Top Students in Britain Shun Humanities

The numbers of applications to study traditional humanities subjects like English, history, classics, and philosophy at British universities have fallen this year, The Telegraph reports. Experts say the trend is due to fears over the economy and the cost of a university education, with students applying to study subjects like law, teaching, and accounting that will offer them the best chance of a defined career right out of university. “Linguistics and classics” subjects, including English, fell by 4.1 per cent to 71,577 applications; history, archaeology, philosophy, and theology courses are down 1.7 per cent to 83,331 applications; and European language course applications fell by 0.6 per cent. British universities are also reducing the number of courses they offer in these subjects: next year, the number of courses offered in English and history will fall by 1.7% and 0.4%, respectively. At the same time, the number of accounting courses will increase by 4.5%. Professor Geoffrey Alderman, a history lecturer at the University of Buckingham, said:

“As students are having to pay more for university education, they are behaving like consumers and looking for what returns they will get for the investments they are making…. This is a wake up call for the humanities subjects. If they want their courses to continue and flourish they have to sell them in this new environment.”

Read more in The Telegraph.

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