We are often asked why we include English as a core component in our MST Magnet curricula at the freshman and sophomore level. Simply put, these courses are the backdrop and context for the work we do on essential soft skills that allow students to practice learning how to work collaboratively, communicate effectively, and develop a deeper understanding of the human condition.
According to a recent Washington Post article, The world’s top economists just made the case for why we still need English majors, “Some prominent economists are making the case for why it still makes a lot of sense to major (or at least take classes) in humanities alongside more technical fields.” One prominent economist even extrapolates this to suggest that learning how to craft and interpret narratives, in economics at least, can have a profound impact: “Economists can best advance their science by developing and incorporating into it the art of narrative economics … What people tell each other can have profound implications on markets — and the overall economy …”
There are also some counter-intuitive salary and long-term career satisfaction implications that are noted in this article and another recent one on this topic: In the Salary Race, Engineers Sprint but English Majors Endure.
So, yes, humanities courses matter. The stories and the narratives we tell each other and embrace matter. And that’s why it’s a part of our program.