Terry Eagleton, a well known professor and author, once stated that, "the humanities should constitute the core of any university worth the name." It seems, however, that not many share the same opinion. It is common belief that the number of science majors have been declining while humanities have been increasing, but it is instead the opposite. According to Inside Higher Ed a new study shows that the number of undergraduates majoring in the humanities have been decreasing over the past couple of years.
This study was published by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. It showed that the number of bachelor's degrees in English language and literature, history, linguistics, classical studies, and philosophy are at the lowest they have ever been since 2003. This downward trend could possibly be very dangerous as universities use the number of majors to get an idea of which programs to cut funding for, or get rid of all together.
So, just what is causing this decrease? Well, the answer is one that is being debated over. Some say that because academic requirements have changed, many students are never exposed to a humanities course, so they never gain a taste for it. Others argue that many college admissions programs put the more focus on gaining science majors over humanities majors. There is one piece of good news that came out of this study and that is that the number of associate degrees earned in the humanities department have increased.
The humanities play an important role in a university. This department develops intelligent students with the ability to write and speak clearly, and with a great knowledge of history. Colleges should do their best to stop this downward trend, because a university will no longer be as well rounded if this leads to the cutting of humanities department.
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