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Keeping it human: Critical thinking in our technological age – Humanities Studies at Montclair State University

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 In the face of technology-dominated industries and concerns about computers replacing a human workforce, humanities subjects remain a necessity.

Humanities subjects instil a deep understanding of the human experience, history and culture and help students to hone the fundamentals of writing, analysis, debate and critical thinking.

Some might argue that degrees in the humanities ‘lack substance’, but evidence suggests otherwise, with over two thirds of humanities-based graduates entering the private, financial and business sectors, all known to be among the healthiest and fastest-growing industries in the global economy.

On top of this, Max Nisen of Business Insider says that humanities-focused graduates will continue to be sought-after – even as other job fields narrow.

“An increasing proportion of the world’s jobs, the ones that can’t be outsourced overseas, are the ones that require interaction with people,” Nisen explains. “Humanities majors, usually people- and word-friendly, have something of an advantage over many math and engineering majors.”

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Students who seek to expand their knowledge with a degree in the Humanities, Liberal Arts, or Social Sciences should consider Universities known for producing passionate, professionally-prepared and highly-qualified graduates.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) – Montclair State University

With a multitude of rankings, such as the Wall Street Journal’s Top 100 National Public Universities, “Best of the Best” Top 30 LGBTQ-friendly campuses, and Money Magazine’s “50 Colleges that Add the Most Value”, Montclair State is undeniably a popular and people-centric institution.

The location is perfect for any aspiring Humanities student, as the University is only twelve miles from New York City, one of the most diverse multicultural megacities in the world. Students can soak up the colorful cultures and cuisine, and visit numerous iconic attractions like the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Chinatown, and the Metropolitan Art Museum.

Despite being so close to the city, Montclair State is housed on more than 250-acres of peaceful suburban campus, an idyllic setting for reflective study and enrichment. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) is the hub for a variety of academic focuses.

CHSS is made up of 15 separate Departments, offering degrees at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and with 21 major and over 40 minor subjects, students are spoilt for choice in personalized degree selection. Major options include Jurisprudence, Law and Society; Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies; Political Science; Classics; Psychology and History. Minor subjects are just as diverse, including such subjects as Cognitive Science, Social WorkMyth Studies, and some courses in emerging fields like Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Studies, and Spanish & International Business.

Additionally, there are a selection of culture and language-based degrees, such as Jewish American Studies, American Sign Language, and African-American Studies, just to name a few.

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Montclair State’s dedicated commitment to students’ personal success is rooted in its humanitarian approach to teaching. After analyzing the findings of The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) study on career-readiness and desirable competencies of graduates, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences made sure its courses cover – in addition to subject matter – NACE’s necessary distinctions: critical-thinking and problem-solving, oral and written communication, teamwork, I.T. competency, leadership, and a professional work ethic.

CHSS is dedicated to supporting the passions of its students, providing teaching built upon the practices that promote employable development. The College whole-heartedly believes students who possess these desirable and multifaceted skills could apply themselves in any field or industry and succeed.

“True education only occurs once a student learns to think critically. In the humanities and the social sciences, students are taught to identify and question authority,” the College website notes. “As our world rapidly conglomerates, these questions become increasingly relevant.”

To put this into perspective, sociology graduate Jennifer Ocampo speaks highly of the versatile nature of her program, as well as how it helped her secure a meaningful position with the Peace Corps – something she might never have achieved if it weren’t for the support received at Montclair.

“I liked my major because it allowed me to explore very different areas of society and afforded me the knowledge I needed to have a more open mind to people, challenges in society, and a unique outlook as a global citizen,” Jennifer explains.

The CHSS Faculty understands the need for real-world applied learning that enables humanities graduates to hone their skills, and offers valuable experiential opportunities, like the Co-ops and Internships Program. These internships give students industry-based work experience, and aid informed decision-making in choosing their career and deciding on a Major.

Placement options are as varied as can be expected from such a multidimensional Faculty, with job postings for Trend Forecaster, Marketing Assistant, Communications Officer, Bilingual Social Workers, and Teachers listed as a few example placement prospects for Social Science and Humanities graduates.

Montclair State also hosts annual career fairs and workshops to ensure its students have plenty of choice in paths to personal development and potential employment.

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With a student-to-teacher ratio of 17 to 1, CHSS shares a personal approach to each student’s development, with small class sizes producing plenty of one-to-one time whenever it is needed, as well as paths to for students to independently follow their interests. This has led to a vast number of course-inspired societies and clubs found on campus. Classics students can join Mythology Club, and there is also Justice Studies Club, Anthropology Club, as well as the English department’s The Normal Review.

At Montclair State University, the Humanities and the Social Sciences are entirely accessible for students from all academic backgrounds and interests. The University’s insightful courses and supportive development programs produce inspired graduates who benefit from the unique experience of combining pursued passions with industry-relevant expertise and social skills, making them indispensable assets to any future employer.

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