Courses in Humanities in the US

liberal arts
career planning
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By Bhanujith Wijesinghe
Last updated on August 28, 2023

Interested in literature, art, and music? Studying subjects in humanities may be an ideal fit! Learn more about humanities degree programs, career opportunities, and potential salaries in the US and around the world.

Three international students discussing a book at the university library

If you are an international student headed to a US university, you may be wondering about taking courses in humanities. Subjects in humanities are part of a liberal arts curriculum covering history, arts, languages, and more. With a foundation in transferable skills that apply to multiple industries, humanities graduates demonstrate high potential for success and a well-rounded skill set that builds strong futures. In fact, 60% of American CEOs have a humanities degree!

Read on to learn more about the subjects in humanities, possible humanities majors, and career options in humanities you can pursue in the US and worldwide.

What Are the Humanities and Why Should You Study Them?

Humanities is the study of the human world in a societal, individual, cultural, and experiential sense. Courses cover the arts, history, and social sciences. As part of a liberal arts curriculum, studying humanities promotes critical thinking, analysis, and creativity. It develops the analytical and idea-generation skills essential for your career. 

There are many benefits to studying subjects in the humanities. Its diverse subjects provide the flexibility to explore different topics and expand your skill set. As a humanities major, you can expect to enhance your problem-solving, research, communication, and reasoning skills. 

These skill sets will benefit you in the global job market and can lead to successful and fulfilling careers. Let’s take a look at some popular humanities majors you can pursue and the different careers they can lead to.

Humanities Majors for International Students

Studying the humanities and working in a humanities-related role encourages a deep understanding of human interactions while applying concepts to real-world scenarios. Here are several courses in humanities popular with international students at US universities.


Psychology is a multifaceted discipline studying individuals’ mental and behavioral patterns. As a psychologist, you can choose to specialize in one or more psychotherapy disciplines (e.g., clinical, behavioral, cognitive, etc.), which will define the type of psychology you practice in your professional career.

The average salary for a psychologist is approximately $114,290 per year, and this may increase as you gain more experience.


Studying communications focuses on human interactions including the creation, delivery, and receiving of messages across socioeconomic, political, and cultural contexts. As a communications major, you will have the chance to practice public speaking, refine your presentation skills, and write pitches and advisories.

The average salary for a communications professional in the US ranges between $46,000 to $75,000 per year depending on your role’s responsibilities, experience, and education.


Economics is an essential humanities subject covering a society’s goods and services, and their production and distribution process. The skills you obtain as an economics major prepare you for a wide range of careers in academia, law, finance, politics, journalism, and more.

As an economics major, you can earn a potential salary of $84,077 per year. 

General Humanities and Liberal Arts

The liberal arts and humanities cover the human condition through subjects like literature, art, history, and philosophy, and follow an interdisciplinary academic approach. These majors develop skills like critical thinking, analysis, and effective idea generation, which can be applied to any job.

The salary potential for humanities and liberal arts majors differs depending on your work; however, you can expect starting salaries in the US ranging from $49,000 to $87,700 per year.

The first step towards a career in the humanities involves choosing a degree suiting your career objectives. Many universities in the US offer rigorous academics, state-of-the-art campus facilities, and expert faculty dedicated to supporting you with your studies.

Humanities Programs at Shorelight Universities

Shorelight’s universities have several humanities and liberal arts curriculum you can explore. Let’s take a look at several international student friendly universities offering humanities majors: 

Adelphi University, Garden City, New York

The interdisciplinary studies program at Adelphi combines coursework from several departments for a personalized education to suit each student’s academic and professional goals. 

The Adelphi University Career Outcomes Survey: Class of 2021 reported 67.82% of Adelphi’s graduates were employed after graduation. Humanities majors are designed to support student employability by offering study-abroad and honors programs. Additionally, the Levermore Global Scholars program enables students to conduct research, work on service projects, and intern at top nonprofit organizations such as the United Nations. 

Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee

The Belmont interdisciplinary studies and global education program provides hands-on learning through its nationally ranked study-abroad courses covering global leadership, legal studies, and pressing global issues.

Students can pursue internships in the US and overseas, and employment opportunities focus on engaging with and learning from local communities. 

Edgewood College, Madison, Wisconsin

The School of Liberal Arts, Education, and Sciences at Edgewood is home to 15 departments offering a wide range of majors and minors in the arts and humanities, along with natural and social sciences. Students can explore a variety of fields while also taking general education courses to discover their interests and best-fit professions. 

Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington

Gonzaga’s College of Arts and Sciences offers student-centered curricula in disciplines including fine arts, performing arts, humanities, social and behavioral sciences, mathematics, and natural sciences. The college encourages hands-on education through independent research, internships, and service learning to develop marketable skills like creativity and critical thinking.

Gonzaga’s annual First Destination Survey indicates a 96.9% graduation rate with 243 students being employed post-graduation. Students can also participate in mentorship initiatives with faculty, industry experts, and advisors, offering personalized guidance for future careers.

Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Ranked a Tier-1 National Liberal Arts & Sciences Institution in 2022 by U.S. News & World Report, Lycoming College offers 100+ degree programs. Participate in internships, study-abroad programs, and undergraduate research at Lycoming while working closely with professors and mentors. 

Robert Morris University, Moon Township, Pennsylvania

The School of Informatics, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Robert Morris provides degrees and majors that focus on studying human interactions, including language, culture, technology, and history.

The school provides access to modern facilities like the Academic Media Center, Writing Center, and Oral History Center, where students can expand their knowledge in computer information systems, communications, American history, critical writing, and oral presentation, and improve interpersonal communication and empirical reasoning skills. 

Schreiner University, Kerrville, Texas

Ranked #73 in Regional Colleges West by U.S. News & World Report, Schreiner University’s multidisciplinary studies degree program supports students in identifying their professional goals. Course subjects include early childhood education, mathematics, and languages. 

University of the Pacific, Stockton, California

The University of the Pacific’s liberal arts curriculum includes majors like natural and social sciences, humanities, fine arts, and performing arts. Students can combine disciplines within or outside the humanities during their studies.

The humanities scholars program at the University of the Pacific combines classroom learning with extracurricular events, such as field trips and cultural festivals, enabling deeper exploration of humanities disciplines. The community-based nature of the program encourages students to collaborate on creative projects and build wide professional networks.

University of Saint Mary, Leavenworth, Kansas

Ranked #98 in Regional Universities Midwest by U.S. News & World Report, the University of Saint Mary’s interdisciplinary/liberal studies major is a unique program that allows students to explore language and literature, math, and science before deciding what to specialize in for their bachelor or master’s degree.

Western New England University, Springfield, Massachusetts

The College of Arts and Sciences at Western New England covers subjects like natural and mathematical science, social science, and humanities through engaged learning and experiential study-abroad opportunities.

Undergraduate students can pursue more than 30 majors including time- and tuition-saving combinations. WNE’s exploratory program provides the freedom to consider all options before deciding on your major. 

Western Oregon University, Monmouth, Oregon

Western Oregon University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers 30+ academic majors. In addition to faculty mentorship, students can gain insights into real-world projects through internships and study-abroad programs to prepare for successful careers. 

Wilson College, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

The liberal studies degree program at Wilson College focuses on improving students’ writing and oral communication skills, computer skills, and quantitative skills. Foundation courses and curricula are equipped to widen one’s understanding of different cultures through in-depth studies of foreign languages and cultural diversity.

With a humanities major, you can explore multiple roles in various industries. Depending on your chosen role and the type of organization where you hope to work, the duties and responsibilities, working hours, company culture, and salary vary. 

Career Prospects with a Humanities Degree

A humanities major focuses on coursework and practical experiences that emphasize a deep understanding of creativity, planning, teaching, and communication. The skills you acquire open up several career possibilities across varied fields. 

Here is a list of humanities careers you can pursue, potential job growth, and starting salaries based on top humanities majors pursued by international students in the US.



Clinical Psychologist

Potential Job Growth

6% from 2021–2031

Average Annual Salaries in the US


Average Annual Salaries in India


Average Annual Salaries in China


Average Annual Salaries in Brazil


Communications Studies


Communications Director

Potential Job Growth

6% from 2021–2031

Average Annual Salaries in the US


Average Annual Salaries in India


Average Annual Salaries in China


Average Annual Salaries in Brazil




Financial Manager

Potential Job Growth

17% from 2021–2031

Average Annual Salaries in the US


Average Annual Salaries in India


Average Annual Salaries in China


Average Annual Salaries in Brazil


General Humanities and Liberal Arts



Potential Job Growth

5% from 2021–2031

Average Annual Salaries in the US


Average Annual Salaries in India


Average Annual Salaries in China


Average Annual Salaries in Brazil


Source: SalaryExpert, 2022

Selecting a humanities major gives students the freedom to explore a variety of subjects that are creatively stimulating, while also preparing for successful and fulfilling careers. 

So, if you are interested in studying subjects in humanities, reach out to a Shorelight advisor for more information and advice on your best-fit school!

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