Till last few years, when BA English (Hons) or BSc (Hons) Electronics used to get highest cut-offs. But, 2018 witnessed highest cut-offs for the BA programme. The highest cut-off was registered at Lady Shri Ram College which registered 98.75% for the course. It is an increase of 3.25% from last year. Earlier, the career choices of students vacillated just from science to commerce and no student prepared hard to get into an eminent institution in the arena of humanities. Most of them opted for courses that led them to economically secure careers. But, trends are changing these days and even engineers after dedicating years to their daunting education are passionate about pursuing a degree in humanities.
What is humanities stream all about? It envelops the study of diverse subjects that fall under arts, languages, history, and research techniques. Thus, a humanities degree will include subjects such as history, economics, sociology, literature, and performing arts. The popularity of these subjects has gained so much momentum that top engineering institutes such as IITs are adding fine arts and humanities in their curriculum along with other engineering subjects. The aim behind this is to develop them into holistic individuals. IIT-Madras is now offering a five-year integrated MA programme in English and Economics, while IIT Kharagpur has courses for law too. Also, IIT-BHU is redesigning most of its courses to teach humanistic studies.
Most of the leaders at Silicon Valley have specialized in liberal arts and humanities. LinkedIn’s founder Reid Hoffman has masters in philosophy; Slack’s founder Stewart Butterfield has a major in English; and Airbnb’s founder, Brain Chesky has a major in fine arts. Subjects in humanities help us to understand other languages, histories, and culture and individuals can make moral, spiritual, and intellectual sense of the world. In a survey conducted by CareerCo among 36,000 students in nine cities, 74% of students were interested in pursuing humanities.
What has led to the sudden popularity of this course? Kanika S Ahuja, Associate Professor of Psychology, LSR explains, “It has a lot to do with students’ piquing interest in Civil Services. Two subjects, history and political science which are in the Mains, are both covered by the BA programme.” Graduates and post-graduates in humanities can opt for careers in civil services, journalism, banking related sectors, international organisations, NGOs, consultancy firms etc. Most of the humanities programme involves studying language at the deeper level; exposure to creative writing can help in developing journalistic capabilities in a student. Hence, humanities stream offers a student a lot to explore.