Humanities Indicators
Facebook Twitter YouTube
Higher Education  >  Undergraduate Education
 
Humanities Bachelor's Degrees as a Second Major
(Updated January 2015)

In 2001, the National Center for Education Statistics began to gather information on “second majors,” shedding light on the extent to which bachelor’s students are engaging in more extensive study of the humanities—either by majoring in an additional humanities field or supplementing a STEM or professional major.

(A second major degree in a humanities discipline is one earned at the same time as another degree in a nonhumanities field or a different humanities discipline. Data on second majors are reported by the institution [rather than the student], and thus no meaning can be inferred from these degrees being designated as second [rather than first] majors.)

Findings and Trends

  • In 2013, 23,668 bachelor’s students at U.S. colleges and universities completed a second major in the humanities (i.e., a degree in a humanities discipline earned at the same time as another degree in a nonhumanities field or a different humanities discipline; Indicator II-1c). This figure represents a 46.3% increase over ten years, though that lagged behind the 51.5% increase in second majors in all fields.
  • Second majors in the humanities were completed by approximately 1.3% of bachelor’s degree recipients in 2013, up from 1.2% in 2003. In 2013, the share of bachelor’s degree recipients with second majors in any field was 5.5%.
  • The humanities discipline in which students earned the largest number of second major degrees in 2013 was languages and literatures other than English (7,599; Indicator II-1cc). The discipline also experienced the fastest growth in humanities degrees awarded as a second major from 2003 to 2013 (46.7%). The second most popular discipline for second majors was English language and literature, which conferred 3,778 such degrees in 2013, an increase of 25.8% over the previous decade.
  • Second majors in the humanities represented approximately a quarter of all second majors completed annually from 2003 to 2013.
  • In 2013 second major degrees were awarded in folklore for the first time on record.
II-1c: Humanities Bachelor’s Degrees Earned as “Second Majors,” 2001–2013
Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; accessed via the National Science Foundation’s online data system, WebCASPAR.
About this DataRelated Indicators
../cmsData/xls/indII-1c.xls../cmsData/ppt/indII-1c.ppt../cmsData/pdf/indII-1c.pdf
II-1cc: Number of Bachelor’s Degrees Earned as “Second Majors” in Selected Humanities Disciplines, 2001–2013
Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Data System; accessed via the National Science Foundation’s online data system, WebCASPAR.
About this DataRelated Indicators
../cmsData/xls/indII-1cc.xlsx../cmsData/ppt/indII-1cc.ppt../cmsData/pdf/indII-1cc.pdf