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


194 (tie)Northern Arizona University (NAU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$169,000
Total 4 Year Cost$95,200
Grad Rate52%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$25,000
194 (tie)Providence College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$169,000
Total 4 Year Cost$234,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$40,000
198 (tie)Iowa State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$168,000
Total 4 Year Cost$76,100
Grad Rate69%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,500
198 (tie)University of Utah(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$168,000
Total 4 Year Cost$156,000
Grad Rate62%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$32,900
198 (tie)West Virginia University (WVU) - Main Campus(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$168,000
Total 4 Year Cost$129,000
Grad Rate57%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,700
198 (tie)Western Connecticut State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$168,000
Total 4 Year Cost$95,000
Grad Rate43%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$57,700
202 (tie)Bridgewater State College(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$166,000
Total 4 Year Cost$92,800
Grad Rate59%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$31,200
202 (tie)Texas State University - San Marcos Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$166,000
Total 4 Year Cost$81,800
Grad Rate55%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,400
202 (tie)University of Nebraska - Lincoln(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$166,000
Total 4 Year Cost$90,100
Grad Rate67%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,000
202 (tie)University of Rhode Island (URI)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$166,000
Total 4 Year Cost$172,000
Grad Rate59%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,600
206 (tie)California State University - Long Beach (CSULB)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$165,000
Total 4 Year Cost$136,000
Grad Rate65%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,000
206 (tie)University of New Hampshire (UNH) - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$165,000
Total 4 Year Cost$122,000
Grad Rate76%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$37,400
208California State University - Northridge (CSUN)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$164,000
Total 4 Year Cost$135,000
Grad Rate47%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,800
209 (tie)Central Washington University (CWU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$163,000
Total 4 Year Cost$90,700
Grad Rate53%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,200
209 (tie)Oakland University - Rochester Hills, MI(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$163,000
Total 4 Year Cost$141,000
Grad Rate46%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,100

*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.