Why Humanities and Social Sciences?

An education in the social sciences and humanities is probably more relevant than ever before.

“Arts graduates are best prepared for the unexpected” according to the Globe & Mail. The Wall Street Journal opines “Go to college to get a well-rounded education and worry about the job market after graduation.” The value of so-called soft skills in the workplace are being quantified, with empathy proving to be a key business driver (Forbes Magazine calls it “the force that moves business forward.”). The best way to sharpen empathy? Deep reading of literary fiction, according to a recent study. And storytelling is being touted as the biggest business strength of the next decade.

The obsession with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) is now considered dangerous by many – so much so that a new movement that replaces STEM with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) is providing a new paradigm.

As a faculty, we are committed to the future of our students, our university, our province and our country. We believe that an arts education is the best foundation for any future, and we know ours is an academic discipline without a best before date. We want everyone else to know that as well.

It takes a lot of people to run a company, a country, a government, a university, a city – people like marketers, writers, strategists and researchers with a variety of skills. Have a look at our regular alumni of the month feature to get a sense of the progressive positions people with arts degrees hold – a brief sampling includes Angela Noseworthy (Manager of Community Services at The Canadian Cancer Society NL, Daffodil Place), Gemma Hickey (Executive Director of For the Love of Learning), Niall O’Dea (Director General of Electricity Resources at Natural Resources Canada), Angela Antle (CBC Radio host and producer), Michelle Snow (the Director in the Office of Public Engagement with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador).

In the words of the late Steve Jobs, “Technology alone is not enough.”

And as we move further and further into a world dominated by gadgets, computers, robots and drones, the ability to synthesize ideas, to be flexible, and to utilize creative and social skills, will become more and more valuable.

Arts education and research are about what makes us human. And in an increasingly complex world, a little humanity can go a long way.


Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000