Best Value Colleges For Humanities Majors

If your heart is set on studying the Humanities -- and as a proud holder of a degree in the Humanities, this writer knows we have the biggest hearts -- you don't have to resign yourself to a lifetime of student loans you'll never be able to pay back.

Just do your research and make a smart decision using PayScale's College ROI Report humanities major ranking to find out which colleges provide the highest return on investment for alumni who study English, literature, history, foreign languages, philosophy and other related subjects.

By using the College ROI Report, humanities majors can find out which colleges give alumni with a bachelor's degree in a humanities subject the best value for their educational dollar by calculating return on investment.  Read More

Find Out Exactly What You
Should Be Paid


134 (tie)Utah State University - Regional Campuses and Distance Education(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$201,000
Total 4 Year Cost$72,800
Grad Rate50%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,900
134 (tie)Western Oregon University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$201,000
Total 4 Year Cost$90,700
Grad Rate47%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$26,600
138 (tie)University of California - Davis (UC Davis)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$200,000
Total 4 Year Cost$133,000
Grad Rate83%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,700
138 (tie)Washington University in St. Louis(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$200,000
Total 4 Year Cost$256,000
Grad Rate95%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,000
140 (tie)California State University - Dominguez Hills (CSUDH)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$198,000
Total 4 Year Cost$89,100
Grad Rate32%
Time to Graduate6 Years
Loan Amt$15,600
140 (tie)California State University - San Bernardino (CSUSB)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$198,000
Total 4 Year Cost$81,600
Grad Rate48%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,000
140 (tie)Fitchburg State College(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$198,000
Total 4 Year Cost$108,000
Grad Rate57%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$25,900
140 (tie)Johns Hopkins University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$198,000
Total 4 Year Cost$250,000
Grad Rate93%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,800
144Salem State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$197,000
Total 4 Year Cost$91,400
Grad Rate46%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,200
145San Diego State University (SDSU) - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$196,000
Total 4 Year Cost$103,000
Grad Rate66%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,900
146University of Massachusetts (UMass) - Amherst Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$195,000
Total 4 Year Cost$107,000
Grad Rate75%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,200
147 (tie)Indiana University-Purdue University - Indianapolis (IUPUI)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$192,000
Total 4 Year Cost$89,900
Grad Rate43%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$25,700
147 (tie)Seattle University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$192,000
Total 4 Year Cost$214,000
Grad Rate78%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,500
147 (tie)University of Mary Washington(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$192,000
Total 4 Year Cost$150,000
Grad Rate73%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,600
150University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$191,000
Total 4 Year Cost$101,000
Grad Rate52%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,100

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

This allows you to see the return on investment based on the 20-year earnings of alumni with a humanities degree from each school.

In the search for a college with a high return on investment, humanities majors see the highest ROIs from some of the top public colleges in the country. SUNY - Binghamton often earns a high rank for 20-Year Net ROI.

The University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA has a reputation as a good value college, especially for in-state residents, and the humanities majors it produces prove that you can launch a successful career with a humanities degree. For another school ranked highly for the humanities in PayScale's College ROI Report, we remain in the Old Dominion. George Mason University provides a solid ROI for humanities majors assuming no financial aid.

For humanities majors, return on investment really matters because resulting career paths are often less defined than they are for science, technology, engineering and math students. But don't despair; a degree in the humanities can certainly lead to a wide array of fulfilling and high-paying careers. Just be aware that humanities majors often take longer to settle into their career of choice than engineering majors and other STEM majors. However, history shows that there are many successful humanities majors. Diane Sawyer, Clarence Thomas, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Steve Wynn and Hank Paulson are all examples of famous English majors. And there are many more examples of successful humanities majors: Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard, studied philosophy and medieval studies at Stanford and went on to head up a major tech company. Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield also majored in philosophy and went on to work in technology. So take note: rounding out your humanities degree with technical skills learned from a minor in addition to your major is a smart way to increase your worth.