Humanities courses lead to career success, says Grayling ahead of private college launch

Sixty per cent of leading public figures in the UK have humanities, social science or arts degrees, a new study has found.

December 18, 2011

A report commissioned by the New College of the Humanities (NCH) found the subjects had been studied by the majority of those “at the top of their professions” – such as CEOs of FTSE 100 companies, bosses of top creative and financial companies, vice-chancellors of Russell Group universities and MPs.

Starting in September 2012, the privately-owned for-profit NCH will charge £18,000 a year for degrees in five subject areas: law, economics, history, English literature and philosophy.

Based in Bloomsbury, the college will be headed by A.C. Grayling, who year resigned from his post as professor of philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London earlier this year.

Dr Grayling said: “For service economies in the developed world, a broad educational background is essential.

“Much of the talent that goes into law, journalism, the civil service, politics, financial services, the creative industries, publishing, education, and much besides, is drawn from people who have studied the humanities.

“Our society and economy needs broadly educated people, who have gained a wider view of the world and human affairs – of how to think about them, understand them, and apply the lessons thus learned.”

But he added: “Our fear is that humanities provision is being diminished.

“It is wrong to think that humanities matter less, or offer fewer career opportunities than science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Many bright young people could benefit enormously from them.”

From 2012, the publicly-funded teaching grant for arts, social sciences and humanities subjects will be scrapped, with the annual costs of up to £9,000 repaid by graduates.

A reduced teaching grant will be available only for clinical subjects and some science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

The NCH report found 65 per cent of MPs studied an arts, humanities or social sciences discipline, compared with just over 10 per cent who studied STEM disciplines.

But only around 30 per cent of vice-chancellors of Russell Group universities came from an arts, humanities or social sciences background, compared to 65 per cent who had studied STEM subjects.

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