Many years ago it was common practice to bad mouth Arts Degrees. Not so much the recipient of one, but rather the degree itself. There was some graffiti in the Uni Bar toilets above the toilet paper dispenser; Arts Degree. Take one’. That’s how it was. It was fortunate that those days weren’t during the pandemic otherwise Arts Degrees would have been in really short supply. But they weren’t. Lots of people had an Arts Degree and you took all the jokes in your stride. Where did you get your Arts Degree? In a cornflakes packet. Would you like fries with your Arts Degree? They’re not worth the paper they’re written on. Hang on, this is a testamur people were joking about. I would have loved an Arts Degree.
Now here’s the thing about Arts Degrees. There are so many different subjects available; languages, music, journalism, media and communication, geography, history, linguistics, history, gender studies, cultural studies, economics, political science and then you’ve got your ‘ologies’ – psychology, sociology, physiology, criminology, anthropology, theology, biology …
If you weren’t sure what you wanted to study you could start an Arts degree then transfer to another degree – something a bit fancier perhaps. In some disciplines you could get credit for some of the subjects from your Arts Degree. That all seems great so I don’t really know what all the scoffing was about. Apart from all those wishy-washy subjects maybe it was because it was the budget degree.
Well it’s certainly not the budget degree anymore. The latest announcement from the Federal Government is that the fees for an Arts Degree will be raised by 113 percent. Why? Well let’s face it. They’re useless. It’s no joke anymore. The degree of the commoners has now become the elite degree amongst the disciplines. But if anyone goes for an Arts Degree there is some good news. You won’t ever have to pay back your loan for your fees because you’ll never earn enough. In fact, you’ll be earning zilch.
On the other hand, if you’re after a bargain tertiary education, and who doesn’t like a bargain, you must choose to study in an area of expected job growth. For example, nursing and teaching degrees will fall by 45 percent while maths and agriculture by a huge 61 percent. This is excellent news for those who wish to study in those areas. But it seems more like bribery to me. Those poor souls who really want to study arts/humanities might decide to go for the budget option along with job certainty because they don’t have rich folks. This could mean the end of Arts Degrees.
It’s not only Arts Degrees in the firing line. What about the hike for law, economics and commerce. Their fees will only be raised by a meagre 28 percent but for the same reason. They’re not in the areas of expected job growth. Well helllooo? Aren’t we going to need more lawyers, economics and commerce people as the world continues to go bankrupt and there is no sign of the pandemic ending anytime soon. It may never end; has anyone ever thought of that? Oh … but there’s a vaccine coming …
Back to the point. As far as I know it’s still common to do a double degree. Two of my children followed that path and combined their degrees of Law and Commerce each with an Arts Degree. Their Law/Arts and Commerce/Arts degrees have led them to amazing careers further enriched by the humble Arts Degree. Imagine the enormous fees you would be up for if you wanted to follow that path these days.
As a school pathway planner in a previous life, my advice would be to follow your dreams. If you want an Arts Degree go for it. The cost is set to rise, we know that. But as for poor job prospects …. Who knows? That could be a load of bollocks. Now at around $45 000 for an Arts Degree it’s really going to be worth the paper it’s written on.