“The only major worse than communications is sociology,” a friend of mine chides at me every time we land on the subject. As a science major, he advocates for disposing of the humanities and social sciences in academia. To him, the only important form of writing is technical, and the only viable need for the arts is entertainment.
He isn’t the only one with this point of view. It doesn’t take more than a five minute internet search to find an abundance of articles on why the humanities don’t matter, on why every college student should choose to study engineering or on how non-hard science majors are ruining our economy by putting the U.S. behind in the global playing field.
I won’t proceed to argue with the numbers. We all know that getting a job is hard. It’s not a secret that science professionals are in high demand and that there aren’t enough students to meet that demand.
But the numbers don’t mean that the humanities have no place in current society, and the numbers certainly don’t mean that every humanities and social science major should flock to the registrar’s office tomorrow to fill out a change of major form.
The humanities serve the professional world in very important ways.
First off, let’s consider what a scientist would be without a well-grounded understanding of language. Humanities and social sciences give all students, including science majors, a strong background in critical thinking skills.
There has to be a reason that nearly half of the new MCAT focuses on social science and humanities subjects.
But then there’s the obvious: without English majors, we would have fewer technical writers and web content editors. Without psychology and sociology majors, we wouldn’t have counselors or social workers or urban planners. Without communications majors, we’d lack employees in the media and public relations.
And while those are only some of the most obvious career choices for humanities majors, each of those careers has a clear place in our society and economy.
When we add in the not-so-obvious career choices, the humanities are even more necessary in today’s professional world.
Trego is a junior majoring in journalism and mass communication and English. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.