Analyzing the intricacies of Shakespeare or Milton may be top-of-mind when discussing an English program. And the Second World War or other historical events often arise when peering into the humanities. Yet many graduates of English and humanities disciplines use the foundations of research, data analysis, argumentation (written and verbal), and communication to springboard into any number of professions, including law, business, journalism, and digital media, among others.
When entering an English or humanities program, however, it’s important not only to assess quality, but also the return you might get on your financial investment. Does this college routinely graduate English or humanities majors who go on to successful and lucrative careers? While money isn’t everything, knowing your degree holds weight in the workplace can certainly help. See which colleges’ English and humanities programs have the highest ROI.
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Harvard was established early in the colonial history of the United States in 1636. The simple motto “veritas,” meaning truth, is applied to all that the university seeks to achieve. In the Arts & Humanities Division, students explore how humanity sees the world within more than a dozen departments. The top-ranked English program enhances students’ understanding of the complexity of literary texts and the art of narrative.
Based in Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania is dedicated to providing a holistic education that is as unique as it is applicable to the issues of modern life. It is a prominent research institution where more than a dozen of its scholars have won the Nobel Prize since the prize was awarded. There are 40 full-time faculty members and nearly 400 undergraduate majors and 75 minors in the Department of English at U. Penn. Core concentrations allow for specialization in a particular area of interest.
Scholars at the University of California at Berkeley have made significant breakthroughs in research, like the discovery of vitamin E, the creation of nuclear medicine, and the development of the flu vaccine. The Arts and Humanities Division prepares students to understand the world from a multicultural perspective. The breadth of the historical periods and literature, the study of language usage, and creative and critical writing skills are the focus of the English undergraduate degree.
With an enrollment of more than 18,000 undergraduate students, James Madison University in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley has stood out as a school where students get a top quality education at a reasonable cost. JMU is also a top public school in the South region. Undergraduate majors in the Humanities and Social Sciences include anthropology, economics, history, and psychology. The English 36-credit program makes students strong candidates for jobs in fields like journalism, law, and publishing, as well as top graduate programs.
CalPoly, as California Polytechnic State University is abbreviated, was established in 1901 as a co-ed liberal arts institution, and today is a leader in granting bachelor’s degrees to Hispanic students. Its faculty members lead by example in the six colleges, library, and continuing education division by mixing theory and practice. Students majoring in English at CalPoly can focus their efforts on secondary school education or teaching English as a second language with intensive preparatory programs in these areas. Internationally minded coursework in the Humanities Program leads students to study abroad programs and minors focusing on geographic areas and cultures.
Boston College, with its Jesuit, Catholic tradition and state of the art educational resources, attracts about 34,000 applicants each year – 29% of which are accepted. Courses on ancient texts, literature from around the world, film and television, and dramatic performance comprise the highly acclaimed English undergraduate degree program, which has more than 700 majors. As part of one of the largest departments in the College of Arts and Science, the English faculty members prepare students for careers in fields like business and education.
The University of California at Los Angeles gets more applications each year than any other school in the country (72,000 for freshman starting in 2012). Many of its students are world-class athletes – students have won 109 NCAA titles and 250 Olympic medals. With one of the leading English programs in the country, UCLA challenges its students to look at the bigger picture of literature in the context of human history and current affairs. In the Humanities division, the 270 tenure-track faculty members deliver life-changing lectures to students studying art history, linguistics, foreign languages, and other key subjects.
In the beginning, San Jose State University was a teacher training school meant to prepare educators for teaching the pioneering families moving out west. It has continued on to become one of the top 200 research universities in the U.S. Foreign language study is a key component in the English undergraduate major, as are 21 elective course units and 27 general units required to complete the degree. Tolerance, morality, and an understanding of the human condition are upheld in the curriculum of the College of Humanities and the Arts, which includes English and eight other departments and schools.
Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey is a proud member of an elite organization of the top research universities in North America. The eighth oldest college in the U.S., Rutgers is where the American college football tradition began in 1869 (they played against Princeton). Study abroad programs help English majors at Rutgers gain cultural insight into the literature they seek to understand. The curriculum emphasizes medieval, Renaissance, and 18th, 19th, and 20th century time periods as essential to an English education.
