Where Do Liberal Arts Grads Land After College?

Where do liberal arts and humanities graduates go after graduation?

Three in five liberal arts bachelor’s degree graduates (60.5 percent) from the Class of 2014 landed full-time jobs or a place in graduate school within six months of graduation, according to results of a new study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

NACE’s Class of 2014 First-Destination Survey found that 42.2 percent of liberal arts and humanities graduates were in full-time positions while 18.3 percent were in graduate or professional school.

Those results are in line with overall outcomes of the survey, which found that two-thirds of the class had a full-time job or was accepted into graduate or professional school within the same time period.

However, the employment/graduate school mix differs between liberal arts grads and the class as a whole. Liberal arts and humanities graduates were more likely to pursue an advanced degree than the class overall (18.3 percent versus 16.4 percent), and less likely to have a full-time job (42.2 percent versus 55.4 percent).

Within the liberal arts disciplines, the preference for further education is more striking: Philosophy (27.8 percent), foreign languages (25.1 percent), history (24 percent), area studies (21.5 percent), liberal arts/general studies (21.2 percent), and English majors (19.8 percent) all exceeded the overall average handily. (See Figure 1.)

Only visual and performing arts majors bucked the trend. In fact, just 12.3 percent took the path to an advanced degree, falling below the overall average.

Liberal Arts Outcomes Tavorro

About the Class of 2014 First-Destination Survey:

NACE’s Class of 2014 First-Destination Survey is the first national survey focused on outcomes of new college graduates that uses uniform standards for data collection and reporting. It represents the inaugural survey in what is an annual initiative to provide clear, concise, and consistent data on the outcomes associated with a college education on a national scale.

A total of 207 colleges and universities nationwide, representing 274,000 graduates—including more than one-quarter of a million bachelor’s degree graduates—provided data for Class of 2014 associate and bachelor’s degree graduates. Overall, data were reported for nearly 175,000 bachelor’s degree graduates, making this study the most comprehensive view of bachelor’s degree outcomes available. The study provides data for 31 broad disciplines and 190 majors.

Results of the survey are available on the NACE website; see “First Destinations for the College Class of 2014” at

Beginning with the Class of 2015, the survey will include outcomes data for advanced-degree graduates.

The Class of 2015 survey, which captures data for those graduating July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015, is currently underway. Data will be collected through December 31, 2015, reported to NACE through March 2016, and published in spring 2016.

About Guest Author NACE

Since 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has been the leading source of information about the employment of college graduates. For more information, visit

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