Why Are Students Required to Earn College Humanities Credit?

You may wonder why you, an engineering major, have to take college humanities courses in order to graduate. After all, reading Shakespeare won't help you design an aircraft engine. But there are good reasons for all students to take humanities classes. For one thing, these classes can awaken a new interest for you, regardless of which career you end up choosing. For another, colleges and universities want to matriculate students with well-rounded educations rather than simply training them for a specific career. Furthermore, most employers find that a job candidate that brings something more to the table than just career-specific courses ends up being a better employee.

Examples: History and Civilization

History and Western Civilization are two of the most popular college humanities courses, and they are usually offered at the freshman level with few or no prerequisites. While these classes can be challenging, many students feel a real sense of accomplishment after succeeding in a history or civilization class. Whatever career you end up pursuing, from architecture to zoology, a sound knowledge of history and civilization is valuable. It also helps you be a better participant in society when you understand the events that shape the world you live in.

Examples: Philosophy and Religious Studies

Not only do college humanities classes in philosophy and religious studies require you to really think, they help you understand how other people think and how societies have worked over the course of history. Broadening your world view by taking classes in philosophy or religious studies is valuable to you as a citizen of the world. You may not “use” what you learn in your day-to-day work, but the concepts you learn help inform you and help you as a thinking and contributing member of the society in which you live. In many cases colleges and universities offer freshman level classes in philosophy and religious studies that can go toward your degree requirement for college humanities credit.

Examples: Classics and Modern Languages

If you haven't studied the classics, you're in for a learning experience like no other. Not only are the classics of Greek and Roman mythology regularly drawn upon by modern authors and screenwriters, the stories in themselves are fascinating and provide clues about how humans think and live. Should you pursue humanities credits by taking modern language classes, you improve your career prospects significantly. In the U.S., people in every discipline who know Spanish are in high demand, and no matter what modern language you choose to learn you open up new ways of thinking and make travel to areas where that language is spoken more enriching and enjoyable.

Be Prepared to Read and Write

College humanities classes generally require extensive reading as well as written assignments and term papers. Set aside some time every day to work on your assignments and prepare for tests and you will succeed in your humanities courses. If you're pursuing a technical degree, look at your humanities coursework as an opportunity to broaden your horizons and become a more educated, well-rounded adult.

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