college

Liberal-Arts Degrees Pay Off in the End

At the peak of their careers, graduates who studied humanities and social sciences out-earn other majors.

Humanities and social science degrees don’t get much respect these days. A weak job market and wallet-busting college costs make choosing a major that segues smoothly into a profession seem like a better bet for paying off student loans and launching a great career.

 

But the liberal arts can be surprisingly bankable, especially during peak earning years. Between the ages of 56 and 60, liberal arts majors out-earn those who majored in other fields, such as business or nursing, by about $2,000 annually, reports the Association of American Colleges and Universities. “It’s about what you can do, not just what you majored in,” says AAC&U spokesperson Debra Humphreys. Successful job seekers demonstrate relevant professional experiences and show that they can think critically and communicate clearly.

A liberal arts and social sciences background worked for Dana Di Somma, who graduated from St. Bona­venture University in western New York with a degree in political science in 2008. She landed a stateside job with an Italian cosmetics company, where her coursework in international politics and her study-abroad experience help her colla­borate comfortably with Italian and Chinese colleagues. “If I could go back, I’d choose the same major,” says Di Somma. “I’m well rounded, and politics and business go hand in hand.”

Most Popular

3 Dated Rules of Thumb Retirees Should Think Twice About
investing

3 Dated Rules of Thumb Retirees Should Think Twice About

The tried-and-true investing and saving rules of thumb retirees depend on may no longer be as reliable as they hoped. Don’t let dated “rules” steer yo…
August 11, 2022
Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
Are You Rich?
personal finance

Are You Rich?

You might be surprised. It depends on how you measure it, and the bar is changing.
August 12, 2022

Recommended

Job-Hunting Tips for an Uncertain Marketplace
careers

Job-Hunting Tips for an Uncertain Marketplace

On one hand, tons of new jobs are being added. On the other, job seekers are facing rescinded offers. There’s a lot to contend with. Here’s how to mak…
August 10, 2022
The 25 Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In
places to live

The 25 Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In

Take a look at our list of American cities with the lowest costs of living. Is one of the cheapest cities in the U.S. right for you?
August 7, 2022
Sharing His Path to Success
Starting Out: New Grads and Young Professionals

Sharing His Path to Success

This Native American studied tech in the Air Force and landed his dream job. Now he’s giving back.
August 4, 2022
Should You Treat Your Kids Equally in Your Will? 12 Financial Planners Weigh In
retirement

Should You Treat Your Kids Equally in Your Will? 12 Financial Planners Weigh In

What's the "fair" way to divide an estate? Many parents think they should divvy things evenly among their children ... but that can backfire. So what'…
August 1, 2022