Humanities Indicators
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Higher Education  >  Graduate Education
 
Institutional Distribution of Master’s Degrees in the Humanities
(Updated April 2015)

The bulk of master’s degrees in the humanities are conferred by institutions classified in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as very high research universities. The data also reveal that private colleges and universities have begun to confer a larger share of the graduate humanities master’s degrees in recent years.

Findings and Trends

  • In 2013, institutions classified as very high research universities conferred the largest share of master’s degrees in the humanities, with degrees from this type of institution accounting for 36% of the total (Indicator II-a11). Master’s colleges and universities conferred the second-largest share (31%).
  • The 36% of humanities master’s degrees conferred in 2013 by very high research institutions represented the lowest percentage on record for that institution type (Indicator II-a12). In 1987, these institutions conferred 52% of the humanities degrees at this level. Nearly all of this loss in share was to institutions classified as master’s colleges and universities.
  • While a large share of humanities master’s degrees are conferred by very high research universities, these institutions confer a smaller percentage of the humanities degrees at this level than degrees in the arts and engineering. While master’s colleges and universities conferred the second largest percentage of master’s degrees in the humanities in 2013, larger percentages of degrees were conferred by those institutions in business, education, and the behavioral and social sciences (Indicator II-a13).
  • Every Carnegie institution type, with the exception of the category “Other Institutions,” has seen a decline in the share of all master’s degrees they awarded that were in the humanities (Indicator II-a14). The most marked decline occurred among research universities with very high research activity. In the early and mid-1990s, over 6% of all master’s degrees granted by these universities were in the humanities. By 2013, the percentage had fallen to less than 4%.
  • Public colleges and universities have traditionally awarded the largest share of master’s degrees in the humanities, but as of 2011, that is no longer the case (Indicator II-a15). In that year, for the first time since data became available in 1987, private institutions conferred a slightly larger portion of the humanities degrees at the master’s level. In 2013, private institutions (for-profit and not-for-profit) awarded 52% of all humanities master’s degrees, compared with 48% for public institutions.
  • In 2013, private not-for-profit colleges and universities awarded a slightly larger proportion of their master’s degrees to students in the humanities than did public institutions (just under 2.0% versus 1.8%; Indicator II-a16).
II-a11: Distribution of 2013 Humanities Master’s Degree Completions among Carnegie Institution Types*

* Institutions have been categorized using the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Basic Classification of college and university types. Percentages do not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; accessed via the National Science Foundation’s online data system, WebCASPAR.

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II-a12: Distribution of Humanities Master’s Degree Completions among Carnegie Institution Types,* 1987–2013

* Institutions have been categorized using the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Basic Classification of college and university types.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; accessed via the National Science Foundation’s online data system, WebCASPAR.

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II-a13: Distribution of 2013 Master’s and Professional-Practice Degree Completions among Carnegie Institution Types,* by Field of Degree

* Institutions have been categorized using the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Basic Classification of college and university types.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; accessed via the National Science Foundation’s online data system, WebCASPAR.

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II-a14: Humanities Master’s Degrees as a Percentage of All Master’s and Professional-Practice Degrees Awarded by Various Carnegie Institution Types,* 1987–2013

* Institutions have been categorized using the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Basic Classification of college and university types.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; accessed via the National Science Foundation’s online data system,WebCASPAR.

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II-a15: Percentage of All U.S. Master’s Degrees in the Humanities Awarded by Public versus Private Institutions,* 1987–2013

* Institutions have been categorized according to the IPEDs classification of institutional control. Percentages do not add up to 100% because of rounding and, for the 1987–1995 time period, 1% to 4% of institutions were of unknown institutional control.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; accessed via the National Science Foundation’s online data system, WebCASPAR.

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II-a16: Humanities Master’s Degrees as a Percentage of all Master’s and Professional-Practice Degrees Awarded by Public versus Private Institutions,* 1987–2013

* Institutions have been categorized according to the IPEDs classification of institutional control.

** Due to substantial year-to-year changes in the share of degrees awarded for-profit institutions, it was not possible to display the percentages for the 1978–1993 time period. For these values, please see the supporting table. [BINARY]

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; accessed via the National Science Foundation’s online data system, WebCASPAR.

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