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Tips to Choose Humanities as a Career Option


Humanities is an emerging field in India. Choosing humanities as a career option after the completion of higher secondary school or tenth offers many opportunities to grow as a successful professional.

Choosing humanities even after completion of 10+2 education in India offers wide scope for career and professional growth. This article discusses some of the key major areas one can focus upon and specialize in while choosing Humanities as a career option.

The First Step-Making the Right Decision

The first step in making any career choice is to make a decision is to pursue one’s interests and passions. Choosing humanities after 10th standard in India offers a solid foundation to learn about History, Political Science, Psychology, Economics, Sociology, various Indian languages, and also specialize in any of the foreign languages. Many students opt for Humanities after completing 10th standard who otherwise have a clear goal of appearing for the Indian civil services examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission or UPSC in New Delhi. Indian civil service examinations demand extensive expertise in any of the subjects listed by UPSC and some among them include Public Administration, Political Science, Geography, Sociology, etc. which form as a part of Humanities studies. Hence it is recommended to have a clear goal while choosing a career path and then opt for the intended area of study- in this case, Humanities.

The students even have the option of choosing Humanities after completion of 10+2 board examinations. The courses offered at under-graduate studies include some of the major areas of specialization, including but not limited to the following specialization such as History, Economics, Journalism and Mass Communication, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Tourism Studies, Optional English (apart from language study), the study of any of the Indian Languages, the study of any the Foreign Languages like Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, etc.

The Second Step-Choosing the area of Specialization

The students who intend to choose Humanities after successful completion of the 10th board examinations have an option to choose from the combinations offered for their 10+2 study. The subjects and combinations usually include History, Geography, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, etc. The students have the option to choose a combination of four subjects of study in addition to two languages.

Further upon completion of 10+2 board examinations, there is a wider scope to specialize in any of three Humanities subjects offered at the undergraduate level by the respective universities. The subjects for areas of specialization include any three combinations of as History, Economics, Journalism and Mass Communication, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Tourism Studies, etc. or as decided by the respective universities.

As also some of the universities offer a foreign language-based specialization as a major area of study instead of core subjects. The foreign language-based specialization deals with an in-depth study of the basics of the language, along with the history, literature, origins of the language, etc. Some of the popular studies of languages include French, Japanese, German, Russian, Japanese, Mandarin, etc. An aspiring student has plenty of opportunities to pursue an interesting career in Humanities even after successfully completing 10+2 board examinations.

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The Third Step- Career Planning

A student has to set a clear goal for his/her career right from choosing an area of specialization and then becoming a professional/expert in the chosen area. The career path after completion of the tenth standard board follows the below hierarchy-

  • 10+2 Board Examination with the chosen area of specialization for two years
  • Under-graduate study with the chosen area of specialization for three years
  • Masters’ degree program in the chosen area of specialization for two years
  • Masters’ in Philosophy program in the chosen area of specialization with a dissertation
  • Doctor of Philosophy program for up to 5 years in the chosen area of specialization with a dissertation

Pursuing a Masters' Degree program with the chosen area of specialization is usually taken by professionals who wish to pursue employment opportunities either in teaching or in any other fields where an opportunity exists usually in the government sector, multi-national companies, consultancies, etc. Masters program in Philosophy for two years and Doctor of Philosophy study in the chosen for up to five years is usually opted by students who are passionate about conducting research and settle down in a research-based organization. The path to becoming a specialist especially if one intends to pursue research interests is usually through this program.

As explained earlier, many students also opt to appear for the Indian civil services examination the minimum criteria for which is the completion of undergraduate study from a recognized university. However, most of the students appear for UPSC exams with a Masters' degree program as the same enhances them to prepare well for the exams with a specialization in the chosen area/subject.

Career as a Specialist in Humanities

As discussed previously, there are several stages one has an opportunity to become a specialist. If one acquired a higher specialization like a Doctor of Philosophy, there is a highly likely chance of grabbing more opportunities in the job market. Many international government organizations, not for profits, government organizations, multi-national companies, independent consultancies, research-based organizations, think-tanks, etc. provide wide opportunities for one’s career growth and help them to become successful professionals.

For the students who wish to pursue any foreign language as a specialization, there are opportunities in the field of language teachers, interpreters, translators in some of the international government organizations, multinational companies, educational institutes, foreign embassies, cultural organizations, educational institutions, government organizations, public sector undertakings, research-based organizations, etc.

Chosen area of Specialization in Humanities

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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