COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Federal data show fewer students have been enrolling in humanities majors at Ohio colleges as science and business programs have increased in popularity.
The data show the number of humanities degrees granted by all Ohio colleges fell by 15 percent over the past five years, even as the total number of degrees increased, according to The Columbus Dispatch (htttp://bit.ly/1JZgCQZ). Humanities degrees represented only 8 percent of all degrees given by Ohio’s public and private colleges.
Private schools, where the humanities have historically thrived, awarded 7 percent fewer humanities degrees in Ohio last year than in the previous year.
Humanities disciplines including English, philosophy and history also have attracted fewer students nationally in recent years. Experts have blamed anxieties about the job market for steering students into fields such as science and technology that they think will translate to jobs quickly after graduation.
“There’s a widespread anxiety that’s ill-founded that humanities majors don’t lead as reliably or as directly to particular careers,” said David Horn, an Ohio State University professor of comparative studies. “We have some work to do explaining the ways in which that’s not the case.”
The number of undergraduate philosophy majors at Ohio State University has fallen from 137 to 70 over the past five years, and OSU’s English and history majors have both dropped by more than 30 percent.
The number of students enrolled in history majors at the University of Cincinnati has dropped 33 percent since 2010, the newspaper reports.
A survey by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences between 2007 and 2012 showed that 6 percent of humanities stopped offering degrees at some level.
But those involved in the humanities point to some bright spots.
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ survey also showed that students adding a second major often chose one in the humanities, and college administrators in Ohio say humanities remain popular for minors and electives.
“We’re trying to be very intentional about showing current students that you can do much more than go on and get a Ph.D. in a humanities division or teach in a humanities division,” said Kim Coplin, the provost at Denison University, a private liberal arts school in Granville.