would make it difficult to compare nations. In no nation do humanities degrees constitute more than a small percentage of all degrees. Percentages exclude professional practice doctorates (these are included in the “Masters & Professional Degree” category). See “About the Data” for the disciplines grouped by the data collector under the heading of “humanities.”

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), OECD.Stat Extracts (online data analysis tool), http://stats.oecd.org. This information is gathered by the OECD from member countries on an annual basis via the “UOE” (UIS/OECD/EUROSTAT) data collection. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

To arrive at meaningful comparisons among countries that have substantially different educational systems, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) uses the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), which was created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the early 1970s to facilitate efforts to aggregate and present international education statistics.

The disciplines UNESCO includes within the humanities are “religion and theology,” “foreign languages and cultures (living or ‘dead’ languages and their literatures, area studies),” “native languages (current or vernacular language and its literature),” and “other humanities (interpretation and translation, linguistics, comparative literature, history, archeology, philosophy, ethics).” (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization [UNESCO], “International Standard Classification of Education [ISCED] 2011” [Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2012], 73).

Data were obtained by navigating to http://stats.oecd.org and selecting on the left sidebar menu “Education and Training” > “Education at a Glance” > “Students, access to education and participation” > “Graduates by Field.” Humanities Indicator staff further customized and then exported the data extract using the controls below the page title.

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