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Indicator II-3 Institutional Distribution of Undergraduate Humanities Degrees
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 (12/12/2012) with data for academic year 2010 (July 1, 2009–June 30, 2010).

See the
Note on the Data Used to Calculate Undergraduate Humanities Degree Counts and Shares.

In 2010, the nation’s master’s/comprehensive postsecondary education institutions and its research universities were the two largest producers of humanities undergraduate degrees, with each category of institution responsible for approximately a third of such degrees (Figure II-3a; this indicator uses an NSF-standardized version of the Carnegie Foundation’s system for classifying institutions of higher education). Doctoral institutions bestowed 13.3% of all humanities bachelor’s degrees, while just under 20% of humanities degrees were earned at baccalaureate institutions. For almost every institutional type the share of humanities degrees awarded was similar to the type’s share of all bachelor’s degrees awarded, with the exception of the “specialized, tribal, and not classified” grouping1 and institutions classified as “baccalaureate/liberal arts I.” The latter are selective undergraduate institutions awarding at least 40% of their degrees in the liberal arts. These schools accounted for less than 4% of all degrees, yet they generated slightly more than 8% of humanities degrees.

Figure II-3a, Full Size
Supporting Data Supporting Data

While they produce a modest share of all humanities degrees, these same selective liberal arts institutions are distinctive in terms of the concentration of humanities degree earners among their graduates (Figure II-3b). In academic year 2010, approximately a quarter of all degrees bestowed by these schools were in the humanities. All of the other institutional types conferred 10–12% of their degrees in humanities disciplines (with the exception of specialized, tribal, and unclassified institutions, which awarded 2.4% of their degrees in the field).

Figure II-3b, Full Size
Supporting Data Supporting Data

Note

1 This is unsurprising in view of the fact that this category includes medical and technical training schools, as well as seminaries.

Note on the Data Used to Calculate Undergraduate Humanities Degree Counts and Shares

The bulk of the data that form the basis of this indicator is drawn from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) Higher Education General Information System (HEGIS; 1966–1986) and its successor, the Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System (IPEDS; 1987–present), through which institutions of higher learning report on the numbers and characteristics of students completing degree programs (as well as a variety of other topics; for more on IPEDS, see http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/). The HEGIS/IPEDS degree-completion data have been made accessible to decision-makers, researchers, and the general public by the National Science Foundation (NSF) via its online data analysis tool WebCASPAR.

Degree-completion data for years 1948 through 1965 were derived from the Survey of Earned Degrees, which was first administered by the Office of Education (the Department of Education’s predecessor) and later by NCES. The Survey of Earned Degrees data were culled from printed publications, because the information is not included in WebCASPAR. For the trend lines extending back to 1948, data are presented only for a limited portfolio of humanities disciplines, because the academic discipline classification systems employed by NCES in its reporting on the Survey of Earned Degrees and HEGIS are not fine-grained enough to capture the full complement of disciplines considered by the Humanities Indicators (HI) to be within the scope of the humanities. (For an inventory of the disciplines and activities treated as part of the humanities by the HI, see the Statement on the Scope of the “Humanities” for Purposes of the Humanities Indicators.)

For 1987 and later years (1995 and later for data on the race/ethnicity of degree recipients), however, WebCASPAR categorizes earned degrees according to the more detailed Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP). The CIP was first developed by NCES in 1980 as a way of accounting for the tremendous variety of degree programs offered by American institutions of higher learning and has been revised three times since its introduction, most recently in 2009 (this version is referred to as “CIP 2010”). The CIP has also been adopted by Statistics Canada as its standard disciplinary classification system. An analysis of completions using CIP permits the HI to include earned degrees in a substantially greater number of the disciplines considered by the HI to be part of the humanities field.

With CIP-coded data academic disciplines such as comparative religion can be separated from vocational programs such as theology and thus can be included in the humanities degree tally. Additionally, when using CIP-coded data, the HI can include degrees in such disciplines as archeology, women’s studies, gay and lesbian studies, and Holocaust studies in its counts of humanities degrees from 1987 onward.1 For an inventory of the CIP disciplinary categories included by the HI under the field heading of “humanities” (as well as those categories of the NSF-developed taxonomy of academic disciplines that are the basis of the HI’s tabulations of 1) degrees in nonhumanities fields and 2) certain tabulations of humanities degrees for years 1966–1986), see the NSF and CIP Discipline Code Catalog. This catalog also indicates which degree programs the HI includes within specific humanities disciplines (e.g., for the purposes of the HI, English degrees include those classified under CIP as being in “English Language and Literature,” “American Literature,” and “Creative Writing,” among others).

