Choosing a major in college is very important for every student. Some believe that students should major in something they will enjoy doing for the rest of their lives, while others think that majoring in STEM fields is the best option for the future of students. A main controversial major that people have yet to agree on is humanities. Students are either being told that studying humanities is not a major that will bring them success, or that it doesn’t matter what they major in. The essay presents a logically concluded result after the comparison of two articles discussing whether a student should major in humanities or not. Both the articles were thoroughly analyzed, and then a conclusion was drawn about their neutrality and quality of the ideas presented in them.
The first article was written by Edward Conard “We Don’t Need More Humanities Majors” gives Conard’s point of view on why students shouldn’t major in Humanities and should focus on STEM fields. Conard explains in his article that America’s economy grows by trained professionals and talented risk-takers, which most-likely are not those with humanities degrees. In his article, he added many studies that back up his point of views, he stated a study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that shows that employment in the United States has grown about 45 percent which is the highest growth rate between other countries, explaining that this growth is because of “successful high-tech startups” (Conard 469). Conard also showed a survey from the Kauffman Institute survey that reveals that “over 500 engineering and tech companies established between 1995 and 2005 reveals that 55 percent of the U.S.-born founders held degrees in the science, engineering, technology or mathematics, so-called STEM-related fields, and over 90 percent held terminal degrees in STEM, business, economics, law and health care. Only 7 percent held terminal degrees in other areas while only 3 percent in the arts, humanities or social sciences” (469-470). Adding to that, some of those people may have an undergraduate humanities degree, but that was not enough for them to be successful. They had to go back to college to earn a degree in STEM fields or as he stated “more technical degrees” (Conard 470).
Another study he stated was about how lately a significant amount of foreigners with science and engineering degrees are brought to the United States to fill in need of economic growth. Conard’s article was full of research and studies to back up his argument but without much personal opinions or thoughts of his own. At the end of his report, he suggests why students shouldn’t major in humanities, as it hasn’t been helping The United States economic growth recently. Explaining that in the past the United States could afford students with different degrees but now the rest of the world has caught up with their economic growth and that can affect the standards of living in the United States.
The second article “We Need More Humanities Majors” written by Christian Madsbjerg, and Mikkel B. Rasmussen discusses an ongoing debate on the importance of humanities majors. The article started with stating how those with humanities degrees are belittled, and those who plan on studying humanities are advised to focus on more technical majors. They explained that idea behind wanting more technical majors is not logical, giving an example that in the past a similar situation with prioritizing lawyers over investment bankers, lead to an overpopulation of students with law degrees without the required talents of lawyers. Madsbjerg and Rasmussen gave a strong response to a North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory when he made a case on how majors similar to humanities are supported but not needed. He stated “… frankly, if you want to take gender studies, that’s fine. Go to a private school and take it, but I don’t want to subsidize that if that’s not going to get someone a job. It’s the tech jobs that we need right now” (McCrory 472). But with that, the authors replied with a list of 30 successful people with humanities degrees. Adding to that, they showed a study from The Washington Post’s Innovations section and Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, of how only 47 percent of tech companies are started by those with STEM fields and “The rest graduated with a healthy combination of liberal arts, health-care and business degrees.” (Madsbjerg and Rasmussen 472).
Madsbjerg and Rasmussen’s article had a convincing argument of their point of views, answering a question that many wonders “What good is a degree in the humanities in the real world of products and customers?” (472). Their Response to the question is that it is essential for a business owner to understand their customers, to able to analyze their wants and needs from the company and not anyone can do that. Human beings are a very complicated species, each human respond’s to situations uniquely, and to understand them one should study them. All those skills are taught in humanities majors, and companies have started to notice that they need people with a deep understanding of what the people around them want and need. And to back up their argument, they showed how well-known companies have started to want people to help the company deeply understand what their customers want because companies “are starting to launch major initiatives with names such as “customer-centric marketing” and “deep customer understanding.” (Madsbjerg and Rasmussen473).
After all the facts and arguments, Madsbjerg and Rasmussen assured those who want to study humanities, that their major is not in danger and that it is needed more than ever, to strengthen the company services. They explain that for companies to improve they need the collaboration of those with humanities degrees and those with STEM fields degrees.
Both articles had a solid argument towards what they believed. The first article focused a lot more on presenting proof and evidence of what they were saying, using logical appeal to convince the reader why humanities degree is not as significant as STEM fields degrees. While the second article used more of an ethical appeal with a bit of valid request to convince their audience that those with humanities degrees are not in risk of failure. Although the first article used a lot of evidence and claims, it was hard to understand what the author exactly meant with what they’re saying; it was lacking an even balance between using logical and ethical appeal, which made it hard as a reader to connect to what the author was saying. The second article had a lot less evidence than the first one, but it was straightforward to read through and understand what the authors were saying. Reading the second article wasn’t as overwhelming with evidence as the first article, which gives the audience a chance to think and provide their own opinion on the topic.
Also, the first article only focused on one main reason on why people shouldn’t major in humanities, giving a lot of evidence on how STEM fields degrees are helping the economy of the United States grow. But the second article gave more than just one reason why people shouldn’t fear in majoring in humanities. The second article had a very fair point of view, taking into consideration the importance of STEM fields majors but also the great importance of humanities degree. They gave evidence of successful people in humanities degree, whereas in the first article there wasn’t any evidence of unsuccessful people with a humanities degree as a major. The first article only showed how successful are those with a STEM degree.
The authors of both articles were very passionate about their point of view and perspective. Both had strong arguments, both articles were well informed about the topic they were talking about, but the author in the first article seemed more confident in his position that he didn’t recognize opposing views, and that made it lack connection with the audience, due to the overwhelming amount of evidence that it provided. The second article was obvious and about their opinion without making the reader feel forced to agree with their perspective. The second article had less evidence, but it acknowledged both aspects. It makes the reader feel the honesty in the article, as well as the authors. Both articles did not use any emotional style in their articles.
Although both articles had strong arguments, the second article was far more convincing than the first one. The tone of the second article was very honest. It approached the idea of how humanities degrees are as crucial as STEM degrees without being unfair or bias. It gave evidence and honest opinions towards the topic and offered a solution at the end of their article on how both majors can work together to better the economy. The second article lacked emotion although it was very strongly opinionated, it didn’t give a chance for the reader to form their own opinion, which provides a forced feeling to the reader. The first article was clearer to read, rather than having to read the article a couple of times for the second one because of the amount of evidence. The second article had more of an argument to the issue rather than it being an article full of proof towards the author’s opinion. Both articles would be beneficial for the research. The first article was mainly-full of evidence. It will be more useful for those with a similar sentiment, but definitely not enough because it lacked an opposing point of view. It only focused on one reason why humanities degree is not as good as STEM degree.