Students at the University of Washington gain both a local and global perspective on modern issues of the human condition. Dedicated to service and scholarship, the UW is among schools with the most Peace Corps volunteers and has educated 136 Fulbright Scholars. Within the humanities subjects at the UW, students explore their own beliefs and values and how they interact with the world. With a strong grounding in history and language, the English undergraduate major at the UW shapes its students into critical thinkers by exposing them to diverse opinions and ideas within the field.
Towson University is a top-ranked regional university in the Northeast with around 22,000 students on its 328-acre campus in the Baltimore, Maryland area. Students can choose from 65 undergraduate majors in a broad range of fields. Graduates of the Towson University Bachelor’s degree programs in English go on to become lawyers, journalists, politicians, and teachers who are experts at reading and interpreting texts of all kinds. The humanities departments are housed in the College of Liberal Arts, the largest of Towson’s academic divisions.
The largest institution of higher education in Georgia, the University of Georgia is a leader in the number of national scholarships won by its students. UGA is home to the Bulldogs, whose football team is one of the most competitive in the NCAA’s Division 1. The English department courses are taught by more than 40 faculty members whose expertise is as evident in their unique research and publications as in the classroom. The Franklin College of Arts and Sciences offerings in humanities include classics, history, philosophy, and religion.
A long-time leader in higher education and research in both its home state and the nation, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the nation’s first public university. The Fine Arts and Humanities division of the College of Arts and Sciences offers a wealth of knowledge and supports students with an accessible advising program. English studies at UNC leave students much room for intellectual growth as they explore the texts and historical periods that interest them most. The annual People, Ideas, and Things conference on campus is a venue for English students to present their own scholarly works.
The University of California at Santa Barbara is home to 11 national institutes and centers, where groundbreaking research and educational outreach programs and services make the school stand apart. Collaboration and innovation in research are a central part of the culture in UCSB’s Department of English. Areas of study in the humanities include Latin American and Iberian Studies, Art, East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, and Film and Media Studies.
Boston University is an institution that is growing inward and outward, with new and enhanced facilities for students and an expanding research and educational reach. With course titles like Monsters and Myths, The Modern British Novel, and Introduction to African-American Women Writers, the English undergraduate program leaves little untouched in the study of language and literature. Humanities courses nurture students to become proficient in written and spoken expression in order to discuss the complex topics covered in their studies.
Living and studying in New York City afford students at NYU the ability to reach out to a large academic and professional community for research and work opportunities. The university’s 175 years of history have seen much success and growth, expanding from an original class of 158 students to nearly 40,000. The prestigious honors program for English undergraduates allows qualified applicants to complete an honors thesis and grants them access to other scholarly opportunities. Students in the humanities programs at NYU are exposed to theory and practice in their chosen field through a liberal arts core curriculum.
There are about 300 academic programs at the University of Oregon, where students complete their studies in Eugene, Oregon on a tree-shaded 295-acre campus. In the Humanities Program at UO, students can design their own individualized, cross-disciplinary program of study with humanities-focused curriculum, guided by a faculty advisor. The undergraduate English major focuses on British, American, and Anglophone literature, and merges various other disciplines to weave cross-cultural and comprehensive theories and methods into the curriculum.
Nestled on Long Island’s North Shore, the 1,039-acre campus of Stony Brook University is home to an 8,300-seat sports complex and a large research facility equipped with the latest technologies. Emphasis on written and spoken expression and critical analysis skills have made students in the Department of English good candidates for jobs in business, law, and government. Humanities students have access to facilities and resources like the Humanities Institute and the Language Learning Research Center that help advance their understanding of their chosen discipline.
With a student-faculty ratio of 10 to 1, Carnegie Mellon University brings the world to its students through the nationally recognized programs in its seven schools and colleges. Undergraduate students in the English program study creative writing, rhetoric, literature and culture under the guidance of faculty who demonstrate superior research, writing, and teaching abilities. The program is entirely student-centered and encourages participation in activities outside the classroom that broaden their academic and personal understanding of the field. The Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences has been recognized in the New York Times for being an exceptionally creative and engaging general education program.
The University of California at Santa Cruz is a unique and creative school, personified by its one-of-a-kind mascot, the banana slug. Despite the large size of the university, the majority of the classes are a welcoming size of less than 30 students. There are many paths to studying Literature at UCSC, from Hispanic popular culture to Classical drama. Learning to analyze the many aspects of the human condition as a Humanities student at UCSC will be useful in just about any career path.