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Why should your students study humanities and social sciences?

The study of humans, especially in an ever changing world, has been an intriguing area for many years and has always been of immense value – now perhaps even more than ever before.

Humanities and Social Sciences include subjects such as Geography, History, Economics, Politics and Religious Studies as well as encompassing areas of study such as English, Criminology, Linguistics, Literature, International Relations and Law. These subjects can help us to understand others through languages, histories and cultures. Understanding the ever-globalising and interconnected world that we all live in today can help foster social justice and equality by looking at what has happened in the past over time and also to the future to make changes to previous approaches as well as adopting measures that were successful. 

These subjects can also teach students to deal with problems critically and logically with information that could be subjective, complex, and imperfect. By developing transferable skills during their studies, your students will be well equipped for a variety of career opportunities and pathways. A study by the University of Oxford1 showed that of the ten fastest growing sectors in the UK economy, eight of them employ more graduates from the arts, humanities, and social sciences than from other disciplines. This evidences the benefits of these subjects to your students, who will also gain from enhanced writing and critical thinking skills which are essential for all areas of work in today’s society. 

Humanities and Social Science degrees and further study can also have applications in the technology sector. Executives at Microsoft have said that ‘As computers behave more like humans, social sciences and humanities will become even more important. Languages, art, history, economics, ethics, philosophy, psychology, and human development courses can teach critical, philosophical, and ethics-based skills that will be instrumental in the development and management of AI solutions’2. Companies like Uber have hired Psychology and Criminology graduates to help deal with unhappy customers and Facebook is hiring an increasing number of English and Politics students to help pitch the benefits of data analysis and collection to companies within their sales teams. Being able to present an argument, research, problem solve, and work collaboratively are all attractive traits to employers and were all listed in LinkedIn’s top 10 desirable skills from the 100 top graduate employers in the UK.  

The biggest takeaway from this should be that whatever students choose to study should not just be something that they do well in, but also something they really enjoy. In most areas, employers want to know what they have done at university and that is why it is important students do something that interests them because that is when they are going to do well. If a student focuses on an area that they love, their enthusiasm will shine through to future employers.  

Here at Queen Mary, we offer a multitude of courses in a wide variety of subjects, which means that whatever your students may be interested in, we’re likely to have a pathway for them. To explore these opportunities further, we have a course finder tool available on our website and our current students are available to chat to on Unibuddy


1. University of Oxford (2013) Study reveals humanities graduates' influence on Britain's economy, Available at 


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