Graduate education within the humanities is shrinking, in line with a brand new report issued at present by the Humanities Indicators Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Master’s levels within the humanities, of which 16,057 had been awarded in 1988, rose to 32,584 in 2012, the 12 months they peaked. In 2020, they fell to 26,566, the report stated. The variety of doctoral levels awarded additionally rose and fell throughout that point. There had been 3,110 doctoral levels within the humanities in 1998. The quantity rose steadily to six,010 in 2015 however fell to five,483 in 2020.
To some critics, this is a pure move, as there are fewer jobs (particularly in larger education) for Ph.D.s within the humanities. To others, the numbers mirror the tragedy of the educational job market failing to maintain up with scholar and college demand.
The identical years noticed a decline within the share of all levels earned within the humanities. In 1998, 9 % of grasp’s levels had been awarded within the humanities. That rose to 11 % however then fell to 7 % by 2020. Humanities Ph.D.s made up 4 % of all Ph.D.s in 1998. The determine grew to five % earlier than falling to three %.
Among these Ph.D.s, six disciplines (English language and literature, communication, historical past, languages and literatures aside from English, philosophy, and research of the humanities) accounted for many of the doctoral levels awarded yearly within the area from 1988 to 2020, representing 78 % of humanities levels in 2020. In current years, the variety of Ph.D.s awarded declined amongst all the massive disciplines besides communication (which rose by 5 % from 2012 to 2020). Programs in historical past and philosophy skilled the biggest declines from 2012 to 2020 (falling 12 % and 10 %, respectively).
The report discovered a rise within the range of these receiving doctorates, however it might be going away, no less than for ladies. The bigger enhance occurred amongst these receiving doctoral levels, wherein the share of doctorates conferred on ladies rose from 47 % in 1988 to 55 % in 2016 earlier than slipping again to 53 % in 2020. Looking at race and ethnicity amongst doctoral diploma recipients, from 2000 to 2020 the share of historically underrepresented teams (Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Native Hawaiian and different Pacific Islanders) elevated from 11 % to twenty % over the identical 20 years.
Another concern explored is time to diploma for a Ph.D.
“In each year from 2004 to 2020, the median for those who finished a doctoral degree was just under six years among Ph.D. recipients generally, but the median among those earning humanities and arts degrees (data are not available for each field separately) is a year or more longer than in most other fields,” the report stated. “Humanities Ph.D.s have consistently taken longer than doctorate seekers in any other field, though the time to earn a doctorate in the humanities fell modestly from 2004 to 2020 (from 7.2 years to 6.8 years).”
Robert B. Townsend, co-director of the Humanities Indicators Project, stated, “It is hard to see much positive news in the overall trends. The people who think there are too many humanities professors in the world may find cause for joy in the decline there, and doctoral students may be pleased to see a decline in the number of other Ph.D.s competing for those precious academic jobs. But aside from that, the only clearly positive indicator is that almost all of the people who received graduate degrees in the humanities are satisfied with their jobs.”
He stated the tendencies largely observe studies on undergraduate majors. “Fewer students majoring in the humanities generally means a smaller pool of applicants for advanced degrees,” Townsend stated. “And a declining number of majors means less upward pressure to hire new faculty or replace retiring faculty.”