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Indicator II-14 Humanities Degree Completions: An International Comparison
NOTE TO READERS: Please include the following reference when citing data from this page: "American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Humanities Indicators, http://HumanitiesIndicators.org."
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Updated (8/23/2012) with data for 2009.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) gathers a wealth of data on the education-related investments and outcomes of its member nations. In order to arrive at meaningful comparisons among countries that have substantially different educational systems, the OECD uses the International Standard Classification of Education, which was created by the United Nations (UN) Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the early 1970s to facilitate the efforts of the UN and other organizations to aggregate and present international education statistics. (For a roster of the disciplines that UNESCO includes within the humanities, see Humanities as Defined by the International Standard Classification of Education.)

Figure II-14 compares the percentages of all tertiary degrees (U.S. bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees are all considered tertiary degrees) OECD countries awarded in the humanities in 2009. The United States ranked fifth among the 24 OECD countries for which data were available. The U.S. percentage was similar to those of Korea and Hungary, and approximately seven percentage points lower than the humanities degree leader, Germany, which bestows 17.5% of its tertiary degrees in humanities disciplines.

Figure II-14, Full Size
Supporting Data Supporting Data

Humanities as Defined by the International Standard Classification of Education

Humanities

Religion and theology;
Foreign languages and cultures: living or ‘dead’ languages and their literatures, area studies;
Native languages: current or vernacular language and its literature;
Other humanities: interpretation and translation, linguistics, comparative literature, history, archaeology, philosophy, ethics.


Source: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 1997 (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2006), 42, http://www.uis.unesco.org/TEMPLATE/pdf/isced/ISCED_A.pdf.

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