Careers for Majors
“Employers are looking for people with broad-based knowledge. Rather than someone who has learned a specific discipline, they want someone who can analyze information, process it, and give it back in a different form.”
The field of Classics is the original interdisciplinary subject, encompassing an enormous variety of human experience: language, poetry, myth, history, philosophy, religion, archaeology, art and more. It can prepare you for a wide range of careers. Smart and ambitious people have studied Classics for centuries. In more recent years, here are some who majored in the field in college:
- J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series
- Lynn Sherr, ABC News reporter
- Charles Geschke, founder of Adobe
- David Packard, co-founder, Hewlett Packard
- Ted Turner, founder, TBS and CNN
- Robert M. Gates, US Secretary of Defense, Director of CIA
- Jerry Brown, Governor of California
- James Baker, former US Secretary of State
Why Study General Humanities?
General Humanities will develop your sense of how to conduct critical inquiry into past cultures and modern manifestations of their ideas and values; a feeling for the recurring patterns but also enormous diversity of human culture; and to explore how past cultures form the basis for modern cultures and cultural attitudes.
What can a major in Classics and/or General Humanities Teach you?
- Independent learning skills – Learning how to learn.
- Research skills – Knowing where to find information and ideas, and being able to critically judge between various sources of ideas.
- Writing skills – The ability to structure your thoughts coherently and express yourself in ways that are appropriate to the occasion.
- Speaking skills – The ability to confidently and clearly express your ideas. The ability to convince someone of your arguments and persuade them of your point of view.
- Critical thinking skills – The ability to tell better ideas from worse, the ability to test ideas by subjecting them to relevant criteria.
- Problem-solving skills – The ability to understand and express a problem that needs to be solved, and the knowledge of various methods of analysis that might be relevant to the problem.
- Interdisciplinary skills – The ability to work at the borders of traditional forms of knowledge, using the resources from more than one area to help define a problem and suggest approaches to it.
- Global understanding and cultural sensitivity – The ability to appreciate cultures and religious traditions outside of your own.
- Historical understanding – The ability to see how and why things came to be as they are.
- Aesthetic understanding – The ability to recognize and produce visual, narrative, and musical structure, order, and appeal.
- Perspectival understanding – The ability to understand how other people or groups think.
- Adaptability – The ability to apply knowledge and skills to a wide variety of contexts.
- The ability to ask good questions – Recognizing that all knowledge is really the answer to questions, and that truly understanding something means understanding the questions that are asked, and being able to refine those questions to produce better knowledge.
- Time and resource management skills – The ability to work under pressure and maximize resources to produce a desired outcome.
- Linguistic skills – The ability to operate in more than one language.
What can you do with a Major in Classics and/or General Humanities?
- Advertising. Your study of human culture and society can prove very helpful when trying to figure out how people might react to a certain kind of ad–and your specific background, be it music, philosophy or beyond, can enable highly creative thinking.
- Business. With its emphasis on writing, problem-solving and human management skills Business is an area in which humanities majors are uniquely suited. Jobs include: administrative assistant, administrator, newsletter editor, personnel director, program coordinator, Researcher, Sales Director, Public Relations, Labor Relations, Arbitrator
- Fine Arts. Humanities study is a traditional preparation for careers in the Fine Arts. These jobs include: Teaching, Arts Administration, Museum (Director, Curator of collections, Director of operations, Community arts programs including philanthropy or fund-raising; consultant, coordinator or buyer for commercial art; conservation, historic preservation; collecting, evaluating, appraising, art therapy, music therapy.
- Foreign Service. Especially if you’ve majored in the study of a particular culture, your ability to understand the workings of human society are invaluable when trying to work in a foreign country.
- Government. You are well prepared for service to your country with a humanities major. Jobs include: administrative assistant, administrator, media consultant, program director, analyst, researcher, FBI, CIA, Civil Rights Commission, consumer affairs, cultural affairs, Department of Education: Youth and Family Services, national.
- Journalism. Good communicative skills and the ability to think analytically are the most important qualities for a journalist. Many top journalists have humanities and liberal arts backgrounds instead of journalism school degrees.
- Law. Humanities majors are the most common prerequisites for law school. It may seem to require a lot of rote memorization of court cases and laws, but by far the most crucial attribute for any lawyer is the ability to think critically and to relate current issues to past ones (history is a popular undergraduate degree for law students).
- Medicine. Medicine (if you have the necessary “premed” courses) and healthcare are careers that benefit from a humanities background. Aside from these, there is work in healthcare facilities: administration, management, program directors, government-funded agencies, health advertising agencies, pharmaceutical companies, residential treatment facilities.
- Public administration. If you’ve studied how societies work, you’re probably qualified to help make them work.
- Publishing. This is a good choice for literature and communications majors, who must be able to recognize quality writing when they see it and champion it to publishers and the reading public.