Humanities Crisis

“Crisis” and “decline” are the terms of the day in conversations of the humanities. A primary stimulus for the issue is a stunning factoid: only 8% of undergraduates major in humanities. But this number is deceiving. It does not consist of degrees in carefully relevant areas such as history, literature and some of the social sciences. Nor does it take consideration of the many needed and optional humanities programs learners take outside their degrees. Most essential, the 8% contains only those with a serious educational interest in literary works, songs and art, not those dedicated to generating the creative works that humanists study.

humanities_crisisOnce we identify that deeply caring about the humanities (including the arts) does not need specializing in philosophy, English or foreign languages, it’s not at all apparent that there is a crisis of interest in the humanities, at least in our colleges. Is the crisis rather one of severe financial reality? Humanities degrees on average start making $31,000 per year and shift to a normal of $50,000 in their middle years. (The numbers for authors and executing performers are much reduced.) By comparison, company degrees begin with incomes 26% greater than humanities degrees and shift to incomes 51% greater.

But this information does not show that business degrees generate more because they majored in business. Business degrees may well be more enthusiastic about making profits and so agree to jobs that pay well even if they are not otherwise satisfying, whereas individuals enthusiastic about the humanities and the arts may be willing to take more satisfying but lower-paying jobs. Higher education teachers, for example, often know that they could have made far more if they had gone to law school or gotten an M.B.A., but are willing to agree to considerably reduced pay to teach a topic they enjoy.

College Level Examination Program Purpose

CLEP (College Level Examination Program) is a program developed to provide learners possibilities to obtain higher education degree credit for certain academic places of study by testing their knowledge through specific placement assessments. CLEP is the abbreviation for College Level Examination Program. CLEP is developed for learners to accomplish higher education credit by passing exams for the appropriate undergrad college programs. Most institutions provide credit and/or placement for passing CLEP exams provided by the College Board.

CLEP-TitleCLEP exams involve a sequence of multiple-choice questions that are evaluated on a range of 20-80. Most institutions consider a score of 50 a passing grade. However, some academic institutions provide more or less credit according to your ranking and the subject. For example, a score of 50 in Spanish might compensate 6 credits to a college student while a grade of 65 might give 12 credits. Consult with a consultant or CLEP professional at your preferred university to find out the range of credit given for a particular discipline.

As of 2007, CLEP exams are provided in the following areas:


  • Financial Accounting
  • Intro Business Law
  • Information Systems & Computer Applications
  • Principles of Management
  • Principles of Marketing

Composition & Literature

  • American Literature
  • Analyzing & Interpreting Literature
  • English Composition
  • English Literature
  • Freshman College Composition
  • Humanities

Foreign Languages

  • (Check with the school for foreign language CLEP exams offered)

History & Social Sciences

  • American Government
  • Intro to Educational Psychology
  • History of the United States I, II (Early Colonization to 1877 / 1877 to Present)
  • Human Growth & Development
  • Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Principles of Microeconomics
  • Intro to Psychology
  • Social Sciences & History
  • Intro to Sociology
  • Western Civilization I, II (Ancient Near East to 1648 / 1648 to Present)

Science & Mathematics

  • Biology
  • Calculus
  • Chemistry
  • College Algebra
  • College Mathematics
  • Pre-calculus
  • Natural Sciences