Humanities courses too hold immense potential for higher education, jobs

Representational Image. Photo: iStock/ lakshmiprasad S

The Class 10 and higher secondary results of various school boards are out. It is at this time when most students make that all-important decision on what course to study and what career to choose. However, for long, there existed a trend when many students who intended to pursue courses like humanities and arts are looked down on whenever they express their wish.

Such treatment stems from the misconception that the humanities do not have much potential in a technology-driven world. There is also a misconception that the world is in the hands of management and tech experts and that there is no room for those studying humanities. The world now realizes the value of those who know literature, art, and other subjects of humanities. Even technology companies and management firms are after such talents. 

A preconceived notion that those studying humanities and arts were only meant for civil service, other government jobs, or college teaching too existed in the society. Such boundaries, however, seem to be blurring now. The programme ‘Humanities and Social Sciences’ has now found a place even in the Engineering Higher Education Entrance Test – GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering). 

Humanities/Arts graduates have also begun scoring high marks in various entrance tests, including the CAT, which determines admission to the IIMs and other premier institutes. The world is indeed witnessing humanities education scaling new heights.

After the IITs, the IIMs too are launching new study programmes in humanities subjects. Humanities is increasingly gaining importance in the fields of management and technology as well. This shift in perspective has further gained momentum as the pandemic disrupted human relationships and reshaped the very way of life.

Humanities programmes at IIMs, IITs

A good example of the new possibilities in humanities studies is the Post-graduate Programme in Liberal Studies and Management that has begun at the IIM, Kozhikode ( This course is designed with the view that the future needs socially responsible managers. Managers with arts and humanities backgrounds are expected to be able to address challenges such as environmental issues and labour relations in the corporate sector. Admission is based on CAT, GRE, and GMAT scores and the course duration is two years. Placement prospects in top institutes is a key attraction of this course.

The Department of Economics and Social Sciences in IIM, Bangalore is now planning to launch a Bachelor of Arts programme in Liberal Arts. The five-year Integrated Programme in Management (IPM) at IIM Indore ( too places great emphasis on humanities studies. The five-year Integrated MA (English / Development Studies) programme at IIT Madras ( is already quite popular. The MA Society and Culture course at IIT Gandhinagar ( is a good example of interdisciplinary study opportunities. Another IIT that offers MA Development Studies is the institute at Guwahati (

Interdisciplinary studies

What is the fate of arts and science programmes in ordinary colleges if premier institutions of higher education offer courses on humanities? Interdisciplinary study programmes, which have been in vogue in IITs and IIMs, will also be available in other colleges.

Two years ago, when the 'CAT' results came out, there was a Keralite student among those who scored the highest marks. He has a BA in English from St. Stephen's College, Delhi, and then pursued MA in Media and Cultural Studies from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. In short, he came from a pure humanities background and scored big in the examination, which had long been considered the monopoly of those from engineering and commerce backgrounds. Some experts are of the opinion that the demand for people with humanities and arts backgrounds is likely to increase in the future, where artificial intelligence and other technologies play key roles.

Like in any other field of study, academic background, excellence, and other achievements are important in the field of humanities as well. A person who has a proper career plan can make great strides in the humanities sector.

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