Department of Education

Research projects

Understanding the ‘Value’ of Humanities Degrees

Debates over tuition fees, university finances, and the evaluation of teaching excellence have led to recent increased scrutiny on the potential value of Humanities degrees. Longitudinal Education Outcomes data shows that five years after completion, graduates from Humanities degrees earn significantly less than peers in the sciences or some individuals without degrees. This raises a number of critical questions about the perceived value of Humanities degrees both in terms of individuals’ careers and in relation to wider impact in society.

Focusing on Humanities graduates from Oxford University, this project will examine alumni data to understand graduate labour market outcomes and career trajectories over the last decade. This will be triangulated with in depth interviews with graduates, employers, and current students focused on employability and transferable skills, aspirations linked with degree courses, and the perceived wider value of humanities degrees. Analysis will therefore examine the value of humanities both in terms of individual returns and wider societal, political, and economic impacts.

Are you an Oxford Humanities graduate? Find out how you can participate in this research:

We are currently recruiting Oxford Humanities graduates (from undergraduate and postgraduate courses) to participate in short telephone interviews. If you graduated from a Humanities degree from Oxford in 2007 or later and can spare 30 minutes to talk to us, please register your interest using this short form: https://oxford.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/the-value-of-humanities-degrees

Research Team

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