In Defense of an Arts Degree

So not only does an Arts degree not at all lead to a job, we knew this when we signed up for one, but now they’re telling us that having an Arts degree actually reduces your overall earnings compared to someone who left education at 18. (The article is from 2003, but I can’t imagine it’s gotten any better since then.  If anything, it’s probably worse.)

And this guy can tell you just how miserable it is to be an unemployed Arts graduate (in case you didn’t already know):

And even people, like The Husband who has both an undergraduate AND a Masters in his Arts subject, who don’t think they’re too good to be a labourer, barman/-maid, cleaner, waiter/-ress or call centre worker still can’t get work.  Those jobs typically won’t employ graduates, because they believe they won’t stick around long.  Little do they know that a graduate would be just as likely to stick around as anyone else, since there is literally nothing else out there.

However, does this mean that future undergraduates should eschew the Arts in favour of something more lucrative?  Or maybe forgo university altogether?

I think not.  And this is why:

We are not mere money-making machines.

I believe people still have the right to pursue what avenues excite them.  And for many, that avenue is in the Arts.  To reject that is to reject part of what makes you you.  Perhaps you’ll earn more in a Science or Business-related degree, but at the end of your life will you feel more fulfilled?  Will you be able to say that you did everything you wanted to do in life?

We only get one go at this mortal coil, let’s not throw it away on something so baseless as the pursuit of hard, cold cash.

Yes, we need to earn a living – but the emphasis should be the living and not the earning.  Right now it sucks to try to do either, but Arts graduates are nothing if not resourceful.

2 responses to “In Defense of an Arts Degree

  1. We have a local comedian who calls the BA (Bachelor of Arts), a Bachelor of Attendence.

    Seriously though, I enjoyed my Arts degree.

  2. I am currently pursuing my master’s in communication (yes, it IS a real major). I also work for the business school doing design & marketing communications for them, (since none of the MBA’s actually know how to anything useful like that).

    Thus, I get to see the curriculum and process of both the business and liberal art tracks. Sure, the MBA’s work hard, but we M.A.’s actually take MORE credits for our degree AND we have to write a thesis or take comprehensives to graduate. They just finish their 30 credits and go out to ruin the economy some more.

    It makes me angry that out capitalist society so worships the MBA title as though it is something special or unique, and are actually still impressed by it. It isn’t.

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