The value of a Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences degree

If you want to understand the world. If you want to understand where we have come from and what the future holds. If you want to equip yourself with enduring and sought-after skills that help you to shape that future and your own, then a qualification in humanities, arts and social sciences is essential.


Humanities, arts and social sciences is diverse, touching on every aspect of daily life. It includes fields from politics, international relations and history, to development, creative arts and languages. It is multidisciplinary, working with fields including law, health, business and the sciences. Why should you study humanities, arts and social sciences? Here are four great reasons…

1. Valuable and lasting skills

Humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS) equips you with valuable skills, sought after by employers and highly transferable across infinite fields and endeavours. Humanities and social science graduates are adaptable and confident, able to analyse issues, solve complex problems and communicate with influence and empathy.

Most graduates say their qualification in humanities and social sciences is essential to their work. Employers agree, recognising the lasting importance of these skills despite rapid technological change in workplaces. Employers also recognise the qualities humanities graduates bring to workplace culture and enterprise success.1

2. Helps you make a difference

Humanities graduates work in a myriad of fields, reflecting the attractive and versatile skill set they offer. Many work in the public sector, health and social care, and education, in areas that have a direct impact of people’s lives and the way our society works and evolves. Humanities graduates are ideally suited to this, with an appreciation for the dynamics within society, skills to analyse the competing factors that shape it, and the confidence to solve complex issues.

Learn innovative ways to preserve our cultural history in digital humanities, help foster better lives for people through development studies, or make the legal system achieve better outcomes through criminology.

3. Offers you choice

The humanities offers unrivalled choice in study and career options, reflecting the broad range of subject matter and transferability of skills you gain. Explore dozens of diverse subject areas, from art history and anthropology, Hindi and human rights, to mathematics and music.

4. Complements other fields

Knowledge, technical skills and transferable skills gained from studying humanities subjects can complement qualifications in a variety of fields. An understanding of criminology, history and politics can help to better understand the context in which laws are made and operate. Understanding international relations and languages can help to facilitate business across international borders. Social research and demography is essential for policy makers and business to understand changes in society that affect everything from housing and healthcare demand to taxation and economic policy.

At ANU humanities and social science researchers are working on interdisciplinary projects to address key issues in Australia and around the world. Our Institute for Communication in Healthcare is working with global partners to improve patient outcomes through better communication practices. The Humanising Machine Intelligence Grand Challenge team brings philosophers together with scientists, sociologists and engineers to sensibly guide the development of artificial intelligence.

Why study humanities, arts and social sciences at ANU?

The Australian National University is Australia’s Number 1 University2, and is recognised as a leader in the humanities in Australia. ANU leads the nation and is ranked in the Top 30 internationally across subjects including3:

  • Philosophy—8th in the world
  • Anthropology—8th in the world
  • Archaeology—8th in the world
  • Geography—9th in the world
  • Politics—10th in the world
  • History—13th in the world
  • Development Studies—14th in the world
  • Sociology—17th in the world

Our Programs

Our Undergraduate Programs

» Discover our range of undergraduate programs

Bachelor of Arts

The Bachelor of Arts at ANU is our flagship humanities and social sciences program, offering you a wide breadth of study options including over 40 Majors and specialisations to choose from. The Bachelor of Arts can be easily added to a Flexible Double Degree program, combined with studies in law, business, science and engineering.

Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE)

The Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) is a high performance program for ambitious students. The program exemplifies the multidisciplinary nature of a qualification in humanities and social sciences, and emphasises a broader understanding of the world, developing skills in critical and conceptual thinking. Like the Bachelor of Arts, the PPE program can be combined with other qualifications in a Flexible Double Degree.

Explore our other undergraduate degrees including:

Our Postgraduate Programs

» Discover our range of Graduate Certificate and Diploma programs

» Discover our range of Master and PhD & MPhil programs


Our Students and Alumni

Liam Brewin Higgins, Bachelor of Arts 2019

History is such an important subject to study because without it is very difficult to understand, interpret or rationalise the present or indeed the future… I chose ANU first and foremost because of its unrivalled position, as an excellent research focused university.


Charlee-Sue Frail, Bachelor of Arts 2014

At ANU I was lucky enough to be taught by some of the best academics in the country and there was a lot of flexibility within my degree to do more research based projects which enabled me to focus on what I wanted to learn.


Yasmin Poole, Bachelor of International Relations, Bachelor of Laws (Honours) 2022

An ANU student who has established herself as one of the leading voices of her generation, Yasmin Poole has been named a Rhodes Australia-at-Large Scholar.


Se Yun Chong, Bachelor of Criminology, Juris Doctor 2021

Pursue what makes you happy and what genuinely sparks your passion. Cherish the memories you make with friends... Embrace all the moments, both wonderful and disappointing - there's a lesson to be learnt in all of those moments.


Naushaan Ahmad, Bachelor of Psychology and Bachelor of Criminology 2022

The combined field of Psychology and Criminology can help make the world a safer place by protecting the mental wellbeing of those on the edge of delinquency.


Yihan Wang, Bachelor of Arts 2021

Not every university can put this much effort into students’ well-being and take care about each one of us. I am not advertising; I really love ANU and Canberra and I never felt regretful – even just one minute – about my decision to spend my beautiful three years here.



[1] The Value of Humanities, Deloitte Access Economics, July 2018.

[2] QS World University Rankings 2023.

[3] QS World University Subject Rankings 2023