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

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106 (tie)Miami University - Oxford, OH(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$222,000
Total 4 Year Cost$184,000
Grad Rate79%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,800
106 (tie)Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$222,000
Total 4 Year Cost$102,000
Grad Rate83%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$32,400
108 (tie)California State Polytechnic University - Pomona(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$221,000
Total 4 Year Cost$140,000
Grad Rate56%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,700
108 (tie)Spelman College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$221,000
Total 4 Year Cost$173,000
Grad Rate74%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$34,600
108 (tie)West Virginia University (WVU) - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$221,000
Total 4 Year Cost$76,400
Grad Rate57%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,700
111 (tie)University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$218,000
Total 4 Year Cost$97,100
Grad Rate90%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$26,600
111 (tie)Wright State University - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$218,000
Total 4 Year Cost$91,100
Grad Rate39%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$28,300
113University of Wyoming (UW)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$216,000
Total 4 Year Cost$113,000
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$26,700
114 (tie)Gustavus Adolphus College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$215,000
Total 4 Year Cost$203,000
Grad Rate81%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$36,300
114 (tie)Northern Kentucky University (NKU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$215,000
Total 4 Year Cost$112,000
Grad Rate36%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,200
114 (tie)Oakland University - Rochester Hills, MI(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$215,000
Total 4 Year Cost$88,900
Grad Rate46%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,100
117Auburn University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$214,000
Total 4 Year Cost$175,000
Grad Rate71%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$31,300
118SUNY - Geneseo(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$212,000
Total 4 Year Cost$89,100
Grad Rate78%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$26,000
119California State University - Long Beach (CSULB)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$211,000
Total 4 Year Cost$90,900
Grad Rate65%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$22,000
120California State University - Northridge (CSUN)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$210,000
Total 4 Year Cost$89,900
Grad Rate47%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,800

*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.