Saturday, May 19, 2007

The biggest undergraduate major by far in the United States today is business. Twenty-two per cent of bachelor’s degrees are awarded in that field. Eight per cent are awarded in education, five per cent in the health professions. By contrast, fewer than four per cent of college graduates major in English, and only two per cent major in history. There are more bachelor’s degrees awarded every year in Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies than in all foreign languages and literatures combined. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which classifies institutions of higher education, no longer uses the concept “liberal arts” in making its distinctions. This makes the obsession of some critics of American higher education with things like whether Shakespeare is being required of English majors beside the point. The question isn’t what the English majors aren’t taking; the question is what everyone else isn’t taking.

--Louis Menand, The New Yorker

5 comments:

Diana said...

Wow. That's a thought-provoking quote and I'll look for the article in my New Yorker.

Thanks for pointing this out.

SFP said...

You're welcome.

stefanie said...

This makes me so depressed.

SFP said...

Even though I didn't major in English or history, it depresses me greatly.

Lesley said...

English was my major and History my minor. I'm surprised the figures for those two areas are so low, especially English. The idea that there are so many business majors walking around is a bit sad and scary to me.