Can Liberal Arts Grads Find Jobs After Graduation?

liberal arts grads celebrating

We hear a lot about the importance of majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in college, but a new study provides some reassurance for liberal arts and humanities graduates as well.

According to results of a new study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), three in five liberal arts bachelor’s degree graduates (60.5 percent) from the Class of 2014 landed full-time jobs or a place in graduate school within six months of graduation.

According to the study, 42.2 percent of liberal arts and humanities graduates were in full-time positions while 18.3 percent were in graduate or professional school.

Graduate and Professional School Popular Choices

The results are in line with overall outcomes of the survey, which found that two-thirds of the class had a full-time job or was accepted into graduate or professional school within the same time period.

However, the employment/graduate school mix differs between liberal arts grads and the class as a whole.

Liberal arts and humanities graduates were more likely to pursue an advanced degree than the class overall (18.3 percent versus 16.4 percent), and less likely to have a full-time job (42.2 percent versus 55.4 percent).

Many Grads Go Onto Further Education

Within the liberal arts disciplines, the preference for further education is more striking: Philosophy (27.8 percent), foreign languages (25.1 percent), history (24 percent), area studies (21.5 percent), liberal arts/general studies (21.2 percent), and English majors (19.8 percent) all exceeded the overall average.

NACE’s Class of 2014 First-Destination Survey is the first national survey focused on outcomes of new college graduates.  It represents the inaugural survey in what is planned to be an annual initiative to provide clear, concise, and consistent data on the outcomes associated with a college education on a national scale.

A total of 207 colleges and universities nationwide, representing 274,000 graduates — including more than one-quarter of a million bachelor’s degree graduates — provided data for Class of 2014 associate and bachelor’s degree graduates.

Study Provides Data On Broad Disciplines and Majors

Data were reported for nearly 175,000 bachelor’s degree graduates, making this study the most comprehensive view of bachelor’s degree outcomes available. The study provides data for 31 broad disciplines and 190 majors.

Beginning with the Class of 2015, the survey will include outcomes data for advanced-degree graduates.

The Class of 2015 survey, which will gather information for those graduating July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015, is currently underway. Data will be collected through December 31, 2015, reported to NACE through March 2016, and published in spring 2016.

Since 1956, NACE has been the leading source of information about the employment of college graduates.

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