The liberal arts, of which the humanities and social sciences are a part, have long been the cornerstone of an undergraduate education, and the very center of the university. In more recent years, however, students, parents, and politicians have also worried that a liberal arts education will not provide the basis for obtaining a good job.
The data do not support this fear, nor does our experience in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS). According to US Census data, the average unemployment rate for all baccalaureate degree holders in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) is 4.3%. The average for holders of degrees offered by CHSS is nearly the same, 4.6%. Holders of CHSS degrees are employed at about the same rate as holders of all baccalaureate degrees. For graduate degree holders, the average over all degrees is 2.3%, with CHSS degree holders at 3.3%. All these rates are very low--more reflective of churning than structural unemployment.
Those most at risk of unemployment are students who do not obtain a baccalaureate degree. The DMV average unemployment rate for students with only a high school degree is 10.6%. The message: get a degree in a field you love and in which you'll succeed, since not having a baccalaureate degree puts you at much higher risk for unemployment than those differences among baccalaureate degree holders.
We invite you to look below at the rates for particular degrees offered by the college. "All degree holders" refers to any holder of a baccalaureate or graduate degree in any field--that is, the average for the degrees as a whole.