Careers for Humanities Graduates

HNAC helps prepare students who are studying the humanities to plan for professional success from matriculation at UNCG to entering the job market.

Working together with a variety of partners and units across the campus including Career Services, CASA, and the Alumni House, our Career Liaison for the Humanities runs a variety of programs to enhance students’ career skills, including an annual college-wide professional development day for students in the humanities.  We are also developing three-part online career preparedness course, the first part of which will be piloted for first-year students in Fall 2017.

HNAC Career Events

Each fall, we feature our growing and impressive alumni community. During Homecoming weekend, a number of departments around campus hold Alumni Networking Events focused on building long-lasting ties and relationships between faculty and former students. These events also offer the opportunity for our students to connect with alumni and alumni the opportunity to mentor these students on various professional paths.

The environment is festive and social and all students are welcome to attend these Fall Alumni Networking Events. Check the Homecoming website and individual department websites for details.

In the Spring, HNAC’s College-wide professional development event will take place on Friday March 3rd 2017 beginning at 9:00am. That event will include a keynote address, breakout sessions on preparing for the job market, and will conclude with a networking lunch.

The event will feature local employers and alumni and be open to all students in the College. Students majoring or minoring in the humanities are highly encouraged to attend.

What Employers Want

The Humanities are uniquely poised to prepare students for the 21st century job market. As Dean Kiss has argued, “No matter where your career takes you, it will be important to remain flexible and confident of your ability to succeed throughout your working life. Employers are interested in people with flexible skills and a wide-ranging, multidisciplinary perspective.

A growing number of employers and business leader have identified Liberal Arts in general and the Humanities in particular as teaching those transferable skills that prepare you not only for your first job but also for your last.

A successful entrepreneur, David Kalt, recently argued in the Wall Street Journal that the best programmers and engineers are those with a liberal arts degree. “[I]t’s evident that individuals with liberal arts degrees are by far the sharpest, best­-performing software developers and technology leaders.

In the New York Times, software developer J. Bradford Hipp describes how it was the English and Music majors who saved the day time and again in Silicon Valley. See “To Write Better Code, Read Virginia Woolf.”

More than technical skill is needed to rise to the top—especially for business. In “Why America’s Business Majors Are in Desperate Need of A Liberal Arts Education,” a number of business school leaders attested to the preparation that the Liberal Arts provide: “Liberal arts majors … are the students who have the active minds, who are asking the big questions,” said Erika Walker, an assistant dean at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. A mindset she argued was necessary for all students.

The fact that students in the humanities can’t compete with their classmates in STEM is simply not true. As Scotty Hendricks reports in the Big Think, students in the humanities get higher GMAT scores and have higher rates of Medical acceptance than science majors.

According to Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce: “In the end, education isn’t just about getting a job, though that is one of its central roles in American society. Education also allows citizens to live more fully in their time — to experience the American society, polity, and culture as good neighbors and fully autonomous individuals. Humanities and technical fields both serve important roles in our society and economy, and the choice of major is a very personal one that individual students must make for themselves.

For more articles on related themes see this database of articles on the centrality of the Liberal Arts collected by the College of Arts and Sciences.

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