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Why Liberal Arts Majors May Be Forerunners over STEM

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCNJ chapter.

The extremely emerging field of STEM is all the hype–science, technology, engineering and mathematics–yet, liberal arts majors are hardly ever discussed in the recent media. Practices relating to philosophy, literature, communication, and psychology are equally as important. Despite the fact that we live in a STEM world, liberal arts compliment the science-dominated fields greatly. In fact, they may be more in demand than STEM overall.


If you are a liberal arts student working toward your bachelors degree, you may have had people question your educational pursuits. “What are you going to do with that major? There are no jobs!” However, studies prove otherwise.


In Webber’s analysis of “Lifetime Earnings by Major,”  he finds that the humanities offer better return on investment than technical degrees. This may allude to the premise that liberal arts studies teach strong skills throughout the discipline, including critical thinking, analysis and communication and presentation skills. While STEM touches upon these valuable skills, liberal arts majors make it the forefront of their studies.


Those in the profession claim that liberal arts as an entity is more practical and has greater utility, given the fact that not everything can be reduced to a data point.


“What we need to do is recognize the limitations of that mentality,” Leon Wieseltier, cultural critic for The Atlantic, offered. “The purpose of the humanities is not primarily utilitarian, it is not primarily to get a job…the purpose of the humanities is to cultivate the individual, cultivate the citizen.”


Furthermore, studying the realm of liberal arts benefits individuals who, after taking courses in the profession, will be less ignorant to the world around them. A large component of the humanities spectrum is understanding diverse outlooks on an array of topics and having the ability to formulate powerful observations and generate thought-provoking discussions.


Investment mogul, entrepreneur, and icon on the hit show Shark Tank, Mark Cuban believes that you should trade finance because “liberal arts is the future.” You would expect someone who grew his successful life from the ground up planted in the economy to have concrete views on following a business path. However, in a quite flooded profession, there is more demand for critical thinkers.


Cuban has an insightful forecast regarding the future of the employment market. “I personally think there’s going to be greater demand in 10 years for liberal arts majors than there were for programming majors and maybe even engineering,” Cuban believes. “Because when the data is all being spit out for you, options are being spit out for you, you need a different perspective in order to have a different view of the data….someone who is more of a freer thinker.”

According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, employers want all students to study the liberal arts and associated sciences. 4 out of 5 employers agree that all students should acquire broad knowledge in the field. Candidates who are impressingly adept with the capacity to think critically, communicate clearly and solve complex problems are hidden gems in a much larger and overlooked treasure chest.

Victoria Giardina is currently studying at the College Honors Program at The College of New Jersey with a major in Journalism and Professional Writing in the School of Arts and Communication and minors in Communication Studies and Interactive Multimedia. She lives in Manalapan, NJ. Her articles and other written work has been featured in "The Dr. Oz Show," (DoctorOz.com), WebMD, Medscape, CNN, and, of course, Her Campus. As a creative, Victoria enjoys reading new books, journaling, spending *too much time* on Pinterest and browsing lifestyle blogs (all with an iced coffee in hand). Check out her digital portfolio here: https://www.victoriagiardina.com.
Maddi is the current President and Campus Correspondent for HCTCNJ. She is a senior journalism student at The College of New Jersey who loves pugs, napping, and all things food.