Skip to content
  • Print


Pacific Humanities Scholars Program
Ray Rennard, Ph.D.
Director of Pacific Humanities Scholars Program, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Why Major in Humanities?

Kat Harlan-Gran

I love studying the humanities...but what can I do with it?

A major in the humanities provides you with an intellectual tool kit for life. Although the world of academics has placed an increasing degree of emphasis on STEM fields in recent years, the lessons that humanities disciplines have to teach us can be applied to countless facets of our world. The humanities produce not only writers and artists, but also entrepreneurs, educators, and innovators.

Study in the humanities is meant to stimulate creative problem solving, a skill that can easily be generalized across a wide array of social, cultural, and political context. They empower students to express their individuality within the complexity of cultural communities and to cultivate traits of empathy, ethics, and civic responsibility. Moreover, they promote written and verbal communications, a crucial skill for any aspiration or career. 

In the context of careers, the humanities have the potential to stimulate a variety of skills related to entrepreneurship and innovation. The humanities impose structure on complex interpersonal problems and encourage articulate self-expression. They also promote compassionate collaboration and teach the value of making decisions based on deep analysis and evidence. Perhaps most importantly, the humanities produce creative and compelling visions of enterprise and progress, allowing talented creative thinkers to set themselves apart.  

Examples of Successful Humanities Majors

Michael Eisner: CEO, Walt Disney, English and Theater
Janet Robinson: CEO, New York Times Co, English
Clarence Thomas: Supreme Court Justice, English
Sally Ride: Astronaut, English and Physics
Jerry Brown: California Governor, Classics
Les Moonves: CEO, CBS, Spanish
J. Paul Getty: CEO, Getty Oil, Philosophy
Peter Thiel: PayPal Co-founder, Philosophy
Sheila C. Bair: FDIC Chair, Philosophy
Raja Khanna: QuickPlay Media, Chief Creative Officer, Philosophy

Importance of the Humanities According to Justice Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor speaks with President EibeckPacific was lucky to host Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor who gave a talk to students and community members alike. In addition to addressing the struggles that she faced on her path to the highest court in the nation, Justice Sotomayor lauded the value of a liberal arts education and the importance of becoming a well-rounded student. "You have to become, yourself, capable of being an interesting person," she asserted. "And how do you develop that capacity? In college. It's called a liberal arts education."

To watch Justice Sotomayor's speech in its entirety, click here.


Careers of Our Recent Graduates

Our Scholars have brought their degrees to a wide variety of careers and fields after graduating from Pacific. Here are some examples of the many ways that our recent graduates are applying their humanities background in the working world:

Kelly and Sheldon strike a pose.

  • Computer software design
  • CEO/Entrepreneur
  • Graphic design
  • Attorney
  • Entertainment law
  • Filmmaking
  • Teaching
  • Academics
  • Journalism
  • Creative writing/publishing
  • Work in the film/television industry
  • Advertising production
  • Finance
  • Theologian, Yale Divinity School

“The calling of the humanities is to make us truly human in the best sense of the word.”
— J. Irwin Miller, architect and philosopher