In the case of several of the degree-related indicators, the humanities are compared to certain other fields such as the sciences and engineering. The nature of these fields is specified in the Statement on the Scope of the “Humanities” for Purposes of the Humanities Indicators. These broad fields do not encompass all postsecondary programs. Therefore, where fields are being compared in terms of their respective shares of all degrees, the percentages will not add up to 100%. Also, none of the graphs showing change over time in the share of degrees awarded to members of traditionally underrepresented ethnic/minority groups includes a data point for the academic year 1999, because the NCES did not release such data for that year.

The bachelor’s degree counts presented in Figures II-1a and II-1b do not include “second majors,” because NCES began collecting data about these degrees only in 2001. The HI deals separately with the issue of second majors in Figure II-1c (“Humanities Bachelor’s Degrees Earned as ‘Second Majors,’ 2001–2010”).

Data on the number of students completing minors are not collected as part of IPEDS, but such information was compiled for selected humanities disciplines as part of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences–sponsored Humanities Departmental Survey (HDS; see the HDS final report, page 8, Table 12).


Note

1 For those indicators reporting only degree data for years 1987 and onward (1995 and onward for the charts and tables describing the proportions of all degrees received by members of traditionally underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups), CIP-coded data are always the basis of the humanities degree counts presented.

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The National Science Foundation’s Standardization of the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education

"Description

The Carnegie Code attribute is derived from the Carnegie Foundation’s copyrighted, ‘A Classification of Institutions of Higher Education,’ which categorizes institutions based on level of degree offered and other indicators of the ‘comprehensiveness’ of an institution’s mission. For active, degree-granting institutions, the Carnegie Code attribute is based on the 1994 Carnegie Classification; for other institutions, it is based on the most recent available Carnegie classification. In general, system offices [administrative units overseeing two or more semiautonomous academic institutions] have been assigned the Carnegie Code attribute of the academic institution having the highest Carnegie Code attribute among all academic institutions with which they are associated.

Possible Values

The Carnegie Code attribute has the following values:

R1 Research Universities I
These institutions offer a full range of baccalaureate programs, are committed to graduate education through the doctorate, and give high priority to research. They award 50 or more doctoral degrees each year. In addition, they receive annually $40 million or more in federal support.

R2 Research Universities II
These institutions offer a full range of baccalaureate programs, are committed to graduate education through the doctorate, and give high priority to research. They award 50 or more doctoral degrees each year. In addition, they receive annually between $15.5 million and $40 million in federal support.

D1 Doctoral Universities I
In addition to offering a full range of baccalaureate programs, the mission of these institutions includes a commitment to graduate education through the doctorate. They award at least 40 doctoral degrees annually in five or more disciplines.

D2 Doctoral Universities II
In addition to offering a full range of baccalaureate programs, the mission of these institutions includes a commitment to graduate education through the doctorate. They award annually at least 10 doctoral degrees—in three or more disciplines—or 20 or more doctoral degrees in one or more disciplines.

C1 Master’s (Comprehensive) Universities and Colleges I
These institutions offer a full range of baccalaureate programs and are committed to graduate education through the master’s degree. They award 40 or more master’s degrees annually in three or more disciplines.

C2 Master’s (Comprehensive) Universities and Colleges II
These institutions offer a full range of baccalaureate programs and are committed to graduate education through the master’s degree. They award 20 or more master’s degrees annually in one or more disciplines.

LA1 Baccalaureate (Liberal Arts) Colleges I
These institutions are primarily undergraduate colleges with major emphasis on baccalaureate degree programs. They award 40 percent or more of their baccalaureate degrees in liberal arts fields and are restrictive in admissions.

LA2 Baccalaureate (Liberal Arts) Colleges II
These institutions are primarily undergraduate colleges with major emphasis on baccalaureate degree programs. They award less than 40 percent of their baccalaureate degrees in liberal arts fields or are less restrictive in admissions.

2YR Associate of Arts Colleges
These institutions offer associate’s and certificate programs, and, with few exceptions, no bachelor’s degrees.

ART Schools of Art, Music, and Design

BUS Schools of Business and Management

ENG Schools of Engineering and Technology

HLT Other Separate Health Profession Schools

LAW Schools of Law

MED Medical Schools and Medical Centers

REL Theological Seminaries, Bible Colleges, and Other Institutions Offering Degrees in Religion

TEA Teachers Colleges TRI Tribal Colleges and Universities (These institutions are members of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.)

OTH Other Specialized Institutions

N/A Not Classified”

Source: National Science Foundation, WebCASPAR, https://webcaspar.nsf.gov/.

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