Key Findings From the New Data:
- The shares of traditionally underrepresented minorities earning bachelor’s degrees reached their highest levels on record in the five large humanities disciplines (English, history, Languages other than English (LOTE), philosophy, and religion).
- Most of the recent rise occurred due to a sharp increase in the number of Hispanic and Latino students earning degrees. The only exception was in religion, where most of the growth can be attributed to increasing numbers of African American students awarded degrees in the discipline.
- At the doctoral level, the trends diverged. In four of the humanities disciplines studied, the shares of traditionally underrepresented minorities were below recent highs, and in some cases trending lower. Among students earning doctoral degrees in LOTE, the share of underrepresented minorities was actually lower in 2014 than in 1987. The only exception was in philosophy, where the latest percentage was the highest on record.
- The number and share of humanities bachelor’s degrees fell in all five of the largest humanities disciplines (English; history; languages and literatures of the than English (LOTE); philosophy; and religion). History experienced the largest one-year decline.
- As a share of all bachelor’s degrees awarded, English, history, and LOTE fell to their lowest levels on record, while philosophy and religion remain near their peak levels.
- The trends among doctoral degrees are significantly more diverse—with growing numbers in history; declines in LOTE, philosophy, and religion that broke recent upward trends; and longer term declines in English.
Retrenchments in Gender Diversity
There are substantial differences among the large humanities disciplines in the representation of women. At all levels, the share of women graduates in English and LOTE remains above 60%. In contrast, the share of women earning degrees in the other three disciplines studied (history, philosophy, and religion) remain well below 50%, with slight declines in recent years among degree recipients at most levels.
Direct to Recently Updated Data (April 2016)
- Gender Distribution of Degrees in Religion
- Racial/Ethnic Distribution of Degrees in Religion
- Degree Completions in the Academic Study of Religion
- Gender Distribution of Degrees in Languages and Literatures Other than English
- Racial/Ethnic Distribution of Degrees in Languages and Literatures Other than English
- Gender Distribution of Degrees in English Language and Literature
- Racial/Ethnic Distribution of Degrees in English Language and Literature
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