Humanities Indicators
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Workforce  >  Career Paths of Graduates with Advanced Degrees in the Humanities
 
Job Satisfaction of Humanities Master’s Degree Recipients
(Updated June 2018)

Career outcomes for recipients of terminal master’s degrees in the humanities have been a subject of considerable interest to graduate faculty and disciplinary societies for many years. As the Indicators report elsewhere, humanities master’s degree recipients have modestly lower median earnings and a different occupational profile when compared to their counterparts from other fields. With respect to overall job satisfaction, however, recipients of humanities master’s degrees are similar to graduates with terminal master’s degrees in other fields.

Findings and Trends

  • Approximately 88% of workers with a terminal master’s degree in the humanities reported they were satisfied with their jobs in 2015, with very little difference between men and women who had earned the degree (Indicator III-8j). This share of satisfied workers was somewhat greater than among business degree holders and somewhat smaller—but within four percentage points—of the share for every other field.
  • When asked about their satisfaction with particular aspects of their jobs, terminal master’s degree recipients in the humanities were within five percentage points of the rate found among terminal master’s degree holders in general on every measure except salary and benefits (Indicator III-8k). The largest difference was in the rate of satisfaction with benefits. The share of humanities master’s degree recipients reporting satisfaction with this aspect of their employment was almost 10 percentage points smaller than among terminal master’s degree holders generally.
  • In the case of three nontangible job benefits—location, opportunities for advancement, and contribution to society—recipients of terminal master’s degrees in the humanities were somewhat more likely to be satisfied than terminal master’s degree holders generally.
III-8j: Terminal Master’s Degree Holders Indicating They Are “Very” or “Somewhat” Satisfied with Their Job, by Gender and Field of Degree, 2015*

* This analysis excludes holders of the J.D. and other professional degrees.

Source: National Science Foundation, 2015 National Survey of College Graduates. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

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III-8k: Terminal Master’s Degree Holders Indicating They Are “Very” or “Somewhat” Satisfied with Aspects of Their Job, by Field of Degree, 2015*

* This analysis excludes holders of the J.D. and other professional degrees. For comparison of the humanities with other individual fields, see the supporting table.

Source: National Science Foundation, 2015 National Survey of College Graduates. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (www.humanitiesindicators.org).

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