The Student Room Group

PhD in humanities or STEM?

Are PhDs in humanities worthless?
I keep hearing how doing a PhD In humanities or social sciences is worthless and how they yield no practical, real world results.

For instance, a PhD in marine biology or Zoology will likely contribute significantly to what we know about animals. Similar with PhD in drig discovery.
But what will a PhD in migration or land grabbing, or gender or history achieve? Similarly, what will research on cemeteries in Jerusalem, or sexual politics of cinema contribute to the real world?

While I'm aiming to use several technical science approach in my PhD, it will still be classed as a social science PhD

So are the humanities or social science PhDs really that worthless?
If you are choosing between humanities or STEM, definitely choose STEM.
While research in humanities and social sciences does contribute to our understanding of societies, cultures and experiences, the reality is that these fields generally offer economic opportunities and job prospects compared to STEM disciplines. Let's delve into the facts:

Data on employment reveals that individuals with PhDs in STEM areas often face challenges in securing stable, well-paying jobs related to their expertise. Recent studies indicate that only about half of humanities and social science PhD holders secure tenure-track positions, while the rest work as faculty or transition out of academia. In contrast, three-quarters of STEM PhD graduates find employment within their field.

The limited funding, academic roles and industry demand for scholars in humanities highlight the perception that their research yields practical benefits compared to STEM fields. While exploring topics like poetry or feminist film theory is intellectually stimulating, it may not offer the same tangible value of a STEM doctorate focused on developing new technologies, life-saving medications, sustainable energy solutions, and so forth.

STEM disciplines excel at driving innovation that tangibly enhances lives through progress, technological advancements improved manufacturing processes and more. These fields play a role, in spurring growth and advancing society in measurable ways.

Certainly, it's important to acknowledge that STEM fields benefit from incorporating policy and societal considerations. However, in today's world, there is a demand, for professionals in engineering, computer science and biomedical research compared to those in areas like century Dutch poetry or gender studies. The practical reality is that the economic incentives and career prospects within STEM are more appealing.

While the humanities hold value in terms of pursuits, it's evident that their impact and job prospects pale in comparison to the societal contributions and lucrative opportunities available to those pursuing STEM PhDs. Realistically speaking, most students would likely find pursuing degrees in fields, with practical outcomes to be more advantageous.

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