Changing the world through the humanities
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Changing the world through the humanities

In this day and age, choosing the arts and humanities (A&H) path provides students with a professional advantage. In today’s fast-paced and complex world, the broad-based and flexible skills acquired from liberal arts studies are incredibly valued by employers. A U.S.-based report by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) found that a whopping 93% of employers believe a candidates’ ability to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than their undergraduate major – precisely the qualities you develop when studying subjects like international politics, communications, and music.

Being able to balance the books or draw up building plans are invaluable skills, but remain limited unless paired with the ability to see the bigger picture. A marketing plan to promote say, a smartphone-based cab service must consider broader sociocultural habits and technological trends. Business expansion and investment in other countries must be done after identifying political and economic risks.

It’s precisely this strategic mind-set that makes A&H graduates perfect for managerial and leadership positions. A&H graduates aren’t just accountants, lawyers, journalists, engineers or restaurateurs – they’re all-weather generals capable of adapting to every field and every challenge.

Through its comprehensive research, the New College of the Humanities in the UK found that 60 percent of the country’s leaders have degrees in the humanities, arts or social sciences. These leaders include everyone from FTSE 100 CEOs to members of Parliament to law firm partners to vice chancellors of prestigious universities. That’s not a coincidence – something of which employers are all too well aware.

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If an A&H degree prepares you to lead, then you can be assured of your chances to make a difference in the world. From politics to business to social work, you will be well-positioned to steer your organization to success, inspire others, and affect meaningful changes in society.

For example, if you’ve studied international development, you could well convince your corporation to invest in effective CSR programs that target rural communities. A strategic communication student would make for a great spokesperson for an environmental lobbying group. In short, you will have the opportunity to make your priorities the world’s priorities – to lead for the sake of change and progress.

But change and success start with education. It’s imperative to obtain a good education in the liberal arts and social sciences from a world-class university. Many global higher education institutions offer courses in the arts and humanities, but few provide a comprehensive package emphasizing employability, personal growth and social responsibility.

The University of Western Australia’s Faculty of Arts is one of the latter – achieving a good balance between academic rigor and professional employability. Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities 2015 placed the University of Western Australia (UWA) among the top 100 universities (87th) in the world.

UWA’s Faculty of Arts has also achieved 5 stars for teaching quality and overall satisfaction by The Good University Guide 2016 for Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as being ranked 51-100 in the QS Rankings for Anthropology, Archaeology, English Language And Literature and Performing Arts.

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But what makes UWA truly stand out is the outstanding employability of its graduates. Thanks in no small part to UWA’s emphasis on practical and transferable skills, the university is ranked third in Australia and 49th in the world for overall graduate employability by the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2016. The Australian government’s annual Graduate Destination Surveys consistently rank UWA graduates as the most employable in the whole of Western Australia.

But not only do UWA graduates find it easier to get jobs, they get paid more too. The Good Universities Guide 2016 awarded a five-star rating to UWA for ‘Graduate Starting Salary’, confirming that the university produces some of the highest paid graduates in Australia. Getting a higher salary from the get-go is incredibly important because it becomes more difficult to negotiate pay increases when you’re in the job.

UWA’s success in churning out highly employable, highly paid graduates is partially credited to the university’s superb internship programmes, strong relations with industry, and diverse field placement opportunities. For example, international relations students may apply to the Uni-Capitol Washington Internship Programme (UCWIP), which places them in a congressional office in Washington D.C. for eight weeks – a dream-come-true for any student of politics.

UWA is also one of the most connected universities in the world, maintaining relations with key industry players and a vast array of potential employers. The university is ranked sixth in Australia and 49th in the world for partnerships with employers by QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2016. Through UWA, students can easily obtain a work placement in prominent multinational firms, research institutes and think tanks, as well as any other organization that fits their profile and interests.

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Choose how you’ll change the world

UWA’s Faculty of Arts offers a range of postgraduate degrees – each geared toward personal advancement and self-fulfilment, and imbued with a sense of responsibility to the wider world. You choose the field through which you will affect change in the world. Some examples of subjects you can study at UWA are:

  • Heritage Studies concerns the protection and preservation of the world’s cultural, historical and natural heritage – this includes everything from ancient ruins to national parks.
  • International Development focuses on the challenges of poverty and inequality across the globe, and contemporary approaches to those issues.
  • International Relations considers politics and government on an international level, exploring issues like inter-state conflict and competition, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, trade and globalization, multilateral organizations and more.
  • Combined Master of International Relations and Master of International Law pairs the study of international politics with an examination of rules that apply to inter-state behaviour. Students will learn about international laws that apply to everything from human rights to criminals across borders to trade.
  • Music International Pedagogy will prepare students to be sophisticated scholars, musicians, and educators, giving them an overview of the basic tenets of educational psychology, philosophy and music pedagogy, as well as topics important in preparing students for further research in music. This course is delivered predominantly online.
  • Social Research Methods examines approaches to investigating social questions – this includes everything from public opinions and attitudes to the impact of government policies to lifestyle patterns and trends.
  • Strategic Communication encompasses advanced skills and in-depth understanding needed in effective messaging of audiences that may range from the media to government to the public. This degree is perfect for those seeking to be senior communication advisors.
  • Translation Studies is perfect for those looking to be bilingual / multilingual professionals. The program is available for translation between English and Chinese, French, German and Italian (both directions).

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The article was sponsored by the University of Western Australia (UWA). Founded in 1911 and situated in Perth, UWA is one of Australia’s top universities, ranked 87th globally by the Shanghai-Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities. A research-intensive university staffed by world-class experts, UWA is responsible for almost 70 percent of university-based research in Western Australia. UWA has a lively and diverse community of international students, numbering over 4,500 and drawn from 90 different countries. It is renowned for its particularly strong Faculty of Arts – high-achieving arts graduates include one Australian prime minister, 7 Australian ambassadors, and an Oscar winner.

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