An Open Letter to People who Think Arts Degrees are Useless
What comes to your mind when you think of a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree? Literature, design, music, journalism and all the artsy areas. Also, many might think this is an area of study with no potential future or career growth as compared to disciplines like law, medicines, engineering and others.
What most people don’t realize is that a Bachelor of Arts degree delves into various subjects such as humanities, history, social sciences, communications and foreign languages, which provides the students with transferable skills looked out by most employers. The current employment market has the highest competitive edge and employers don’t just look at degrees but the skills.
The subjects are generally considered the easiest according to the larger populace and generally looked down upon as compared to Science and Engineering Streams. In fact, if you try to google ‘why study liberal arts….’ or ‘why take up a bachelor of arts degree…’ the options that pop up in the search bar includes words like ‘worthless’, ‘useless’ etc. A lot of mockeries has been made about the discipline and being termed as theoretical, idealistic, privileged etc.
The perception of the public regarding arts degree is very much murky for as not everyone understands what these subjects are all about. At times students themselves understand the depth of the subject and the potential to discover even more, only once they have started learning.
People seem to assume that graduates with arts degree will remain jobless and have not career prospects whatsoever. But what most people don’t realize that a degree doesn’t necessarily have to springboard into a career. Engineering graduates are taking up journalism or management or job roles diverse from their skill and training. Therefore, it can be stated that the degree can but define only a fraction of the future career possibilities.
What is a bachelor of arts?
Well, the answer to what bachelor of arts is will depend on the college or university and the program you have applied for in the first instance. The arts degree is different from the science and other degrees as they delve into theoretical and abstract subjects. But it is to be mentioned here that these disciplines require a lot of critical thinking and introspection.
The arts degree covers a wider and is interdisciplinary, for example, if you are studying literature you have to take into account history and what events lead to the creation of which particular literary pieces. Unlike the technical subjects’ arts can’t be compressed or narrowed down easily. The subjects in arts are overlapping and offer the learners a great deal of insights and knowledge on the various aspects of society.
The arts degree offers a lot of flexibility to the students to discover and embrace their individual study style which can help in achieving greater career goals in the times ahead. Arts are not restricted to any formula and can be perceived in many forms and manners, which tends to make it more humane. Those opting for a bachelor of arts degree tend to foster creative and philosophical thinking.
Benefits of an arts degree
Society cannot run on technology alone. Theories, social-political and other aspects of life cannot be ignored and these areas require theoretical knowledge apart from quantitative knowledge. Also, as mentioned those pursuing arts are creative thinkers, and are in general own problem-solving skills. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of liberal arts courses equips graduates not only with vast knowledge but a multitude of skills that can be applied across industries.
Students opting for an arts degree have a wide range of options to choose from language and literature, Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy, History, Religious Studies, development studies, education, communications and PR and many more. The course covers all the related topics.
The arts, humanities and social sciences degrees have been a laughing stock for real long and if you are aspiring to take up any of these courses you might as well get to hear ‘why don’t you take up a real course’. Just so that you don’t get demotivated from your aspirations and dreams the tides are turning on the once-unnecessarily maligned qualification.
Thanks to the push by universities and educational intuitions and academic experts as well as a shift in the demand of the modern workforce, graduates with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree has as much a bright future as any other graduates. Universities and colleges have a huge role to play in bursting the myth about the ‘uselessness’ of the degree.
Although there are many universities offering arts degree it is imperative to understand the approach they are applying while delivering the education and how are they preparing the students for a progressive future. All though these subjects are essentially nonscientific but a lot of scientific and quantitative learning has been added to the curriculum to make it more applicable in practical situations.
It is also interesting to see how students are also interested in multiple career prospects and many individuals after or before their technological training tend to pursue courses from the humanities and arts background for a deeper understanding of the social, political, economic and environmental conditions. Thus, it is high time that the degrees are viewed through the glasses of discrimination. Also, universities and colleges can take a little more effort to popularize the course and motivate the students and employers to understand the usability and necessity of the courses in society.