What is humanities? Why should one choose it in higher secondary?

Humanities have just begun to gain momentum in India, although it is a classic subject and quite renowned in other parts of the world. Humanities as a subject deal with human society and its culture. Humanities is an umbrella term for subjects like language, philosophy, history, geography, sociology, psychology, economics etc. Lately, the awareness regarding the vitality of the subject in a man’s life of any field is on an increase, measures are being taken to incorporate at least a few subjects of humanities even in the technical and commerce courses. Humanities is often referred to as the easiest out of the three prime streams in India, namely, science, commerce, and humanities. But it is not so, it may not include calculations and formulae but it comes with its own set of hard nuts to crack. Without further adieu, let’s move on with our topic.

Subject of study

The four main subjects are-

  1. History
  2. Political Science
  3. Geography
  4. English

Other than these four one optional subject can be chosen from these, every school offers a different set of subjects as optional, not all subjects are available in every school)-

Economics, Psychology, Sanskrit, Hindi, Fine Arts, Music, Dance, etc.

Humanities in India- It’s value and scope

As mentioned earlier humanities have a stereotype attached to it, the stereotype is that it’s a subject for the students with the least marks. Since it’s a prevailing thinking which is, fortunately, changing at its own pace, as of now India values humanities as a subject little less than the other two. It is ironical how the least intelligent students become the best civil officers. Coming back to the topic, humanities has a long way to go to before it completely breaks free of its shackles of stereotypes. On the brighter side, the number of students taking humanities is competitively less than the other streams,  which works in the favour of the students, as the demand for a humanities student is on a rise. Also with more and more people acknowledging the power of this subject, it is no doubt that in the near future, humanities will be the stream in demand.

Fields after 10+2 humanities and Job opportunities

Another common view that exists is that humanities do not have a wide scope after 10+2, which again is a fallacy. Humanities have ample numbers of opportunities after 10+2. The three most pursued field/jobs after humanities are UPSC,  Journalism, and  B.A. Other than these a student can opt for the law, designing, fashion designing, CS, event management, liberal arts etc.  UPSC is known to be the most revered civil post,  it comes with immense pride and dignity. Journalism is a happening field, there are many more bifurcations inside this, but overall it’s a field which has jobs with good pay scale and other perks as well. After B.A a student goes for M.A and then PhD, following which many professing and research jobs are lined up. A humanities student can also go for counselling, archaeology,  flight attending, hotel management. There are plenty of jobs and courses to name, hence the notion that humanities do not come with good jobs is utterly untrue.

Who should take humanities?

A student who has at least 50-60% can opt for humanities in his/her 10+2. A large number of students amidst the crowd of humanities states that they opted for humanities because their percentage was not enough to get other streams and end up studying something they have no interest in. It is the bitter most truth of Indian education system, that not interest but marks decide which stream to take. At the same time, there are students whose heart lies in humanities but are forced to take science and commerce due to pressure from parents or teachers. Students need to be very clear in their head about their interest and ignore any pressure from anyone. The salary of an assistant professor is around 6 lakhs.

Best institutions offering courses in Humanities

SRCC, Delhi

LSR, Delhi

Loyola College, Chennai

St. Xavier, Mumbai

Fergusson College, Pune

Miranda House, Delhi

Hansraj College, Delhi

Pay Scale

In tier-1 colleges of Delhi University, the average salary offered to graduates is 4-5 Lakhs and some companies offer a package is as high as 11-12 lakhs. An IAS officer earns around 75-80 thousand including allowances, but the pride accompanied with this position is much higher than any salary. A journalist at the beginning of his career can earn between 3-8 Lpa. A fashion designing business earns as much as Lakhs per month. A senior air hostess can earn as much as 80 thousand per month. A psychologist can earn a salary ranging from 20 thousand to 7-8 Lakhs per month.

Some renowned people with the humanities/liberal arts background

Kiran Bedi

Medha Patkar

Vidya Balan

Jack Ma, Alibaba Chairman

Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO

Oprah Winfrey


The bottom line is humanity is a growing stream in India, it has not yet received the recognition and respect it deserves, that being said humanities is an exceptional field with a wide scope, it would be sheer stupidity to not choose this flourishing stream due to pressure or any other factor. Hopefully, one day all myths regarding humanities will be cleared one day and students will be able to freely out for this stream.