For those with an interest in language and culture, a Masters in Humanities means gaining expertise in cross-cultural expression and studying the development of our social identity through time.


Humanities may be a difficult scholarly field to pinpoint because it shares some similarities with Social Sciences programmes. In broad terms, doing a Masters in Humanities means that you will focus on aspects of our human culture and the ways in which we have been expressing it throughout history. Think of Language Studies, Literature, History, Writing – these are disciplines which are all about expression. Although they require years of experience, learning, and practice, a Masters programme will pave your way to comprehending them. Because of the somewhat overlapping nature of these areas, you will learn to be flexible and will gain a cultural understanding on a broader level. Masters graduates in Humanities also learn to approach content critically. They are problem solvers and out-of-the-box thinkers.

Course content

There are plenty of international programmes which are multidisciplinary in nature and offer students diverse subjects to follow. Depending on the degree you go for, core courses in history, international relations, and literature might be part of your study curriculum. Their specific focus and the complementary subjects of the programme will vary according to your pick. If you have a flair for ancient cultures and history, you can look into Classical Studies and programmes that generally deal with examining the past. Modern History or Modern Literature Studies are good options for those who wish to gain expertise in a more contemporary framework. Of course, whether you specialise in “the past” or “the present”, you will be able to apply your knowledge and skills in context of today’s world.

Admission requirements

To apply for a Humanities Masters programme, you will most likely need to prove that you have a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field or at least a relevant minor or major. If you are not a native English speaker, make sure to prepare your results from an English proficiency test before your application. Your English test scores and your average GPA will be something that the admissions office will want to note down. It is possible that you will not have to present language proficiency results if your undergraduate studies were held in English. Having prior work experience is not compulsory in most cases, although it can certainly be a plus. Depending on your chosen field you can be required to sit an aptitude test such as the GRE Literature in English or a school test. 

Career options

Although jumping into the job market straight out of university is a challenging endeavour, a Humanities degree can actually give you quite the advantage. A 2015 study reported by Forbes revealed a notable growth in the starting salaries for American Bachelor’s students in Humanities. According to the research, the starting salaries of English, History, Philosophy, and Language graduates have experienced an increase of over 10% in the US. Although the study refers only to undergraduate degrees, such results suggest a positive trend for anyone interested in pursuing higher education, and eventually a career, in the field. With the appropriate specialisation and experience, you can look for professional opportunities in sectors such as Journalism, Publishing, Translation, Human Resources, and more. The cultural sensitivity and knowledge, nurtured in Humanities programmes, will be highly appreciated at a wide range of organisations.

For an overview of some of the most popular Masters programmes, click here