We often hear that the humanities are in danger; that global employers prefer to hire the more specialised, scientifically-minded graduate with a background firmly-rooted in one or more STEM fields. The modern world is full of people questioning the value of a humanities education, but what we don’t hear enough is that these naysayers couldn’t be more wrong.

“Higher education is historically rooted in a model of learning based in the humanities in which literate, critical and communication skills are a recognised public good,” writes Dr. Philip Kreager, a humanities expert from one of the world’s top universities, in a report titled, Humanities Graduates and the British Economy: The Hidden Impact.

“These skills and the public values they serve – such as the capacity for making informed choices, for evaluating evidence and argument, for creative thought and problem-solving – are widely recognised as much more than economic means and ends.”

Image courtesy of the University of Derby

As noted by The Guardian’s Paul Smith, global problems can never be resolved without a unique humanities perspective. “Increasingly, development agencies assert that technologically sound, engineering-based projects are failing because they don’t take sufficient account of the cultural context,” writes Smith. “These projects, in concept, design and implementation, lack the human perspective that recognises that no global issue, developmental problem or socio-economic challenge can be fully understood, let alone resolved, without real evidence of how the local community and the rest of humanity are experiencing it.

“…the world is not constituted of ring-fenced elements of STEM, social sciences and liberal arts,” he adds. “…The world was and is created of light, form, time, materiality, biological life and human experience. And the challenges it presents us with will be belittled and traduced unless we respond with appropriately holistic and multifarious solutions,” Smith concludes.

And while the global technology boom and our status as the digital age might have spurred prospective students around the globe to pursue STEM-related degrees, the truth is that many influential employers – even tech CEOs – still firmly believe that employees with a humanities and liberal arts background add the most value to their companies. And to take that notion even further, the majority of global CEOs believe that hiring candidates who have received an education steeped in creativity and enriched with a critical outlook are vital to the success of their business.

There’s no doubt that the humanities graduate ticks every single one of these boxes.

If you would like to broaden your horizons by studying the humanities, here are 5 leading UK Schools that excel within this field…


With an esteemed reputation for providing industry-relevant degree programmes, the University of Derby offers 34,000 talented students’ unrivalled opportunities to gain relevant work experience alongside their world-class degrees.

Students at the University of Derby
Image courtesy of the University of Derby

Considerable investment in Derby’s cutting-edge facilities builds on its reputation for student-focused, real-world learning in an increasingly competitive sector, making it a university of first choice for students seeking a caring and aspirational environment, ready to equip themselves for a career of their choice.

Inspiration, stimulation and real-world insight sums up Derby’s approach to teaching the humanities. The College of Law, Humanities and Social Sciences focuses on turning you into a confident, independent individual; supporting and challenging you to unleash your full potential as you prepare for a successful career – no matter what you study.

Among an extensive variety of disciplines, including Law, Criminology and Social Sciences, the College offers a wide selection of subjects in the Humanities and Media:

With its status as a Top 12 UK university for employability, 81.1 percent of all Derby humanities graduates progress to further study or employment after completing their programme (DELHE 2015).


The University of Strathclyde is a leading international technological university located in the heart of Glasgow, Scotland’s and most popular student city.

University of Strathclyde Students
Image courtesy of the University of Strathclyde

Strathclyde’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences plays host to outstanding schools in seven core areas:

With an investment fund of £38m to provide students access to unparalleled learning facilities, Strathclyde’s humanities students benefit from an exceptional learning experience.

Strathclyde’s unique International Study Centre (ISC) gives international students from all four corners of the globe the chance to succeed as they progress through their Strathclyde degree programme. For those who fail to meet the school’s direct entry requirements, the ISC provides the option to complete an undergraduate or advanced foundation course, and pre-masters programmes.


As a truly global institution, the University of Manchester boasts a reputation for education and innovation that resonates around the world.

Manchester’s Faculty of Humanities comprises five prominent schools:

The faculty produces a total income of around £200 million a year, and with more than 18,000 students taught by more than 1,000 academic staff, Manchester’s Faculty of Humanities alone is equivalent to a medium-sized university in the UK.

Through the provision of an exceptional student and academic experience, the faculty aspires to be one of the most successful of its kind.

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The University of Essex is an institution in which curiosity prevails, and where discovering new ways of thinking and breaking through set boundaries isn’t just encouraged, but expected.

As a world-leading higher education provider, Essex is committed to two things: excellence in teaching and excellence in research.

The Faculty of Humanities at the University of Essex consists of eight separate schools and departments:

The faculty enjoys an esteemed reputation for its work, and is in the UK Top 10 for research in both philosophy and art history. All Schools and Departments consistently achieve excellent results for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey.


Cardiff is an ambitious, cutting-edge university with a bold and strategic vision. Set in a beautiful and lively student-centric city, Cardiff provides an educationally outstanding experience for all students.

The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is a vibrant, diverse and inspiring community, comprising 11 world-class academic schools:

Cardiff provides a comprehensive range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, where students benefit from direct access to a number of world-leading academics. Cardiff’s specialist, professional degree programmes equip graduates with the latest skills, and bespoke training can be tailored to meet the needs of specific organisations.

*Some of the institutions participating in this story are commercial partners of Study International.

Feature image courtesy of the University of Derby

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