Why study a masters in arts and humanities

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Think Postgrad

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where can I find masters courses in arts and humanities?

Studying an arts and humanities masters degree is a most rewarding experience as a student. This article shares some of the reasons why now is a good time to study a masters in arts and humanities.

The origins of arts and humanities

Everyone recognises the importance of education, however some subjects attract more interest than others. For that reason there is a conversation in play on the value of qualifications achieved by students with degrees in specific subjects.

An arts and humanities masters degree includes a number of subjects concerned with understanding human expression. By and large topics include philosophy, literature, language, religion, art, and history. It is is a wide open field. Universities include many different courses according to the particular focus of the school/department.

Arts and Humanities includes number of traditional universities linked to the study of classics, literature and theology. As a matter of fact, some of the oldest universities introduced religious teaching into the curriculum. Popular philosophers Plato and Aristotle published some of the earliest western texts. Older schools of philosophical thought originated in the Islamic nations, as well as India and China.

The contribution of arts and humanities

STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) rightly attract a lot of attention because workforce shortages of technical skills is a concern for future economic stability. However, the arts and humanities are just as important. Contrary to the views of some commentators, the contribution of arts and humanities to the GDP of the UK economy is significant.

The service sector dominates UK employment with 17.04% from the manufacturing industry, and 72.8% from the services sector.

The arts and culture industry has grown £390million in a year and now contributes £10.8billion a year to the UK economy. The sector contributes £2.8billion a year to the Treasury via taxation, and generates a further £23billion a year and 363,700 jobs.

Productivity in the arts and culture industry between 2009 and 2016 was greater than that of the economy as a whole, with gross value added per worker at £62,000 for arts and culture, compared to £46,800 for the wider UK economy.

Careers in arts and humanities (what can I do with a masters in arts and humanities?)

Art and design, creativity, music and performance

There is a whole section on Masters Compare that explains about the study and career opportunities in Art, Design and Creative Arts

Translation and interpreting using modern languages

The study of modern languages is included within arts and humanities. As can be seen, all these enriching forms of communication are very relevant at the moment. Understanding different cultures through language and literature is the key to removing areas of disagreement.

There are many careers requiring languages. Translation services is one of the main ones. Many international students studying a masters in a UK university take advantage of additional language learning. Students to make the most of learning facilities that would otherwise be costly back in their home country. Learning Korean is very popular among students from China.

A masters in translation helps native speakers to apply their bi-lingual skills in a wide variety of organisations. These include service industries where roles are customer facing, media and design, as well as technical translation services and legal services.

Linguistics often features as part of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. There a many opportunities to work overseas in this field and linguistics is at the core of the study of language.

All nations require language skills .Organisations of all types require staff who can communicate fluently in more than one language. For communities in distress the support offered by NGO’s with bi-lingual staff is crucial.

Literature and Creative Writing

A masters in creative writing is a very popular choice for students seeking to make a career as a writer for publication. This includes specific technical fields such as screenwriting or script editing as well as leading into publishing online.

Accepted mainstream expressions of writing at the present time include more popular writing genres covering ethnicity, sexuality and identity. As a result successful masters graduates enjoy careers in media, publishing and teaching.

All types of writing are required in the modern world. As a result any masters graduate equipped with writing skills is well placed in a number of creative and technical work environments.

Archaeology, Classics and History

Archaeology is not exclusive to ancient Greece and Italy. Understanding constructed places and peoples is relevant to recent decades as much as pre-history. Through the study of Archaeology, we can make better use of resources. By learning how things have been done in the past we avoid mistakes for the future.

What we learn from History point us towards future events. Economies function though the modelling of previous events based on a set of understood criteria. While looking backwards may seem to be self-defeating it shines a light on the circumstances that lead to conflicts. Understanding history directs us towards ways to mitigate negative effects in the future.

At the present time studying Latin and Greek may seem irrelevant in the modern world. However, the origins of all language have their roots in previous civilisations.

Philosophy, Ethics and Theology

Through science we are able to demonstrate how everything exists. But the reasons why life on earth and in the universe has evolved over billions of years is not answered by science. The role that Philosophy, Ethics and Theology play in providing meaning is just as important to understanding as the ability to prove something is.

Everyday science communicators such as Prof Brian Cox and Neil DeGrasse Tyson recognise the importance of the study of philosophical thought. Studying Philosophy, Ethics and Theology allow student to fulfil career roles.

There are few obvious careers requiring a masters degree in philosophy, ethics or theology, except for teaching or religious ministry. Then again many UK politicians study Politics, Philosophy and Economics at university. To put it another way, the adversarial nature of politics and policymaking clearly demonstrates the link between political activity and specific ideology.

Final thoughts

Most graduates have a clear idea about why to study a masters in arts and humanities. It’s obvious how it opens up a huge range of possibilities. This is not governed by how a university classifies its courses according to science or the arts.

Study areas in arts and humanities are not narrow definitions of specific pathways. Employers look for well rounded graduates when they are recruiting. Arts and humanities graduates are well placed for job opportunities.