What Can You Do With A Humanities Degree?

human services careers

The study of humanities encompasses various subjects that demonstrate and preserve aspects of human life, including behavior and culture. What can you do with a degree in humanities? That all depends on what particular subject you choose to study. Career opportunities in the realm of humanities are seemingly endless for that reason. This article touches on the basic areas that humanities cover as well as good schools and career opportunities for people looking to study a specific humanity.

Subjects of Humanities

The study of humanities can be broken down into various core subjects with their own branches of study. Just a few subjects within the field of humanities are described below.

Law – set of rules a region is to follow that assign rights to the population and preserve its culture (human services, criminal justice, etc.)

Literature – written word, whether fiction or nonfiction, including poetry and prose (short story, novel, etc.); can depict cultural values and trends or exist for pure entertainment

Languages – how individuals verbally communicate within and outside of their societies

Visual arts – depictions of emotions, cultural trends, nature, overall creativity by multiple forms of media including but not limited to paint, charcoal, pencil, pen and ink

Performing arts – physically active depictions of emotions, cultural trends, nature, overall creativity by way of music, dancing, film, theater, etc.

How to Get a Humanities Degree

If there are so many subjects within the field of humanities, how can you prepare for a higher education in a specific humanities study? And since so many colleges and universities with humanities programs are all over the world, how can you decide what schools can help you form your education around the career of your dreams?

Preparing for Humanities Studies

While in high school, there are various ways in which you can prepare for further studies in humanities. Talking to your guidance counselor may help you get an idea about specific courses your high school offers that will benefit your future studies. In addition, extracurricular activities will also benefit your future in humanities.

To prepare for a future in literature studies, ask your guidance counselor about literature and writing courses your school offers. Your core English classes cover various genres and generations of literature. Creative writing is also beneficial to those interested in the writing and publishing industry. Consider joining your school’s newspaper team or literary magazine club. If your school does not have a literary magazine, create one. Ask an English teacher to be your club advisor and for advice on further action. This looks particularly attractive on college applications and resumes.

If language is more your thing, the best way to prepare for a college education in language is to dedicate at least one elective course each year to a foreign language. At least two years of education in a second language is often required by many colleges, so why not use all four years to build your knowledge in a particular language? You will study the basics of the language as well as the culture in order to prepare you for future studies. History courses are also beneficial for understanding culture developments.

Preparation for further studies in visual arts is rather easy. It is common for high schools to offer various types of art classes, including introduction courses that often cover the use of various media, painting courses, and some high schools also have pottery courses. Many courses include brief studies of various artists’ biographies including their careers in art. Consult your high school’s art teachers about any art clubs the school may sponsor.

humanities jobs

If you are interested in the performing arts, consider joining your school’s drama club. Drama club can help get you ready for performance areas such as theater and on-screen acting. Many high schools also have dance clubs in which students practice choreography to modern-day music. It can also be considered a form of interpretive dancing. If you’ve been practicing a musical instrument for a few years, consider joining your high school band and expanding your talent. Signing up for a class on music history will also help prepare you for further studies in the field of performing arts.

Humanities Schools

Many liberal arts colleges have outstanding opportunities for humanities majors. In this section, you will find a list of resources leading you to programs that may fit your career goals.


Yale Law School

Columbia Law School

Duke University School of Law

Boston College Law School


University of Queensland

Northwestern University

Williams College

Trinity College Dublin


Middlebury College

Valparaiso University

Fordham University

Kansas State University

Visual and Performing Arts

Cranbrook Academy of Art

California Institute of the Arts

Maryland Institute College of Art

The Juilliard School

Careers in Humanities

With a degree in one of the many humanities subjects, you can find careers in a variety of fields. In this section, you can read about just some of the many career options that you may qualify for once you earn your humanities degree.

Entry Level Careers in Humanities

With an associates or bachelors degree in humanities studies, there are plenty of opportunities available to you, including the ones described below.


Genealogists search local and international historical records to help individuals and families find information on their ancestors of generations past. The main goal of a genealogist is to find a specific ancestor and to help individuals discover their lineage. With proper training in historical research and culture backgrounds, you could easily qualify for a position as a genealogist. Genealogists can work independently or for libraries or governments.

The pay of a genealogist is rather indefinite, as full-time employment opportunities are somewhat difficult to come by. It is possible, however, for genealogists to earn around $22 an hour.

Content Writer

Content writers write information for webpages on the Internet. They use their personal knowledge in addition to knowledge gained through research in order to create written forms of communication to inform readers of goods and/or services provided by companies around the world or for informative online news articles. In order to become a website content writer, a background in computer science with a degree in technical writing is recommended. With online media growing so rapidly, positions for content writers are on the rise.

Content writers can make around $30,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers create visual art for promotional purposes for print or various digital media sources (i.e., emails and websites). They are skilled with computer graphics programs and often communicate with marketing teams to get a better understanding of what companies are looking for. In order to become a graphic designer, a bachelors degree in graphic design with a background in advertising is incredibly beneficial, as is an outstanding portfolio with unique and original pieces of graphic art.

Graphic designers can earn over $40,000 a year, based on talent that grows with experience.

Advanced Careers in Humanities

With a bachelors degree and quite a few years of experience in a specific humanity, or with a masters or doctoral degree, you may find that you qualify for one or more of these advanced positions in the field of humanities.

Foreign Correspondent

A foreign correspondent is an experienced journalist who reports on international topics from locations around the world, sometimes remaining at one specific location. Most foreign correspondents have background knowledge of various cultures and their histories as well as being multilingual. The most qualified applicants for positions as foreign correspondents have a masters degree in mass communications or journalism. They also possess years of experience in the field in order to know how to best perform their job overseas.

Foreign correspondents can earn over $64,000 annually.

Film Director

With an advanced degree in film or media studies, you may qualify for a position as a film director. Make screen plays come to life by instructing cast members on their stage positions, tones of voices, and physical actions between cuts. Film directors possess high levels of creativity and vision that help bring ideas off of the page and onto the big screen. With the ability to pay strict attention to detail and to be a successful and appreciated team leader with a passion for the film industry, this just may be the job for you.

Film directors can earn over $70,000 annually.

Human Resources Manager

Human resources managers are in charge of making sure all employees follow rules and regulations of a business, the state, and the government. They also supervise the hiring process and assess new hires as well as serve as the go-between for employees and higher management. Other responsibilities include but are not limited to charitable donations management and partaking in upper level management strategic planning for the business. In order to enter the field of human resource management, you need a bachelors degree in human resources or related field as well as a few years experience in a management position or position related to human resources.

Human resources managers can earn over $80,000 a year.

Companies that Hire People with Humanities Degrees

With a humanities degree, you’ll soon find jobs popping out of the woodwork. Below is a list of places that look for people with humanities degrees to help build their companies and boost their sales.

Sawyer Studios – located in New York, NY; entertainment marketing firm; hires positions for digital publicists, entertainment advertising designers, flash developers, media directors, etc.

CBS Corporation – hires positions for directors of sales and distribution, executive assistants, etc.

Cargill – locations across the globe; by its revenue, largest privately held corporation in the U.S.; hires positions related to human services, administration, law, research and development, etc.

Syracuse Media Group – located in Syracuse, NY; hires positions for opinions specialists, account executives, ad campaign coordinators, creative consultants, etc.

It is important to have focus and determination in order to succeed with any of various humanities degrees. Be sure to do your research on schools that provide noteworthy programs that fit your needs to help you reach for the job of your dreams. Become a movie star, director, journalist, genealogist, photographer, or more with a degree in humanities.