I got interested whether the Humanities/Science study divide held up internationally, so I checked out the excellent EUROSTUDENT report. And guess what? It does (with an interesting student employment twist):
(Sorry about the graph… it’s just huge).
Here’s what the report concluded:
Humanities students tend to study less and work alongside their studies more frequently
The time a student must or should spend on their studies is also related to the subject studied. The EUROSTUDENT dataset presents an insight into this link by contrasting students from two particular subject areas – engineering and humanities students.
In most countries engineering students follow a learning-intensive and highly structured curriculum which requires higher presence and investment in study time than less structured ones like the curricula for courses in humanities and arts. The higher degree of freedom and more personal studies in the “soft sciences” make it easier for those students who have to earn money to combine study and employment, even if they are formally enrolled as full-time students. In most countries where study-time invested in humanities and arts is lower than for engineering, employment rates are higher for humanities students.
Although this conclusion can be drawn with regard to most countries displayed in Figure 7.7, there are several exceptions to the rule that in “soft sciences” the study related time is below average and much below the time spent studying by engineering students (top chart) – Romania, Lithuania, Finland, Netherlands, Estonia and Slovakia. Despite these country differences in terms of time spent on working, Romania and Lithuania are the only countries from this group in which humanities and arts students also pursue employment alongside their studies less frequently than their peers in engineering courses (bottom chart, e. g. for Lithuania 38 % vs. 45 %, respectively)
There’s a more readable resolution graph in the report, plus lots of other goodies for anyone looking to escape educational policy provincialism.
It’d be interesting, of course, to see whether the student employment association holds up in the U.S., though given that it’s Friday, I’ll leave that to someone else to do.